Tori Knapp '19
As a single mom to two kids, physics major Tori Knapp ’19 says she sometimes feels like a bit of an anomaly on campus.
“I’m kind of a standalone student at IC,” she says. “I don’t know too many other people who have kids and are older.” But the number of single moms in college nationwide doubled between 2000 and 2012, and it’s expected to grow even more. Because of her school-aged children, Knapp didn’t want to move too far when it came time to transfer to a four-year college after graduating with an associate’s degree in biotechnology from Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3).
The prestigious reputation of the physics department and the potential of getting individualized attention from faculty is what drew her to IC. Scholarship support is what made enrolling at IC possible. She was awarded the Shirley Hockett Scholarship for the Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Computer Science because she graduated with honors from TC3. She received the NM Morris Family Foundation Scholarship later, which is given each year to a student majoring in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, or physics based on academic excellence, faculty nominations, and demonstrated financial need. The NM Morris Family Foundation Scholarship is associated with Paul and Wendy Aglietti, parents of a 2011 IC alumnus.
Knapp has already made the most of her time at IC.
“I was able to jump right into research my first semester with Luke Keller in his astrophysics lab, although I barely knew anyone and it wasn’t for credit. I can walk into any professor’s office and ask them anything about calculus or physics, and they’re right there to help me. I can email them at night when I have a question, and they email me right back.”
Knapp is focused on astrophysics and has already coauthored a paper and presented her research at the national meeting of the American Astronomical Society. Right now, she’s drafting a paper for publication with Keller where she will be listed as the first author. She will intern with him this summer in his lab through the Dana Student Internship program. In addition to being a mom and a stellar student, Knapp works at a Montessori school in the afterschool program and helps kids with their homework.
“My children are, first and foremost, my priority,” she says. “Having a hand financially allows me more time to focus on them and less time worrying about making ends meet.”