Physics effort led by FIU professor earns national recognition

Zahra Hazari

STEP UP, a partnership led by FIU professor Zahra Hazari, received Public Choice recognition at the 2021 National Science Foundation (NSF) STEM for All Video Showcase.

STEP UP is an NSF-funded national initiative to change the culture of physics by helping physics teachers to support young women while they are still in high school. Hazari — a professor of science education in the Department of Teaching and Learning and the STEM Transformation Institute — leads the project in partnership with FIU, Texas A&M University-Commerce, the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers. 

The video highlights STEP UP’s evidence-based resources that were developed for high school physics teachers. Over the past two years, STEP UP has collaborated with over 1,000 physics educators and 100 teacher leaders across the country to help create a more equitable and inclusive physics community.

Hazari’s research focuses on reforming physics learning environments in an effort to improve critical educational outcomes for under-represented groups in physics. She’s trying to understand why some students complete STEM degrees and others don’t, and why people of different genders sometimes abandon physics as a major. She’s also looking into whether classroom environments and classmate behaviors can influence a student’s decision to stick with or abandon science careers.

For more information about the STEM for All Video Showcase, click here.