Workshop Leaders and Panelists

Dr. Candy McCorkle, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, Western Michigan University

Dr. Candy McCorkle currently serves as the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI. Prior to joining the senior administration of WMU she served as the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Alma College, Alma, MI. In her more than 20 years in higher education she has served as faculty member, program director and assistant dean. Dr. McCorkle has served regional public universities, private liberal arts colleges, community colleges and taught abroad. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from Wright State University, Dayton, OH, her M.S. in Clinical Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI and her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI. Dr. McCorkle has always demonstrated her commitment to moving organizations toward inclusivity.

Daryl McPadden, Assistant Professor, Michigan State University

Daryl McPadden — I am an assistant professor (fixed-term) at Michigan State University in the Physics Department, where my research focuses on Physics Education. I am particularly interested in active-learning (non-lecture) physics classes, and I have done a significant amount of curriculum development in my career. I got my bachelor’s degree at Colorado School of Mines in Engineering Physics in Golden, CO. I got my Ph.D. in Physics at Florida International University in Miami, FL, specializing in Physics Education Research. Outside of work, I love to bake and cook, ride my bike, and hike when I can!

Artemis Tsantiri, Graduate Student, Michigan State University

Artemis is a Greek second year graduate student at the Physics & Astronomy Department of Michigan State University (MSU) in experimental low energy nuclear astrophysics, who focuses on a small group of proton-rich nuclei created through the p-process. She is currently the webmaster of WaMPS (Women and Minorities in Physical Sciences), a graduate student group at MSU whose purpose is to promote diversity in the physical sciences by encouraging women and minorities to pursue the field.

Lisa Paulius, Professor of Physics, Western Michigan University

Lisa Paulius is a professor in the Department of Physics at Western Michigan University. She received her bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Chicago and her master’s and Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego. Her research focuses on vortex dynamics in high temperature superconductors.

Dena Izadi, Research Associate, Michigan State University

Dena Izadi is a senior research associate in the physics education research lab at Michigan State University. She holds a Ph.D. in experimental biophysics. Izadi’s work is focused on using qualitative methods in characterizing the landscape of physics public engagement across the United States. Her primary research interests are creating evidence-based assessment tools and designing and conducting qualitative research practices for equitable and accessible education. Izadi is also passionate about creating hybrid spaces for blending physics with other disciplines, including art and design, to make physics more inviting to nonphysicists and the general public.

Diane Roushangar, PhD in Sociology, Western Michigan University

Diane Roushangar holds a doctorate degree in Sociology from Western Michigan University. She specializes in immigration, gender (using an intersectional lens), and research methods. Her research centers on the close examination of power as it relates to inequality among marginalized communities. Her most recent research focuses on the refugee community in west Michigan and how individuals navigate resettlement with respect to intersecting positions of race, ethnicity, and nationality as they form social relations. She is also conducting research in the area of state crime and the use of drones as mechanisms of social control both abroad and domestically. She currently teaches at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI.

Jessie Micaleff, Graduate Student, Michigan State University

Jessie is a 6th year graduate student at Michigan State University getting a dual PhD in Physics and Computational Mathematics, Science, and Engineering. She studies neutrino properties using machine learning on the IceCube experiment. Outside of physics, she spends her time practicing longsword, writing fiction, cuddling her cat Ahsoka, and attending comic cons and indie/rock concerts.

Madison Fitzgerald-Russell, Graduate Student, Western Michigan University

Madison Fitzgerald-Russell (she/they) 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. They earned their 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.

Laura Sloma, Physics and AP Physics Teacher at East Kentwood HS and EKFC. STEP UP Ambassador and Modeling Instruction Facilitator

Laura Sloma is a APS Step UP together Ambassador Lead and is passionate about physics education and promoting physics to underrepresented people. She has been a high school physics teacher for over 30 years in Michigan and Ohio, and currently teaches AP physics and Biophysics at East Kentwood High School in the Grand Rapids, MI area.

Claire Kopenhafer, Graduate Student, Michigan State University

Claire is a graduate student at Michigan State University studying computational astrophysics. Her research uses computer simulations to study how galaxies form stars and evolve. She belongs to both MSU’s Physics and Astronomy Department as well as it’s newer Department of Computational Math, Science, and Engineering. Her hobbies include swordfighting, painting minis, and learning to skate for roller derby.

Rachel Henderson, Assistant Professor, Michigan State University

Rachel is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the CREATE for STEM Institute at Michigan State University. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in physics from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania and her Master’s and PhD in physics from West Virginia University. Rachel was a former post-doctoral researcher working with Danny in the Physics Education Research Lab (PERL) before joining the faculty at Michigan State. Her research focuses on developing and implementing inclusive and equitable assessment tools that can be used to improve learning for all students within the physics classroom. In her free time, she likes to go to local restaurants and try the local favorite.

Pooja Abhay Deshpande

I am Pooja Abhay Deshpande, former student at Western Michigan University. I graduated from WMU in Fall 2020, with Masters’ in Industrial Engineering degree. I completed my Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering in India. I thrive in fast paced work environment and have been working for 4 years in the Automotive industry. I believe that healthy mind resides in healthy body and hence to keep myself fit, I practice different types of Yoga, do meditation and love cooking healthy food. I enjoy continuous learning in my personal and professional areas. Being an Industrial Engineer, one can say that I try to live and lead in “The Toyota way” 🙂

Katrina Koehler, Assistant Professor of Physics, Houghton College

Katrina Koehler is an assistant professor of physics at Houghton College and splits her time between Houghton College and Los Alamos National Laboratory. Her PhD in physics comes from Western Michigan University, and her research interests include novel detector technologies and advanced algorithms for nuclear safeguards and low temperature detectors for basic nuclear and atomic physics. She is passionate about evidence-based teaching techniques, productivity tools, and increasing minority representation in the field.

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