United States of America
QuarkNet and Fermilab are the leading institutions for United States particle physics outreach.
Both institutions had an exciting 2020, transitioning quickly to virtual offerings and expanding particle physics education and outreach to new audiences.
In addition to offering remote workshops at centers across the US, QuarkNet offered a
Wednesday Webinar series for high school classrooms toward the end of the 2019–20 school year and a six-week Summer Session for teachers which introduced participants to the history and development of the Standard Model. For the 2020–21 academic year, we have inaugurated QuarkNet Educational Discussions, which are an opportunity for teachers to come together every two weeks to share ideas and learn from one another about teaching physics remotely. Many of Fermilab’s biggest programs went virtual in 2020 and attracted expanded audiences, including the annual STEM Career Expo, teacher training workshops, Saturday Morning Physics, Fermilab Arts and Lecture Series, classroom visits from Fermilab staff, Ask-a-Scientist, and even Mr. Freeze. Although nothing can ever replace the feeling of seeing big science up close, these virtual offerings are filling a gap until we can return to welcoming the public to in-person events.
Each summer the EPE Office offers a number of different workshops for K–12 teachers, each geared toward specific grade levels. On short notice, Fermilab sent kits across the country to teachers interested in participating, thus ensuring that the hands-on piece of the program was not lost. Now, Fermilab science will be taught in the virtual and in-person classrooms of 109 more teachers across the United States.
Saturday Morning Physics is a long-standing tradition at Fermilab. In September 2020 the program was relaunched as fully virtual for the present time. Featuring talks by Fermilab staff, virtual tours and plenty of time for questions, this program had its largest graduating class ever. For the public Fermilab was able to relaunch Ask-a-Scientist and our Summer Science Series as virtual programs. The events have been well-attended: 500 people have participated in the two series.
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Deputy Head of Education and Public Engagement
Fermilab MS 226, P. O. Box 500, Batavia, IL, U. S. A.
Spencer Pasero is Fermilab's Deputy Head of Education and Public Engagement. He has led and contributed to a variety of education programs since joining the lab, including internship programs for high school and undergraduate students, K–8 physical science field trip programs, high school teacher workshops, and public events such as the Family Open House and Wonders of Science.
Prior to joining Fermilab, Spencer taught high school chemistry at York Community High School in Elmhurst. He holds an M.S. from Northern Illinois University in Educational Research and Evaluation. His thesis was a study on the effects of a pilot physics-first high school curriculum sequence on student attitude toward and achievement in science. While earning a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.S. in the Teaching of Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Spencer worked as an evaluator for the Visualization in Chemistry (ChemViz) Project of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), and as an undergraduate research assistant for the Merit Program for Emerging Scholars.