I was born/grew up in: rural USA, on a farm
I now live in: St. John's, NL
I completed my training/education at: Carleton College (USA) and Cornell University (USA)
What I do at work
As a professor, I wear a lot of different hats. I work directly with students in a classroom setting, but that’s a relatively small part of what I do. I also work with students one-on-one in my research lab. These are complex, hands-on activities that use science knowledge and problem-solving skills. I help them learn what they need to know to be successful researchers.
When I’m not working directly with students in a classroom or laboratory, I’m still very busy doing things that help support student learning. I write project proposals that bring in money that I use to buy equipment and supplies for my research lab. This money also pays the students who work with me. I help students write research papers, reports and theses. I also talk about our work at meetings and discuss science with other colleagues from across the country and around the world. Telling people about the science that we do in my research lab is a very important part of my job.
Another important aspect of my job is building good teams for doing research. This means that I interview and hire students to work with me. I also collaborate with other professors and scientists who have expertise that is different from mine. This is how I – as a physics professor – have been able to work with archaeologists, geologists, medical researchers, and companies.
My career path is
I've always been curious about how things work -- and I love solving puzzles -- but I never intended to be a physics professor. My early career aspirations included geologist (age 5), astronaut (age 6-7), and aeronautical engineer (age 7-17). When I was an undergraduate student, I tried chemistry laboratory research one summer and I loved it! Every day was different. I worked with hand tools, computers, mechanical equipment, and electronics. I also got to work with people with interesting ideas. That experience made me realize that science research would perfect career choice for me.
I am motivated by
I love the fact that my job is different every day. It’s a really good fit for me.
How I affect peoples’ lives
I enjoy seeing people having “ah ha!” moments when they figure out something that made them curious. As a physics professor, who runs a research laboratory, I help other people get training and experiences that help them find what they love to do.
Outside of work I
Since I spend most of my work days inside and sitting down, I like being active and outdoors to relax. Hiking, ultimate frisbee, hockey, and basketball have all been part of my regular routine.
My advice to others
Keep taking math, and be curious!