Charlotte Christensen





There is no more rewarding part of my job than being able to pass on my knowledge and love of physics to others, and the classroom is a prime venue for this transfer. As an instructor, I strive to promote scientific and quantitative reasoning and to provide students with a deep understanding of physical processes. I find that students are most engaged with the material when they have the opportunity to be active participants in their learning.

In the sciences, lab sections are an especially important venue for hands-on learning. As such, I led the development of a computational lab for the Grinnell 200-level Mechanics course. In this lab, students gain experience with programming in Python while exploring the properties of classic mechanical systems. Please contact me if you would like more information about the lab.

Equity and Inclusion

As a professor, I am committed to creating an equitable and inclusive learning environment within my classes. I am also a proponent of programs that aim to increase the diversity within sciences in order to better match the demographics of the overall population and to ensure equity for historically underrepresented groups. I co-lead the Gender Minorities in Phyiscs (GMiP) group at Grinnell. We meet several times a term to discuss issues related to the underrepresentation of women and other gender minorities in physics. I also participate in the Grinnell Science Project (GSP) and other campus programs designed to support diversity.

As a graduate student, I assisted in math instruction for second and third graders at an underserved elementary school as an NSF Graduate Teaching Fellow in K-12 Education. I was also a volunteer staff member for Pre-Major in Astronomy Program (Pre-MAP), through which I mentored two Pre-MAP graduates and lead a monthly journal club on diversity in the sciences. Additionally, I was a Teaching Assistant for the UW Upward Bound program.

Courses Taught at Grinnell College

  • TUT 100 Archaeoastronomy (Fall 2015, 2018)
  • PHY 116 The Universe & Its Structure (Fall 2014, 2015, 2016)
  • PHY 131 General Physics I (Fall 2014, 2016)
  • PHY 132 General Physics II (Spring 2015)
  • PHY 132L General Physics II Lab (Spring 2015)
  • GLC 195 Violent Universe/Exoplanet (Faculty Advisor to a student enrolled in an online course, Summer 2015)
  • PHY 232L Modern Physics Lab (Fall 2015, 2018)
  • PHY 234 Mechanics (Spring 2015, 2016, 2017)
  • PHY 234L Mechanics Lab (Spring 2016, 2017)
  • PHY 340/395 Galactic Astrophysics and Cosmology (Spring 2016, 2017, Fall 2018)
In addition to the courses I have taught at Grinnell, I was the instructor for introductory astronomy courses at both the University of Arizona and the University of Washington.