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1st year best practices

In an effort to tackle issues experienced by former and current graduate students with the teaching of 1st year classes, GAP intended to implement regulatory measures aimed at improving the 1st year curriculum experience for graduate students.

Throughout the fall and spring 2018-19, members of GAP (James McInerney, Adrien Saremi, Danielle Skinner) presented propositions to the Chair of graduate studies Dr. Ballantyne. Our effort included several discussions with graduate student fellows and faculty members to bring forward a suggestive plan to the graduate committee. The submitted letter focused on the proper teaching of classes, the provision of appropriate resources for student learning and the improvement in the development of courses’ logistics. The document intended to serve as an agreement between the School of Physics and the graduate student body through GAP and shall be respected by professors teaching 1st year classes.

On February 28th, 2019, upon meeting with the graduate committee members, the points of the attached letter were accepted and included in the graduate committee’s Best Practice document, with immediate effect.

Prospect students visit – March 25th

GAP was happy to participate in welcoming admitted Ph.D students to the School of Physics. Part of the day included touring around our facilities and introduction to physics faculty members and research labs.

By the evening, prospect students were invited by GAP for dinner, the chance for them to check out restaurants and bars the city has to offer. We’d like to thank faculty members that financially contributed in making this event possible.

Physics Forum – APS March Meeting Practice Talks

GAP offered the opportunity to several graduate students to present their research ahead of the APS March Meeting Conference, happening in Boston this year. Talks were given in the format of contributed presentations, along with questions and comments designed to provide feedback to the speaker. We thank the following students for presenting their results:

  • James McInerneyInducing Chirality in Homeotropic Nematics via Confinement Geometry
  • Shashank Markande A Topological Perspective of Knitted Fabrics
  • Xiaojian Bai: A Quest to Quantum Dipolar Kagome Ice
  • Andrew SchulzMechanics of Elephant Trunk Wrinkles

In the future, we hope to re-conduct this session for presenters attending the APS March Meeting, and extend it to those attending the April Meeting and the Division of Fluid Dynamics Meeting as well.

We’d also like to remind that the Physics Forums remain an excellent platform for graduate students to present their research to the whole student body of our school, throughout the whole academic year. Schedule for Physics Forum can be found here.

Meet and Greet with Dr. Arturo Dominguez (PPPL)

GAP was pleased to host Dr. Arturo Dominguez for conversation with graduate students, around coffee and cookies. Arturo conducts research on Magnetic Fusion at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory but also has lots of enthusiasm and passion for outreach and teaching.

Check out his career path at and some of the job opportunities offered at PPPL here:

Meet and Greet with Dr. Seth Shostak of the SETI institute

It was a pleasure to welcome Dr. Shostak to our School of Physics for two presentations, as well as a GAP-organized discussion with current graduate students. Seth had the opportunity to report on the scientific hunt for extraterrestrial intelligence and the progress made over the last decades as well as the possible discoveries to come in the next years. We also were pleased to hear about Dr. Shostak’s professional and personal experience, from a graduate student at CalTech to Director of the SETI institute, and his advice on what makes a career in science successful. We thank all the people who attended this conversation.

Fall 2018 School of Physics Cookout

The members of GAP were very happy to help organize the venue of the annual School of Physics Cookout this year. We’d like to thank all the volunteers who contributed to the set up of the event, especially the hosts Sara Solla and Predrag Cvitanović, and the main organizers Pablo Laguna and Nicole Thompson. We hope GAP can further contribute to the planning of future social events for the physics community at Georgia Tech.

Career Event: Kelly Craigmile – Lockheed-Martin Recruiter

We had the pleasure to welcome Ms. Craigmile, a research manager for Lockheed Martin who focuses on candidate development. She is now educating college students about applying for jobs in industry, more specifically in the aerospace and engineering fields. During our focus session, Ms. Craigmire described her contribution to Lockheed Martin’s recruiting process before going over specific profiles of job applicants. She insisted on the importance of having a proper LinkedIn account for anyone who would like to seek a career in the industry, and how data analysis has become an extremely valuable marketable skill in today’s job market.

Career Event: Dr. Jonathan Halcrow, Senior Software Engineer at Google

We thank Dr. Halcrow for his career talk and for helping providing food from Emerald City Bagels, a local family-owned shop. Jonathan is a former student of Prof. Cvitanovic, who graduated from Georgia Tech in 2008, who then worked in a quantitative political science think-tank for 5 years before joining Google in 2013. Since then, Jonathan had the great opportunity to work for various research groups of the giant internet company, including projects like Google Play and Large Scale Graph Mining.

Per his request, we gratefully share his presentation slides: they contain useful information about the recruiting process of Google and more generally, of software companies. We also invite some of the interested students to directly email Jonathan for further information, résumé review and job opportunities.

Jonathan Halcrow – School of Physics Talk

Career Event: Dr. Mijan Huq, Executive Director at JPMorgan Chase

Thanks to everyone who joined Dr. Huq’s career talk on his professional experience from astrophysics to quantitative finance. Dr. Huq, having worked directly with Professor Laguna back at Penn State, introduced the graduate audience to the world of finance, how he used to implement his physics background to quantitative finance models and his transition from being a post-doctoral fellow to Executive Director of a major banking institution.