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UW-RF Student Wins National Scholarship
By Molly Exner
UW-RF News Bureau
20, 2005--UW-RF physics student Heather Lunn received the national Society
of Physics (SPS) 2005-06 Future Teacher Scholarship for her outstanding
academic performance and high level of SPS activity in teaching and leadership.
Lunn's academic advisor and UW-RF physics Professor Earl Blodgett surprised
Lunn in her advanced physics class and announced that she was the recipient
of the SPS $2,500 scholarship.
Lunn, originally from Hudson and currently living in Somerset, says she
almost fell out of her chair when she heard the news. "If it wasn't
for Blodgett holding me up, I would've hit the floor."
Blodgett, also the UW-RF SPS chapter adviser and SPS zone 9 counselor,
believes Lunn's experience as an SPS intern in education issues was a
key factor in helping her land the scholarship.
During summer 2004, Lunn spent two months just outside of Washington,
D.C., at the University of Maryland working with 30 13-year-old girls
building eight-foot high roller coasters. Lunn, as the main coordinator
for the project, which was funded by the National Science Foundation,
taught the general history behind roller coasters and basics concepts
in energy, friction, inertia and physics.
While Lunn says not all of her students were captivated by her physics
lessons, she said the girls really loved building the loop-de-loops in
the roller coasters along with mini-cars meant to ride the rails.
Lunn also worked at the American Center for Physics in College Park, Md.,
helping create SPS Outreach Catalyst Kits. The kits were sent out to SPS-member
high schools so students can conduct physics-related experiments, which
aims to show kids that science can be fun, in hopes of recruiting students
into physics programs. The kits included light sources, cylinders and
fiber optics. Lunn's concentration was in fiber optics, which she claims
is the new wave in high-speed communication. "Fiber optics are every
where and changing the way information travels."
As a follow-up, she traveled to a national meeting of the American Association
of Physics Teachers in Albuquerque, N.M., in January 2005, where she led
demos for groups of elementary students from local schools.
According to Blodgett, "Lunn is like a moving target." As double
major in physics and math, a member of the physics honors society and
working 30-35 hours a week, Lunn has still managed to stay active in SPS.
Starting off as SPS treasurer and then moving up to vice president, Lunn
has been an energetic member of SPS and will take the reigns as chapter
president next academic year.
Lunn says she came to UW-RF not having much interest in physics at all,
but after taking a general physics course taught by Professor Blodgett,
she's never turned back.
"Blodgett took me under his wing and said 'hang on for the ride because
it's going to be a rough one' and now I've just been tugging along."
Lunn nominated Blodgett two years in a row for the SPS Outstanding Chapter
Adviser Award, which he won in 2003-04. Blodgett, along with assistant
physics Professor Lowell McCann, nominated Lunn through letters of recommendation
for the scholarship so she could be formally recognized for her devotion
to her studies and SPS.
Blodgett said that even if the competition is tough, it pays to take time
to apply students for scholarships to at least give them a chance.
Lunn, who'll graduate in May 2006, says she plans on attending graduate
school in the Midwest and then pursue her doctorate in physics.
With all of Lunn's recent experience and success in teaching, Blodgett
says he's encouraging her to consider becoming a physics educator at the
Lunn says she hasn't ruled it out. "Maybe I'll be a physicist. Maybe
I'll be a physics teacher. I'm just not sure, and no doors have shut yet."
Cutline: UW-RF physics student Heather Lunn, originally from Hudson and
currently living in Somerset, won the national Society of Physics 2005-06
Future Teacher Scholarship Award worth $2,500 for her dedication and leadership
in SPS activities.
Tuesday, 22-Jun-2010 16:21:24 Central Daylight Time