2017 UA High School Physics Contest Career Panel

The 41st Annual University of Alabama High School Physics Contest will be held on Friday, January 27, 2017 at the Ferguson Center on the campus of the University of Alabama. This event is open to all high schools and usually attracts schools from surrounding states as well as many from Alabama. As with last year, we will be holding a career panel to advise high school students about their options if they choose to pursue a Physics degree. The panel will be held from 1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. in the Ferguson Ballroom.


Our panelists this year include:

Dr. Stephen Granade is a physicist who specializes in sensors for robotic vehicles. At Dynetics he is a Principal Analyst working on sensors for Army Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. He has worked on sensors that can read your fingerprint from 10 feet away, systems that let unpiloted helicopters land automatically, and a video-based sensor that helped guide the Space Shuttle to the Hubble Space Telescope.

His PhD research was on laser cooling and trapping neutral atoms to nearly absolute zero in order to create Fermionic superfluids and to study quantum mechanical effects on a macro scale. He is the host of NASA’s “No Small Steps” YouTube series, and has provided scientific commentary for FoxNews.com, CBS Marketwatch, and Jalopnik.

Anna Manning Davis is an oceanographer in the Hydrographic Department at the Naval Oceanographic Office investigating oceanographic topography and ensuring quality data is reported to the Navy. She is the liaison between the Navy’s organizations at Stennis Space Center and NASA’s INFINITY Science Center to encourage Navy specific STEM in the surrounding community. Anna earned her B.S. in physics from Clemson University in 2006 and her M.S. in physics with an astronomy concentration from The University of Alabama in 2011.

Dr. Claudia Mewes is a theoretical physicist working in the area of spintronics and quantum computing. She focusing on materials design, optimization, analysis, and modeling fo magnetic random-access memories (STT-MRAM) and non-volatile (NV) spin logic.

Dr. Mewes received her PhD from the University of Kaiserslautern in Germany in 2004. Dr. Mewes was a postdoctoral researcher from 2005-2006 at Ohio State University and at the University of Alabama since 2006. In 2009, she became an adjunct professor of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. In 2010, Dr. Mewes joined the faculty in the UA Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Center for Materials for Information Technology (MINT).

Dr. Dawn Williams  is an astroparticle physicist who uses measurements of neutrinos, cosmic rays and gamma rays from outside the solar system to explore the high energy Universe. Dr. Williams group is developing techniques to identify tau neutrinos detected with the IceCube experiment, the largest neutrino detector on Earth, located at the geographic South Pole, deep in the Antarctic icecap. IceCube was built to detect the most energetic astrophysical neutrinos from objects such as accreting super massive black holes and gamma ray bursts.

Dr. Williams received her doctoral degree from UCLA in 2004. She joined the faculty of The University of Alabama in 2008.

Julie Covin  (Teacher/ASIM) is the Physics Specialist for Alabama Science in Motion (ASIM) at the University of Alabama. She works through the UA/UWA In-Service Teacher Education Center with 12 school systems in nine counties in West Central Alabama.  She provides training, equipment and support to teachers of high school physics. ”

Broxton Miles is a PhD student working in the field of computational astrophysics. He uses some of the world’s largest and fastest supercomputers to create and run simulations of exploding stars known as supernovae.

Carlisle Wishard  is a senior studying astrophysics and women and gender studies. She plans on getting her PhD in planetary geology. She enjoys learning about the planetary bodies and moons in our solar system and hopes to one day get a job where she can work to increase the number of women and minorities in physics. Outside of class, she enjoys reading, practicing karate, playing with her rabbit, and traveling.

Other Resources:

American Physical Society (APS): Find physics job listings, education and career advice (e.g.,Why Study Physics?), upcoming workshops and meetings, and career and job-related resources.

American Institute of Physics (AIP): Find employment data for physicists and astronomers, hiring trendscareer options (PDF), and other career resources.

Previous HSPC Career Panels can be found at:

2016 HSPC Career Panel


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