Prize Recipient

High School Modeling Instruction


"For their impacts on physics teaching nationally through Modeling Instruction Workshops and curriculum materials, and for contributions to physics education research through Modeling Theory."


American Modeling Teachers Association

Colleen Megowan

MegowanColleen Megowan-Romanowicz earned a BS in pre-medicine in 1973 from Loyola University of Los Angeles. She began teaching in 1978, starting with high school biology. She progressed to teaching physics 1989. She expanded the physics program at her high school and converted it to a Physics First program in 1994, growing the physics enrollment from 12 students to over 170 (in a school with just under 500 students—all girls) in less than10 years.

In 2004 she completed Arizona State University Physics Department’s Master of Natural Science degree program for physics teachers and went on to earn a PhD in Physics Education Research at ASU in 2007 under the guidance of David Hestenes. She joined the faculty at ASU in 2008. In 2009 she secured funding to create a MNS degree program for middle school science and mathematics teachers. She has mentored over 60 teacher researchers through their required MNS research experience.

In spring of 2011 Megowan-Romanowicz accepted an appointment as Executive Officer for the American Modeling Teachers Association (AMTA), continuing at ASU part-time as a research scientist.

Her research interest is distributed cognition and how a situated group learning experience ultimately distills into individual student understanding in physics.

Memberships: AMTA, AAPT, ACS, ASTE, NSTA.

David Hestenes

HestenesDavid Hestenes received a BA in philosophy from Pacific Lutheran University in 1954 and a PhD in physics from UCLA in 1963. He was a postdoc at Princeton with John Wheeler 1964-66. He then joined the physics faculty at Arizona State University and continued there from 1966 until his retirement as Professor Emeritus in 2000.

In collaboration with students and teachers, Dr. Hestenes developed a Modeling Theory of Physics Instruction, with evaluation instruments such as the Force Concept Inventory, and applied it extensively to introductory physics at both university and high school levels. Beginning in 1990, this provided the foundation for more than a decade of NSF funding for the Modeling Instruction Program: to cultivate high school physics teachers as leaders of nationwide reform in science teaching with technology. The teachers themselves created the American Modeling Teachers Association to continue the program, which is flourishing today.

Throughout his career to the present, the central focus of his scientific research has been on developing Geometric Algebra as a unified mathematical language for physics and applying it widely, especially to electron theory.

His awards include the 2002 Oersted Medal from the American Association of Physics

Teachers and the 2003 Education Research Award from the Council of Scientific Society Presidents. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a Cambridge Overseas Fellow (Churchill College).

Jane Jackson

JacksonJane Jackson received a BS, MS, and PhD in physics from Arizona State University in 1965, 1966, and 1970, respectively. She taught physics for eight years at South Dakota State University, then for 10 years at Scottsdale Community College. For the past 20 years she has co-directed the Modeling Instruction Program in the Department of Physics at Arizona State University.

She is a life member of the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Modeling Teachers Association.

Selection Committee:

Ernie Malamud, Chair; L. Aldrich; M. Calbi; T.J. Stelzer; J. Thompson