Illinois Team

University of Illinois IPaSS Team


Maggie Mahmood

Secondary Education Partnership Coordinator

Prior to joining the U of I team, Maggie was a high school physics teacher. As Science Department Chair at a Title I public school in Boston and Physics Team Lead at a private school in Baltimore, Maggie led several teacher trainings and was twice featured as a Master Class presenter at the Expeditionary Learning National Conference. Throughout her teaching career, she developed high school NGSS-aligned physics curricula for a variety of levels.

Maggie will be in direct communication, both online and in person, with all teachers in the partnership program.


Morten Lundsgaard

Coordinator of Teacher Development

Morten developed and teaches Physics 100, designed to help under-prepared high school students transition to the introductory course sequence at the University of Illinois. He actively collaborates with high school teachers across the state by providing professional development workshops and by helping them incorporate design labs into their curriculum. He is the president-elect of the Illinois Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers.

Morten will coordinate the professional teacher-development part of the program.


Eric Kuo

Assistant Professor of Physics

Eric's research investigates design principles for effective physics instruction and assesses instructional impacts on students’ conceptual understanding, problem-solving skills, and science learning attitudes across the K-12 and university curriculum. Through this research he has worked closely with teachers to implement and adapt novel instructional approaches to their classroom contexts. Eric has taught physics at the high school and university levels and has written questions for the AP Physics 1 & 2 exams.

Eric will work on assessing student learning and the effectiveness of the program.



Tim Stelzer

Professor of Physics

Tim is a founding member of the Physics Education Research group at the University of Illinois and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, where he has served as chair of the committee on education and the forum on education. He is co-author of the smartphysics curriculum and co-developer of the iClicker personal response system and the IOLab. He helped develop and regularly teaches courses in the introductory physics sequence at the U of I.

Tim will work on assessing the effectiveness of the program, and will work with university leadership to ensure this program has all the resources required for its success.


Rebecca Wiltfong

Director of Information Management

Rebecca developed the computational infrastructure that supports the thousands of undergraduates that take physics courses at the University of Illinois each semester. She is in charge of custom-building systems for different areas of the department to support a clean, streamlined workflow for the Department. She coordinates the technical components of the courses, including access to online content and the gradebook.

Rebecca will provide invaluable infrastructural support, as well as data management solutions for the broader program.

Hamideh Talafian

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Hamideh has completed her doctoral program in STEM education. Her research interests are more concentrated on STEM identity development, equity, and the affordances of technology in disciplinary instruction. Through her research, she has worked closely with diverse groups of in-service science teachers to develop NGSS-aligned curriculum and assessment materials. Her teaching experiences at the high school level have helped her in designing and facilitating professional developments for k-12 science teachers.

Hamideh leads research activities in the IPaSS program and works with teaching fellows closely to support their pedagogical needs.

IPaSS External Advisory Board

Leslie Atkins Elliott

Professor of Curriculum, Instruction and Foundational Studies at Boise State University

Leslie Atkins Elliott is a professor and Chair of the department of Curriculum, Instruction and Foundational Studies at Boise State University.  She was co-PI on a grant, NSF DUE CCLI program Building a Life Science Curriculum for Elementary Teachers and received a grant from the Bechtel Foundation to develop curriculum from NGSS in collaboration with pre-service and in service science teachers. In addition to having been a high school physics and chemistry teacher, she now teaches courses for pre-service teachers and provides professional development for in service teachers. She serves on the advisory board for the NSF supported NextGen PET Faculty Online Learning Community.


Mark Greenman

Research Fellow in Physics at Boston University

Mark Greenman is a research scientist in the Department of Physics at Boston University. He is Director for Project Accelerate (NSF #1720914) which is a University-High School AP Physics Partnership program, for which he is a PI. Mr. Greenman is also a PI for the Boston University Physical Sciences Urban Noyce Scholarship (NSF #1660681) providing STEM career changers with a rigorous and low-cost Master of Teaching program to teach in underserved communities. For two decades, he has directed Marblehead Science Matters, a teacher PD program supporting educators teaching physics out of their primary field of study. He worked for much of his career at Marblehead (MA) Public Schools as a physics teacher and district curriculum director. He has served as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow at the NSF and is a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellent in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the AAPT Paul W. Zitzwitz Award for Excellence in Pre-College Physics Teaching, the Massachusetts’ Council for Technology Education Path Finder Award, the Massachusetts Association of Science Teachers Teacher of the Year Award, and is an inductee into the Massachusetts Hall of Fame for Science Educators.


Edward Price

Professor of Physics at California State University, San Marcos

Edward Price is a professor in the Department of Physics and director of the Center for Research and Engagement in STEM Education at California State University, San Marcos. He has worked extensively on the development and evaluation of the Next Generation Physics and Everyday Thinking curriculum. He is a PI of the NSF supported NextGen PET Faculty Online Learning Community which has studied the key elements to creating and maintaining successful online faculty communities to support their professional development. His program currently facilitates 5 cohorts serving 50 faculty. 


Homeyra Sadaghiani

Professor of Physics & Astronomy at California Polytechnic University Pomona

Homeyra Sadaghiani is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at California Polytechnic University Pomona (CPP).  She has been heavily involved with STEM teacher education programs and initiatives since her postdoctoral work at University of Washington. At Cal Poly Pomona, she has designed and led professional development summer workshops and seminars to STEM faculty and high school teachers. As a Co-PI on two large scale NSF Robert Noyce grants and senior personnel at the CPP NSF MSP RESPECT grant, she has contributed extensively to STEM teacher recruitment and education initiatives. As a Faculty Fellow of CPP Center of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (CEMaST). Dr. Sadaghiani has developed curriculum material and led several professional development workshops for K-12 science teachers. To help address the critical shortage of well-qualified high school physics teachers, Dr. Sadaghiani has led the CPP Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) as the PI.


Michael Wittmann

Professor of Physics & Astronomy at University of Maine

Michael Wittmann is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Maine. He helped establish what is now the Maine STEM Partnership (MSP), a statewide STEM Education improvement community that grew out of the NSF-funded project Maine Physical Sciences Curriculum Partnership: Research and Infrastructure for Ongoing Educational Improvement. Dr. Wittmann has provided professional development for over 2500 teachers through this program and was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2015 “for foundational research into student learning of physics, pioneering work in K-12 teacher development, and leadership in building community for physics education researchers.”