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Physics Focus

GAP held a physics focus on March 10th to continue to showcase some of the recently published work by graduate students and eat some food! We had four presenters, listed below.

Zack Jackson – A robot made of robots: Emergent transport and control of a smarticle ensemble

James McInerney – Curved boundaries and chiral instabilities – two sources of twist in homeotropic nematic tori

Deborah Ferguson – Measuring Spin of the Remnant Black Hole from Maximum Amplitude

Adrien Saremi – Topological elasticity of flexible structures

If you publish a paper and would like to be featured in our next Focus, please reach out to any one of our officers, who can be found on the About page.

Last Mentoring Session!

On February 28th, GAP held our final mentoring session of the year for the current first-year graduate students. We focused this session on Special Problems, the importance of a good relationship with your advisor, and what the next steps are. These mentoring sessions have been extremely useful for GAP to get to know the first-years and understand how their year has been going. They have been very friendly and talkative, it’s been so fun meeting with them throughout the year!

After hearing some feedback about how classes are going this semester, we discussed summertime! This is the first semester without a heavy workload, and you will find yourself with a much more relaxed schedule. This can bring stress to some people who are used to lots of deadlines and structure. This is an opportunity to learn about your field, stay organized, and set up a new schedule for yourself and your advisor. Please reach out to any of the mentors if you would like any advice.

Finally, we talked about your relationship with your advisor. This is one of the most important things in graduate school that can make your life much easier. It’s important to have clear, consistent communication, and goals that are aligned. If you do not feel supported, evaluate why the relationship is not going as expected, and make efforts to improve the relationship or consider switching. This is again something the mentors can help with.

Thanks for being such an awesome year! We are super excited to see how your year ends up. We will see you at the end of the year party, and hopefully within GAP leadership soon!

GAP Career event – Dr. Matthew conrad

GAP continued its series of career events, where former Ph.D students present their current professional situations, what’s life like after grad’ school and how did they reach that point. This time, we invited GT alumnus Dr. Matthew Conrad.

Matthew is a former member of the Graphene group here at Tech, who used to work with Ed Conrad and he is now a R&D scientist in the materials department of Wolfspeed, a Cree Company, specialized in the manufacturing of more efficient power and wireless devices. Matthew described how his use of neural networks and AI to help his work to dislocation counting in materials.

About Wolfspeed: Wolfspeed is a manufacturing company specialized in wide bandgap semiconductors. Their products use silicon carbide (Sic) and gallium nitride (GaN) power devices. Their clients cover a wide range of multiple markets including military and aerospace, communications and industrial applications.

Stewart Long Visits to Discuss Nuclear Engineering

On November 22nd, Stewart Long, visited the School of Physics, to discuss his current career as an Engineering Program Manager. This was not his first time at the School of Physics, because he received his Bachelor of Science from the school back in 1975! It was great having him visit and the students had a lively discussion about the state of nuclear power, engineering, and managing a team.

Step into STEM

GAP participated in the 4th annual Step into STEM event hosted by Junior STEM on November 9th! This is an opportunity for student organizations on campus to showcase some cool demos and interact with kids from the Atlanta area.

GAP taught kids about magnets! We started by discussing what a magnet is, what they do, and how they interact with things in our world (including grapes!).

We then talked about how a magnetic field interacts with current flowing in a loop. We demonstrated a homopolar motor, and of course, a magnet falling down a copper tube.

All of the demos we came up with are ones that kids and parents can do at home together! We put together a pamphlet of our demos for parents to take home for future reference, which can be found here.

Thanks to Junior STEM for hosting this event! Excited for next year.

Third Mentoring Session of 2019

GAP held our third, and final mentoring session of the semester, on 11/08/19. We began with a brief discussion of Career Options, specifically about what we think is useful information to help guide your graduate school journey.

We then discussed special problems, a special opportunity for first-year graduate students to try out a lab that they may want to work in. It’s an opportunity for students to get to know the lab and the advisor, to determine if it’s the place they want to be in for the upcoming years!

We encourage all students to check out the Resources tab on our website to find the “Graduate Student Positions” page and the “Who Works for Whom?” page. These pages will help you figure out who is actively looking for graduate students and which graduate students work in which labs.

Thanks to all the mentors for making the mentoring sessions this semester so productive. We will see all the first-year students next semester for more mentoring sessions!

Best of luck on your finals!!

Jonas Cuadrado talks Data Science at Feedzai

On November 5th, Howey welcomed back former PhD candidate Jonas Cuadrado. Jonas has been working as a data scientist for 2 years at Feedzai, a company that uses machine learning algorithms to detect fraud and minimize risk in the financial industry. In his career talk, Jonas gave an overview of data science, detailed what he enjoys about his day-to-day work, and talked at length about the necessary steps to enter the field of data science with a background in physics. He was accompanied by an HR representative who accepted résumés and job applications.

We look forward to hosting more professionals in our series of career talks. Stay tuned for announcements about future speakers! If you would like to request a speaker from a particular industry or academic setting, please reach out to our career development chair, who can be found on the About page.

Physics Focus

GAP held our first Physics Focus of the year on October 29th! We celebrated the achievements of three graduate students who recently published papers in their fields by hearing about their results and eating yummy snacks! We had three presenters, who presented the following publications:

Johnathan Michel – Structural hierarchy confers error tolerance in biological tissues. Published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in February of 2019.

Brian McMahon – Doppler cooled ions in a compact, reconfigurable penning trap. Published to the arXiv in September of 2019.

Noah DeTal – Synchronization behavior in a ternary phase model. Published in Chaos in June of 2019.

We hope to continue hosting Physics Focus events to highlight even more of our publishing graduate students. If you publish a paper and would like to be featured in our next Focus, please reach out to any one of our officers, who can be found on the About page.

General GAP Meeting

On October 22nd, the GAP held our first General Meeting with graduate students to announce upcoming events and get some feedback. This was also a time for graduate students to get together and socialize, with yummy snacks!

Items discussed:

  • Physics Focus:
    • A new event held once a semester to celebrate the accomplishments of graduate students who have recently published a paper! The event will host 3 graduate students, each giving a short 10-minute talk followed by questions from the audience. This is a great time to advertise your work and receive feedback!
    • Reminder: If you have published a paper, GAP wants to know about it!
  • Workshop interest:
    • We inquired about what types of workshops people would be interested in so we can bring someone in from C2D2 to help us out. We did get some feedback on this, so look out for events!
  • We are still looking for an outreach chair! If you are interested in outreach and would like to be the point of contact for the GAP, we would love to have you! Send an email to if you are interested.
  • A member of the United Campus Workers Union came to discuss a bit about union goals and a petition they are circulating in regards to lowering student fees. Please take a look here if you would like to see the petition and sign it.

Thanks to all the grad students who attended! We plan to have another general GAP meeting next month.

Second Mentoring Session of 2019

On 10/04/19, GAP held their second mentoring session of the year with the first-year students of the department. The overall theme was stress management, where GAP took the opportunity to hear how their first year has been going so we can figure out if there is anything that can be done to alleviate their stress or help them out in any way.

One thing we discussed was how to figure out if professors are looking for graduate students. GAP just published a list of the status of professors, which can be found here.

The focus of the mentoring sessions has broadly been about receiving feedback about how the first-year best practices are being implemented, something that GAP worked on last year. GAP is committed to following up with this best practices list, and if there is anything that is not being implemented, we will do our best to fix the situation.

Best of luck to the first years during the rest of the semester, and we will see everyone at the next mentoring session!