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UDPA Alumni Spotlight

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An Interview with Erik Gundersen

What is your current position?

Superintendent of Schools - Pascack Valley Regional High School District 


What made you choose to attend UD? 

 

What initially attracted me to the University of Delaware was the beauty of the campus and its overall reputation for academic excellence.  I also came to realize that UD was large enough that there were many choices for me, but small enough where I felt I could have an impact at the University.  As I continued my research into my college options, I discovered it was one of the few schools that would allow me to obtain a teaching certification and major in computer science.  Fortunately for me, in my freshman year, when I realized that computer science was not the right major for me, UD allowed me great flexibility in changing my major to Physics Education.


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Dr. Robert Forrey is a Distinguished Professor of Physics at Penn State Berks. He received his Ph.D. in theoretical AMO physics in 1995 under the supervision of Prof. Hill and Prof. Morgan. Prior to joining Penn State in 1999, Dr. Forrey was a Research Associate at Harvard University.

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Dr. Gillian Winters received her Ph.D. in 1990 from the University of Delaware under the supervision of Prof. Karl Unruh. She has just received the 2015 Paul Zitzewitz Excellence in Pre-College Physics Teaching Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers. Gillian Winters is a New York State Master Teacher and high school physics teacher from St. James, NY. This award is in recognition of contributions to pre-college physics teaching, and awardees are chosen for their extraordinary accomplishments in communicating the excitement of physics to their students.

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Prof. Xin Fan received his Ph.D. in 2010 under the supervision of Prof. John Q. Xiao for experimental research on magnetic dynamics in various nanostructures. He continued as postdoc in the same group where he studied emerging topic of  spin-orbit torque in ultrathin magnetic bilayers.  In the Fall of 2014, he became Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Denver.

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Dr. Shu received his Ph.D. in 2014 for the studies of low temperature surface passivation of crystalline silicon and its application to interdigitated back contact silicon heterojunction (IBC-SHJ) solar cell under the supervision of Prof. BIrkmire. Dr. Shu is now a staff engineer at Western Digital, CA.

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Dr. Civiletti received his Ph.D. in 2014 for the studies of modern constraints on F-term SUSY hybrid inflation models under the supervision of Prof. Shafi. Dr. Civiletti is now an instructor at Morrisville State College, a unit of the State University of New York.

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Dr. Shabbar Raza Rizvi obtained his Ph.D. degree in 2013 in theoretical particle physics under the supervision of Prof. Qaisar Shafi. The topic of his Ph.D. thesis was Low Energy Predictions from Supersymmetric Grand Unified Theories. He is currently a post doctoral fellow at Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics China, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing.

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Dr. Ryan Stearrett obtained his Ph.D. degree in 2013 in experimental condensed matter physics under the supervision of Prof. Edmund R. Nowak. The topic of his Ph.D. thesis was magnetization fluctuations and electronic noise in exchange-biased magnetic tunnel junctions during annealing. He is currently a process engineer at Intel in Oregon.

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Dr. Peter Thejll received his Ph.D. in astrophysics in 1989 under the supervision of Prof. H. L. Shipman. His thesis research was focused on white dwarfs. He was a Carlsberg Fellow at the Niels Bohr Institute and worked at the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics. Dr. Thejll currently is a senior scientist at the Danish Meteorological Institute in Copenhagen.

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Dr. Wang received his Ph.D. in 2008 for the studies of magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) under the supervision of Prof. Xiao within the Center for Spintronics and Biodetection. During his subsequent postdoctoral research at the Johns Hopkins University, he published several high profile articles, including one in Nature Materials on spin-transfer torque in MTJs assisted by electric field to reach the limit of ultralow energy consumption. Dr.

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Prof. Bindiya Arora completed her Ph.D. degree in 2008 with Dr. Marianna Safronova. During her Ph.D. she worked on the modeling of atomic systems for atomic clocks and quantum computation. After completion of her Ph.D. she worked at Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), Punjab, India as a guest researcher for two years, and then at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Mohali, India as a scientist. Thereafter she joined the Department of Physics, GNDU as Assistant Professor.

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Dr. Misquitta received his Ph.D. in 2004 while working on the subject of intermolecular perturbation theory under the supervision of Prof. Szalewicz. He currently works in the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge in UK, and has been a College Lecturer at Murray Edwards College since 2009. His main research focus is concerned with understanding molecular aggregation from first principles, which he addresses through theoretical approaches. Dr.