Physicists are trained to think critically and to think deeply. Physicists solve complex, difficult problems that demand a deep understanding and creative, innovative solutions. Pushing at the edges of science requires persistence, long-term project management and acute awareness of subtle details. I am a physicist looking to use the powerful tools and techniques of physics beyond the laboratory— I seek to apply my skills, innovation and drive in collaboration with a team of motivated colleagues.
For the last six years I have taught physics, first at CSU Chico and more recently at Cal Poly. During my time in academia, I have also worked as a consultant, providing my services as both an automation engineer and materials scientist. Throughout it all, I sought to develop a broad and general skillset that encompasses both technical and creative pursuits. In addition to working as an academic and engineer, I have experience as a professional photographer, computer technician, and print professional. In my late teens, I had the good fortune of learning the tools and techniques of the machine shop training as an apprentice under the direction of a talented and expereienced machinist (who turned out to be my future father-in-law). I value and thrive on efficiency, and have been a trusted and effective team leader in the lab and at work. I take pride in my reputation as a skilled communicator and valued collaborator. I believe in working methodically, systematically and developing the right tools to get things done right---and on time, at work, in the lab and at hoeme. Ultimately, I seek the opportnity to work hard on exciting projects alonside talented colleagues who are as enthusiastic and excited to solveee challenging problems and get things done as I am.
I am an experimental and computational physicist with a research focus on active materials including liquid crystals and shape memory alloys. My research approach is to build custom automated instrumentation to make novel measurements and observations. In addition, I have developed molecular dynamics, optical transmission and director relaxation simulations. My recent work has focused on mentoring undergraduate physics students with accessible, multi-disciplinary projects that augment Cal Poly's famous "learn by doing" pedagogy.
Data analysis is a core skill of an experimental physicist. Through my education and experimental work I have developed robust analysis skills. I utilize a variety of computational and automation tools to expedite processing and identify trends. I have a deep knowledge of data collection, normalization, error analysis and visualization. I know how to develop a mathematical model and how test a dataset's agreement with the model. My mathematical background is extensive, with an advanced understanding of statistics, linear algebra, and differential equations.
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Teaching physics requires accurate, clear communication and the ability to present complex and abstract ideas in a systematic and understandable way. At both Chico State and Cal Poly, I have been a popular and effective instructor, earning positive reviews from students and colleagues alike. Further, I have been a proven leader in both formal and informal roles. At Kinko's, I led our print production team to new levels of efficiency and accuracy. At the Liquid Crystal Institute, I advised new lab members, managed equipment acquisition, kept supplies stocked and supervised a significant expansion of our machine shop facilities. I also served as the official graduate student liaison at faculty meetings. My communication and leadership skills fueled my success as a professional wedding photographer, where I exhibited excellent group management, time management, and communication skills in an infamously high-pressure environment.
I am an award winning portrait photographer and professional wedding photographer. My photography is marked by a documentary style and a bit of whimsy. I developed a technical mastery of photography both behind the camera and in the lab, where I designed optical systems for experimental observation. I am also a print-production expert, with experience in offset press operation, pre-press processing, page layout and graphic design.
Motivated to bring my ideas to life, I learned the trade of machining. I apprenticed with a precision machinist, and honed the trade. I can carry an idea from design to a finished part. I have experience with both conventional machining techniques and 3D CAD, CNC programming and automated fabrication. The shop teaches attention to detail, project management and how to see a project through to the end in a way that only a tangible hold-in-your-hand product can.
As a core member of the teaching faculty, I teach 70-120 undergraduate engineers and scientists each quarter in various courses in mechanics, waves, optics, thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism. I also expanded my research program, establishing an active materials lab and supervising Frost Summer Scholar students.
My initial efforts at NRD were focused on the refinement of a prototype auto-injector based on a novel liquid-vapor equilibrium propellent design. In this role, I worked as a Materials Scientist, developing theoretical models and simulation of the thermodynamic properties of the device, as well as the development of a propellant purification methodology. Later, at my recommendation, Elastium Technologies contracted with NRD for continued development of their single-crystal shape memory furnace where current efforts are underway to scale and refine this novel process for commercial-scale production.
Elastium technologies hired me to development an automation control scheme for a their newly-developed single-crystal shape-memory continuous casting furnace. In addition, I was retained as a consultant to aid in the refinement of their their novel technique for producing single-crystal shape memory wire.
At Chico State, I was a valued member of the faculty in the physics department. I taught introductory calculus-based mechanics and their no-calculus version of electricity and magnetism to classes of 48-120 students.
While in Kent, Ohio, I owned and operated Iconic Photography in collaboration with Nik Glazar. Our work was marked by exceptional quality and customer service, earning excellent reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations.
At the MacSuperstore, I was relied upon throughout the sales and service team as an expert in both hardware and software. I was quickly promoted to senior technician and received my Apple Certification in Desktop Repair, Portable Repair, and Mac OS X Support (2006-2009).
I am a materials physicist with a focus on custom instrumentation. I have built one-of-a-kind novel instruments for making measurement and improving precision. I have pursued investigations in liquid crystalline material properties and applications of single-crystal shape memory alloys, and commercial fabrication of single-crystal SMA wires.
In this era of open-source code and inexpensive micro-controllers, physics students can build robots, automate their lives, and harvest piles of data from the world around them. When these projects are designed to demonstrate or test a physical idea, a student is given an opportunity to make something real, right out of her imagination. Not only do these trials and efforts drive a profound academic growth, but students love making things. And everyone loves it when physics is fun!
My research has focused on the material properties and electro-optic applications of liquid crystals. Liquid crystals are best imagined as molecular rods. In the simplest liquid crystalline phase, called the nematic phase, these rod-shaped molecules prefer to remain aligned with one another, and the phase is distinguished by orientational, but not positional, order. Liquid crystals flow like ordinary liquids, yet they demonstrate macroscopic anisotropy associated with their average alignment direction. While liquid crystals prefer to be aligned with one another, the direction of their alignment is arbitrary, so boundary forces play an essential role in determining the orientational behavior of the bulk phase. The bulk orientation is anchored in a preferred direction by the preparation alignment surface.
Few details are known about the anchoring interaction that determines the LC alignment direction, which makes surface properties of photoalignment an interesting area of active research. Mechanical confinement of liquid crystals is a simple concept, yet it has been the focus of only a few experimental efforts. Yet, mechanical confinement is a great tool for investigating photoalignment anchoring and the generation of novel defect structures on photo-aligned substrates. Further, I have investigated in-situ photoalignment to produce a well-defined orientation between an incident light source and the liquid crystal director as a means to improve standard liquid crystal material characterizations.
Automatic fire-suppression sprinklers prevent property damage and save lives, but their widespread adoption comes with a significant unintended consequence: Industry-standard, glass-bulb sprinklers are delicate and prone to breaking due to accidents and sabatoge. On average, there are more than 120 non-fire sprinkler activations in the United States every day, causing millions of dollars in property damage and lost business. Our novel SMA-based sprinkler promises to deliver the required durability, performance and price point to become the new industry standard.
“Shape-memory” describes the ability of some materials to recover from a plastic deformation. Shape memory alloys (SMAs) are a class of active-materials that undergo a diffusionless solid-to-solid lattice distorting structural phase transformation that dramatically changes the mechanical characteristics of the material including its shape. The salient feature of this phase transition is a direct mapping of the constituent atoms from one crystalline phase—there isn't a random diffusion of the atomic constituents from one phase to another, but a correlated shift from one configuration to the next.
The most important aspect to teaching a successful course is a strong foundation. The foundational elements are blackboard lecture, homework and office hours. I write lectures to concisely introduce topics and I work examples from beginning to end. It is most important to have a thorough preparation that develops a sound, sequential narrative, anticipates student misconceptions and is easy to understand. My lecture notes are detailed and understandable, and I design them to be useful to students who are forced to miss class. I assign homework problems that directly reinforce the skills demonstrated in lecture as well as problems that require an extension of the ideas presented.
My courses are elevated through enthusiasm, demonstrations and creativity. I strive to deliver an enthusiastic and engaging presentation of physics. In their evaluations, students consistently mention my passion, excitement and enthusiasm. I guess I can't help myself: I really do love physics! When students see my appreciation for the subject, it makes the material more relevant, interesting and engaging. And while students may not share my interest, at the very least it raises curiosity on a personal level—why does this guy like physics so much?
See more at ratemyprofessor.com
Throughout my career as a physicist, I have maintained a parallel focus on both experimental and computational physics. My programming skills were initially developed and honed in all corners of my experimental work, including the development of sophisticated data analysis algorithms, coding novel simulations and building fully-automated experimental instruments.
Feeling frustrated by the limitations and mobile-unfriendliness of standard university web systems like Blackboard and PolyLearn, I began writing
A meaningful demonstration of Physics Cloud requires authentication and access to sensitive student information, but the key features are highlighted in the screenshots below.
Chore Cloud is an mobile-friendly, online chore checklist and piggy bank designed to make sure your kids know what chores to complete and helps make sure they get them done.
Physics Cloud Flashcards little web-app that imports the “Enrolled Student Photos” roster PDF available to faculty on the Cal Poly portal into a phone-friendly flashcard game.
The flashcard game uses a Leitner-system algorithm to help with memorization. After attempting to guess the student’s name when presented with only their photo, the name is revealed. Photos which you mark as correct are repeated less frequently, while photos you mark as incorrect are shown more frequently. By creating an account and logging in at physicscloud.net you can save your flashcards and your progress.
Under active development
Faced with rising departmental costs of maintaining an antiquated Scantron machine, I set to work developing Physics Cloud Bubbles. Bubbles has two core components, a versatile answer sheet generator for producing PDF bubble sheets and a robust machine-learning based scoring module.Key Features: