Emily’s initial interest in Physics was a bit serendipitous. She enrolled at Northeastern without declaring a major, and first became acquainted with the Physics Department at an academic fair. Hesitant to declare a major during freshman year because her interests were varied, Emily sought to pursue a broad and diverse curriculum. However, since selecting Physics at the start of sophomore year, she found the versatility in the discipline allowed her to explore a number of unexpected avenues.
Attending the student group meetings helped to “sell” her on the Physics department. Emily was quickly impressed by the caliber of the student research and the merit of the co-ops. She appreciated the emphasis Northeastern placed on interdisciplinary research and believed that studying physics would equip her with problem-solving skills necessary for success in any number of fields.
Emily’s first co-op brought her to Oregon where she participated in a research program for undergraduates funded by the National Science Foundation. There she conducted physical oceanography research at Oregon State University. Her project entailed collecting data aboard a 10-day research cruise, and analyzing acoustic backscatter in the water column to help quantify the evolution of a certain species of subsurface waves. In addition to data collection, she used MATLAB extensively and developed her programming skills. Emily loved living on the west coast and recently had the opportunity to return as she was invited to present a poster at the 2010 National Ocean Sciences Conference.
Always seeking out learning and growth opportunities for herself, Emily applied to and was selected to be the 2010 Steamboat Scholar from Northeastern. This competitive program provides one student with a generous grant to conduct cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. While this is a bit of a departure from her first co-op, Emily’s analytical skills will benefit her in this new role where she will learn how research is implemented in a medical environment.
Prior to co-op, Emily admits she had no involvement in research. Yet these opportunities exposed her to a realm of jobs and experiences she might have never considered. And, she’s discovered that she enjoys the rigor and autonomy of conducting research and is eager to see how research varies between fields.