Michael Hoff, B.S. 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:
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:
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:
I graduated from the University of Dallas in 2010 with a bachelor of science degree
in Physics and a concentration in Applied Mathematics. (Note: Peter received his Ph.D.
in Mechanical Engineering from TX Tech University in 2017.)
Graduated from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX with my PhD in Mechanical Engineering
along with an MBA. 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.
Another advantage of a UD education is the requirement of literacy. Having left "the
Bubble" and moved to a state school, the differences in general ability are astounding.
Those in the sciences are generally incapable of composing a single sentence properly,
let alone an entire paragraph or essay. This ability gap between myself and my colleagues
resulted in my being asked to teach(not assist) a few of the courses in the undergraduate
sequence. There were many other grad students far more qualified for such a task,
but it was delegated to me thanks to my ability to communicate ideas more clearly
than my peers. You might hate the necessity of attending insufferable English and
Philosophy classes, writing dull essays, and being forced to read indomitable books
from centuries of yore--but it will pay off in GOLD at the end. You will be a liberally
educated scientist--able to communicate as well as the most lucid English major, and
yet still be capable of solving a few differential equations here and there.
The best part of all this is that this isn't the only highlight--UD has small class
sizes(you actually know your classmates, and your professor knows you), the Rome program(cliché,
but still....amazing), fellow Catholics, a small campus(at Tech I teach classes back
to back and have to bike 1.5 miles between the rooms), and the closest friends you'll
ever have. An education at UD is never regretted, especially by those in the sciences.
You get the same technical education you'd receive at any run of the mill college,
and then receive the liberal arts tools to put that education to better use.
And a special thank you to my teachers, for I certainly wouldn't have learned anything
it if hadn't been for the exceptional tutelage of Dr. Hicks and Dr. Olenick. I am
proud to call them my friends.
Will Spearman, B.S. Physics, B.A. Mathematics 2008:
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
Stephanie Wissel, B.S. 2004:
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
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.
Claire Nerbun Gillick, B.S. 2002:
After graduating with a B.S. in Physics from the University of Dallas in 2002, I attended
UT MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston to study medical physics. My thesis work at
MD Anderson involved developing a dosimetry audit system for proton therapy clinics
wishing to participate in NCI clinical trials. I graduated in December of 2005 with
a masters degree. Currently, I am working as a medical physicist in Manhattan at Memorial
Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. As a medical physicist, I plan photon and electron
radiation treatments for cancer patients and perform quality assurance on the linear
accelerators that deliver the radiation to ensure that treatments are safely and accurately
delivered. Its a challenging but extremely rewarding job.
Shortly after I moved to the city, I met my husband here. So Manhattan will always
be one of my favorite places. One of the most amazing things about living in Manhattan
is the diverse culture the people, the food, the arts, and of course, Central Park.
It truly is a concrete jungle that never sleeps.
John C. Boehringer, B.S. 2002:
J.C. graduated with a B.S. in Physics from the University of Dallas in 2002. He is
presently a high school teacher at Prosper High School, north of Dallas. He chose
the teaching profession after leaving UD and went through the Texas Region X Education
Service Center Teacher Alternative Certification Program, and became certified in
8-12 grade Physical Science (Physics and Chemistry). J.C. is currently serving as
the science department chair and teaches PreAP (Honors) Physics I and Calculus-Based
AP Physics II. He also coaches the schools Academic Decathlon team as well as the
UIL Science competition team. He has been teaching physics for 10 years with no plans
to change his field in the immediate future. Outside of his work he enjoys gardening
and home-improvement projects. Currently he is working on several writing projects
including a science-fiction novel and a possible foray into the creation of an open
source, interactive physics curriculum/e-textbook for tablet computers.
J.C. offers a few thoughts for prospective physics major at UD: The University of
Dallas provides an environment where highly competent professors are actually excited
to teach the courses you will be taking. This particular element of the curriculum
provides an invaluable resource not widely seen at many larger schools. I found the
science program to be home to the most zany, spirited, educated and fun group of individuals
on campus and that statement includes professors and students alike!
Regarding physics specifically, a B.S. in physics at UD is second to none and in my
experience, easily comparable to the physics offerings at many other colleges and
universities. This is due, in no small part, to the exceptional faculty and resources
the department provides. In addition, it is significant to note that all of the physics
faculty are active in teaching and research, both theoretical and experimental. The
opportunity to engage in meaningful research with your own professors is a challenging
and rewarding experience, one that would be out of reach at many schools.
Speaking as a high school teacher for Advanced Placement physics, I come into frequent
contact with the expectations of physics programs both in Texas and around the nation.
Given the high departmental expectations at UD, the small average class sizes and
the in-house research opportunities, I believe that UD's physics program offers similar
if not better undergraduate preparation than many colleges can offer. A physics degree
at UD will prepare you for graduate studies, or to proceed directly into industry
or education. J.C.'s Homepage
Brenda Martin, B.S. 2001:
Brenda Martin graduated from UD in 2001 with a B.S. in Physics. She currently works
as an optical engineer at Ball Aerospace in Boulder, CO and has started taking graduate
courses in optics at the University of Arizona. As an optical engineer Brenda analyzes
designs and conducts trade studies between designs. She makes sure light gets from
the front end of satellites to the other end. Most of the analyses are done with optical
She also writes a LOT! Everything she does has to be well documented. The quantity
of writing required was her big shock regarding the engineering field. Brenda says,
"I think that one of the things that UD has helped me with the most is the writing.
Most engineers don't write very well. Since UD requires so many non-science classes,
even for science majors, your writing skills are developed, whether you want them
to be or not."
One of the things Brenda liked most about UD was the Rome program. "I know this is
stressed a LOT in the recruiting information, however it really is a great experience.
It's not something many people get to do. Also, the class/department size of UD is
a huge asset. From freshman year, the professors know who you are and are very willing
to help you in any way they can."
Genevieve Wing, B.S. 2001:
Genevieve is in Haslett, MI, working at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory
on the Michigan State University campus (East Lansing). She has not yet earned a degree
past her physics BS/music concentration, but this fall she will start taking classes
at MSU. Genevieve is currently a cyclotron operator; she sets up the cyclotrons for
experiments (there are two, currently in series) and monitors the facility while experiments
are running (there is an operator on duty 24/7), and the operations department is
responsible for the cyclotrons themselves during maintenance periods. It's really
a fascinating job; operations overlaps a little with each of the other departments,
so she has a chance to get involved with everything from cryogenics and vacuum to
electronics and the RF system. It sounds fairly impressive, but she admits that, "I'm
really a cross between a lab tech and a mechanic!" National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory.
Chris Aubin, 1999:
Upon graduating from UD, I went to Washington University in St. Louis to pursue a
PhD in physics. I was there for five years, and specialized in theoretical high energy
particle physics (specifically a field called Lattice Gauge Theory, which is just
a fancy name for "particle physics on a computer"). In May of 2004 I received my PhD
and then moved on to Columbia University as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow in the
Theory group there. This is currently where I am, for at least three years (well,
two more from now). Being in this field has allowed me to travel all over the place,
mostly Europe (Germany, Ireland, Scotland), Japan (Tokyo and various other towns),
and the US and Canada.
Chris is currently an Assistant Professor at Fordham University in New York where
in addition to teaching he does research in theoretical hadronic and particle physics, mainly performing large scale
numerical simulations at various supercomputer centers around the country. Chris's Homepage.
Josh Nelson and Beth Sklaney, 1999:
Hours spent working theoretical mechanics and electromagnetic theory problems together
can sometimes lead to long term relationships. Such is the case with Joshua Nelson
and Beth Sklaney who were married in June of 2005.
Josh graduated with a B.A. in physics in 1999. He then obtained a law degree form
Boston College and is currently working for McDermott, Will & Emery, LLP (Law Firm)
in Irvine, California, USA. His specialty is patent law, and he has been admitted
to the US Patent Bar and has drafted several US Patent applications.
Beth and Josh both have special memories of their years at UD, because you can "Meet
your spouse in the physics department!"
Beth graduated with B.S. in Physics (magna cum laude) in 1999 and attended graduate
school at Syracuse University where she obtained an M.S. in Physics. She currently
works as a staff engineer doing compact device modeling for IBM in Irvine, California.
While at UD, Beth went to the PSI in Villigen, Switzerland to study the Te nuclei.
While at Syracuse University she worked on a couple of research projects, which included
(I) Experimental Condensed Matter Group: Built and tested dye sensitized solar cells,
and (II) Experimental High Energy Group: Programmed in C++ to access RICH data and
report where maximum number of hits.
Peter Burkett, B.S. 1997:
After leaving UD with a B.S. in Physics in 1997, I obtained an M.S. in Geophysics
from The Penn State University (PSU). While at PSU I was involved in two extended
trips to Antarctica working on a mix of glaciology and seismology (photo-lower left).
These trips came before I knew much seismology but were possible because of a solid
background in physics which I got as an undergrad at UD.
After working several years at the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie
Institution of Washington, Peter returned to Penn State University where he currently
is part of the Penn State Ice and Climate (PSICE) research team. In his works, 'I'm
here to help get things together for the science guys to study- that means computers,
logistics, all the odds and ends. ' Peter's Homepage.
Any graduate of the UD Physics Department is welcome to submit a profile to Dr. Sally
Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org.