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Department of Physics

Alumni Seminar Series

This spring, like we have done every spring since 2007, we held our alumni seminar series as a one-unit course for our undergraduate and graduate students.  This course is very valuable for our current students because our alumni give a perspective that the faculty cannot provide.  And for me, as a physics teacher, it is always gratifying to hear our alumni refer to the benefits they see of their time spent hard at work here studying physics.  It is also heart warming to see them respond to this opportunity to give back to the department.

Over the past few years we have heard several themes come out repeatedly from our alumni:

1) In many circles, a physics degree leads to instant respect for the intelligence of the degree-holder.

2) Pursuing a physics degree is good practice for tackling a variety of problems – even ones that have nothing to do with physics. 

3) Training in physics somehow helps one to have a systems-level view of an organization, market, or complex product, which allows one to see connections that others miss. 

4) Physicists can find solutions to complex problems, even outside their area of expertise.

We also hear repeatedly about things that have nothing to do with physics, such as the importance of networking, good communication skills, and doing things that you love doing.  These are useful bits of wisdom for our students to be hearing first hand from those working outside of academia, who were once where they are now.

Yatish Mishra, Alumni Seminar Series Participant
Yatish Mishra

We thank this year’s participants for their enthusiastic response to our request; their time spent preparing and the time and expense of traveling to and from campus.  They did this for nothing in return, other than the opportunity to tell their story to our current students. 

They were Carol Eidt (BS 1977, Partner Software Developer, Microsoft), Alan Wong (BS 1996, Former Staff Technologist and Engineering Group Leader at Intel Corporation), Brian Fies (BA 1983, Freelance Writer), Yatish Mishra (BS 1986, President & CEO RagingWire Data Centers), Marusa Bradac (physics professor at UC Davis), and Michael Lazich (BS 1985, Harvestmark). 

If you would like to give a presentation, please register here

 --Lloyd Knox

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