Current Physics Majors
Maggie Stevens '14
Maggie has been working in Professor Alexi Arango's lab at Mount Holyoke College since the summer of 2011. She notes that the opportunity to have hands-on experience at MHC with a professor with whom she has taken classes was a safe and wonderful way to get her foot in the research door. In Professor Arango's lab, Maggie has helped build and design some of the equipment she uses to conduct her research.
"It's been really great to have been in the Arango lab from the beginning because I know many of the pieces of equipment from the inside out. I feel really lucky to experience this."
In her senior year, Maggie is busy preparing her experimental senior thesis on a novel device architecture for solar cells. Next year she plans to pursue her graduate studies in materials science and engineering.
Allie Lau '15
Allie has been a part of Professor Juan Burciaga's pedagogical group since her sophmore year at MHC. Her work focuses on developing a taxonomy to group and analyze the visual content of of physics textbooks including, Physics in Proportion by Professor Mark Peterson of MHC. Over the summer she joined Professor Mila Kryjevskaia's PER group at North Dakota State and analyzed how students use visual elements to interpret wave programs.
"I have always had questions about why learning physics can be so challenging and why some students have an easy time with certain topics while others stuggle with the same topics. Working with Professor Burciaga on Professor Peterson's book allowed me to explore how physics is taught and learned."
In the Fall semester of her junior year, Allie is taking Electromagnetic Theory, Statistical Mechanics and an independent study physics course in PER. In January of 2014, she will be presenting two papers of her work with Professor Kryjevskaia at the national AAPT meeting and will be co-author of a third talk on her work with Professor Burciaga.
Xiaofan Xu '16
Xiaofan started her physics lab experience the summer after her first year at MHC in Professor Kathy Aidala's lab focusing on quantum dots and magnetism. Xiaofan says, "This is when I learned how to experience physics".
"We have learned how to operate the AFM [Atomic Force Microscopy] in our lab and did experiments on the topography and other surface properties of thin films. Now we are ready to view the electrical properties of quantum dots using I-V measurements, Electrostatic Force Microscopy and Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy. My lab partners and I are really excited about that!"
In the Fall semester of her sophmore year, Xiaofan is taking Introduction to Mathematical Methods for Scientists and Waves and Optics.