Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am currently a fourth year physics major here at Drexel. I'm an active member of the Drexel chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS), and Vice President of the Drexel Women in Physics Society (WiPS). I'm interested in computational physics research and physics outreach, and like to explore both as a part of the Drexel physics department.
What’s your current research project? Please tell us about other research projects you were involved in.
I am currently interested in computational astrophysics research, and I would like to be involved in a related project for my senior research and my third co-op.
I worked with the IceCube Collaboration and Naoko Kurahashi Neilson, PhD, as a STAR scholar, my freshman year, and then worked with a condensed matter group at Drexel under Goran Karapetrov, PhD, for my first co-op. The IceCube Neutrino observatory at the South Pole, detects fundamental particles called neutrinos of astrophysical nature and those produced in interactions between cosmic rays and earth's atmosphere. My job was to analyze the effect of density and temperature variation in the atmosphere on the count rate of the neutrinos IceCube detects, and observe a seasonal variation in the data.
My co-op involved growing thin films of Titanium diselenide, a layered material, which displays superconductivity at lower temperatures when doped with copper. Over the summer, we grew thin films as thin as 4 nanometers, and characterized it under optical microscope, atomic force microscope (AFM), and other techniques. As a co-op student, I got to work very closely with these and more equipments and that was a very cool experience!
Both these projects were very different from each other, one was heavily computational and the other required extensive lab work.
Have you received any awards or scholarships while here at Drexel?
I was a STAR scholar my freshman year and received the opportunity to work with Professor Neilson, as mentioned above. I have also been a Peer Mentor for incoming physics students and have been a TA of the University 101 course, as a part of it. I was the Physics Fellow for the 2016-17 academic year, and assisted freshmen with physics and math coursework.
I have also received the Larson Endowed Scholarship, Russell Wehr Physics Award, and the AJ Drexel Scholarship.
Were you provided with opportunities to travel?
I have been to three APS Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics, at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, Wesleyan University, and Princeton University. I have also been to the 2015 APS April Meeting in Baltimore, MD and SPS Quadrennial Physics Congress in San Francisco, CA.
How was your co-op experience?
My first co-op with Professor Karapetrov was very helpful in broadening my scope of physics research. The intersections between condensed matter physics, chemistry, and chemical and material science engineering gave me a broader perspective and helped me fine-tune my work interests.
My second co-op was at AmeriQuest Business Services in Cherry Hill, NJ as a programmer intern in IT, and it helped me identify industrial applications of a physics education. I am planning on going to grad school, but the co-op program helped me explore alternatives to research, in case I ever need to move to industry.
What has made your experience at Drexel “special” or “unique?
Being a part of the Physics program makes my experiences at Drexel special! The department is very close-knit and the people are very helpful, both academically and otherwise. As a part of the two student organizations within the department, I'm always involved with something or the other, be it cool physics demos or interaction with physicists from other universities.
Something exciting is always happening and there are always opportunities if you are looking for them. That's what makes physics and Drexel unique for me.
Why would you recommend the Physics program at Drexel for undergraduate school?
The Physics program at Drexel focuses quite a bit on computational aspects of physics, which is very useful for both academic and industrial research jobs. The department has a variety of research groups that provide opportunities to be involved with developments in science. Besides, the department is quite inclusive and efforts are always being made to increase diversity in the Drexel physics community.
What advice do you have for a high school student looking for an undergraduate program?
Consider all aspects of a college education! Although academics will be, and should be, a significant part of your college life, there are other things to consider as well, such as finance, housing, community, etc. I would recommend choosing a program that offers you a decent housing and financial package in addition to good academics. You'll be gaining a lot of experience in college, both academic and non-academic, so it's important to choose an option that seems like the best combination of all those aspects.