Brosing named Professor of Year

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December 2012 | January 2013
Brosing named Professor of Year
Physics professor—known for potato guns, fudge and summer camps—is first at Pacific to receive statewide distinction
BY JENNI LUCKETT | Juliet Brosing
where she’s worked for 25 years. She is
stands out at formal academic events.
one of the original proponents of the
In contrast to the somber regalia that
department’s project-based approach to
adorns so many of her peers, Brosing’s
teaching the subject, which has resulted
academic robe is bright in its fuchsia, blue
in the development of a curriculum that
and gold hues.
is almost devoid of lectures and that relies,
It’s not a choice, really, just a result of
receiving her Ph.D. from the University of
British Columbia.
instead, on labs and realistic simulations
that help put physics in a real-world setting.
For example, Brosing was one of the
“They’re more flamboyant (in Canada),”
principals on a grant received to revamp
says the Pacific University physics professor.
the modern physics course to base it in
“It’s really quite spectacular.”
As of November, Brosing stands out
the context of health applications. The
content is the same as a traditional modern
in another way: as the only Pacific
physics course, but the labs are designed to
University faculty member ever to be named
tie to healthcare applications, such as one
Oregon Professor of the Year.
that challenges students to identify hidden
Brosing received the 2012 title
at an awards ceremony Nov. 15 in
Washington, D.C. The distinction comes
Photos by Parrish Evans
radiation sources much in the way a medical
University and a master’s from Florida State
scan would.
University. She did her doctorate work at
“There is real value in these types of
the University of British Columbia and
from the Carnegie Foundation for the
projects,” Brosing says. “They are learning
Advancement of Teaching and the Council
the same physics, but in a context. They will
Her Ph.D. research centered on the
for Advancement and Support Education.
retain more. They learn other valuable skills.
biological impact of radiation, including
Statewide awards were given to only 30
And they have fun, they really get into it.”
work around measuring the impact of
professors in the country this year.
Brosing is the senior-most member of
the Pacific University Physics Department,
Surprisingly, Brosing never intended to
be a teacher. She completed her bachelor’s
degree in physics from Humboldt State
post-doctorate work in New York.
oxygen in the process of treating cancerous
tumors with radiation.
See Brosing, page 2 |
Brosing: Students have variety of concerns
Continued from Page 1
That biological bent in her application
of physics is, in part, how she ended up
at Pacific, where a large percentage of
undergraduates have interests in the
health professions.
But when she started out, she really was
just interested in doing science, she says. Part
was the unadulterated love of science and
math. Part, though, was the self-proclaimed
“flower child’s” rebellion against expectations
in a male-dominated profession.
“Since I was one of the few women in the
profession and felt I needed to prove myself
as a scientist, research won hands down,”
Above, Brosing
works with
students on a
project in class.
Left, she assists
during a potato
gun experiment
at her Cherry
Grove home.
she says.
As a teacher, Brosing still finds herself
advocating for women in the sciences. In the
1990s, she was involved with a Department
of Energy grant to support a summer science
camp for middle school girls.
“When girls came to camp, they’d say, ‘I
didn’t know there were other girls like me,’”
Brosing says.
Her longitudinal study, later, of the
participants found that a higher than average
number of the participants went on to study
about their welcome in math and science
students in her course evaluations, is known
and work in science and math, and many
fields 20 years later. But, she says she
for bringing fudge to class on test days
credited the camp for helping them stay
hopes that this camp will have similar
and attending her students’ plays, concerts
interested in the field.
positive outcomes.
and sporting events, and received glowing
More recently, she and Dr. Shereen Khoja,
“We want to give them ammunition
in Pacific’s Math and Computer Science
before they get into high school,”
Department received a National Science
Brosing says.
recommendations from alumni as an adviser.
“The hardest thing is to give up the idea
that you can be the best teacher for everyone,”
Foundation grant to conduct a similar camp
Whether she’s working with 13- and
she says. “But the best thing is that, for some
in computer science for middle school girls.
14-year-old girls or college undergraduates,
students, you really can touch lives and make
Brosing has come to love the vocation
a difference.”
Brosing says that it’s disturbing that girls
are coming in with the same preconceptions
of teaching. She earns high ratings from
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