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veronica barone

Associate Professor of Physics and Director of Science of Advanced Materials PhD Program, Central Michigan University

 

This is a dynamic career in which you can choose what projects motivate you the most and then pursue them.

What do you do?

Academic jobs are really varied. From teaching freshmen courses to committee work and research, all of our activities ultimately impact students and young researchers. My work day is split in mainly teaching and research. Teaching is also varied since I teach different courses, from intro physical science for non-science majors to quantum mechanics for physics graduate students. My main field of expertise is computational condensed matter physics with applications in nanomaterials and materials for energy storage.

Why did you choose this field?

I wasn’t all about physics at first, in fact I was leaning towards medicine. However, I really enjoyed my physics classes and decided to give it a try. Since then I was hooked and never stopped! My particular field was chosen after I worked on a research project in computational physics as an undergraduate. Then, I continued in the field for my PhD degree.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

I’m married to a physicist. At the time we did not know how to approach the search for an academic job for both that will keep our family united. I know now that universities can be accommodating if only given the chance!

Why do you love working in STEM?

"You never get bored since you have a pool of projects to choose from."

I get excited about my research projects and working with my students to learn new things every day. This is a dynamic career in which you can choose what projects motivate you the most and then pursue them. You also have opportunities to explore other activities, such as novel teaching techniques, or administrative work. 

Best advice for the next generation

If you want a traditional job with regular hours, this is not for you. But, if you are interested in choosing your own projects, if you think they can have the potential to positively affect people, if you are excited about constantly learning new things and you do not mind to work very hard to achieve it, a career in STEM is definitely for you.

Inspo quote

If you are excited about constantly learning new things a career in STEM is definitely for you.