2018 UA High School Physics Contest Career Panel

The 42nd 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.

Sarah Bradford is a Senior Engineer at Modern Technology Solutions, Inc. in Huntsville, AL. She is an alumna of the University of Alabama obtaining a Masters in Physics in 2016.

Dr. Jeremy Bailin is a theoretical astrophysicist investigating the nature of galaxy formation, studying how the nearly-uniform Universe that existed after the Big Bang transformed over almost 14 billion years into galaxies like the Milky Way. Dr. Bailin is particularly interested in the structure and history of spiral galaxies, their dark matter and stellar halos, and their satellites — small dwarf galaxies and globular star clusters that orbit far from the galaxy.

Dr. Marcos Santander is an astroparticle physicist who researches high-energy neutrino, gamma-ray, and cosmic-ray astrophysics. He is also involved in the development of new astroparticle physics instrumentation. He is a member of the IceCube, VERITAS and CTA Collaborations and also work with data from a number of ground- and space-based telescopes.

Dr. Santander received his doctoral degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013. He  joined the faculty of The University of Alabama in 2017.

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. ”

Alex Daniels is a PhD student working in the field of material sciences.

James Parkes is a senior studying astroparticle physics. He plans on pursuing a PhD in Physics.

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:

2017 HSPC Career Panel
2016 HSPC Career Panel


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