Physics Alumni


 
Chris Compton

Chris Compton

 

“Plasma physics is a fascinating area to study,” Compton explained. “We regularly see man-made plasma in the form of fluorescent or neon lights and more recently televisions. We see naturally occurring plasma as lightning, the aurora, and the sun. I’m particularly interested in the plasma that we find surrounding the Earth. I first learned of its effects in high school, studying how radio waves can bounce off the ionosphere and propagate much farther distances than line of sight would allow. Depending on the properties of the surrounding plasma, waves can propagate or be suppressed. To understand these properties and what wave behavior can be expected, we need appropriate diagnostics.”

 

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Jonathan W. Campbell

Jonathan W. Campbell

 

“Jonathan W. Campbell’s career, following parallel paths at times, has been recognized with many honors and accolades, and his inspiration to help others led him to research and teach ways to protect the entire Earth.”

 

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Catherine Jahncke

Catherine Jahncke

 

“A degree in physics teaches you so much more than just physics,” explained Catherine Jahncke ’88. “You learn how to be a problem solver. You learn perseverance because most of the problems you tackle are challenging. Those skills will help you no matter what career you choose. So my advice is to embrace the challenges, solve the little puzzles that you encounter, each one helps you to grow.”

 

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Philip Valek

Philip Valek

 

“I work on proposals that can range in size of a project to support analyzing some data to being part of a team to develop a $100 million mission,” explained Philip Valek. “Other days I am working on designing, developing or operating an existing mission. Recently I have been working on analyzing the data returned from the Juno spacecraft orbiting Jupiter. This July 4 marked the fourth anniversary of us arriving at Jupiter.”

 

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David Bradshaw

David Bradshaw 

 

“Studying physics was an immense help in learning to think clearly. I learned to note carefully the methods that were used to reach a given conclusion, the assumptions that were made, and what degree of certainty could be claimed for the result. These are habits that I’ve tried to keep in all my work,” explained David Bradshaw who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Auburn University in 1982.

 

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Brian Cannon

Brian Cannon 

 

“Physics has always been a quantitative field, and as the world becomes increasingly data driven, the training that physicists receive positions them to make contributions in an endless amount of fields,” explained Brian Cannon, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Auburn University in physics in 1997.

 

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James Nakamura

James Nakamura

 

“I want to have a career where I am constantly learning new things and being challenged to solve problems, and research is one of the best areas to do that,” Nakamura explained. “A graduate degree in physics provides the foundation to develop a more profound understanding of quantum mechanics and relativity.”

 

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Taylor Hall

Taylor Hall

 

“Dr. Thomas gave me sincere advice that always stuck with me. Learn a lot of skills as a graduate student because odds are good that you’re not going to get hired to do the specific thing that your dissertation was on. So, make sure that you learn as many different skills as you can because you never know which one of them is going to get you your next job,” Hall said.

 

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Spencer LeBlanc

Spencer LeBlanc


“Earning a doctorate degree in physics gave me the competitive edge to secure a job before I even graduated,” explained Spencer LeBlanc.

The upcoming graduate will be relocating to Huntsville, Alabama, to begin his career as a Scene Developer/Analyst at AEgis Technologies, which has more than $100 million in revenue and for 25 years has been specializing in modeling and simulation technology.

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Melisa Buie

Melisa Buie


As Director of Operations and affectionately known as a laser jock at the multi-billion dollar corporation Coherent, Melisa Buie leads a team of talented people from different concentrations including engineering, planning, purchasing and production. Buie solves an array of problems from both the technical side to the business side making the best products possible for Coherent, a global supplier of industrial lasers based in California. She is a proud graduate of the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) with a Master’s of Science in Physics. And, she still gathers with small group of friends each year from her days in the Department of Physics at Auburn University.

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