Join us in welcoming Sonja Cwik, Ph.D., to Schmid College as an Assistant Professor of Physics!

Dr. Cwik received her doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh. Her research specializes in physics education, mentorship and workshops. ​ She previously investigated gender differences in students’ motivational beliefs and inclusiveness of the learning environment in introductory physics courses for bioscience majors.

We asked Dr. Cwik a few questions to get to know her and her research!

Q&A with Dr. Sonja Cwik

What is your current area of research and how did you become passionate about this area?

My current area of research is in physics education. My research tries to answer the question: How can introductory physics courses be more equitable and inclusive to all students who take the course? A lot of my research has focused on investigating gender differences in students’ motivational beliefs in these courses and using that as a stepping stone to figure out ways to improve the courses. I became passionate about it when I was in college, studying to be a high school physics teacher. My professor at the time introduced me to physics education research and I became immediately interested in it and decided to pursue it further.

What’s your favorite thing to being a professor?

I’ve just started so I’m still learning a lot about being a professor! However, so far I have enjoyed interacting with students and my colleagues.

Schmid College believes that the best science happens when diverse individuals are supported, included and empowered to share their voices as a part of scientific discovery. Please share with us what diversity, equity, and inclusion mean to you and why they’re important.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the core of my research and teaching practice. If students are not supported and feel like they belong, it is much harder to be successful. I have seen in my research that students’ recognition from others, interaction with their peers, and their sense of belonging in the class correlate with their identity in the course. Therefore I try to foster a positive and inclusive atmosphere for everyone in my classes!

Share a fun fact about yourself!

I love to run! I ran cross country and track in college and hope to qualify for the Boston Marathon one day.

Welcome to Schmid College, Dr. Cwik!