Lara Perez-Felkner to speak on “Expanding the Net: Secondary through Postsecondary Pathways to Physics Careers” at March 30 Physics Colloquium

FSU Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Sociology Lara Perez-Felkner will be giving next week’s Physics Colloquium talk titled, “Expanding the Net: Secondary through Postsecondary Pathways to Physics Careers”.  The talk will start at 3:45 pm next Thursday, March 30, in UPL 101.  Refreshments begin at 3:15.

Professor Perez-Felkner has been tremendously productive during her time at FSU.  One highlight:  An article in US News and World Report describing the research she did with then-graduate students Samantha Nix and Kirby Thomas on the importance of a growth mindset in learning math.

The abstract for the talk is given below.


Gender disparities in bachelors’ degree attainment are widening in physics, even as the gender gap has closed or even flipped in some STEM disciplines – including chemistry. Emerging national and cross-national evidence indicates sex segregation is attributable to neither biological nor academic factors; rather, these traditional explanations consistently fail to explain the gap. What factors contribute to girls’ identifying interest in physics majors, and completing degrees? Drawing on both original and secondary data analyses, the speaker will explain how background characteristics and school environments shape persistence on the track to careers in physics and related majors (e.g., engineering and computer science). This presentation will include evidence from a series of studies by the author from nationally-representative U.S. cohorts and case studies from U.S. high schools and universities, Cambodian universities, and cross-national comparisons. In addition, the author will provide new longitudinal evidence comparing U.S. boys’ and girls’ chances of completing advanced physics coursework, declaring physics majors, and completing physics degrees. Socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, attitudinal, and school-level measures are taken into account. The speaker will discuss potential interventions to promote women’s persistence in physics degrees and careers.

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