The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
I am a full-time PhD student at the Research School of Earth Sciences working in the Seismology department. I am studying the Earth's inner core and core-mantle boundary as well as improving current methods of imaging the Earth's crustal structure. I publish papers in scientific journals, regularly attend geoscience conferences all over the world, and am involved in outreach programs in Canberra. I also participate in 2-week field work expeditions where a small group of seismologists go by truck through the Australian outback to deploy seismometers.
As an undergraduate at Hendrix, I completed two summer research projects. The first was performed on campus under the supervision of Dr. Tinsley where, through the use of mathematical simulations, I studied the rate of neutrino emission in supernovae. This project taught me valuable computer science skills and how to direct my own research. The following year, I was granted an REU position at Purdue University in Indiana where I wrote predictive weather models for the control computers of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope in Chile. The professors at Hendrix always encouraged me to pursue new research opportunities.
How Hendrix prepared me for success
My research at Hendrix taught me how to govern my own research path and how to apply the maths that I learned in my classes to real-world situations. Hendrix was excellent for helping me to establish study and research routines which have kept me in good stead at graduate school. My extensive practice with balancing multiple projects at Hendrix helped immensely, as well.
In a year and a half, I will finish my PhD, and from there I plan to work for either Geoscience Australia – the government earth sciences research arm – or their American counterpart, USGS. There I would help develop Earth models that would yield a better understanding of earthquake and tsunami risk. I could also pursue a position with a private company where I would investigate alternative energy sources. My skills are ideally suited for finding anomalous geothermal energy hotspots in the Earth's crust.
Research, research, research! The most influential and life-altering decision I made while at Hendrix was to engage myself in research projects. Also, as wonderful as Hendrix is, it is essential to get some outside experience, such as participating in an REU. And don't be afraid to explore other fields. I thought I would forever work in physics, but I gave astronomy and geosciences a go during my second summer's research internship and learned that physics wasn't the only field I enjoyed. I am now a proud seismologist. Oh, and most importantly, sleep! I cannot emphasize how important getting a full night's sleep has been to my success. It's perfectly possible to get 8 hours of sleep, eat 3 meals a day, maintain a 4.0 GPA, and with a little planning, still have time for friends and fun.