LAPS Foundation Helps LAHS Physics Department Purchase New Equipment

Physics students show off the Van de Graaff generator purchased with funds from the LAPS Foundation. Back row from left, Michaelle Sutton, Garron Burgess, Corbin Stratton, Ignacio Rougier, Jeremiah Westerman and Angela Workman. Front row from left, Youssef Amin, LeeAnn Quintana, Jenelle Pana, Alexis Bustos, Carson Brewer, Mya Steele, Alize Garcia, Ryan McNiel, Alana Goodwin, Matt Mesibov and Steffy Nielsen. Photo by Alyssa Trujillo
Photo by Alyssa Trujillo

The Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation is helping to expand the physics curriculum at Los Alamos High School.

Debbie Grothaus has been with Los Alamos High School for three years since graduating with Master’s degrees in statistics and zoology from Texas Tech University. At LAHS she teaches Conceptual and Honors Physics and enjoys seeing both the program and the students grow.

One way she has done this is by working with the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation to acquire funds to enhance curriculum for the physics department where she works hand in hand with counterparts, Liz Bowden, Olivia Lujan and Brent Collom.

“Physics labs were getting increasingly difficult to conduct because a great deal of our equipment was getting very old,” Grothaus said. “Many things were minimally useful, and many things were broken or missing.”

Now thanks to the LAPSF, the classrooms are the direct beneficiaries of new equipment specific to labs that are integral to the curriculum: momentum carts, sets of springs, tuning forks, meter sticks, spring scales and timers.

An exciting new addition to the program is a Van de Graaff generator, which according to Grothaus, will enhance their unit on electrostatics, “in an electrifying new way.”

Grothaus said that LAPS Foundation Director Joanna Gillespie is a dream-come true. “The LAPS Foundation does so much for our schools and teachers,” Grothaus said. “She and the Foundation knew that there was still a need and are doing a great job filling it!  We physics teachers are extremely grateful.”

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