Profiles of Success

Profiles of Success

Michael Hoff, B.S. 2015:

Michael Hoff, 2015

After graduating with a double-minor in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science along with his Physics degree, Michael went directly to grad school at the University of California Los Angeles in the subsequent Fall. There he completed an M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 11 months, including the publication of an original-research thesis on CMOS optical signal modulation. He now works as a Research Engineer in the Photonics and Advanced Computing division of Lockheed Martin's Advanced Technology Laboratories. He is an avid reader, pianist, and basketballer, and hopes some day to start his own company.

Zach Santonil, B.S. 2014:

Zach Santonil, 2011

After graduating from the University of Dallas, Zachary received a master's of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame. He currently works at a top U.S. space and defense contracting company where he is responsible for RF, microwave, and millimeter-wave electronics as well as optoelectronic hardware operating from the IR telecommunications band to technologies in the visible spectrum.


Matthew Melendez, B.S. 2014

Graduated with a B.S. in Physics from the University of Dallas in the Spring of 2014, where he studied RR Lyrae and the Blazhko Effect for his Senior Thesis. He now is now in graduate school at Texas Christian University seeking a Masters and PhD in Physics with a concentration in Astrophysics. His research is focused on stellar spectroscopy which allows him to study stellar chemical composition and galactic chemical evolution.


 Collin Lueck, B.S. 2010:     

Collin Lueck

I graduated in Physics from UD in 2010. After UD, I went to medical school at University of Southern California, graduating in 2015. I'm living in Los Angeles and I'm now in my second year of residency the four years of specialty training after medical school) in Psychiatry. I have so many fond memories of studying physics at UD! I remember my good long study hours in the physics lab, as well as fun things like freezing various food items in liquid nitrogen. Physics at UD always felt like a family and I loved being part of it.}


Peter McDonough, B.S. 2010:

Peter McDonough, 2011

I graduated from the University of Dallas in 2010 with a bachelor of science degree in Physics and a concentration in Applied Mathematics. Peter received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from TX Tech University in 2017.

I did research involving the possibility of designing a continuously variable transmission which would harness gyroscopic precession.  I'm now living in San Antonio and am in the process of starting a cosmetics company. I'm also the owner of a fledgling private equity firm and a small photography business. UD was a great school for me, and I can say with absolute certainty that I wouldn't have come as far as I have without the formation received there. Perhaps you might be reading this and are wondering how a physicist is able to deal with the engineering world--can a Physics degree be used to pursue this career path? After my sophomore and junior year, I worked for the electrical engineering division of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, TX. There, I worked on a multitude of projects, none of which were thematically related to any of the study I had accomplished in the physics world. I designed a weather balloon flight prediction model, a remotely operated GPS antenna, and also figured out how to intercept and decrypt the Iridium satellite network down/uplink signal. However, even though these projects were not related, per se, to my chose field of study, I was still easily able to complete them. You see, engineering is a field in which one conceives design solutions to problems. Success comes not from specific skills within a particular field of engineering, but from the ability to figure out a solution to a problem. This "figuring out" ability is what physicists learn best, as they are constantly attempting to crack some of the most difficult problems ever devised. We are paid problem solvers--and I've chosen to apply my problem solving ability to the profession of engineering.


Will Spearman, B.S. Physics, B.A. Mathematics 2008:

Will Spearman
After graduating from the University of Dallas with a B.S. in Physics and a B.A. in Mathematics in May 2008, I went to Switzerland on a Fulbright Scholarship in order to conduct research at CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research). While there, I did research with the testing and development of edgeless silicon detectors for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) TOTEM project. In fall (2009), I will begin my study towards a Ph.D. in High Energy Physics at Harvard University working on the LHC and looking for evidence of new physics such as Supersymmetry.

While an undergraduate at the University of Dallas, I worked at Texas A&M University for a summer doing research in quantum optics. In addition, I participated in an REU hosted by the University of Michigan which took me to CERN for a summer. Both were fabulous experiences which really helped me explore physics and hone my interests. Furthermore, the University of Dallas coursework prepared me to conduct research and enter graduate school. Ultimately, however, it was the friendships I formed with my professors and the advice and support which they gave me which truly set the University of Dallas apart from the many other places where one could pursue an undergraduate degree in physics. This one-on-one support gave me a leg up and a strong advantage in this challenging and competitive field. I am both lucky and proud to have graduated from UD.

Stephanie Wissel, B.S. 2004:

Stephanie Wissel

I graduated from UD with a B.S. in Physics and an Applied Math Concentration in 2004. I received my Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2010 and went on to do two postdoctoral fellowships, one at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and one at UCLA. My husband, Nathan Keim, and I are now physics professors at the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo California. My research on astroparticle physics takes me to the top of mountains and to Antarctica and Greenland in search of rare cosmic particles. 

While at UD, I attended a summer course in Bamberg, Germany in which I studied German language, literature, and culture. I also participated in three Research for Undergraduates (REUs) in which I worked for scientists at various institutions. These were valuable experiences in that I was able to investigate different areas of current physics research.

The University of Dallas Physics Department is unique in that the small class sizes and dedicated professors encourage an atmosphere of investigation in physics. I was able to develop a personal relationship with my professors, something which helped aspire to a career in academia. One of my favorite memories of the UD Physics Department was simulating avalanche behavior in sand for Dr. O's computational physics course as well as the numerous projects and presentations throughout the physics curriculum.     
Any graduate of the UD Physics Department is welcome to submit a profile to the Physics' department,