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Whitworth physics department launches seniors into prestigious graduate programs

May 7, 2013

This May, Whitworth’s physics department is sending 8 graduating seniors and two alumni to prestigious graduate programs around the country. The students listed below have been accepted into the following programs:
  • Dennis Goulet, University of Washington, for Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry
  • Brayden Hollis, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, for Ph.D. in robotics and computer science
  • Peter Landgren, Princeton University, for Ph.D. in mechanical and aerospace engineering
  • Alvin Le, University of Utah, for M.S. in biomedical engineering
  • Nicholas Meisner, Oregon State University, for M.Eng. in mechanical, industrial, and manufacturing engineering
  • Katie Olleman, University of Washington, for M.S. in mechanical engineering
  • Andrew Ritchie, University of California, Los Angeles, for Ph.D. in theoretical physics
  • Micah Spaun, University of California, San Diego, for Ph.D. in mechanical and aerospace engineering

In addition, these recent alumni will also be entering graduate programs this year:
  • Elly Bulega,’10, Washington State University, for M.S. in geotechnical & transportation engineering
  • Brisa Calderon,’12, University of Washington, for Ph.D. in applied mathematics
The six listed above who are pursuing doctorates have received full-tuition financial aid and living stipends for the duration of their programs.

Whitworth’s physics department offers majors in applied physics, biophysics, engineering physics, and physics, with courses that are designed with high academic expectations and hands-on experiences to equip students for future education and careers.

“The major-specific classes have provided me with the skills necessary for a career in research, while the liberal arts framework has forced me to integrate my learning,” says Goulet, a double-major in biophysics and chemistry. “As a result, I feel more comfortable engaging in interdisciplinary research, especially in the realms of physics, chemistry and biology.” Goulet plans to enter the pharmaceutical industry after graduate school and to work in the area of drug discovery, delivery or metabolism.

Whitworth’s physics department also provides students with the opportunity to participate in many notable summer internships, including programs at NASA and at leading research institutions across the nation.

“Our purpose is to provide our students with an academically rigorous education in physics and engineering,” says Kamesh Sankaran, associate professor of physics. “We do that in the context of committed Christian faith, rigorous intellectual challenge, and holistic mentoring. We seek to prepare students for careers in which they will explore the laws of the natural world that God has made, share the details of that creation with others, and apply technology to serve the needs of the world.”

In 2007, Whitworth’s physics department was awarded the Presidential Citation from the American Association of Physics Teachers; in 2004, the Council of Independent Colleges honored the department with its Heuer Award for Outstanding Achievement in Undergraduate Science Education.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.