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PERC 2016 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Defining Professional STEM Practice
Abstract: We examine how math, physics, communication skills and other relevant ideas from undergraduate physics get utilized in optics and photonics workplaces by entry-level employees who have recently finished school. Nearly all of our research interests lie beyond content learning goals and emphasizes the context, goals, representations, and tools that define professional STEM practice. Our methodology involves a large scale (N = 100+) qualitative study with in-depth (1 hour long) semi-structured interviews. Challenges include identifying appropriate samples across diverse contexts (even a limited field like optics has very diverse workplace practices), triangulating views on workplace skills (entry-level employee perspectives vs managers vs HR), making personal connections with a wide range of industry folks despite being an outsider from academia, organizing and analyzing large scale qualitative data, and trying to conduct and communicate research that both academically trained physicists and industrial physicists and engineers find relevant.
Abstract Type: Symposium Talk
Parallel Session: Iteration, Ownership, and Emotions: Examining How Classroom Experiences in Physics Move Outside the Classroom

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Anne Leak
Rochester Institute of Technology
and Co-Presenter(s)
Ben Zwickl, Rochester Institute of Technology