Steven Iona

Teaching Professor

What I do

Teaching Professor for Physics and Astronomy courses targeted at non-physics science majors

Professional Biography

For almost two decades, I have worked in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Denver becoming a full Teaching Professor in 2017. At DU, I teach the general physics class for pre-med, biology and chemistry majors. I also help coordinate Physics Day at Elitch Gardens Amusement Park for the department, and I have helped implement grants on Utilizing Classroom Response Systems and Expanding Lecture Demonstration Options in the Physics Classroom. Currently, I am working on several programs that help students better understand career options that they have upon graduation.

Outside of DU, I am a founding instructor with the Colorado Learning Assistant Program at the University of Colorado Boulder. This program works to support undergraduate science and mathematics majors become more experienced at facilitating learning for science and math majors in settings such as large undergraduate courses. I have also worked as a Science Teaching Fellow in the Department of Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences as part of the Science Education Initiative at CU Boulder where I worked with faculty and developed curriculum materials based on learning goals and objectives.

Prior to joining the faculty at DU, I was a high school science and mathematics teacher from the Adams 12 - Five Star School District (Thornton and Horizon High Schools). I enjoyed my time there working with students and played various roles in the school and district including serving as the building technology coordinator, building budget chair, department chair, school improvement leader, assessment coordinator, district data analyst, and district outdoor education coordinator. I have also had many wonderful experiences working with teacher preparation programs including teaching the Science Methods courses for Metropolitan State University of Denver and for the University of Denver, being trained as a Mentor Teacher as part of the district’s Induction Program, earning an administrative license, and supervising several student teachers.

For over 5years, I have helped direct the Denver Area Physics Teacher Group, and I have helped with the Colorado Science Conference and Colorado Science and Engineering Fair. I served in several roles on the national board of directors for the American Association of Physics Teachers including a term as national president.

My doctorate in science education examined the cognitive associations used by students when solving physics problems. I have continued my interest in physics education research through action research projects with my classes examining their conceptual development. I received the Radio Shack Teaching Award in 2001 and the Presidential Award for Mathematics and Science Teaching in 2002. I received the University of Denver Pioneer Award for Teaching in 2013 and the University Distinguished Teaching Award in 2020.


  • Ph.D., Physics Education, University of Denver, 1994
  • BS, Mathematics, University of Chicago, 1974
  • MA, Mathematics Education, University of Chicago, 1974

Licensure / Accreditations

  • Colorado Administrator License
  • Colorado Professions Teachers License


Student conceptual development