Michele McColgan, Ph.D. headshot

Michele McColgan, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Physics

Siena College

Dr. Michele McColgan is a Professor and Department Chair of the Physics & Astronomy Department at Siena College, a small liberal arts college in New York.

She spearheaded developments in the realm of augmented reality (AR) smartphone applications to enhance the learning experience for physics and engineering students. These tools serve as a bridge, enabling students to connect abstract concepts and 3D models with the traditional 2D representations and equations found in textbooks. By immersing students in a visually engaging and interactive learning environment, these applications facilitate a deeper understanding of complex physics and engineering principles.

Dr. McColgan focuses on physics education research, investigating the impact of augmented reality applications on students’ conceptual understanding of physics and their spatial visualization skills. She explores how manipulating 3D models and establishing connections between 2D representations, physics equations, and the real-world counterparts can enhance students’ comprehension and problem-solving abilities.

Dr. McColgan earned her Ph.D. from the University of Alabama In Huntsville in physics and was awarded a NASA Graduate Student Researcher’s Grant to study x-ray optics. Before her academic position at Siena College, Dr. McColgan worked in industry designing optical systems for the Army and Navy funded through the SBIR program and developing x-ray fluorescence analytical systems.