I live on a 250-acre farm outside of Soldiers Grove, a small town in the Driftless region of Wisconsin with my parents, siblings, two horses, two cats, and dog. Before moving to a more conventional house, my family lived in a solar powered cottage where I was home schooled. As a home schooler I had the freedom to see a some of the world; from Europe to Central America to West Africa. I was also able to explore my many passions—horses, reading, math, sciences, theater, and cello. Though I have continued indulging in these interests, I knew from a young age that physics was what I wanted to pursue.
My father is a chemical engineer, and my mother began teaching middle and high school science again after home schooling my brother and I until high school; so, science runs in the family. When was little I began tinkering with my dad’s antique cars and developed an appreciation for resourcefulness and troubleshooting. All the while, I constantly pondered big questions about how the universe works, the patterns it follows and what the limits to the big and the small look like, if they exist. These qualities, along with my insatiable curiosity and love of learning drew me to physics. Before attending the local high school, I began reading whatever books I could that were related to physics. Throughout my time in public school, taking a variety of AP courses, my love of the science grew along with my ambitions in other academics, sports, theater, and music. Because of my passion for physics in addition to my many interests, I decided to attend Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, where I am about to start my third year.
After my first year at Lawrence, I was offered the opportunity to do summer research with a professor there. For ten weeks, I worked on measuring Landé gJ factors in neon. Because I had the fortune to work one-on-one with my mentor, I was given the responsibility of everything from construction and optimization of the saturated absorption spectroscopy setup, to data collection and analysis, to helping write and edit our now published paper, “Landé gJ values in Ne20: measurements of gJ(2p8), gJ(2p9), and gJ(2p10) by saturation spectroscopy.” Additionally, I presented our work at several conferences, one of which led me to this position at Stony Brook.