APS Bridge Program


APS Management Team

Theodore Hodapp

HodappTheodore Hodapp is the Director of Project Development and Senior Advisor to the Department of Education and Diversity for the American Physical Society (APS) in College Park, Maryland. The APS Department of Education and Diversity runs programs that advocate issues relevant to minorities and women, and in areas of education and careers. Hodapp is also Principal Investigator of a large NSF and APS-funded national effort, the Physics Teacher Education Coalition, which seeks to improve the quality and quantity of physics and physical science K-12 teachers.

Before coming to the APS, Hodapp served as Program Director in the National Science Foundation's Division of Undergraduate Education, working with programs in curriculum development and implementation, teacher preparation, scholarships, and the National Science Digital Library (he is currently co-PI on the ComPADRE digital library project that is collecting physics education materials throughout the country).

Prior to coming to the NSF, Hodapp was professor and chair of the Hamline University Physics Department in St. Paul, Minnesota. He served as chair of the Physics and Astronomy Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research, and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. His research interests include laser cooling, optical modeling, and physics education research.

Monica Plisch

PlischMonica Plisch serves as the Director of Education and Diversity at the American Physical Society (APS) in College Park, Maryland. She is a co-PI on the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) project and a member of the National Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics. She also leads initiatives to improve mentoring and ethics education and to develop high school lessons on contemporary physics.

Before coming to the APS, Plisch led education programs at a NSF funded center at Cornell University, where she developed programs on nanotechnology for undergraduate students and physics teachers. Plisch completed her doctoral studies in physics (nanomagnetics) at Cornell University. She enjoys competitive rowing and running.

Erika E. Alexander Brown

AlexanderDr. Erika E. Alexander Brown is the Bridge Program Manager at the American Physical Society (APS) in College Park, Maryland. In this capacity, Brown works with members of the physics community to promote diversity by helping underrepresented minorities successfully transition into physics Ph.D. programs.

Prior to coming to APS, Brown completed her postdoctoral training at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, studying the importance of specific genetic factors on mammalian inner ear development. During her time at Emory, Brown was an NIH-funded fellow within the Fellowships in Research and Science Teaching (FIRST) program, developing and teaching several new courses on hearing at Spelman College. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Psychology from Brown University, while studying the behavioral and central effects of lateral-line sensory deprivation in bullfrog tadpoles.

Deepa Chari

Chari Deepa is a postdoctoral researcher in the APS Bridge program. At FIU, she is involved in the development of a survey to explore the prospective graduate students' perceptions about graduate admissions and graduate education. She is also studying the departmental graduate admission practices to understand the considerations of diversity.

Deepa is interested in phenomenology, graduate education and discourse studies in the science classroom. Prior to FIU, she conducted postdoctoral research at Kansas State University, where she examined students' use of math in physics in upper division physics problems.

She has earned an MPhil and a Ph.D. in physics from Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland.

Abigail Daane

Daane Abigail R. Daane is an Assistant Professor of Physics at Seattle Pacific University. A former high school teacher and Knowles Science Teaching Fellow, she continues to build national capacity for improving STEM teaching, leading and learning through her research on teacher learning of physics.

Most recently, Daane has co-led professional development focused on increasing awareness of equity issues in the science classroom and designed a series of activities that focus on equity in physics for undergraduate introductory physics courses. She is deeply committed to improving the opportunities, culture, and support for underrepresented minorities and women in physics. She serves on the American Association of Physics Teachers' Committee on Diversity and currently serves as the external evaluator for the APS Bridge program.

Brián Clash

ClashBrián Clash is the Bridge Program Coordinator at American Physical Society (APS) in College Park, Maryland. Before coming to APS, Brián completed her B.A. in Communications at UMUC. She is also currently pursing an MBA with a concentration in marketing.




Geoff Potvin

PotvinGeoff Potvin completed his doctorate in theoretical physics at the University of Toronto before taking up a science education postdoctorate in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Prior to coming to FIU in January 2014, he spent five years as a faculty member in the Department of Engineering & Science Education at Clemson University. He is a member of the APS Forum on Education's Executive Committee and the American Association of Physics Teachers' Committee on Diversity. His research is focused on understanding diversity issues in the physical sciences and engineering at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Using an identity lens, he studies how educational practices and other experiences influence students' attitudes and career intentions, especially for those who are traditionally marginalized from STEM. He is working with the APS Bridge Program to understand how departmental admissions and retention practices can help to grow a more diverse body of future physicists, and the factors that affect student success in graduate physics.

Rachel Scherr

ScherrRachel E. Scherr is a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Physics at Seattle Pacific University. She conducts independent research and evaluation for multiple APS projects including the APS Bridge Program, the Committee for the Status of Women in Physics, and the Physics Teacher Education Coalition.

A longtime physics education researcher, Rachel pioneered practices of video research in physics education, and has a substantial history of research on teacher learning of energy in physics. In general, her research focuses on identifying the seeds of sophisticated understanding in learners' ideas and observing the processes by which students collaboratively construct physics concepts in best-practices physics learning environments.

Rachel conducts research on best practices for supporting women and minorities in physics departments and develops resources for faculty to improve their teaching for all students. She is the creator of Periscope, a set of materials for university physics educator development based on compelling classroom video of best-practices university physics instruction. She is Chair of the APS Topical Group in Physics Education Research, a past chair of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) Physics Education Research Topical Group, and serves on the editorial board of Physical Review Physics Education Research.

National Advisory Board

Emilio Codecido

CodecidoEmilio Codecido is originally from Chile, and moved to California at the age of 14. He graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara with a B.S. in Physics in 2014. His undergraduate research involved characterizing the thermoelectric efficiency of gated silicon nanowires. Emilio then joined the APS Bridge Program at The Ohio State University (OSU), and is now a third year Physics Ph.D. student. While at OSU, he was elected as the student chair of the Physics Bridge Program. His current research is on ultraviolet nanowire optoelectronics. Emilio is happy to join the NAB and hopes to contribute to the growth of underrepresented minorities in physics.

J. D. Garcia

Garcia J. D. Garcia is Professor of Physics Emeritus at The University of Arizona in Tucson. Throughout his career his research interests included time-dependent quantum models for collisions, quantum electrodynamics, physics education research, and improving science teacher education. He earned his Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Wisconsin. His career has included a Fulbright Scholarship in Germany and a NORDITA Fellowship in Sweden. Garcia is a Life Member and Fellow of the APS, and was the recipient of the APS' Bouchet Award. He has served on and chaired several APS committees including POPA, CIFS, Apker Award and COM. He has also served as a Program Officer in the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation. He was the Charter President of the National Society of Hispanic Physicists (NSHP), as well as the National Physical Sciences Consortium (NPSC). More recently, he has just finished a four-year term in the Presidential line of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanas and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).

Also a long-time member of AAPT, Garcia has served as a member of the Committee on Professional Concerns, Committee on Minorities in Physics, Committee on Undergraduate Physics, and the Meetings Committee. He has also served on several task force groups: as a member of the National Task Force on Undergraduate Physics (SPIN-UP), the Joint AAPT-APS Task Force on Graduate Education, and recently on the Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics (TTEP). A life member of the Arizona Section of AAPT, he has coordinated the meetings of the Tucson Area Physics Teachers (TAPT), a local physics teachers’ support group, for the last 20+ years, and is active in promoting physics outreach efforts in Tucson.

Yolanda S. George

GeorgeYolanda Scott George is Deputy Director and Program Director, Education and Human Resources Programs, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She has served as Director of Development, Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), Washington, DC; Director, Professional Development Program, University of California, Berkeley, CA, a pre-college academic enrichment, university retention, and pre-graduate school program in STEM for minorities and women; and as a research biologist at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, Livermore, California involved in cancer research and cell cycle studies using flow cytometer and cell sorters.

George conducts evaluations, project and program reviews, and evaluation workshops for both the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, as well as reviews STEM proposals for private foundation and public agencies, including Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, and the European Commission. She develops and coordinates conferences and workshops related to STEM undergraduate reform and recruitment and retention of minorities, women, and persons with disabilities in STEM. She works with UNIFEM, UNESCO, L’Oreal USA and Paris and non-governmental organizations on gender, science, and technology initiatives related to college and university recruitment and retention and women leadership in STEM

Over the last 25 years she has raised over $80 million for a variety of STEM education initiatives for colleges and universities, associations, and community-based groups. She currently serves as principal investigator (PI) or co-PI on several National Science Foundation (NSF) grants, including the Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education; National Science Education Digital Library (NSDL) Biological Sciences Pathways; Historically Black Colleges and Universities-Undergraduate Programs (HBCU-UP); Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program; Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM (TUES); and Women’s International Research Collaborations at Minority Serving Institutions. In addition, George is the lead AAAS staff person for the L'Oréal USA Fellowships for Women in Science Program (postdoctoral fellowships) and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation HBCU Graduate Scholars Program (graduate school fellowships).

George serves on a number of boards or committees, including: Maria Mitchell Women in Science Awards Committee; McNeil/Lehrer Productions Online Science Reports Advisory Committee; the Center for the Advancement of informal Science Education Advisory Board; and the South Dakota Biomedical Research Network Advisory Committee; Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Science Enrichment Program Grants, Advisory Board; and The HistoryMakers, ScienceMakers, Advisory Board.

George has authored or co-authored over 50 papers, pamphlets, and hands-on science manuals. She received her B.S. and M.S. from Xavier University of Louisiana and Atlanta University in Georgia, respectively.

Wendell T. Hill, III

Hill.jpgWendell T. Hill, III holds the rank of Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, with appointments in the Institute for Physical Science and Technology and the Department of Physics and is also a fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute. He received a BA in physics from the University of California, Irvine, in 1974 and a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University in 1980. He is a guest worker at NIST, where he was a postdoc before joining the faculty of the University of Maryland in 1982, as well as a visiting scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Labs. He has held visiting positions with Instituto Venezalano de Investigaciones (Venezuela), Université de Paris-Sud, Orsay France and JILA at the University of Colorado.  Hill’s honors include Fellow of the American Physical Society, Fellow of the National Society of Black Physicists, Presidential Young Investigator of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and being profiled by the History Makers. Hill’s research interests are broad with publications ranging from high-energy particle physics to atom optics. His current investigations fall into one of three areas within atomic, molecular and optical (AMO) physics: (1) ultrafast dynamics and quantum control; (2) ultra-intense laser-matter interaction and high-energy density physics; and (3) atom optics and quantum information science. He has been a member of and chaired numerous program committees for national and international conferences. In addition, he has served on several committees (a few of which he chaired) for the American Physical Society (APS) including the Council and Executive Board, the Optical Society of America (OSA) including the Technical Council, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and NSF, several of which produced key reports and activities that have helped to improve the health of AMO physics. During the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 academic years he was on leave from the university and served as the program officer for the AMO program at NSF, overseeing a portfolio with an annual budget of about $20M.

Renee Horton

hortonDr. Horton is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and works effortlessly in the community for STEM education and outreach. Dr. Horton believes that diversity and inclusion in the workforce provides a multi-dynamic talented group that will draw knowledge from their cultures, races, backgrounds and fundamental differences to achieve the most successful results for any organization. Dr. Horton is the first African American to earn a PhD in Materials Science with a concentration in Physics from the University of Alabama, and an Electrical Engineering degree from Louisiana State University. Dr. Horton currently serves as the Space Launch System (SLS) Lead Metallic/Weld Engineer in the NASA Residential Management Office at Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans, Louisiana. In her short career with NASA she has been awarded four group achievement awards. Dr. Horton was recently elected President of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP 2016) as the second woman to hold the office after Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson in 1983, 33 years previous. She has previously served on the program committee and as the chair of the Women in Physics Committee for NSBP.

Anthony M. Johnson (Chair)

Johnson Anthony M. Johnson has been the Director of the Center for Advanced Studies in Photonics Research (CASPR) and Professor of Physics and Computer Science & Electrical Engineering at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) since 2003. He received a B.S. in Physics (1975) from Polytechnic Institute of New York and a PhD in Physics (1981) from City College of the City University of New York. His PhD thesis research was conducted at AT&T Bell Laboratories with support from the Cooperative Research Fellowship Program for Minorities. He was a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff in the Photonic Circuits Research Department at Bell Labs where he spent 14 years before joining New Jersey Institute of Technology (1995), where he was Chairperson and Distinguished Professor of Physics until 2003. Current research interests include the ultrafast photophysics and nonlinear optical properties of bulk, nanoscale, and quantum well semiconductor structures, ultrashort pulse propagation in fibers and high-speed lightwave systems. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Physical Society (APS) [94-97], the IEEE Photonics Society [93-95], the Optical Society of America (OSA) [93-96 & 00-03] and the American Institute of Physics (AIP) [02-08] He served as 2002 President of the OSA; Editor-in-Chief of Optics Letters (95-01); member of the DOE Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee [BESAC] (99-08); member of the NRC/NAS Committee on AMO2010: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Science (05-06); and member (05-08) and Chair (09-10) of the IEEE Photonics Society Fellows Evaluation Committee. Currently, member of the Executive Board of the APS Council (2013-2014); Deputy Director of the NSF Engineering Research Center MIRTHE (Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment); member, APS Council, Publication Oversight Committee and Executive Committee Division of Laser Science. He is a Fellow of the APS, OSA, IEEE, AAAS and the National Society of Black Physicists. Awards include the 1996 APS Edward Bouchet Award.

Ramon E. Lopez

LopezRamon E. Lopez is a Professor of Physics at the University of Texas at Arlington. His research is both in space plasma physics and physics education, and he is the author of over 100 peer-reviewed papers. Ramon is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). His awards includethe 2002 APS Nicholson Medal, the 2010 SACNAS (the Society for theAdvancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) Distinguished Scientist Award, the 2012 APS Edward A. Bouchet Award, and two NASAGroup Achievement Awards. Ramon has also been very active in precollege science education. Since 1992 he has worked with the National Science Resources Center on a range of activities. He was a member of the design and writing team for Active Physics, a High School curriculum project. Ramon was one of the authors of the College Board's Standards for College Success Science Standards and he is part of the Leadership Team for the development of the Next Generation Science Standards project. He has also served as a science education consultant for numerous school districts, state departments of education, and other organizations including the Discovery Channel. Ramon earned a B.S. in physics in 1980 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Ph.D. in space physics in 1986 from Rice University.

James Mathis

MathisJames Mathis is a Ph.D. student in the Applied Physics program at the University of Michigan. He received his undergraduate degree in Physics at Norfolk State University and his Master's degree in the Applied Physics program at the University of Michigan. His research focus is in semiconductor physics and, more specifically, on the optical and electronic characterization of thin-film ZnSnN2. James was first introduced to semiconductor physics during his undergraduate career, when he participated for two summers in the SROP and CEM REU programs at The Ohio State University. As an NSF Imes-Moore Fellow in the Applied Physics program, he was afforded the opportunities to fill in some of the gaps he had since his undergraduate education, as well as to gain more of an understanding of the demands of graduate school.

Stephen McGuire

McGuireAn APS Fellow, McGuire received his B.S. in physics magna cum laude from Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, M.S. in nuclear physics from The University of Rochester and Ph.D. in nuclear science from Cornell University. As an undergraduate he received a Crown Zellerbach Foundation Fellowship in physics, and as a doctoral candidate he held a John McMullen graduate fellowship in nuclear science. While he was a graduate student, he was an invited lecturer at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Having published extensively in nuclear physics and its applications, he has lectured in the NIST Colloquium Series. While on the faculty at Alabama A&M University he was honored with NASA's Office of Technology Utilization Research Citation Award for his work on the interactions of charged-particle cosmic rays with emulsions and semiconductor electronics. His current research emphasizes the use of neutrons and X-rays as probes for the study of optical coatings, for example, for high power laser applications. His teaching interests focus on the integration of research and technology in the development of effective teaching and learning strategies. Relatively early in his career he chaired the American Physical Society’s (APS) Committee on Minorities (COM). He is a former President of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) and in 1992 he was named a Charter Fellow of the NSBP. In 1997 while on the Cornell University faculty he was appointed the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Visiting Scientist in Physics and Astronomy at Wayne State University. A past Department Chair, McGuire is Professor of Physics at Southern University and A&M College and serves as Principal Investigator for both the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored project, “Advancing the Southern University Partnership with LIGO in Materials Research and Science Education.”

Jesús Pando

PandoJesús Pando earned his Ph.D. under Prof. Li-Zhi Fang at the University of Arizona. His thesis centered on the development of the wavelet transform for use in the study of large-scale structure. He received the Chateaubriand post-doctoral, followed by an NSF international post-doctoral fellowship to continue his work at the Observatoire de Strasbourg, France. In general, his research focuses on the uncovering of structure from a noisy background. Originally, he focused the formation of large-scale structure formation in the universe, using higher order correlations to uncover the clustering patterns of matter in the universe. Along with continuing to study large-scale structure, he is also now investigating secondary structure detection and prediction in proteins. Dr. Pando has long been involved in efforts to increase the number of underrepresented groups in the sciences. He has been a member of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) for 15 years and currently serves as President of the National Society of Hispanic Physicists. He has served on numerous committees and panels dealing with the issues faced by underrepresented students and professionals in STEM fields.

Ritchie Patterson

PattersonPatterson's research is in experimental particle physics, and on understanding phenomena such as dark matter, the disappearance of anti-matter from the universe, and the nature of the Higgs boson. Currently, she is using data from the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider to constrain, or perhaps reveal, models such as supersymmetry that might explain these phenomena. This follows a couple of decades of probing them indirectly through precision studies of strange, bottom and charm mesons with the CLEO experiment and at Fermilab. Patterson received her Ph.D. in 1990 from the University of Chicago, and then moved to Cornell, where after a few years as a post-doc, she joined the faculty of the Department of Physics. She was an NSF National Young Investigator (1994-99) and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow (1994-96), received Cornell's Provost Award for Distinguished Scholarship (2005), and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. She has served on numerous professional committees and panels, including, currently, the APS Physics Policy Committee and the SLAC Science Policy Committee. At Cornell, she has chaired the Department of Physics and now directs the Cornell Laboratory for Accelerator-based Sciences and Education.