What do some our alumni say about their education at HMC?

Nate Cook (’95)


My Mudd education has been indispensable for this job. My attitude towards science has been the single most important strength, and I know that my years at Harvey Mudd contributed positively and greatly to that attitude.

Jan. 1, 1997

Joe Shanks (’79)

Photon Research Associates
My point is that the baseline skills for success in industry (I believe) are common sense, good communication skills, a reasonably broad background in science and decent computer skills. There will always be a market for bright people who satisfy these criteria, and a physics degree is a big plus for the applied science shops.
Jan. 1, 1997

Joseph Thywissen (’94)

Harvard University
Congratulations on the department's recent vigorous activity! It sounds great in that it provides more research opportunities for undergraduates....
Jan. 1, 1997

Mike Leung (’78)

Northrop Grumman

… it has been my experience that the physics background is extremely well suited to the ebbs and flows and constant changes in industry. Perhaps you can use that as a selling point to attract more majors. What I have found with myself and other PhD physicists at Northrop (former TRW), is that we are the most versatile of the many technical disciplines at work. I'll mention a few skills that the physics major imparts that perhaps aren't as strong in many engineering majors:

  • the physicists seem to have better critical thinking skills and quantitative skills
  • the physicists who were experimentalists in graduate school (or perhaps even during senior research) have a very broad knowledge and can step easily into several disciplines (e.g. I count myself very familiar with materials, vacuum techniques, cryogenic techniques, and influence of measurement equipment on experiments). This broad background is also a key advantage when it comes to troubleshooting and other problem solving
  • they seem to remember their college subject matters better; believe it or not it comes in handy sometimes. Maybe this comes from the grad school courses, I don't know

I first entered HMC intending to major in engineering. I switched to Physics because I found the subject matter and approach to teaching much more appealing.

Sept. 1, 2012