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Epperson awarded Lotze Scholarship for future physics educators

Breanna EppersonBreanna Epperson, a junior from Wallins Creek majoring in physics teaching, has been awarded the American Association of Physics Teachers' Barbara Lotze Endowment Scholarship.   

The $2,000 scholarship is awarded annually to students who apply and plan to have a career as a high school physics teacher.   

Epperson has been involved in research projects with Dr. Kent Price, associate professor of physics. They worked to increase student involvement in his online introductory physics classes. She is also currently working on her capstone project with Dr. Jennifer Birriel, her academic advisor and professor of physics. Epperson and Birriel are working to increase accessibility to physics experiences for high school students by finding ways to conduct experiments with smartphones.  

Epperson said she was encouraged to apply for the scholarship by Birriel.  

"I applied for the scholarship because of the prestige that comes with the scholarship and for the perks that come along with it. These perks include getting discounts on purchases, their mentorship program, and a complimentary student membership (to the AAPT)," Epperson said. "I was very excited when I learned that I was awarded the scholarship."  

Birriel said she is glad Epperson received the scholarship.   

"Breanna is a talented physics student who set the ambitious goal of teaching physics in high school. It is wonderful that the AAPT is rewarding her hard work and dedication with a scholarship to help her achieve her dreams," Birriel said.   

As to why she chose to study at Morehead State, Epperson said her experience with the Governor's Scholars Program at MSU in 2017 made her fall in love with the campus. The MSUTeach program gives students the option of pursuing a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) career, graduate school, or teaching in their chosen field. Through this program, best teaching practices are integrated within students’ content areas, allowing them to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in four years while earning teacher certification. Epperson said the program interested her because it gave her some diverse career options.   

"I chose to study at MSU because it felt like home to me," she said. "I was unsure about whether I wanted to be a teacher at that point, so it was nice to have the option to also be working toward a physics degree. My favorite part about being a student here is that the faculty and staff really care about you and whether you succeed. They are always eager to help when help is needed."  

She added she believes the MSUTeach program gives students a real-world perspective of what being a teacher is like.   

"The MSUTeach program from the beginning shows you what it's like to teach in a classroom. Their focus on subject matter is beneficial, as well," Epperson said. "Being able to take the classes that a physics major would take has taught me the content knowledge that I will need to be a knowledgeable physics teacher."  

To learn more about physics programs at MSU, visit www.moreheadstate.edu/study/physics, email phes@moreheadstate.edu or call 606-783-2381.  

For additional information about MSUTeach, visit www.moreheadstate.edu/msuteach, email msuteach@moreheadstate.edu or call 606-783-9036.