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Degree Program University
Ph.D. Physics University of Alabama
M.S. Physics University of Alabama
B.S. Optical Science University of Rochester

My Siena Experience

My Teaching Philosophy

In many (most?) of my classes, I use a team-based learning (TBL) strategy. In TBL students are sorted into groups and work through modules or units. Each unit is broken up into preparation, in-class readiness assurance testing, application-focused exercises, and a summative assessment. Students receive individual and group grades. I see so much growth in student engagement and understanding using this teaching approach. Students feel a responsibility to their team and develop the comfort and confidence to work to build their physics knowledge, grow their mathematical competence, and develop their computational skills. Through this team-based approach they learn to learn to work with others and develop leadership skills that will serve them well after they graduate.

What I Love About Siena

 I love that we have small class sizes at Siena. Within a few classes, I get to know each of my students. Because I teach across the curriculum, I see the physics majors as they grow throughout their four years at Siena. As a physics club advisor, I see them outside of the classroom environment when they participate in outreach events, at physics club events on campus, when they attend the physics formal, and when they present their senior projects at the Rochester symposium. By offering to supervise student research, I see students explore their interests through their choices of research opportunities. I enjoy celebrating their successes and encouraging them as they face new challenges. I feel honored to know them well enough to give them a strong recommendation when they leave Siena for graduate school or their first position in industry. I am grateful that they keep in touch and let me know how they are doing in the next chapter of their lives after graduation.

My Favorite Courses to Teach

 My favorite course to teach is electronic instrumentation. It's a very hands-on course and a change of pace from the more theoretical physics courses at Siena. Students build and test circuits, learn to solder, build a robot, and program a microprocessor to read from sensors and output their results in a number of ways. By the end of the course, students can design and build circuits and many go on to use the skills from this course in their senior projects.

My Professional Experience

Year Title Organization
2023 - Now Professor & Department Chair Siena College
2018 - 2023 Associate Professor Siena College
2013 - 2018 Assistant Professor Siena College
2005 - 2013 Instructor, Physics Siena College
2000 - 2004 Research Scientist, Physics RPI
1999 - 2000 Research Scientist X-Ray Optical Systems
1995 - 1999 Senior Research Scientist Advanced Optical Systems, Inc

Current Research

 Michele's research interests focus on developing and studying the impact of augmented reality to learn physics concepts. 

Articles & Book Reviews

  • Team-based learning in physics courses
    Physics Education Research Conference 2020
  • IPER Programs: a narrative framework for program development
    Physics Education Research Conference 2019
  • Assessing students' conceptual knowledge of electricity and magnetism
    Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, vol. 13
    Fall, 2017
  • Pre-Service Teachers Learn to Teach with Serious Games
    Journal of STEM Education, vol. 19
    Spring, 2018
  • Short- and long-term impacts of an informal STEM program
    Physics Education Research Conference 2018
    Summer, 2018


  • Mentoring PER research with undergraduate students remotely during COVID
    August, 2021
    American Association of Physics Teachers, Washington, D.C., Virtual
  • Augmented reality for conceptual understanding of 3D physics concepts
    X-DBER Conference, Lincoln, Virtual
  • Using MATLAB in Physics Courses
    PICUP Captstone Conference, River Falls, Virtual