Research & Publications

Rationale for Focus on High School:

  • High school physics teachers, in particular, have been found to be critical to inspiring women who pursue undergraduate physics
  • Enrollment in high school physics courses is nearly 50% women, and unlike other sciences, post-secondary participation in physics falls dramatically after high school (Figure below). Thus, high school is one of the last times we can inspire large numbers of women to consider physics-related careers.

Percentage of Women participating in Science

Intervention Descriptions

  • Everyday Actions
    • Focus on explicit recruitment, reducing marginalization, and promoting recognition throughout the year
    • Includes a reflective self-rating instrument for teachers
  • Careers in Physics
    • Explore profiles of individuals with a degree in physics and identify goals that can be accomplished with a physics degree
    • Students create their own future career profile
    • The goal of the lesson is to help students realize the breadth of careers available with a physics degree and envision how a physics degree can help accomplish many goals.
    • Cover: Help students assess their personal values in relation to a career in physics, examine profiles of professionals with physics degrees, and envision themselves in a physics career.
  • Women in Physics
    • Examine the conditions for women in physics drawing on current statistics/research and their experiences with physics.
    • The goal of the lesson is to help students reflect and think critically about the issue in order to neutralize the effect of bias, particularly for female students.
    • Cover: Help students examine the conditions for women in physics and discuss gender issues with respect to famous physicists, gendered professions, and personal experience to neutralize the effect of stereotypes and bias.

Publications & Presentations


"The value of physics identity", Symmetry Magazine, Sept 13, 2022. 

Press Releases

APS: American Physical Society Receives $3 Million from Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to Increase Representation of Women in Undergraduate Physics

FIU: NSF awards FIU $3 million for national pilot program to increase female physics majors

APS: American Physical Society Partners In $3 Million National Program To Increase Women Physics Majors

AAPT: NSF awards AAPT and partners $3 million for national pilot program to increase female physics majors


  • (NEW!) Examining the effect of counternarratives about physics on women’s physics career intentions. Geoff Potvin, Zahra Hazari, Raina Khatri, Hemeng Cheng, T. Blake Head, Robynne M. Lock, Anne F. Kornahrens, Kathryne Sparks Woodle, Rebecca E. Vieyra, Beth A. Cunningham, Laird Kramer, and Theodore Hodapp. Physical Review Physics Education Research (2023);

  • Considerations for Inclusive and Equitable Design: The Case of STEP UP Counternarratives in HS Physics. Pooneh Sabouri, Zahra Hazari, Raina Khatri, and Bree Barnett Dreyfuss. The Physics Teacher (2022);

  • Student response to a careers in physics lesson. T. Blake Head, Robynne M. Lock, Raina Khatri, Zahra Hazari, and Geoff Potvin. Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings (2019);

  • Examining physics identity development through two high school interventions. Hemeng Cheng, Geoff Potvin, Raina Khatri, Laird H. Kramer, Robynne M. Lock, and Zahra Hazari. Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings (2018);

  • Towards Meaningful Physics Recognition: What does this recognition actually look like? Zahra Hazari and Cheryl Cass. The Physics Teacher 56, 442 (2018);


  • APS Forum on Education Newsletter, Theodore Hodapp, Robynne Lock, Jolene Johnson, and Billy Menz.
  • The STEP UP Movement is Changing the Face of Physics, APS News, Aug/Sept 2019
  • Women in Physics: Why so few?, APS News, Nov 2015
  • Towards Meaningful Physics Recognition: What does this recognition actually look like?
    The Physics Teacher
  • Hazari, Z., Brewe, E., Goertzen, R. M., & Hodapp, T. (2017). The importance of high school physics teachers for female students’ physics identity and persistence. The Physics Teacher, 55(2), 96-99.
  • Lock, R. M., & Hazari, Z. (2016). Discussing underrepresentation as a means to facilitating female students’ physics identity development. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 12(2), 020101.
  • Hazari, Z., Cass, A.P., & Beattie, C. (2015). Obscuring Power Structures in the Physics Class: Linking Teacher Positioning, Student Engagement, and Physics Identity Development. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 52, 735–762.
  • Lock, R., Hazari, Z., & Potvin, G. (2015). Determining strategies that predict physics identity: Emphasizing recognition and interest. PERC, College Park, MD.
  • Potvin, G., Hazari, Z., & Lock, R. (2014). Exposure to underrepresentation discussion: The impacts on women's attitudes and identities. PERC, Minneapolis, MN.
  • Hazari, Z., Potvin, G., Lock, R.M., Lung, F., Sonnert, G., & Sadler, P.M. (2013). Factors that affect the physical science career interest of female students: Testing five common hypotheses. Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, 9, 020115, 1-8.
  • Hazari, Z., Sadler, P.M., & Sonnert, G. (2013). The Science Identity of College Students: A Gender and Race/Ethnicity Comparison. Journal of College Science Teaching, 42(5), 82-91.
  • Potvin, G., & Hazari, Z. (2013). The development and measurement of identity across the physical sciences. Physics Education Research Conference (PERC), Portland, OR.
  • Lock, R., Hazari, Z., & Potvin, G. (2012). Physics Career Intentions: The Effect of Physics Identity, Math Identity, and Gender. PERC, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Hazari, Z., Sonnert, G., Sadler, P., & Shanahan, M.C. (2010). Connecting High School Physics Experiences, Outcome Expectations, Physics Identity, and Physics Career Choice: A Gender Study. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 47(8), 978-1003.


Presentations Archive