Continued Success Beyond Ithaca College
Stavrini Tsangari, (3-2 Engineering), writes to us from her lab at Cornell University where she is pursuing a B.S. in Applied and Engineering Physics. She says it has been very exciting to learn how light interacts with different materials, as she uses spectroscopic tools to expose the finer structure of these materials. As a current reseacher in Dr. Andrew Musser’s light-matter interactions group at Cornell, she is investigating the underlying processes and properties in different Photoluminescent Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) using photoluminescence spectroscopy, while creating software tools needed for data analysis. While she looks ahead to graduating in May 2021, Stavrini is also applying to graduate schools where she can continue her studies in atomic, molecular and optical physics (AMO).
After 3 years at Ithaca College as a Physics 3-2 Engineering major Alex went to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), where he joined the Formula SAE team and completed 2 years in Mechanical Engineering. In Summer 2019 he landed an internship in composite manufacturing at SpaceX working on Dragon 2. In 2020 Alex got a second internship at SpaceX working as an Associate Engineer working on developing manufacturing processes for the Dragon 2 Capsules heatshield. In 2021 Alex went back to RPI to earn his MBA and accepted a summer internship at Lockheed Martin in Syracuse, NY working on a new manufacturing process for an Army radar program. In Fall 2021, Alex accepted a full-time position with Lockheed Martin in Syracuse as a Manufacturing Engineering Associate.
Since graduating from Ithaca College Physics, class of 2019, Jake has landed a full-time position as a Computer Architect (more specifically, Performance Architect) at Nvidia in Portland Oregon. Before that, Jake obtained his Master’s in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell University, where he concentrated on computer architecture and related subfields. While he was still a student at Cornell, Jake interned for a semester with Nvidia. Now, at his permanent position with Nvidia, Jake is responsible for maintaining his development team's CPU performance simulator, specifically the units related to the front end of the machine (instruction fetch, branch prediction, etc.). Jake also runs simulations and investigations to test out new microarchitecture ideas.
Annie is currently in her last semester at Hofstra University, where she is obtaining her M.S. in medical physics. She loves her studies and is very excited to pursue a career in her field. Annie works as a physics lab instructor for the undergraduate students at Hofstra. She is a quality assurance (QA) technician at Northwell Health, and is participating in a clinical research project involving combined modality prostate cancer radiation treatments. She will be moving to Nashville, TN soon - to begin her residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Since graduation Valerie has started a position as a Research & Development Associate at Swift Solar, a start up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Valerie has always been passionate about solving environmental problems and her physics background prepared her well to get into the field of Photo Voltaics. Swift Solar makes ultra-lightweight flexible perovskite solar cells, and Valerie works on the product team, doing research focused on efficiently turning single solar cells into connecting modules and encapsulating those modules for protection from the elements. Valerie enjoys living in the Bay Area as there are many options for a nature-lover like her. She says there’s always something to do, from hiking to rock climbing to surfing, and she’s met a lot of interesting people already.
Matt Bellardini (class of 2017), is pursuing a PhD in astrophysics at the University of California at Davis. He is working in Dr. Andrew Wetzel's research group doing theoretical/computational astrophysics. He studies galactic archaeology within the disks of Milky Way-mass galaxies. Galactic archaeology is essentially translating present-day observations of galaxies into an understanding of their formation history. His PhD doctoral dissertation project is focused on constraining chemical tagging, which is a technique used to identify the birth locations of stars based on their present-day characteristics.
Marcell wrote to us in March 2022 saying: “I’ve been quite busy lately as we've recently launched a new Amazon site in the UK and I was part of the launch team :). After completing my Master's at Cornell, I joined Amazon's Pathways Operations Management program and moved to Leipzig, Germany. Since then, I've relocated again, moving to London in 2021 to launch a new robotics site. As for hobbies and things I do outside of work these days - I've started to play Squash and Golf and am currently taking flight lessons as I'm working towards getting my Private Pilot License. I’m glad to hear the Physics department at IC has gained some new faculty members, I should definitely come and visit again sometime – it has been a while since I've been to Ithaca!”
Currently, Ryan is a Junior Project Manager at The Toner Plastics Group in Monson, Massachusetts. He manages the laboratory for 3D printing and materials testing, and supervises engineering interns. He has also been accepted into Western New England University's M.S. in Mechanical Engineering program, with aspirations of working in research and development.
He has also been involved in a number of charitable programs, including the Western Massachusetts 3D Printing Collaborative (to produce PPE for frontline healthcare workers), as well as the local Springfield Museum.
After completing a postdoc in Taiwan, Adam is now the Department of Energy AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow Member-at-Large on the Executive Committee of the APS Forum for Early Career Scientists (FECS), working with the Department of Energy. He has just published his first single-author paper on the Ising Model. You can learn more about this computational modeling project at his blog.
Rachel obtained her Masters of Arts in Teaching Adolescent Science Education at Ithaca College as a Noyce Scholar. Prior to that, she earned a B.S. from Ithaca with majors in Environmental Science and Physics. Currently, Rachel teaches Physics and Earth Sciences at South Seneca High School in Ovid, New York. While teaching, she finished a second Bachelor's degree from University of Florida in Geology.
Rachel now lives in Trumansburg and is happy to recommend careers in teaching and education!
After IC, Jeff started completed his Master's degree in Materials Science and Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he wrote code for feature extraction from scanning electron microscopic views of nanoceramics and for computational materials science models. Jeff is now a Senior Full Stack Developer for Prudential Financial where he helps develop websites, such as a page for 401K management. Jeff also maintains his musical side playing oboe as a member of the Bay State Winds chamber ensemble.
After graduating from Ithaca College Physics in 2014, Julian received a degree in the Culinary Arts from the International Culinary Center in Manhatten, NY. In 2016 he moved to California to work for Hestan Smart Cooking, a smart connected cooking company, as their Culinary Scientist! Julian works on developing and enhancing tools for fine cooking. Cookware and appliance design, where we need to control and manage heat, is where cooking intersects with physics – “the perfect fit for me!” he says.
Andrey Stejko is a graduate student in the PhD program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, on a full-ride NASA graduate fellow scholarship! Andrey is doing solar physics on supercomputers. In particular, he is simulating three-dimensional non-axisymmetric magnetic field structures in magneto-hydrodynamical models of the Sun’s interior. While in graduate school, Andrey has had the opportunity to work at the NASA Ames Research center and at Stanford University. In 2018, Andrey was a visiting scientist at the Los Alamos National Lab (of Manhattan project fame). Andrey has a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal and he plans to do a postdoc at Stanford University.
Rob Lewis, Physics B.S. Class of 2013, is now a Production Engineer at Bungie (maker of games like Halo and Destiny), living in the greater Seattle area. Rob says that his job gives him a dynamic problem-solving role that focuses on a few aspects of the business: customer service, improving workflows, and educating users. According to Bungie, Production Engineers are “force multipliers who use their expertise across Bungie systems and their passion for supporting others to augment the studio's effectiveness.” Before joining Bungie, Rob was a student at DigiPen Institute of Technology, majoring in Game and Interactive Media Design.
Joyce Wu is now an attorney with Saxe Doernberger & Vita, in Naples Florida. Her physics degree has distinguished her at almost every juncture in her career. She attributes her skills in teamwork, effective communication, problem-solving and critical thinking to her degree from Ithaca College. She has been able to apply these skills in her work as a special project manager after earning her MBA. She says, "I cannot emphasize how grateful I am to have been a part of such a nurturing, intimate, challenging, but supportive environment found in Ithaca’s physics department.”
After leaving Ithaca, Cory earned his Masters in Energy Systems Engineering and Sustainable Systems from the University of Michigan. This led to a position at the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA) where he manages data analysis and reporting for state-funded clean energy programs. Cory tracks progress on solar installations across New York State and manages reporting for NY’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the northeast's carbon cap-and-trade system. Cory’s work is an important part of our shift to clean energy!
Ryan is building a road to space as an engineer in Blue Origin’s human spaceflight program, where he has been integrating avionics into rockets since 2019. In 2015, Ryan completed his Masters’ degree in Biomedical Engineering at Cornell, culminating in the design of an orthopedic joint replacement prosthesis. He then supported a team of biologists in Japan working to grow kidneys in vitro. After that, he spent 3 years developing PPE for orthopedic surgeons, and is now lead inventor on 5 patents.
Currently, Jill is an astronomy postdoctoral scholar at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. Jill’s research is on RR Lyrae variable stars, and using them as a standard candle for distance measurements in extragalactic astronomy. Jill visited Ithaca College in the Fall 2020 to give a talk on her research and career track thus far, for sophomore-level physics and astronomy majors. She loves her work, especially writing code for data analysis.
Jill was a student of Beth Clark and Luke Keller when she was in Ithaca. She completed a double major in Physics and Math.
Judith Olson, class of 2011, was recently named Next Generation Leader of the Year by @womeninitawards. Judith leads by example, showing young women what is possible in the world of science! Judith is a PhD physicist with experience in atomic, molecular, and optical physics, timing services, and the higher education industry. Judith is currently director of the Atomic Clock Division and a Senior Physicist at ColdQuanta, a company that provides products that enable quantum computers and quantum lab environments.
Chris Stathis (Ithaca College Physics class of 2011), is currently a senior perception engineer at Boston Dynamics, working on the robot “Spot”. He is a team lead for the autonomy group. Chris works on all the aspects of autonomy and computer vision capability built into the robot, such as terrain mapping, obstacle avoidance, localization, and building-scale autonomous navigation. Lately he’s been focused on making Spot useful in the real world for some cool applications like autonomous inspection and monitoring of a nuclear power plant.
Caitlin Ahearn, IC Physics class of 2010, has had a varied career since graduating from IC, but that's the way she likes it! First, she worked for Mevion Medical Systems, a company that designs and builds proton therapy machines for cancer treatment. Caitlin worked to commission their first clinical machine, which is now treating patients. Following that she went to the University of Southern California for a master's degree in Green Technologies (sustainability and engineering), then moved to Portland, Oregon to work for AmeriCorps where she did recycling education and outreach for local governments. Currently she is Program Manager for nonprofit “Westside Transportation Alliance”, working with Oregon-based businesses like Nike, Intel, and Columbia Sportswear on sustainable commute programs for their employees. Even though her work isn't strictly physics anymore, she still uses that analytical and scientific way of thinking in all of her work, and she’s been told that it has been a big selling point for the employers that have hired her.
Romaine Isaacs is a Senior Applications Engineer at Zeiss Additive Manufacturing Process and Control. He works in research and development with scientists at Oak Ridge National Lab who use thermodynamic models to design novel alloys for metal 3D printing. The goal is to design new alloys that are thermally stable to temperatures much higher than can be achieved by conventional processing. Romaine images these alloys, performs semantic segmentation with deep learning algorithms, and reconstructs 3D models of the microstructure to inform the thermodynamic models. By quantifying different parts of the microstructure they can calculate strengthening mechanisms in these alloys and improve the mechanical properties for moderate temperature applications.
After graduating from Ithaca College, Arthur earned a Masters in Electrical & Computer Engineering at Cornell University. His career path into the professional world immediately dove into the world of finance, however, as he entered the workforce during a recession. Arthur began his first professional role as a Data Analyst in the Northern Virginia/DC metro area, and this led to his current job as a “Trade Operations Specialist.” Arthur believes that careers are very “malleable things”, prone to unexpected twists and turns where perceived setbacks can result in some of the best opportunities. :-) Because of his varied experience, Arthur currently enjoys wearing many hats – he works on coding and putting together complex trading systems, he ensures that production infrastructure is humming along smoothly (and intervenes when necessary), and he monitors live algorithmic trading.
After graduating from Ithaca, Blaine completed his 3-2 Physics-Engineering degree at SUNY Binghamton (BSME) before attending Georgia Tech (MSAE).
Blaine is now the CTO and co-founder of Previsio; a startup company that is on a mission to revolutionize personal finance and empower users to live their best lives by creating the first-ever digital financial coach. His passion is developing innovative technologies that can change the world for the better and empower both people and organizations to achieve their goals in incredible ways. Before founding Previsio, Blaine held various technical and leadership positions at Cintel Inc., Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), and the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory (ASDL).
Passion for science and music brought David to Ithaca College. At the end of sophomore year, David settled on a physics major, after taking an astronomy class on stars and galaxies. He also took all the courses for a music minor. David says that his most formative experiences at IC were not his physics or music classes, but the research that he pursued. Besides researching young stars at IC, David also spent a summer as an REU student at Cornell. He worked at Cornell for two more years after graduation, writing software and pursuing astronomy research. David chose to enter the PhD program in astronomy at the University of Virginia and now teaches physics and astronomy at Austin College, where he takes his students on the occasional fun trip, and pursues research on stars with his on-campus observatory. And it all started with a class on stars and galaxies at IC!
Jason completed his Bachelor's in Physics and Math-Economics at Ithaca College in 2005. He went on to earn his Master's in International Economics from Florida Atlantic University. Currently, Jason is Chair of the Social Sciences Department and instructor of Economics at the College Academy at Broward College. Jason is also a Faculty Mentor for the Broward Minority Male Initiative which directs students to the best available resources to support their personal, academic, and professional development goals. Jason recently served on the Florida Council on Economic Education, and helped revise the “Financial Freedom Workbook” which is intended to support financial literacy throughout Florida.