Class of ’11

This a page for the graduating majors to give parting thoughts and advice (light taunting allowed) to other majors and/or faculty. Let us know your short plans, jobs hired to, schools you will attend, contact info (gmail, hotmail,…).

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4 Responses

  1. Hi!

    I am attending grad school at The University of Florida working with Dr. Ray Russo for my PhD in geophysics. So far it’s been good. The summer prior to starting grad school (summer ’11), Dr. Russo invited me to go on a seismic network deployment with a team of other students and other professors from UF. Although the work was difficult (physically laborious), it was a great way to meet students and really get to know my advisor before actually starting grad school in August.

    Thus far, my classes have been going well and my research (locating seismic tremors from Chile aftershocks) has been progressing.

    My advice for physics students considering grad school would be to take as many physics/math classes for your electives as possible. If you take advantage of TCNJ’s math courses like linear algebra and differential equations, you will be well prepared. It’s really helpful to have a solid math/physics background because if you don’t acquire those skills as an undergrad, you will need to catch up in grad school.

    Additionally, don’t stress out too much about choosing the “perfect” grad school (like I did). The MOST important thing is that you like your advisor! Knowing what topics you’re interested in is helpful in choosing a program. Search for professors that do research in those fields and EMAIL THEM! Inquire as to whether or not they’re even accepting grad students (some will tell you that they don’t have funding to accept anybody, so why bother applying right?) Also, emailing them will show that you’re really interested and they will probably recognize your name while they’re going through applications.

    Also, make sure that you’re advisor can fund you for your entire project duration. For example, if you’re doing a PhD, make sure your advisor HAS 5 years of funding. You don’t want to get halfway through your program to get cut off…..

    Oh and MOST IMPORTANTLY – make sure you’re passionate about what you’re doing. PhD programs are a long commitment and if you don’t like your field, it will be much harder to motivate yourself to succeed.

    Good luck to all those applying to grad schools and if anyone has any questions about the application process or just grad school life in general, feel free to email me:

    And in retrospect, and as Cindy said, it is really important to interact with your fellow majors as an undergrad. It’s nice to have others to commiserate with when things aren’t going so well, and it’s also nice to have friends in your classes 🙂 TCNJ’s physics department is really nice in that it’s tiny and everybody knows one another. (Here at UF, all the undergrads are just a number.)

  2. I will be working at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab starting June 6th. While there, I will be helping Dr. Andrew Zwicker design and construct a Raman spectroscopy system to analyze nanodiamonds. I am currently looking for an one-year position in the scientific or engineering field. The intended plan is to attend graduate school in physics comes June 2012.

    The most important advice I can give to the other majors is to join physics club and become more involved in the department. As much as I know most people do not think it’s important, as I thought the same 4 years ago, it really is important and beneficial to interact with fellow majors. The interaction makes the whole college experience quite pleasant and the horrendous classes more bearable. Besides, you already paid for the programming fund for the clubs and the department with your tuition, so why not get some of your money back that way?

    Also, do as many researches as you can handle. As cliche as it sounds, you really do learn a lot more when you’re actually involved rather than trying to absorb what the books throw at you. Personally, I think the best thing about research for me is the San Francisco trip to present at the American Geophysical Union with Corey, Megan and Kelly. The trip was paid for by the school and we lived and ate so well for 8 days. And who doesn’t like to travel! For free! Well, technically you paid for that with your tuition too, so why not get some back? Besides, if you are lucky (or hardworking) enough, a publication will look marvelous for your resume or CV.

    Study for the physics GRE early. I wish I had study more for it, but then again when am I not saying that. Westy write a nice post about how to approach the different parts of the physics GRE in the Graduating Classes – Thoughts & Info: Class of ’09, and it’s really helpful.

    Hang out with the professors because they are going to have to write your letters and say nice things about you during graduation. Believe it or not, professors are human, too, and they know that there is so much we can handle. So instead of hiding, seek help from them and you will be surprised how not-scary they are! Besides, you will hear the most juicy gossips before anyone else!

    Justin Nieusma and Erica Smith (both class of ’09) are great help. In fact if you are uncertain about something, just email any of the alum that you may or may not know because they were in your shoes and can give you some really great advice or help. With that, feel free to ask me if you have any questions ( I’m sure I’ll have more helpful things to say when I start work and/or get into grad school.

  3. Graduation was on May 13, 2011. The departmental ceremony took place, for the first time, in the Library Auditorium. Fifteen majors graduated, four of them Magna cum laude: John Beatty, Michael Billings, Ryan Bohler, Kyle Gilroy, Noelle Gotthardt, Cindy Lin, Alexandra Petriman, Greg Prisco, Russell Realli, Yanique Riviere, Christian Schmitt, Cynthia Stine, Megan Torpey, and Ashley Warner walked today. Aliya Merali, currently in Jordan, could not be present. Greg Prisco and Aliya Merali won the Fink-Moses-Pregger award. Cindy Lin and John Beatty were recognized for their service to the Department of Physics.
    A slideshow has been posted, if you have more photos you want included please e-mail them to me.

  4. I will be starting June 15th at Temple University where I will be working at the renewable energy lab. I will be working under Dr. Svetlana Neretina, who specializes in solar energy. We are basically testing different parameters of a solar panel. Ill be sure to send updates on how everything works out!

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