Credit: Matt Crawley
  • Assistant Professor (Lecturer), Physics And Astronomy
801-581-4826

Research Summary

Dr. De Grandi is an Assistant Professor of Educational Practice in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Her scientific interests lie in the area of physics education research and teaching pedagogies. She is involved in several projects aimed at fostering a more inclusive and welcoming environment for students in STEM fields.

Education

  • Master of Science, Physics, University of MIlan (Italy). Project: Fermionic field theory for trees and forests on triangular lattice
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Physics/Condensed Matter Theory, BOSTON UNIVERSITY. Project: Adiabatic quenches of quantum critical systems

Biography

Dr. De Grandi obtained a Bachelor and Master in Physics from University of Milan with a focus on theoretical physics, her thesis "Fermionic field theory for trees and forests on triangular lattice"  focused on applying quantum field theory to describe statistical ensembles on a graph.

At Boston University, she conducted her PhD work in condensed matter physics under the supervision of Professor A. Polkovnikov studying quantum cold gases, in particular quantum quanches and dynamics of bose gases.

In 2011 she joined Steve Girvin's group at Yale University as a postdoctoral research fellow, she studied system of superconducting qubits.  During this time she started coltivating an interest for education and teaching, which she had pursued full time since 2015 when she became a Helmsley Teaching Scholar at Yale University.

In 2018, Dr. De Grandi joined the Physics and Astronomy Department at University of Utah as Assistant Professor (Lecturer) of Educational Practice. She is also currently a Faculty Associate at the Center for Science and Mathematics Education and was a 2018-2020 HHMI Faculty Fellow.

Being Human in STEM course

The idea of a course called Being Human in STEM came from chemistry Professor Sheila Jaswal from Amherst College  in response to Fall 2015 racial controversies across several American college campuses. Inspired by Jaswal's work, Dr. De Grandi and colleagues have implemented this course at Yale University starting Spring 2016. Other campuses have followed and more are encouraged to join the Being Human in STEM project.

Brief course description: Collaboratively designed project that aims to foster a more inclusive, supportive STEM community and develop a framework for students and faculty to understand and navigate diverse identities in the classroom and beyond.

The Being Human in STEM course has been taught for the first time at University of Utah in Spring 2020 by five instructors in the College of Science: Claudia De Grandi, Kelly MacArthur (Mathematics), Jon Rainier (Chemistry) , Holly Sebahar (Chemistry), Anil Seth (Physics & Astronomy). The course is supported and managed under the Center for Science and Mathematics Education (CSME). The course recently received the Diversity (DV) General Education designation. The course will be taught again in Spring 2021.

For the final class project, students collected survey data from STEM students across campus and asked them about their positive and negative experiences with respect to inclusivity and diversity. The responses are from students across the College of Science, College of Mines and Earth Sciences and College of Engineering.

Students discussed the results of the survey with President Watkins as part of her U Rising podcast.

https://twitter.com/RuthVWatkins/status/1251170039455027201

https://www.stitcher.com/…/university-of-utah-mark…/u-rising

Students also shared their experience in the course, and their survey findings in an online End-Semester Symposium open to the entire campus community on April 24th, 2020. The Symposium recorded overall 70 participants, including the Deans of four colleges, the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, several department chairs from the College of Science, faculty and staff, academic advisors and of course students!

Please visit the Being Human in STEM at the U website for more information.