Celebrating staff: Kyle Foster, Taylor Rogers, and Lorne Roth

Meet Kyle Foster, Taylor Rogers, and Lorne Roth, the people behind undergraduate labs in the Department of Physics.

Katie Willis - 12 January 2021

The global COVID-19 pandemic has required a mass migration to the digital world, and post-secondary learning is no exception. In the University of Alberta’s Department of Physics, staff members are working hard to make remote learning in undergraduate laboratories a success. Kyle Foster, Taylor Rogers, and Lorne Roth have worked tirelessly over the summer to create take-home lab kits for students to conduct experiments in their homes, as well as helping instructors and teaching assistants to develop remote learning materials. 

The countless and invaluable contributions of staff make the world go round in the Faculty of Science, and we are thrilled to introduce you to Kyle Foster, Taylor Rogers, and Lorne Roth. Hear more about their work. 

Job title and area:

Kyle Foster: I am the undergraduate labs coordinator.

Taylor Rogers: I am an undergraduate lab technician. 

Lorne Roth: I am an undergraduate lab technician. 

How long have you worked at the Faculty of Science?

KF: I have worked in my current position for two years. Before then I worked in the department as a teaching assistant (TA) and presented for high school outreach.

TR: 14 years. 

LR: 32 years. 

What is a typical day on campus like for you ?

KF: A typical day on campus involves ensuring that students in undergraduate physics classes are able to effectively complete labs. This can consist of meeting with students directly to address any problems they are having or training TA’s how to effectively teach physics to students. I spend most of my time addressing student and TA concerns, mentoring TA’s, and creating the next physics lab for students.

TR: A typical day for me Involves setting up physics lab experiments mixed with assisting the undergrad students in the technical aspects of their labs, as well as providing lecture demonstrations to the professors. I also do the purchasing and receiving for the physics undergrad labs, as well as work with the radiation safety committee.

LR: In a nutshell, a typical day for me involves setting up first-, second-, and third-year labs, helping in the labs, and setting up and putting out physics demonstrations for lectures.

How has your work changed during the COVID-19 pandemic?

KF: Due to COVID-19 and the switch to online learning, we have had to make changes to the physics lab program. Since it is not possible to have students on campus completing labs we created a remote curriculum that encompassed the same values of in-person labs. Along with my students, I will be working online and at my home until we are able to provide in-person labs again.

TR: Work has shifted to getting everything ready for online delivery of classes. I have been helping professors film their lectures and demonstrations as well as making lab kits to be mailed out to the students.

LR: Since all the courses will be online this year, we are setting up recording studios for instructors to record their lectures and creating lab kits to send out to students to do at home.

Favourite memory from work?

KF: Many of my favorite memories from work include interactions with students during the labs when they get that “I get it!” epiphany. One of my favorite such moments was when a student expressed that they wanted to start a physics major because of what I taught.

TR: My favourite memories are from working with my dad when he ran the physics liquid helium facility. It was a lot of fun getting to see the inner workings of how liquid helium was made.

LR: One of my favourite memories is the holiday potluck party with games.

Favourite thing about working at the Faculty of Science?

KF: Being a part of a community of science educators to discuss and develop science education is a great feeling.

TR: My favourite thing is getting to work with and help the new students learn more about their experiments and help them become scientists. Also, it is really cool to see and hear about the new discoveries made in all the sciences first hand from the faculty members in the various departments.

LR: It is rewarding to see the happy students on convocation day with their proud parents.