Hiram College
Laura Van Wormer, Ph.D. Photo

Laura Van Wormer, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair, Department of Physics
Dual Degree Engineering Liaison
Chair, Academic Review Board
Goldwater Scholarship Liaison

Prof. Van Wormer developed a passion for teaching early on in her college career. As part of the honors program at the Univ. of Toledo, she was one of very few undergraduates invited to teach physics lab courses — to other undergraduates! Combining her love of teaching with her love of physics has led to an immensely fulfilling career. What she didn’t expect was the incredible connections that would be made, with colleagues and with students, that would last decades. Hiram College is the perfect place to practice and grow both in teaching and building relationships with others who love to learn!

Education

  • Ph.D, Experimental Nuclear Astrophysics, University of Notre Dame, Aug. 1991
  • M.S. University of Notre Dame, Arthur J. Schmitt Fellow, Aug. 1989
  • B.S. Physics, University of Toledo, 1986
  • B.S. Mathematics, University of Toledo, 1986

Research Interests

I have worked with the physics education research community, specifically in cooperation and collaboration with our education department, to develop a physical science courses using guided inquiry — no lectures! We are responding to the national need for teachers, both pre-service and in-service, who are confident in their knowledge of physics and who are using techniques proven to be
effective by education research.

Selected Publications

  • Van Wormer, L. A. “Gains in Content Knowledge, Confidence and Comfort Levels from a Physical Science Course”, OSAPS, Ohio Wesleyan University, Oct. 2009, contributed presentation
  • Van Wormer, L. A. “Analyzing PSET Students for Content Knowledge, Confidence and Comfort Levels…So Why Don’t You Want to Teach Physical Science?” American Association of Physics Teachers/ Physics Education Research national meeting (AAPT/PER) Edmonton, Alberta (22-26 July 2008); roundtable presentation and discussion leader
  • Smith, D.L., Naberejnev, D.G., and Van Wormer, L.A., NIM, A488 (2002) 342-361.
  • Van Wormer, L., Görres, J., Herndl, H., Wiescher, M., Brown, B.A., Thielemann, F.K., AIP Conference Proceedings 327, Nuclei in the Cosmos III, Assergi, Italy (1995), 263-266.

Fun Facts

  • I love to actively apply my physics knowledge to autocross, driving your car as fast as you can around a course designated by cones, and to hockey!