Stephanie DouglasStephanie Douglas, assistant professor of physics, joins Lafayette after completing research as an NSF Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian.

Area of study: Douglas’ research aims to focus on how old isolated stars are.

Fall courses: Astronomy, the Solar System (with lab), and Physics II: Electricity, Magnetism and Waves Lab

On the impact of COVID: “COVID caused many observatories to shut down, which meant that I didn’t get the last bit of data that I needed for a paper I was trying to write in the spring. So that project got sidelined, and I’ll have to work on getting the data this winter. As for the remote courses, in astronomy, we can’t ever touch the things that we’re studying anyway. It’s all remote. There are a lot of tools that have been built up for simulating the things that we want students to learn about that are online. And so that also, I think, will make it a little bit easier to give students things that they can still engage with that are basically the things that they’d be engaging with anyway.”

On fostering engagement: “I’ve gotten advice from a lot of people in the Physics Department, and some of the feedback they’ve gotten from their students is that having synchronous sessions requiring students to show up is more important than I expected. The students want their [remote] classes to feel like, ‘We’re all together right now.’ That’s definitely something I’m going to try to make sure happens with my classes.”

My moment of zen: “I’ve been enjoying the rapid improvement in online board games—it’s actually made it easier to have game nights with some of my friends since we only have to deal with scheduling constraints and not geographic ones.”

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