Physics professor working with a student

Successful Alumni

Recent physics majors at Coe have gone on to the best graduate programs in the country including Harvard University, Stanford University, MIT, Northwestern, and others studying engineering, physics, materials science, geology, mathematics and astronomy.

Other physics alumni hold professional positions in major technology firms and laboratories. 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.

Samuel Hegland

Samuel Hegland graduated in 2008 with majors in mathematics and physics, and a minor in computer science. 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."

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."

Eric Hemesath

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."

Sandeep Giri graduated Cum Laude in 2004. While at Coe, he published five papers. Giri also served research internships at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. For a few years, he worked at Qualcomm as an engineer. Now he is in the Silicon Valley working at Google X on project Loon.

Karim Budhwani graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1993. He published six papers on borosilicate glasses. He is on the Alumni Council. Budhwani, a materials science and engineering (MSE) and biomedical engineering (BME) graduate student of UAB, presented to the Alabama Commission for Higher Education (ACHE) on December 4, 2015 in Montgomery, Ala.