Nebraska Physics and Astronomy Summit

Join us for astronomy education workshops

The Nebraska Physics and Astronomy Summit will be held in person at Jorgensen Hall on the UNL City Campus on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022. This conference is dedicated to providing a variety of professional development opportunities in astronomy and physics education for secondary science teachers across the state of Nebraska. A theme of this event is the use of instructional technology to improve our teaching of astronomy and physics. Hosted by Dr. Kevin Lee of Nebraska's Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education, the conference is free and can provide travel support to teachers coming from more than 150 miles one way to Lincoln. Registration is now open.

The NPA Summit features two keynote speakers, which will also be live-streamed on Zoom. In 2022, we welcome Dr. Michael Lam of the Rochester Institute of Technology, and Dr. Clint Rowe of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The conference begins with a keynote, an exhibition hall, and your choice of four breakout sessions. After lunch, the second keynote and longer workshop sessions close out the day. There will be a door prize raffle at the end of the day; you must be present to win. The breakouts and workshops include the following presenters, just to name a few:

  • Deepika Menon, "NGSS in Action: Zipline Engineering"
  • Kirill Belachenko and Michael Sibbernsen, "Experiences in Flipping"
  • Robert Tabb, "Detecting Neutrinos"
  • Barney McCoy, "Smartphone Interactions"
  • Francine Mace, "Randomization in Web Assessment"
  • Emily Petermann, "Earth-Like Planets"
  • Derrick Nero, "Applications of High-Altitude Ballooning"
  • Brian Couch, "Online Homework: Access and Barriers"
  • Mindi Searls, "Climate Change Modeling"
  • Elizabeth Lewis & Noyce Master Teaching Fellows, "Inclusive Science Teaching"

Plus, don't miss the Rolling Bluffs Planetarium's Digitalis Show with Jack Northrup!

The complete schedule of events will be updated below as details are finalized.


  • Center for Science, Mathematics, and Computer Education and the NebraskaSCIENCE Program of Excellence;
  • Department of Physics and Astronomy;
  • NASA Nebraska Space Grant; and the
  • N-AAPT, Physics Education.





Friday Event

If you are arriving Friday, attend the Ruckman Public Lecture at 7:30 p.m. in the Union Auditorium, with Dr. Michael Lam of the Rochester Institute of Technology.


Plenary Speakers

Keynote speakers for the 2022 conference are: Dr. Michael Lam of the Rochester Institute of Technology and Dr. Clint Rowe of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Michael Lam
Michael Lam

Michael Lam

Simplifying Pulsar Timing Array Science for Students

The North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) collaboration is working toward the detection and study of low-frequency gravitational waves using an array of rapidly rotating, highly stable radio pulsars distributed across the galaxy as accurate and precise clocks. A significant amount of research is driven by students from the high school to the graduate level. Students new to the field find themselves engaging with a large cross-section of many fields of astronomy, learning about stellar evolution, compact objects, galaxy evolution, gravitational waves, the interstellar medium, and more, and we strive to make our science accessible to them. I will describe our research program and specifically highlight the efforts within the collaboration to make our science more accessible to new students at many levels, getting them involved in cutting-edge science as quickly and easily as possible.

Clint Rowe
Clint Rowe

Clint Rowe

Climate Change Resilience in Nebraska

Human-caused climate change is threatening the lives and well-being of billions of people and the vast majority of ecosystems via more frequent and severe weather, ocean warming and acidification, extended periods of drought and extreme temperatures, and other deleterious impacts. Many climate-induced hazards will be unavoidable regardless of the mitigation pathway humanity pursues. To prepare for, adapt to, and recover from these climate impacts while pursuing economic growth and development, society will have to engage in climate resilient development. Fewer than half of US states have, or are currently developing, a climate adaptation plan. These adaptation plans are notably absent in the Great Plains states.

Schedule | Oct. 22, 2022

Time Session Name Presenter(s) Jorgensen Room # or Zoom Link
8:30 – 9:00 a.m. Registration First Floor Hallway
9:00 – 9:15 a.m. Welcome Kevin Lee and June Griffin, University of Nebraska-Lincoln 110
9:15 – 10:00 a.m. Keynote Speaker 1 Michael Lam, Rochester Institute of Technology 110, Zoom
10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Expo: Booths, Continental Breakfast and Networking Deepika Menon (Smartphone Simulations); Steve Wignall (Nano/Quantum Demos); Lindsay Augustyn (NMSSI); Larry Browning (Physics Demos); NASA Nebraska Space Grant; Tom Brestel (N-AAPT); Rebecca Udby (Conceptual Physics) First Floor Hallway
10:30 – 11:00 a.m. Digitalis Show, Rolling Bluffs Planetarium Jack Northrup First Floor Hallway
11:00 – 11:25 a.m. Breakout Session 1: Concurrent Sessions See below See below
SESSION 1 1.1: “Experiences in Flipping" Kirill Belachenko and Michael Sibbernsen – University of Nebraska-Lincoln 151
SESSION 1 1.2: “Detecting Neutrinos" Robert Tabb – University of Nebraska-Lincoln 145
SESSION 1 1.3: “Smartphone Interactions" Barney McCoy – University of Nebraska-Lincoln 245
SESSION 1 1.4: “NGSS in Action: Zipline Engineering” Deepika Menon – University of Nebraska-Lincoln 251
11:30 – 11:55 a.m. Breakout Session 2: Concurrent Sessions See below See below
SESSION 2 2.1: "Randomization in Web Assessment" Francine Mace– University of Nebraska-Lincoln 249
SESSION 2 2.2: "Earth-Like Planets" Emily Petermann– Grand Island Public Schools
Mike Edmundson– Millard Public Schools
SESSION 2 2.3: "Cultivating Attention" Manda Williamson– University of Nebraska-Lincoln 247
SESSION 2 2.4: Digitalis Show Jack Northrup – Rolling Bluffs Planetarium First Floor Hallway
Noon – 12:25 p.m. Breakout Session 3: Concurrent Sessions See below See below
SESSION 3 3.1: “Online Homework: Access and Barriers” Brian Couch – University of Nebraska-Lincoln 151
SESSION 3 3.2: "Teaching Physics in a Biomedical Context" Steve Ducharme– University of Nebraska-Lincoln 145
SESSION 3 3.3: “Disengaged Students" Kate Marley– Doane University 245
SESSION 3 3.4: "Applications of High-Altitude Ballooning" Derrick Nero– University of Nebraska at Omaha 251
12:30 – 12:55 p.m. Breakout Session 4: Concurrent Sessions See below See below
SESSION 4 4.1: “Sorting Tasks in HTML5” Chris Siedell – University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Sukaina Al-Hamedi – University of Nebraska-Lincoln
SESSION 4 4.2: "Lab Activities in IPLS" Keith Foreman– University of Nebraska-Lincoln 137
SESSION 4 4.3: “AR Using Hololenses" Herman Batelaan– University of Nebraska-Lincoln 247
SESSION 4 4.4: “Building Solar Telescopes" Larry Browning – South Dakota State University 149
1:00 – 1:45 p.m. Lunch Cather Dining Hall, Lark Room (Second Floor)
2:00 – 2:45 p.m. Keynote Speaker 2 Clint Rowe, University of Nebraska-Lincoln 110, Zoom
3:00 – 4:25 p.m. Longer Breakout Session: Concurrent Sessions See below See below
LONGER SESSION 5.1: “Climate Change Modeling” Mindi Searls – University of Nebraska-Lincoln 151
LONGER SESSION 5.2: “Inclusive Science Teaching” Elizabeth Lewis and Noyce Master Teaching Fellows – University of Nebraska-Lincoln 249
LONGER SESSION 5.3: “Furthering Computational Goals with Spreadsheets” Jennifer Delgado– University of Kansas 251
4:30 – 4:45 p.m. Evaluations and Door Prize Raffle Note: Must be present to win 110