Local Organizing Committee

Mike Famiano

Professor of Physics

Dr. Mike Famiano is a professor of nuclear astrophysics in the Department of Physics at Western Michigan University. After receiving his Ph.D., he worked as a fellow for the Science and Technology Agency of Japan at the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research near Tokyo. He also held a post-doctoral position at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory in East Lansing, Michigan, before coming to WMU. Famiano’s primary research interest is in stellar nucleosynthesis. This includes the formation of heavy elements in stellar explosions, and how this formation relates to the properties of the nuclei involved. He has worked as a visiting scientist at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan to study this rapidly evolving field.

Department of Physics
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5252 USA.

Madison Fitzgerald-Russel

Doctoral Student

Madison Fitzgerald-Russell is a doctoral student in the Mallinson Institute for Science Education. Her area of focus is diversity and inclusion in physics, specifically for LGBTQ+ students. She earned her M.A. in physics from WMU in 2020. She received a B.S. in Astrophysics from the Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University in 2016 and a B.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies with a minor in LGBTQ and Sexuality Studies from Michigan State in 2016.

Mallinson Institute for Science Education
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5288 USA

Christian Merino

Doctoral Student

Christian Merino is a doctoral student in the Mallison Institute for Science Education. Christian is also a first generation Mexican-American graduate student born and raised in California. As an undergraduate Christian attended UC Berkeley and graduated in May 2016 with a BA in physics. Christian is currently attending Western Michigan University, under a dual enrollment, in the hopes of attaining both a Master’s in Physics and Doctorate in Science Education – Physics. So far, Christian has completed his masters and is transitioning towards his PhD. Christian’s current research interests lie in increasing diversity in the field of physics for undergraduate under-represented minority students, women, and LatinX. Outside of school and physics Christian enjoys Latin dancing, running, playing soccer, and hanging out with friends.

Mallinson Institute for Science Education
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5288 USA

Charles Henderson

Co-Director and Professor of Physics

Dr. Charles Henderson is a professor of physics education research holding a joint appointment in the Department of Physics and the Mallinson Institute for Science Education at Western Michigan University. He is the co-founder and co-director of the WMU Center for Research on Instructional Change in Postsecondary Education. Henderson has been trained in and has experience in qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods educational research, including survey and instrument development. His research program focuses on understanding and promoting instructional change in higher education, with much activity aimed at improving the slow incorporation of research-based instructional reforms into college-level STEM courses.

Center for Research on Instructional Change in Postsecondary Education
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5288 USA

Diana Sachmpazidi

Doctoral Student

Diana Sachmpazidi is a doctoral student at the Mallinson Institute for Science Education. Her research interests lie in the area of departmental/institutional change, research on teams for instructional change, and student-group thinking in introductory physics labs. Diana received an MS in physics from Central Michigan University. She also received a BS in physics from the University of Ioannina in Greece.

Mallinson Institute for Science Education Center for Research on Instructional Change in Postsecondary Education
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5288 USA

Khushi Bhatt

Doctoral Student

Khushi is a 5th year PhD student in the department of physics at Western Michigan University. Her research falls into the cross-disciplinary field of Nuclear-astrophysics. She is from India and likes to dance and do origami in her free time.

Department of Physics
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5252 USA.

Abigail Flowers

Graduate Student

Abby Flowers is a first year physics and science education graduate student at Western Michigan University. Abby first moved to Kalamazoo from the San Francisco Bay Area in 2014 to study physics at Kalamazoo College. While Abby is still developing a specific research interest, she is currently helping with a project that is looking at student development of computational modeling skills in an introductory physics lab. Outside of school, Abby enjoys playing guitar, video games and watching movies.

Mallinson Institute for Science Education
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5288 USA

Carla Koretsky

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor

Dr. Carla Koretsky is professor of aqueous geochemistry and biogeochemistry in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Western Michigan University. Koretsky seeks to integrate field, laboratory and modeling studies of mineral-water-biological interactions near the earth’s surface. Recently, her student research team has worked to develop thermodynamic models to quantify metal adsorption on natural and mineral assemblages. Her research group also studied the influence of road salt on urban lake biogeochemistry.

College of Arts and Sciences
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5308 USA

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