Mastering a physics class means learning problem-solving skills that all students will be able to apply in life, not just those continuing in science.”
Heather Hotchkiss wanted to be a teacher for as long as she can remember. As a student at Fairport High School in Fairport, New York, Heather was fascinated with figuring out how to use the ways that individuals think to explain mathematical concepts to them in more intuitive ways. When she discovered physics had all the problem solving she loved about math, connected to real world applications, she realized that was what she wanted to teach. She is committed to being a high school teacher as that “may be the last time for many students to take a math or science course. If students don’t realize an aptitude for physics in high school, it is very likely they will not consider pursuing it at the collegiate level.”
As a student teacher, Heather designed an introductory lesson on circuits where her students became human charges and formed a life-size circuit. “Students enjoyed the activity and developed a strong intuition about each of the concepts presented.” Heather is a committed volunteer and director of the Wooster Physics Elementary Outreach Program, coordinating the College of Wooster’s student visits to local elementary schools to perform physics demonstrations.
Heather earned a BS in physics from the College of Wooster. She is the recipient of the Whitney E. Stoneburner Memorial Prize, the Mahesh K. Garg Physics Prize and the Wooster College Scholar Award.