Perspectives from Marietta College Physics Alumni

The Marietta College Physics Department provided opportunities for me to thrive academically and professionally. The program was very student-centered which had a huge impact on my studies and my self-confidence. By sponsoring me to go to regional conferences, I was more than prepared to join a graduate program and to feel confident in presenting myself as a professional member of the physics community.

Even though I graduated four years ago, I am still always welcome in the department, and the professors are as interested in what I am doing as if I had never left. They even invited me to give a talk about my graduate research, now that's commitment!

-- Elisabeth Kager (2008)
Ph.D. in Education (Curriculum and Instruction, specializing in Science and Mathematics Education) from Ohio University

The well-rounded MC curriculum allows students to tailor courses to their specific needs and interests while still delivering the broad perspective necessary for a truly liberal arts education. … While at Marietta, I developed professional relationships with several professors, whom I still consider to be among the better educators that I've had to date, and the rigorous education that they provided, specifically in math and science, prepared me to go on to, and excel at, a competitive engineering school.

-- Nadine Hunter (2006)
Ph.D. student in Earth & Environmental Engineering (Water Resources and Climate Risks) at Columbia University

What was it like to study physics at Marietta? At MC, I feel like I was given a strong background in physics that will help me for the rest of my career. Learning in an intimate (small class size) environment was very beneficial to me.

How did it prepare you for what happened after graduation? I was very well prepared to go into mechanical engineering. I feel as though I had a stronger background in both theory and mathematical rigor than most students.

What exciting things have you been doing? Aside from grad school in Wisconsin, I spent summer of 2010 in Japan working for a power semiconductor manufacturer.

What do you hope to do in the future? I plan to pursue a career in industry. I will most likely end up in R&D at a large company.

-- Seth Avery (2005)
PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison

I loved that the professors really were there to help their students. If I ever had a question or homework problem I couldn't figure out, someone was always there to answer my question or point me in the right direction. The class sizes were small and the environment was supportive. And, while Marietta might not offer as many classes as a bigger school, the classes they did offer gave me a core knowledge of physics that has allowed me to succeed at a competitive grad school.

-- Abby Bogdan (2011)
PhD student in Physics (Physics Education Research), the Ohio State University

My first year at Rice, I realized many of the strengths of a liberal arts school science education. In my classes with other physics students, I found that I often had better physics awareness - broader understanding and exposure. .... I found that in comparison to many other students who attended large schools, my knowledge of mathematical methods and problem solving techniques was much greater. This really paid off in my classes. Aside from direct performance, I found that my opinion, stories, and memories of my physics education differed from many of my peers. When I think back on my education, I remember professors who would drop a lesson plan in order to work examples, give extra notes, or answer questions to ensure that the students were learning the material. I remember professors who would happily come in on a weekend to help students prepare for a big exam. And most importantly, I remember professors who would notice when students were having a hard time and ask how they could help. …

In summary, I came out of Marietta with a passion for learning about nature, the skills to solve actual problems, and a sound knowledge base that made learning other fields and further study in physics enjoyable. I believe that the most important thing that I took away from Marietta College was a way of thinking - a way of approaching problems.

--Chad Byers (2009)
Ph.D. in Physics (Surface Plasmon Spectroscopy) from Rice University