Since the concepts of physics are basic to all phenomena, it’s been said that it is the foundation of all science.
Tom Hefner ’92, a science teacher at Eastern Guilford High School and a graduate of the Physics (BS) – Secondary Education degree at Appalachian, agrees with that statement – and takes it a step further.
“To have a basic understanding of modern society and the ways that technology and science interact with society, having some knowledge of physics is essential,” said Hefner, who was N.C. Teaching Fellow while a student.
He teaches physics, astronomy, chemistry, earth and environmental science classes, and said the Secondary Education degree program prepared him well for this work.
“I especially benefitted from the labs and demonstrations,” he said, claiming that he now uses many of these in his own classroom. He values hands-on experiences for his students, and credits the Department of Physics and Astronomy and its faculty for helping him to adapt this teaching approach.
“The physics program at Appalachian is special. It’s big enough to offer a wide range of courses and unique opportunities for students, but small enough to know all the professors.”
He continued, “The faculty reallycare about making the undergraduate experience meaningful. And they know that a degree in physics not only requires one to learn physics concepts but to learn to think critically – pretty important stuff.”