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Brean Prefontaine, Katie Hinko, and collaborators examine informal physics programs as communities of practice

As part of a large collaboration, PERL graduate student Brean Prefontaine and professor Katie Hinko published Informal physics programs as communities of practice: How can programs support university students’ identities? in Physical Review, Physics Education Research.

Abstract: Many undergraduate and graduate physics students participate in some form of public engagement throughout the course of their studies, often through groups supported by physics departments and universities. These informal teaching and learning programs can offer unique opportunities for both participants and facilitators to interact in a way that fosters physics identity development. Understanding how physics identities can be cultivated will allow us to work toward a field that is inclusive of more identities. In this study, we build on previous work to investigate facilitator experiences in three informal physics programs using an operationalized communities of practice framework. Through our analysis, we identify different structures within these programs that support physics identity development.