The public needs to recognize the exceptional teachers – those who are well prepared in their content AND have extensively studied the art of teaching and learning.”

Kate’s Story

Kate Miller got involved in gymnastics at a very young age.  As her skill developed, her love of the sport grew.  It wasn’t until a high school physics class that Kate became truly interested in an academic subject.  She soon found a common denominator between her two passions: “with physics, I could begin to understand why the flips I did in gymnastics made sense.” Kate’s high school physics teacher encouraged her to continue exploring physics at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (UM) and served as her initial inspiration to pursue a teaching career.

In college, Kate studied gender in post-secondary physics classroom. For her senior thesis, Kate quantified the gender gap in two UM introductory physics courses and began to make recommendations for how to narrow this gap. This led Kate to work on an academic coaching project, E2Coach, where technology is leveraged to deliver tailored to UM introductory physics students, sending messages based on stereotype threat, growth mindset, and values affirmation research. E2Coach has since been proven to narrow and often eliminate the gender gap in this context and has now expanded to other subjects at the postsecondary level.

Now in the high school classroom teaching General Physics and International Baccalaureate (IB) Physics for the past 4 years, Kate focuses on “teaching physics to my students in a way that would reignite their innate curiosity about seemingly mundane events.” Working towards this goal, Kate participates in weekly collaboration meetings with a group of IB Physics teachers across the United States.  Together, they plan curriculum aimed at getting students excited about physics while meeting the high demands of the IB curriculum.  Most satisfying is when a student begins to understand their daily experiences through the lens of physics, just as Kate once did as a young gymnast.

Academic Background

  • University of Pennsylvania (Master of Science in Physics and Mathematics Education)
  • University of Michigan (Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Physics)