- Published xxx-xxxx
- B.S., Physics, Cum Laude, May 2003
Name and address of current employer
I am an Applications Engineer. I do a little bit of everything. Mainly I help with designing and building electronics, programming, running experiments, analyzing data, and writing reports. Most of our projects, but not all, are related to homeland security. What I like best about this job is the opportunity to brainstorm and come up with unique ideas to solve problems. Then we get to play - to make something to test those ideas to see if they might work. I try to keep up with the news to find new problems we might be able to contribute to or new technologies that are coming out that might help us solve other problems.
How WKU Physics and Astronomy helped me be successful in this job
I've always said that if there's one thing the WKU physics department knows how to do it's to teach you how to present research. On to this I will add that I improved my technical writing while there. The other major thing that helped me was the one-on-one support from the professors. Each one of them was always concerned about how things were going for the students, not just in classes but in their lives and future careers as well.
Tips and advice for someone wanting to pursue a career in my area
Take classes outside of your field; you never know what pieces of information may come in handy later on. Attend as many conferences as you can. Not only does it expose you to what others are doing and how others solve problems, it also allows you to network with people in the field already. Find a professor whose research you're interested in and ask to work with them. Don't be afraid to explore either. You may find that something you thought was interesting isn't what you like or vice versa. Do summer research, at another institution if possible. Practice your presentation skills; you will need them in any scientific career. Talk to the professors. They will be more than happy to answer your questions, tell you about graduate school, and give you the highs and lows of their job. Get involved in extracurricular groups. If this sounds like a lot to do in four years, that's because it is! I would suggest taking more time to do it right then to cram it all in and have to struggle.
Favorite memory from my time at WKU
Debates in the SPS lounge over everything from politics to philosophy. The opportunities I had to attend professional conferences. I especially enjoyed the Women in Astronomy conference.