Honour roll for popular physics lecturer

A leader in physics education at Flinders, Dr Maria Parappilly, has been included in the 2017 SA Women’s Honour Roll.

Dr Parappilly is Research Section Head of STEM Education at Flinders University as well as chair of the Physics Education group at the Australian Institute of Physics (AIP) and has garnered many accolades and awards for her teaching both locally and internationally.

Her research focuses on innovations in teaching methodology.

She was included in the SA Honour Roll for her outstanding contribution to teaching and research, which has encouraged more young women to study physics.

The 2017 Women’s Honour Roll ceremony, held yesterday at SA’s Government House, pays tribute to South Australian women who have taken leadership in their fields and are role models.

Dr Parappilly was recognised for innovation and leadership in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education.

As well as founding the Flinders University mentoring, workship and networking group, STEM: Women Branching Out, she conceived the Aurora Photo Contest: Shine the Light on your Future competition for female high school students (Years 8-12) in SA.

She uses real-world examples to increase engagement and make physics more accessible for students, aiming to raise the profile of women in STEM courses and education.

Next week, Dr Parappilly is an invited panellist at the Australian Institute of Physics Summer Meeting 2017 in Sydney where she will also present on the ‘Effects of Online Versus Three Different Assessment Approaches on Engineering Students’ Exam Performance’ – one of her latest research collaborations with Flinders College of Science and Engineering colleague Professor Mark Taylor.

As well, whe will lead a session to develop and implement Object Based Learning (OBL) in physics and astronomy education.

One of Dr Parappilly’s recent papers ‘Ready to Learn Physics: a team-based learning model for first year university’ has been recently selected by international publishers (IOP Publishers, UK) to highlight the importance of physics education research in Australia and showcase the crucial value Australian science brings to global progress and development.

Another paper, ‘The Race to Improve Student Understanding of Uncertainty: Using LEGO Race Cars in the Physics Lab,’ has also been accepted by the American Journal of Physics, and will be published in the coming weeks.

Dr Parappilly celebrates with her family, Joseph Kunnel and daughter Aline Teresa Kunnel.

Several other Flinders University academics have been acknowledged on the SA Women’s Honour Roll which is announced every two years.

Education academic Dr Felicity-ann Lewis, winner of South Australia’s Australian of the Year Award 2014, was included in the first year of the SA Women’s Honour Roll in 2008. Dr Anuradha (Anu) Mundkur, Associate Director of the Gender Consortium at Flinders, was acknowledged in the 2015 Women’s Honour Roll as another passionate advocate for gender equality and women’s empowerment.


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