I am Mark Akubo, a Ph.D candidate in the Science education (Curriculum and Instruction) program of the School of Teacher Education, Florida State University. I have backgrounds in physics, and science education. I have a diverse educational background that includes science education, physics/physics education, philosophy and theology. I also undertook graduate level courses in general physics to deepen my disciplinary background in physics. Through engagement in graduate level general physics courses, I also participated in research investigating block copolymer thin films. My research interests center on diversity through equity and cultural responsiveness in STEM teaching and learning. My diverse educational background, teaching and research experience in K-16, positions me for interdisciplinary contributions to research and practice.
My research spans both K-12 and undergraduate levels. My research projects include exploration of student epistemic agency in studio physics classroom as a research-based innovative pedagogy, culturally responsive teaching in a high school physics class, and cultural resources for physics learning. I have also collaborated in an international study that investigated 7th and 12th graders’ understanding of science as inquiry. Currently, I explore gender dynamics in small group sense-making within studio physics as an innovative pedagogy. My goal is to identify gender patterns in small group sense-making and identify features of small group work that holds promise for reducing hinderances to women’s persistence in physics. My motivation is to contribute to the research and practice communities’ understanding of how best diverse students, and statistically underrepresented groups in physics can be supported for optimal learning experiences and outcomes in STEM classrooms. I have presented my research in physics/science education at national and international conferences such as the American Physics Teachers Association (AAPT), the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST), and the American Educational Research Association (AERA). So, I am a member of these associations.
I have experiences in campus undergraduate physics, and astronomy teaching. I have also taught online graduate courses in science education. In addition to working on my dissertation at this time, I teach an honors physics class focused on conceptual understanding, an Advanced Placement (AP) physics class, and Financial Algebra in St. John Paul II Catholic High School, Tallahassee, Florida.