PHYSICS ALUMNI OF THE MONTH
Motoaki Honda, B.S. Physics (Engineering Emphasis) (2010), Program Manager
After graduating from UNC, I studied single photon interference (the Hong-Ou-Mandel effect) by using photons generated by parametric down-conversion at the University of Oregon as part of my M.S. degree. I also studied laser and material interactions with various wavelength and pulse-width lasers for materials processing. Laser processed materials were studied by electron microscopy techniques such as using scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Based on my study, some laser processes were optimized and are used in production processes today. This work was also part of my M.S degree, performed while I was working as an intern at Electro Scientific Industries, which is one of the oldest laser optics companies based on Portland. After my M.S. degree, I work for SONY laboratory based at the University of Oregon, developing semiconductor quantum dots for opto-electro device applications focused on UV-visible light detectors. My task was to design and build stacking structure devices for UV-visible detectors, which are based on quantum dot technology, and study the devices' opto-electro properties. Unfortunately, SONY decided to shutdown the laboratory at the University of Oregon, and I am now employed by the University of Oregon for supporting local Industry. My main work involves supporting a local company, which is a spin-off of a Japanese-based company (Shoei Electronic Materials, Inc.) for development of their semiconductor quantum dot technology. I am looking forward to going back to graduate school to study scanning tunneling microscopy for understanding the details of light and nano-material interactions.
Kevin Gutierrez, B.S. Physics (Computer Science Emphasis) (2003), Program Manager
Kevin Gutierrez serves as a Program Manager at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In this role, he manages the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and research and development projects in materials development technologies to enhance threat detection capability. Prior to joining DHS, Mr. Gutierrez served as a Patent Examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in the class of semiconductors and photo-lithography. Mr. Gutierrez received an M.S. in Applied and Engineering Physics from the George Mason University and a B.S. in Physics, Computer Science emphasis, at the University of Northern Colorado. In 2002, he participated in the Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) program at the University of Minnesota leading to his undergraduate research focus on the plasma dynamics in the power generation of the Aurora lights. He was also on the team that initiated the UNC DEMOSAT project in 2002.
Nicholas Koch, B.S. Physics (Engineering Emphasis) (1999), Associate Professor
Nicholas Koch, PhD is an associate professor of radiation oncology at the Medical University of South Carolina, in Charleston, SC. Pictured above, Nick stands in front of MUSC’s newest linear accelerator for which he recently led a team of 7 physicists in a series of comprehensive tests before its first clinical use. The linear accelerator produces high energy photon and electron beams used primarily in the treatment of cancer. Nick’s path toward finding a challenging and rewarding career in healthcare began at UNC. Following completion of his Bachelor’s degree in Physics at UNC in 1999, he was well prepared to pursue a Master’s degree in Medical Physics at the University of Texas – M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. Seeing the opportunity to extend his education further, he re-applied to pursue a PhD in Medical Physics, eventually defending his dissertation in 2006. Nick also met his wife of 12 years in Houston while she was working towards her own PhD in cancer genetics. Together, they are raising a family of two children.
Rob Shiely, B.S. Physics (Engineering Emphasis) (2012), Engineer
Sometimes our graduates are so busy at their jobs doing crazy stuff for Raytheon, that they can't even respond to my request for a short bio to put on the Alumni of the Month page. So here's a picture of the UNC billboard that featured Rob. No word on whether he's landed anything on Mars yet ....
Jackie Medford, B.S. Physics (Secondary Teaching Emphasis) and B.S. Earth Science (Secondary Teaching Emphasis) (2011), Teacher
I have a 23 year son, Nico and I am a proud mom. We are in the process of completing his higher education in music and proud to say, science as well. I am completing my second year teaching mathematics at North Valley Middle School in La Salle, Colorado. I am looking forward to preparing for my next year of teaching at NVMS. I enjoy incorporating science and physics into the curriculum because it creates a more engaging and meaningful environment for the students. I also coach Brain Bowl for NVMS, which is a huge honor and a total blast. I knew I would enjoy coaching, but not to the extent that I do. It is incredibly exciting to watch the teamwork and enthusiasm they show at the tournaments and for each other. Teaching is truly a life calling in which I can not only teach my content, but I can impact the lives of our future in a positive and meaningful way because I'm not going to work, I'm going to change lives....you can't beat that.
Aaron Adamson, B.S. Physics (Teaching Emphasis) (2012), Engineer
Aaron Adamson studied physics at UNC from 2008-2012. During his time here, he worked on and led teams for the COSGC Robotics Challenge, received an Undergraduate Research Award for the development and construction of a large-scale kinematics demonstration (a 9 foot tall trebuchet) and worked on the ROCKSAT-X team to launch a suborbital re-entry experiment into space. He now resides in Parker, CO with his wife and daughter, and works for SEAKR Engineering as a Radiation Effects Engineer, studying the effects of cosmic radiation on spacecraft. He is pictured here with wife Kimberly at Haleakala Crater on Maui, which is the next best thing to visiting Mars.
Adam Wilson, B.S. Physics (Math Emphasis) and B.S. Math (2010), Inventor & Company Founder
Sarah Nowak Gucker, B.S. Physics (Engineering Emphasis) (2010), PhD Graduate Student
Dennis Gucker, B.S. Physics (Engineering Emphasis) (2010), Engineer
After completing their undergraduate studies in Greeley, Dennis and Sarah moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Sarah began graduate work in the University of Michigan’s Nuclear Engineering department. She is currently a PhD candidate studying atmospheric plasma physics for water purification as an NSF GRFP Fellow. Dennis began working at k-Space Associates, a metrology company that serves the thin film industry. He currently works at KSA as a Product Engineer and Project Manager. They welcomed their first child, Damien, into their family in 2012 and are currently expecting their second.