Academics > Successful Graduates

Successful Graduates

Successful Careers

Coe physics graduates have gone on to successful careers in a wide variety of fields including nuclear physics, material science, metallurgy, astrophysics, engineering, computer science, and industrial research. Here are some examples of what Coe physics graduates are doing now:

Thomas Britton

Thomas Britton graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in mathematics and physics. A native of Cedar Rapids, it was not a difficult journey for Thomas to enroll at Coe, as he had already taken a few classes at the college while a senior in high school, and providing the opportunity for him to become well acquainted with the campus and its faculty. Currently he lives in Syracuse, New York with his wife Meghan Britton '09. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in high energy physics at Syracuse University. More specifically, he is part of the LHCb collaboration at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland.

"Coe is a small place full of opportunity. From the professors who both challenge and support you at every point in your college career to the student organizations that enhance your experience, Coe will make you better, if only you agree to step outside your comfort zone and seek out the opportunities that await." - Thomas Britton '09

Samuel Hegland

Samuel Hegland graduated in 2008 with majors in mathematics and physics, and a minor in computer science. After college he married Hayley (Bright) Hegland, also a 2008 Coe graduate. A native of Cedar Rapids, Samuel remained in the city following graduation and started working for Transamerica as an actuary. In August of 2013, he became a fully credentialed actuary with the designation FSA (Fellow of the Society of Actuaries). In the same month, he relocated to Bermuda for a two- to three-year work position, where he and his family currently reside. Once his time in that position is complete, he plans on returning to Transamerica in Cedar Rapids.

"People from small, private colleges are not normally prepared for the actuarial career field, but the education I received at Coe was much better than ‘normal.’ The attention provided by my professors, and the varying perspectives that they offered, really taught me to approach problems in a unique way. I no longer try to find THE solution. Instead, I try to find an array of solutions because my liberal arts background taught me that it's very rare to be 100% correct in the real world. The professors at Coe took the sciences and made them appear as an art form and not just a rigid set of rules. That difference has meant the world to me." - Samuel Hegland '08

Sara Campbell

Sara Campbell, originally from Parker, Colorado, graduated from Coe College in 2005 with majors in physics, mathematics and computer science. Her physics research experiences at Coe encouraged her pursue a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the University of Colorado-Boulder. After defending her thesis on the nanomechanical properties of mineralized tissues, Sara accepted a post-doctoral position at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Sara currently works on the development of electro-surgical devices at Covidien in Boulder, Colorado.

"Coe College provides an experience of a lifetime. Students are given the opportunity to expand their horizons and grow both personally and professionally. My numerous experiences at Coe shaped my career path while developing technical and leadership capabilities that have helped me to succeed." - Sara Campbell '05

Eric Hemesath was born and raised in Dubuque, Iowa. He graduated from Coe in 2005 with majors in physics and computer science and a minor in Spanish. After Coe, he was fortunate to be accepted to a number of graduate programs and eventually decided to go to Northwestern University in Illinois to pursue his Ph.D. in materials science engineering. During graduate school, he was able to conduct collaborative research at UC-Berkeley and the University of Birmingham in England. Hemesath successfully defended his thesis in July 2010 on the atomic structure of semiconductor nanomaterials. In the fall of 2010, he moved to Portland, Ore., to begin his career as a senior process engineer at Intel Corporation where he is working on the development of next-generation computer processors.

"Coe College provides an excellent environment for young people to develop both personally and professionally. I have always been amazed by how much the administrators, professors and staff truly care about the well-being of the students. Bring ambition, passion and hard work to the table, and Coe can provide great opportunities." - Eric Hemesath '05

  • Dr. Hitendra Patel (Physics, Math, and General Science), B.S.E.E., Washington University in St. Louis, and M.S., Ph.D., Iowa State University
  • Dr. Rachel Boekenhauer (Physics), M.S., Ph.D., Brown University,Electron Microscopist at ANL
  • S. Bobby Bhowmik (Physics), M.S., Iowa State University, Engineer at H.P. in Portland, Oregon
  • Dr. John Salzer (Physics), M.S., Iowa State University, Ph.D., University of Michigan. John was a recipient of a Presidential Young Investigator Award given to him in the White House Ceremoney by President Bush.He is currently a research scientist at the University of Indiana.
  • Dr. Brad Sherrill (Physics), M.S. and Ph.D., Michigan State University, Professor of Physics at Michigan State University
  • Ponnappa Pandikuthira (Physics), B.S.E.E., Iowa State University, Production Manager at Daimler-Chrysler

Successful Students

  • DaNel Hogan has done it all! She played three years of varsity softball and volleyball and spent two years doing research in the Coe physics department of new bismuthbased glasses. Following this, she did research at Brown University on diamond films, research at Stanford Research Institute on lasers, research at Oak Ridge National Lab using lasers to repair daguerreotypes (nineteenth century photographic images), and research at the premier neutron scattering facility in the world, the Rutherford Appleton Lav in England. DaNel has also attended a number of national and international scientific conferences where she has made presentations. She was recognized during her junior year by Coe College as a Clark Fellow, which is a full-tuition award. She is the author of several articles in scientific journals. She received her M.A. from Southern Oregon University and is currently a science teacher in the Kuna School District.
  • T.J. Kiczenski has done research at Coe on germanate based glass systems. Off-campus, he has done research using nuclear magnetic resonance at Indiana University, FT Raman spectroscopy at Iowa State University, nonlinear optics in Shanghai, China, and neutron scattering at the Rutherford-Appleton Lab in England. Outside of academics, T.J. played second base on the Coe baseball team for two years. He also attended and presented a paper at a national scientific conference of the American Ceramic Society in Williamsburg, Virginia. T.J. obtained his PhD in geology at Stanford University and is now employed by Corning Inc., continuing the tradition of excellence inspired by Don Stookey '36.
  • Henry Bola George served as the five-state representative to the National council of the Society of Physics Students. He has also participated in research on glass at Coe. In addition, he spent a month doing research on nonlinear optics in China and Japan, he attended and presented at national scientific meetings, and he is a published author of several scientific papers. He served as the Coe College Physics Club president and the academic chair of the Lambda Chi fraternity on campus. Among his many accomplishments, Bola organized the visit by Nobel laureate, Norman Ramsey, to the Coe Campus. He attended Harvard University for his Ph.D. in applied physics and is currently a senior scientist at PVD Products Inc.

Graduate schools attended by Coe graduates

Coe graduates of the physics department have moved on and succeeded at a large variety of graduate programs in physics, engineering, mathematics, computer science and even business administration and French! These graduate schools have included: Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, MIT, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Brown, Northwestern, Maryland, Illinois, Iowa State, Iowa, Lehigh, Cranfield University (England), Wisconsin, Colorado School of Mines, University of Chicago, Minnesota, and several others.