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

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

Stan Kidder (’71)

Colorado State University
I can't speak highly enough of the broad-based physics education I received at HMC. I have done a lot of things over the years, and virtually all of them were made possible by my physics education. Yes, a job after graduation is important, but the broader your education, the more likely you are to be able to keep up with the rapidly changing times.
Jan. 1, 1997
Image of Xin (Laura) Zhang (’16)

Laura Zhang (’16)

Princeton University

I'm Laura (Xin) Zhang, class of 2016. I'm still a graduate student at Princeton Plasma Physics, grinding away towards my PhD.

After 3 years in grad school I decided I needed a pallet cleanser, so now I'm doing a summer internship at Siemens Corporate Technology. I'm working on the intersection of artificial intelligence and physics, mainly on using AI to help us predict the future of physical systems, while making sure that the prediction still obeys the laws of physics that we know and love. It's been pretty interesting. But most importantly, I'm being reminded of the reasons that I ended up in physics, that physics is still the only thing that I love too much to live without. (For those who remember my days at Mudd, it took quit a few twists and turns for me to end up there :p)  I'm looking forward to getting back to my PhD program after this summer, with some renewed energy!

Laura Zhang (’16) helping out

On the other hand, as a woman in physics, it was quite a shock to go from Mudd (where my class of physics graduate was majority women) to a graduate program where I was the only one in my cohort, and second in the entire program. Sometime early last year, me and Sierra Jubin, a Williams grad, officially started a Women in Plasma Physics chapter at Princeton. Over the past year we have managed to get the student group off the ground. We have organized and participated in a lot of science education (K-12) and undergraduate outreach and mentoring programs. 

And this week we finally made an official webpage! Check this out - 


I'm really proud of our organization. We're starting to get attention throughout the PPPL national lab. We got a shout out from the director on the international women's day, and recently we've been getting requests from the other women scientists (postdocs, staff, engineers) to join our crew. We're in the process of "going public", aiming to serve a broader population than the graduate students alone! I attached a photo of me at one of our outreach events at a local elementary school - we were not prepare for the baby tables! But we made it work and it was super cute!

Anyways, this is my very verbose answer to your request for update. Feel free to share/edit the story in any way you like, and share my contact with current students. I'm always down to talk to fellow Mudders!

July 26, 2019

Jason Goldberg (’94)

IBM Almaden Research Center
I would say, using myself as an example, having a Physics background is a tremendous asset no matter what field one decides to go into. I really think that the problem solving skills I learned as a Physics major have helped me in my Engineering work. Also, since Physics is so fundamental to everything else (perhaps my view here is a little jaded?) there is no way to go wrong by learning Physics first and then moving up to other disciplines. ('Up' in the sense that 'C' is a higher level language than 'assembly'.) And now seems to be a great time for well-skilled scientists here in the Silicon Valley. The group I am in at IBM is concerned with magnetic disk media and most of the PhD's are from Physics/Material Science backgrounds.
Jan. 1, 1997