What is the impact of participation in informal physics programs on university students?

Authors: 

Katie Hinko, Claudia Fracchiolla

While many physics departments or centers have a tradition of facilitating informal learning activities (often called “outreach”), these physics activities are often considered peripheral to the main function of the institution. However, university undergraduate and graduate students are often engaged in informal physics education despite messaging from the physics community that these activities are not valued as central practices to the discipline. We investigate how physics students’ motivation to participate in informal physics is impacted as part of a particular model of community engagement that is mutually beneficial for both the community and participants. We also show that physicists who participate in informal physics programs demonstrate improved scientific communication skills and gain teaching experience.

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Submitted by Katie Hinko on