MacKenzie R. Stetzer

Mac graduated in 1993 from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, with a Bachelor’s degree in Physics. He earned his Ph.D. in physics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. After working at the University of Washington as a Postdoctoral Research Associate and Research Assistant Professor in Physics Education Research for almost 10 years, Mac joined the Physics Education Research Laboratory in Fall 2011.

Since 2001, Mac has been deeply involved in developing research-based and research-validated instructional materials for undergraduates and K-12 teachers. His current research interests include TA and K-12 teacher ability to assess student understanding, the professional development of TAs and future physics faculty, as well as student understanding of topics such as electric circuits and mechanical waves.

Over the past few years, a primary focus of Mac’s work has been an in-depth investigation of student understanding of analog electronics, primarily in the context of upper-division laboratory courses on the topic. In addition to identifying specific conceptual difficulties and examining the impact of such courses on student learning, he is leading the collaborative development of research-based instructional materials for use in these upper-division courses.


Recent Publications

M. Kryjevskaia, M. R. Stetzer, N. Grosz, “Answer first:  Applying the heuristic-analytic theory of reasoning to examine student intuitive thinking in the context of physics,” Physical Review Special Topics – Physics Education Research 10, 020109 (2014).

M. R. Stetzer, P. van Kampen, P. S. Shaffer, and L. C. McDermott, “New insights into student understanding of complete circuits and the conservation of current,” Am. J. Phys. 81, 134 (2013).

M. Kryjevskaia, M. R. Stetzer, P. R. Heron, “Is a simple measurement task a roadblock to student understanding of wave phenomena?” The Physics Teacher 51, 560-563 (2013).

M. Kryjevskaia, M. R. Stetzer, P. R. Heron, “Student difficulties measuring distance in terms of wavelength: Lack of basic skills or failure to transfer?” Physical Review Special Topics – Physics Education Research, 9, 010106 (2013).

M. Kryjevskaia, M. R. Stetzer, and P. R. L. Heron, “Student understanding of wave behavior at a boundary: The relationships among wavelength, propagation speed, and frequency,” Am. J. Phys. 80, 339 (2012).

M. Kryjevskaia, M. R. Stetzer, and P. R. L. Heron, “Student understanding of wave behavior at a boundary: The limiting case of reflection at fixed and free ends,” Am. J. Phys. 79, 508 (2011).

L. C. McDermott, P. R. L. Heron, P. S. Shaffer, and M. R. Stetzer, “Improving the preparation of K-12 teachers through physics education research,” Am. J. Phys. 74, 763 (2006).