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physics instructional resource association

Introduce Yourself

  • 4 Aug 2018 3:54 PM
    Message # 6413535

    Welcome everyone to the PIRA Forum.  Please introduce yourself with a biographical sketch and links to what you do and who you are!

  • 8 Sep 2021 1:36 PM
    Reply # 11017166 on 6413535
    David Sturm (Administrator)

    Hello, I'm David Sturm.  Past Presidential Chain (2006-2010), PIRA Representative to AAPT (2010-2017), and Treasurer (2014-current).
    I'm the Instructional Laboratory & Lecture Demonstration Specialist at the University of Maine since 1997.  I was previously the Laboratory Manager at Wake Forest University from 1994-1997, and Laboratory Assistant at Auburn University from 1987-1994.
    My degree background is Business Management/Computer Science (Southern Union 1986), Physics (Auburn 1991) and three years of graduate school at Auburn.  I joined PIRA in 1994, because one of the founders of PIRA, Andy Graham (Appalachian State) met me when I arrived at Wake Forest and said... "you need to join AAPT and PIRA!"  So I did!  He was right!  I did need to do those things.   And if you're here, so did you!
    I was enamored with physics since high school.  I thought I wanted to be an engineer.  I had no idea.  My HS teacher was great, but she was a chemistry teacher teaching physics for the first time -- so the topics were a bit unusually structured.  A lot of thermodynamics!  The Daniel Cell.  If there was chemistry in it we covered it... fluids, nuclear, and crystal structure...   In college, I was sidetracked by engineering at first... but university physics labs (not the lectures) really stuck in my head.  After working full time, taking business classes, figuring out what I wanted to do, I came back to be a physics major.  My second year back, I got to help Rae Carpenter (VMI's famous Dick & Rae) as a roadie while he put together Auburn's Demo Room book and rebuilt and filmed (Polaroid!) demonstration components, organized shelves, etc.  (Last I visited that demo room in 2019, it was still much unchanged 32 years later, sadly.)
    I was an SPS president, we went into elementary and middle schools and did demos... shades of the future!  I wasn't always a student fulltime, working fulltime, but by 1991 I had finished.  Got invited to stay and get a PhD in experimental plasma physics.  But, I had three children and couldn't keep playing PhD student/laboratory guy... so off to the field of Physics Instructional Resource Professionals!!  (Are we PIRPs?).  WFU was a great first landing spot, and then in 1997, I came on board at the University of Maine to handle both laboratories, lecture coordination, demonstrations, and outreach... at a land grant flagship similar to Auburn.
    I've done a lot of things in PIRA and in AAPT... served on AAPT's Board of Directors most recently (2017-2021) which honestly pulled me away from being able to do as much with PIRA.  Not so going forward!  After getting to work with folks to produce the summer 2020 PIRA Lecture Demo Workshop and the Summer Demo Show all via Zoom at separate locations, we held the PIRA 2021 broadcasts together in Iowa City with our gracious host, Dale Stille.  With Dale's great facilities in the University of Iowa Physics Demonstration Facility, we had a great LDW, and broadcast a fantastic 2021 Demo Show.  I know that Dale, Sam Sampere, Dave Maiullo, Cliff Bettis, Paul Nord, Daniel Davis and I all hope to build upon that Iowa City effort going forward for all of us!  Please, join in!  What we can do with PIRA is limited only by our imagination!  But, we're the physics imagineers!!

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