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

Sean Burke (’82)

Sapient Health Network
The scope of my technical education at Harvey Mudd made it possible for me to design products in physics, mathematics, chemistry, and electrical engineering. I felt confident enough to teach myself new subjects... My current team covers a lot of technical ground, and I think that the broad scientific training I received in physics at Harvey Mudd continues to contribute to my ability to successfully educate myself in new subjects and to understand the post-graduate-level work being done by the group.
Jan. 1, 1997

Justin Stege (’92)

UCSD
I'm currently finishing my PhD in Biology here at UCSD. This was a big change from physics and I am not directly doing much physics related research. However, I think my physics training was very important. I learned how to be a clear, critical, scientific thinker which has served me well here. Having a physics background in no way hindered my applications to biology graduate schools. I think most schools considered it an advantage. The field of biology is becoming much more analytical and the perspective I have with a physics background is quite useful. Now that I am looking for a job, I think having a background in both physics and biology will help a lot.
Jan. 1, 1997

Ben Noviello (’84)

SRI
I use my physics knowledge to allow me to quickly grasp the underlying principles of whatever problem I am dealing with, allowing me to gain a working knowledge without getting bogged down in the details. It is this ability to be something of a jack-of-all trades (or a technical general practitioner as I prefer to think of it) that makes me valuable to the employer. Physics is the ideal background for this. In fact, as one goes up the management chain of this company, one finds that it is physics-heavy, as these are the people who have the ability to grasp the underlying concepts of a problem- which is what I think physics is all about. Hold the line when it comes to those things that traditionally make HMC great. That I was taught in small classes entirely by English-speaking PhD's who actually had office hours and didn't treat us an annoyance stands in stark contrast to the undergraduate experience of most of my peers.
Jan. 1, 1997

Ken Lorell (’65)

Hine design
So what do I think about a physics education some 30+ years after graduation? Would I do it all over again? There's absolutely no question in my mind. For anyone entering virtually any of the engineering or science disciplines, with maybe the exception of organic chemistry, an undergraduate physics education is invaluable. I went on to the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Stanford School of Engineering for my Ph.D., and my HMC physics degree was a major advantage in practically every class I took and in my thesis research. In addition, in my years as a technical contributor, having the breadth and depth that a physics degree provides made me much more versatile than my colleagues who studied some branch of engineering. I was able to apply basic concepts from E and M, dynamics, optics, and even basic nuclear physics / relativity theory / quantum mechanics to solving problems and inventing new techniques. The ability to understand physical phenomena and apply basic principals to analysis and problem solving is directly related to the solid foundation that I got as a physics major. The colleague with whom I had my most successful collaboration, by the way, has a Ph.D. in physics (with engineering subjects, from the Sorbonne) and my former boss has a degree in Engineering Physics from Cornell---just indications of how a physics degree is a key building block to a successful technical career.
Jan. 1, 1997