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González-Espada completes fellowship at Air Force Academy

Dr. Wilson González-Espada, professor of physics and science education at Morehead State, recently completed a research study sponsored by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) Research Lab Summer Faculty Fellowship Program.

This competitive program offers full-time science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) faculty from U.S. colleges and universities research residencies at participating Air Force facilities.

The U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) Center for Physics Education Research hosted González-Espada as a fellow in Colorado Springs, Colorado. There, under the mentorship of USAF Major Jessica H. Dwyer, Dr. Kimberly de La Harpe, and USAF Lieutenant Colonel David Meier, he analyzed ten years of data to identify factors associated with cadets completing their bachelor's degree in a STEM discipline.

The findings of González-Espada's research suggest that many cadets who intend to major in STEM may switch out if they perform poorly in pre-requisite or gateway courses like calculus, physics and chemistry. It is recommended that USAFA focus their efforts to provide academic support, better instructional strategies, tutoring, review sessions and other resources to make sure cadets, especially those who are already interested in becoming STEM majors, can complete the degree within the Academy's strict four-year time limit.

This research was supported in part by the USAFA through the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Summer Faculty Fellowship Program®, contract numbers FA8750-15-3-6003 and FA9550-15-0001.

For more information on programs in MSU's Department of Physics, Earth Science and Space Systems Engineering, visit, email or call 606-783-2381.