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Auburn High School Students named ‘Outstanding Physics Student of the Year’

Andrew Jace Barnardo and Ashley Thammavong

Auburn High School seniors Ashley Thammavong and Andrew Jace Barnardo were named 2022 Outstanding Physics Student of the Year by the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT).

The AAPT is the world leader in promoting physics education at all levels. Each year the association supports its members in recognizing their outstanding physics students.

Ashley and AJ were each presented with a certificate of achievement on their final day of AP Physics C class. Ashley is also the recipient of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Rockford Branch Women in STEM scholarship. She will continue her studies in engineering physics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. AJ will continue his studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign as a mechanical engineering major. This school year Andrew presented during the Illinois section of the AAPT meeting and was selected to present a physics concept for children as part of Fermilab’s annual family open house.

Both of these students made the decision to take a second AP course in physics their senior year – despite the challenges they encountered in their introductory physics course in 2020, under the various constraints and ever-changing schedules with COVID-19. Through my partnership with the University of Illinois, Ashley, AJ and their classmates were able to receive materials and curriculum directly from the university as if they were already college students.

Teaching and learning in the 2020-21 school year was one of the greatest challenges we all faced. Ashley and AJ still found joy and passion in their physics class.

Congratulations Ashley and AJ!

Marianna Ruggerio headshot

Marianna Ruggerio

Marianna Ruggerio is the AP physics/physics instructor at Auburn High School. She has worked in the district for the past seven years after moving to Rockford from the Chicago area in 2014. Marianna is constantly looking for ways to improve professionally and serves on the executive councils for both the Illinois and Chicago sections of the American Association of Physics Teachers.

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