University of California, Merced – PhD in Physics

You may be wondering, “Huh? Why go to UC Merced for a PhD in Physics.” Well, I will tell you.

Let’s start with a story involving the woman quoted on my home page. I was just a young physicist in the midst of my first undergraduate research experience in Texas. Details aside, I was interested in pursuing a career in optics. Off of a professional networking website (I’ll let you guess), an experienced physicist suggested I contact Dr. Garmire. After a cold email, Dr. Garmire graciously agreed to speak with me about being a woman in physics and applying to graduate school. It was she who highly recommended UCM due to it’s small class sizes (akin to SMC), erudite faculty and cutting edge programs.

I listened, and I took action. I applied to the UC Merced doctoral program in physics and was accepted. How rare in this age one gets to attend a start-up University! The program is constantly evolving, new faculty are being hired every year. The atmosphere is one of excitement for new challenges and the pursuit of knowledge.

It is at UC Merced, through the instruction and mentoring of my advisor Dr. Chih-Chun Chien and Dr. Chen-Yen Lai that I became the physicist I am today (a pretty good one I’ll add). At St. Mary’s I learned how to think, but at UCM I learned how to solve. Please see my research description for these details.

Degree Received — Spring 2018

Honors — Dean’s Distinguished Scholar Fellow Spring 2017, Physics Graduate Summer Fellow Summer 2015 and 2017

Saint Mary’s College of California – Bachelors of Physics

Tucked away in the East Bay Area hills is the quiet and quaint town of Moraga, California. Here, you will find the serene campus of Saint Mary’s College of California, home of the Gaels. You may heard of St. Mary’s while watching March Madness, since they are well known for their all-star basketball team (as well as many other D1 athletic programs). However, athletics is not the foundation of St. Mary’s.

My experience at St. Mary’s can be summed up by their mission statement, ” To probe deeply the mystery of existence by cultivating the ways of knowing and the arts of thinking.” At St. Mary’s, I was challenged to go beyond completing assignments and getting good grades (which I did superbly). I was taught how to think, how to analyze, how to present arguments and defend them, how to lead, and how to make a significant change in this world. In the setting of small classrooms, I was able to struggle with the equations of physics, ask questions about what they mean, and had the freedom to get hands on experience tinkering upstairs in the Galileo Hall laser lab (closet).

My experience at St. Mary’s shaped me into the thinker I am today. St. Mary’s taught me success is more than obtaining what YOU desire, but success is using what you’ve earned to be of service to others. By hiring me you will get more than a scientist or analyst, you will get a true intuitive and a complex thinker.

Honors: Dean’s list every semester from Fall 2010 to Fall 2012

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