In 1970 Ithaca College physics professor Ahren Sadoff was conducting research in fundamental particle physics using Cornell's synchrotron. It struck him that IC students interested in engineering could benefit from the same access. He began talking with Cornell's W.H. Erickson, associate dean of the College of Engineering, and the two hatched what is now known as the 3-2 physics-engineering program.
IC physics majors can apply for the program during their junior year after finishing their major requirements. Once accepted, they spend the next two years at Cornell taking engineering courses. After five years total, they earn bachelor's degrees in both physics and engineering.
IC physics department chair Dan Briotta explains: "We know our students well and can generally predict who will succeed in the Cornell environment. Our department makes a recommendation to Cornell's Engineering College, and in all the years of the agreement, no student from IC has been turned down by Cornell. It is really important that we send students who can do well, even if it is only one or two a year." This spring two IC students graduated from the program -- Jay Schuren and Kyle McMahon.
Briotta says that the 3-2 program is a draw for high school students considering Ithaca College. In 1991 similar agreements were reached with the engineering schools at Clarkson, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the State University of New York at Binghamton. Since then 21 IC students have graduated from one of these programs.