Laura M. Nickerson is the new Director of the STEM Teachers' Collaborative, a UNH interdisciplinary effort to coordinate and strengthen STEM education, with the primary goal of increasing K-12 teachers’ expertise in computing, engineering and technology, and extending the impact of excellent STEM teachers to more students throughout the state.
Laura received a B.S. in Physics from Valparaiso University and an M.S. in Physics from Northern Illinois University. With the exception of one year as a fellow at the Wright Center for Science Education at Tufts University, Laura has spent the last seventeen years in public and private high school classrooms teaching physics, engineering, computer science, astronomy, and other STEM subjects. Most recently she taught at Windham High School in Windham, NH.
As a Physics Teaching Resource Agent (PTRA), the professional development arm of the American Association of Physics Teachers, Laura has led workshops around the country for middle- and high-school teachers on topics ranging from energy and waves to dark matter and cosmology. Prior to coming to UNH, she was a lead teacher in the Teaching Opportunities in the Physical Sciences (TOPS) program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In this program, she mentored talented undergraduate physics and engineering majors each summer as they crafted and implemented teaching materials and lesson plans for teaching physics to middle- and high-school students.
Coaching a First Robotics Competition (FRC) team spurred Laura's interest in teaching engineering and coding. She holds both a Project Lead the Way (PLTW) certification and a NH Career and Technical Education (CTE) certification. Her students received the prestigious Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam grant to build an autonomous, assistive robotic device for carrying cargo. She is especially interested in how makerspaces can be used in the regular classroom and has been on the ground floor in the development of two classroom makerspaces.
Laura will be working with teachers and school districts on their specific STEM professional development needs.