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Preparing STEM Students for Success in Physics Through an Intensive Summer Program

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Innovations in Teaching and Research in Physics or Engineering Physics I

Tagged Division

Engineering Physics & Physics

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.978.1 - 23.978.16



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Paper Authors


Polin Yadak Cañada College

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I was born in 1969 in Iran/Tehran. I received my first BS in Psychology in 1994 from Azad University in Tehran. My family and I immigrated to the United State of America in 2000. I received my second BS in Astrophysics in 2007 and my MS in physics in 2010. I have always enjoyed teaching both physics and mathematics. I am currently employed as Physics Instructor at Cañada College and Skyline College.

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Amelito G Enriquez Canada College Orcid 16x16

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Amelito Enriquez is a professor of engineering and mathematics at Cañada College. He received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Irvine. His research interests include technology-enhanced instruction and increasing the representation of female, minority and other underrepresented groups in mathematics, science and engineering.

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Preparing STEM Students for Success in Physics Through an Intensive Summer Program Many community college students have low levels of preparation for college-level work, in general, and for physics, in particular. Consequently, they perform poorly in college-level physics courses, and shortly, get discouraged from pursuing a science or engineering major despite their high levels of interest in such majors. Although many remedial math classes are offered for students who are underprepared for math courses, there are no specific remedial physics classes available for students to prepare them for their college-level physics courses. As a result, students with low or no physics background continue performing poorly in their physics courses. Furthermore, these students suffer from poor or lack of study skills as well as lack of awareness of useful science and physics educational resources, and many of them rely heavily on other students or Internet resources such as to get answers to homework problems without understanding the solutions. In order to prepare these students for transfer-level physics courses, Cañada College, a federally designated Hispanic-serving institution in the San Francisco Bay Area, developed and implemented an intensive physics review program. Summer Physics Jam is a four-week, self-paced program designed to familiarize students with college- level physics topics and valuable physics educational resources. Physics Jam was offered for the first time at Cañada College in summer 2012, and a comparison of pre- and post-program surveys show a significant improvement in students understanding of physics. Furthermore, the percentage of students who reported anxiety about studying physics dropped from 61% to 42%. However, an accurate assessment will be done by comparing the rate of success among physics jam participants to nonparticipants at the end of their first semester physics course.

Yadak, P., & Enriquez, A. G. (2013, June), Preparing STEM Students for Success in Physics Through an Intensive Summer Program Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22363

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