Email Messages from Alumni

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Michael Bobo - 3-2-2009 - Is now an Environmental Manager for Koch Pipeline in Port Arthur.

Michael Bobo - 4-11-2007 - For update, I have been working for the General Motors Assembly plant in Arlington TX since July 2000. I have been the Lead Environmental Engineer, managing 5 people and responsible for environmental compliance, recycling, and all chemical purchases. I have just taken a job as a Mechanical Engineer in General Assembly, effectively starting over in a new career after 14 years of environmental engineering. But I stayed in GM, so my pay did not go down. You may be familiar with a couple of the products we produce. GM Arlington makes the Chevy Suburban & Tahoe, GMC Yukon & YukonXL, and Cadillac Escalade & ESV.

Tim Renfro - 12-1-2004 - This semester [I was teaching] modern physics & seminar along with modern lab, general physics lab I & II [at the University of Dallas]. They took it easy on me while I finished the dissertation. Next semester I am doing LabView/electronics, general physics I & II, LabView/electronics lab, general physics I & II lab. I have to say it's a lot more fun when your the prof. Right now I am developing the lab for the LabView electronics. My plan is to use several different electrical components and using LabView to record information with them. After they learn to do a little analog, then we will do a little digital output/input and control some robotic and lab equipment.

LCDR Blake McBride - 5-3-2004 - I graduated from SFA in 93 and I just noticed the "where are they now?" section of your webpage. I really enjoyed my time at SFA and I couldn't have picked a better major. I am a Meteorology and Oceanography (METOC) Officer in the United States Navy and I am the Executive Officer (XO) or second in command of the National Ice Center in D.C. I've attached a copy of my current service photo and my biography to update you on where I am and where I've been since joining the Navy.

Naval Ice Center (NAVICECEN)

Lieutenant Commander M. Blake McBride graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1993, where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics. He was commissioned an Ensign in September 1993 at Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. His first assignment at a METOC Officer was at Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center, Monterey California. In 1998, he commenced graduate studies at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, earning a Master of Science Degree in Meteorology and Oceanography in June 2000. He then reported to the Naval Oceanographic Office where he served as a Category "A" hydrographer after earning a Master of Science Degree in Hydrographic Science from the University of Southern Mississippi. In April 2002, he reported aboard USS BONHOMME RICHARD (LHD 6) where he served as METOC Officer and Legal Officer. On BONHOMME RICHARD, LCDR McBride achieved the designation of Surface Warfare Officer and completed two deployments. The first deployment was in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) involving the liberation of Afghanistan. Six months after returning from OEF the BONHOMME RICHARD surge deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and was heavily involved in major combat operations off the coast of Iraq and Kuwait. He is presently assigned as the Executive Officer at the Naval Ice Center in Suitland, Maryland. His awards include the Navy Commendation Medal (two awards) and the Navy Achievement Medal as well as various unit awards. LCDR McBride is married to the former Terri Shaffer of Nacogdoches, Texas. They have two daughters, Kelley and Molly.

R. Kevin Dodds - 2-29-2004 - [...] I made contact a while back with John MacPeak and he had just returned from Quebec hunting. I am working in Houston for Akzo Nobel Catalysts and travel a lot. I report to the President of our business unit and still stir up trouble every chance I get. Not sure if you know it or not, but my wife and I set up a scholarship a couple of years ago for students majoring in Physics or Chemistry at SFA. The catch is they have to be from Pasadena or Deer Park. [...] I have a consulting company on the side. In my job I basically work as an engineer and have a group of Aggie Engineers reporting to me. Not bad for a guy that did research under for a while. Anyway hope all is going well for you and the department. See ya. - R. Kevin Dodds, Akzo Nobel Catalysts llc, Commercial Manager Refining Catalysts

Jennifer Morrow - 7-15-2003 - Below is my new contact infomation and a few pictures of my new office. I love my new job. Take care, Jen, GE Power Systems, GE Wind Energy, Service Engineering

Paul Lewis - 05-27-2003 - As a reminder, I received my B.S. in 1987 and my M.S. in 1988. I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in biometry (biostatistics) at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in the School of Public Health. I am working to complete my dissertation by next spring. I have been a part-time graduate student there since 1992.

As I mentioned last month, I live in Tomball, Texas and am married (10yrs.) with two girls (3 yrs., 18 mos.) with one on the way. I worked as an environmental scientist in Houston for 6 years after graduation and was able to get Bruce Bacher (B.S. 1987, M.S. 1989?) a position with my company. Since 1995, I have been working in the pharmaceutical industry, doing statistical analyses for a consulting company that assists companies in getting their drugs and devices approved by the FDA. My role with the consulting company expanded to include regulatory guidance and study design, as well as representing clients at the FDA.

Recently, my wife and I have decided to go into full-time Christian ministry with an organization called FamilyLife. It is a division of Campus Crusade for Christ located in Little Rock, AR. The focus of the ministry is marriages and families. We are currently in the process of raising our missionary support. Once our support is raised, we will relocate to Little Rock. At the ministry, I will be working behind the scenes in a support role, doing statistical analyses of internal ministry data. I will also be providing data for ministry publications and possibly professional journals. It is a big life change for us, but we are excited about the opportunity and the tremendous impact that this ministry is having on marriages and families.

As for other graduates, I believe that I mentioned Bruce Bacher was living in Indianapolis, IN now. I am not sure who he is working for, but I can find out via the SFA alumni directory. Also, I learned that Cindy Heckler (now Cindy Pointer) is living in Jacksonville, TX and teaching at All Saints Academy (private secondary school) in Tyler. She is married to Jason Pointer who used to be a DJ for KSFA. Jason recently graduated from seminary in Jacksonville and is an associate pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Jacksonville. Sincerely, Paul Lewis

P.S. Now that I am changing careers again, it will be easier to reach me through my home address and e-mail. Once we move to Little Rock, I will update the information again.

Traci Fox - 02-27-2003 - I don't know if you will remember me or not. I was a student at SFA in the late 80s/early 90s (a few years behind Danny Bruton). At the time, my name was Tracie Fox. I lived in Center, Texas. I was a receipient of the Freshman Physics Scholarship and the Jane Gruebel Scholarship. I was active in SPS.

This morning, I was browsing SFAs web site to see if I could get my Master Math Teacher endorsement through SFA. I couldn't help looking at the Physics portion. Your site is amazing. I always knew that SFA had one of the best phyics departments! The only thing I want to know is why haven't any of you changed!!! Am I the only one looking older. I guess getting your masters, getting your engineering license, teaching, getting married, and having a child will do it to you, but you all still look great!

I have been teaching middle school science and math at Lake Worth (NW of Fort Worth) for about 3 years. In previous years, I worked as an engineer, taught physics at the college level, and taught high school science. As lead teacher, I am looking at curriculum development for both math and science. My main focus is finding hands-on activities to reinforce the TEKS. This summer, I will probably be spending most my time in East Texas, because my husband will most likely be deployed. Are you offering any traing for teachers such as "Easy/cheap Experiments for the Science Classroom?" If not, do you know someone in that area that is?

I will try to visit during our spring break. I must say that the more years I teach, the more I appreciate the wonderful instruction that I received at SFA. I recommend your program highly. It was nice to be a name and not a number.

Fred G. Van Orsdol - 08-05-2002 - I graduated from SFA in 1969 and the degree has served me well. I've spent most of my career in the natural gas and natural gas liquids industry, working as an Engineer. I've been a Plant Engineer, International Project Engineer, Supervising Int'l Project Engineer, Marine Terminal Technical Supv, Gas Plant Manager and for the past 18 years, I've specialized in the gas and liquid hydrocarbon measurement field, most of the time as a Manager for Chevron.

I am currently employed by Southern Petroleum Labs, Inc. as Manager, Measurement Audits and Loss Control My energy industry career was interrupted by the draft lottery from 1970 to 76, when I served as a Navigator (most of the time in Southeast Asia), then as Command Briefer in Weather at 8th AF Headquarters (I actually picked up a degree in Meteorology from Texas A&M while completing Air Force sponsored weather training there). Anyway, good luck with your efforts !
Fred V.

Mark Wong - 07-29-2002 - I just wanted to say hi and hope everything with the department is going well. I visited the web sight just the other day. The SPS activities look very exciting. I hope the new graduate students are doing well and appreciate what I think is the best graduate instruction in the state. Say hello to all the other professors for me.

I have been doing very well. I am still in Allen Texas just north of Dallas. I am still at Raytheon (Texas Instruments Defense Systems was bought by Raytheon in 1996) working on robotic intelligence for the Army. I work close to Randy Gann. He is working on IR sensor platforms for the Army. I also provide algorithm development for the simulation and operations analysis groups here at Raytheon. The projects I support are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines related. Mostly, I support trade studies on command and control communications systems.

At home, my current interest is trying to understand quantum gravity. A few of us at work are trying to get a class in advanced quantum field theory at UT Dallas started in the Spring of 2003. I really appreciate all that I learned in the IR group at SFA. I have been applying the causal nature of the K-K relations on many problems in quantum scattering, pulse analysis, and non-linear synthetic optical crystals.

Another topic in computation I have just recently been studying is Kolmogorov Complexity. I am currently reading "An Introduction to Kolmogorov Complexity and Its Applications" by Ming Li and Paul Vitanyi (Springer). Komolgorov Complexity is a measure of the smallest algorithm that can represent information contained in a "random" string. Notions of absolute information content and ties to entropy are described in the book. Take a look on the Web, there are some interesting Physics associated with this topic. See John Baez's web site UC Berkeley, and Chris Hillman's web site.

Well, that's all for now I don't want to be to long winded. I will try to keep in touch. Mark Wong

John Raines - 07-17-2002 - Just an update. In my last e-mail I was working towards my instructor certification. I am now an EVA Task Instructor and EVA Task Multi-Purpose Support Room (MPSR, one of our back room MCC positions in EVA) certified. I recently started cross training to become a systems instructor for both the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) and the Joint Airlock module on the International Space Station. This will allow me to eventually become front room (MCC) certified. I would like to stop by for visit sometime. I noticed a familiar face in one of the SPS photos, Tony Martinez, a fellow THS graduate.
John Raines

Jason Ondruch - 3-24-2002 - Let me catch you up to what's been going on with my life. I completed my masters in math last spring at Southwest Texas State University. Being there, I found out that I really enjoyed teaching math, and I fell in love and met my future wife. Actually, she'll be my wife on May 18th. Well, I am now up in Lincoln Nebraska working on my PhD while my finace, Kristel, works on her masters in math. Making a long story short, she's decided that graduate school isn't a great thing, and I'm looking into just teaching. Thus, I have been looking around and found a position at this community college in Texas City, TX. It's just what I've been looking for. [...] Sincerely, Jason Ondruch

Hugh Henderson - 3-10-2002 - I'm still enjoy teaching at Plano Sr. High, and I've been doing a lot of writing and consulting these past few years, mostly for the College Board. I have a book coming out in May for Kaplan. It's a review book for high school students taking the SAT II Physics exam. I've started another book for Wiley which is a study guide book for students using Cutnell and Johnson's Physics. I've also been doing a lot of research and writing on the history of science, particularly medieval and renaissance science. I'm hoping to publish another article in TPT next year on Galileo's lectures on Dante's Inferno (1588). My wife Rachel and I have a 2-year-old son, Drew, and are expecting another boy in July, 2002.

Lacey Mims - 3-5-2002 - Hello SFA Physics, I see that you are directed toward Astronomy like I was (am). My thesis was "Design and Construction of Spectrograph for Astronomical Use". I look back on that now as a feeble attempt in many ways. I think (hope) I do could much, much better now. I am one of those who try, as time permits, to maintain some retention of my "Physics" life by reviewing material from time to time. Dr. Grubel said that if I could not get me a job, he would place me at the optical shop at McDonald Observatory. I was at SFA at the formulation of the mighty 41 Inch.

I had just emailed Tom Callaway yesterday asking about physics Drs James Nickelson (was at SFA), Carl Rutledge (U of A), and Charles Rogers (Uof A). I, by chance, met Rogers one day at a bookstore in Dallas in 1980. He was at NTSU. I got no answer from Tom.

I worked for Texas Instruments in Dallas for 21 years for a division (Process Automation Center, 6,000 people, world wide) which made special semiconductor manufacturing equipment for TI. The equipment was to give them an edge over the competition. They made an impressive array of machines ranging wire bonders, chip mounters, ovens, front end plasma & other like equipment, lead inspection & conditioning, various hi-tech vision systems, huge electronic device testers, and on and on. In the late 1980's things began to change. TI thought they could buy machines cheaper than designing and building them. So slowly everything wound down. You can't stop a massive train easily. By 1995 the handwritting was apparent to everyone. I had various jobs there. As my father asked me, "Son what can you do with a degree in Physics?" My answer was, "Everything and nothing". Everything in that one has a tremendous range of information but one is not specialized like in some engineering discipline. I was the division technical writer; at one time managing all technical manuals, then mechanical engineer for wire bond using Pro-E documentation & design tool and other jobs as they asked me.

The end came when they disbanded my division. I was one of the last 25 guys in that group which had about 2,000 people in the 1980's. After 3 months I started working for a very small engineering company in Dallas which makes wafer handling and wafer OCR (for wafer ID numbers) equipment. They (GL Automation; check website next week, it's down now; may be very small but they have a big impact. Our equipment is at all major FABs. We have 40% people from old TI wire bond group (RIP). I miss TI.

My Physics MS has opened many doors for me (TI is very degree orientated). It also has given me a vastly wider knowledge depth. To be perfectly truthful, I have not always been the very best student, but Physics is my religion and guiding light. My years at SFA were very rewarding in many ways.

A question: Are you still using my 3-D Nearby Star Display that was in the hallway for many years? I made it from a display case with 3 plexiglas sides and 3 flat black panels.

I hope everyone there is doing well (Decker, Grubel, Dennis, Callaway, and others). From the Webpage, it appears it is. I am very impressed by your astronomical capabilities. I would like to visit SFA sometime.

More About the Star Model: I was looking through an Astrophysical Journal while a Physics graduate student at SFA. I came across an article by Peter Van De Camp concerning nearby stars. I thought it would be interesting to construct a physical model of the stars to show the relative distances and positions to people who not familiar with astronomy. I created a FORTRAN program in which one would enter individual star data (RA, Declination, and distances) and also the distance of one side of the display case cube. The program would transform the positions to cylindrical coordinates (drill plan for top plate, and thread length) and scale.

More About the Spectrograph: That was built immediately after I left SFA using my thesis as a guideline. When I was preparing to begin work on the spectrograph there was shortage of money so I built only a few parts in the machine shop on the Bridgeport mill but major parts were constructed later. I would really like to see SFA Physics and Astronomy facilities. Hope you have time to answer. Regards, Lacey Mims

James Teel - 1-22-2001 - A few months ago I changed jobs. The job change was partially due to the September 11th events. I am now working for Space Applications International Corporation (SAIC) performing Probablilistic Risk Analysis. The work is similar to what I did at ECON, but with more of a systems engineering focus. I review and analyze Space Shuttle systems and develop the probabilities that a part/subassembly will cause a catastrophic failure. I am still enamored with astronomy, and one day would like to return to that field and attain my Ph.D.

Jack King - 12-16-2001 - Dear Fellow Physics Majors, Sorry to say I do not use physics like I had planned, but do use elementary aspects of education daily. Upon graduation, physics was a plague, masters degrees were negotiating positions for $450/mo. in the Houston area. So, I did the unthinkable and went into seismic exploration (which my father was in, and I said I would never be in). I was lucky enough to make significantly more than the above figure and also get a bonus to go to Colombia, SA. Learned a little more Spanish, came home to Tyler, Tx. then to San Antonio. Decided I needed to marry (young man's fancy) Dee Ann Polanovich (SFASU Phys Ed.), Got married and ended up in the DFW area. Changed professions to Construction, and worked 5 years for a local SFA Graduate Homebuilder (J. B. Sandlin,deceased). In 1977 started my own construction Co. and 24 years later I am still in Homebuilding. I build in the DFW metro area, building only custom designed, custom built homes. I do all the design, printing, job oversight, and engineering (although lately a PE stamp is needed, so I have to find a licensed State Engineer, hard to take sometime (for we all know Physicist are far more intelligent)). I have one child, a daughter, 23 now. Graduated Texas A&M, Magna Cum Laude w/Foundation Honors. She is in Austin, awaiting marriage in April 2002. Lovely lady, with brains too, what a blessing she is. Should you need consulting, plans, or a home constructed, please contact me at Old friends like Harold Longbotham, Charles Winston, Richard Horn, Hello, hope all is well. Jack King

Jeremy Hansen - 11-5-2001 - I'm living in Denton, Texas at 1710 Sam Bass Blvd. and loving the new town. I am attending graduate school at the University of North Texas for a Masters and possibly a PhD. in physics. I am just taking all of the core courses right now and doing pretty well in them. I am also teaching some astronomy labs, four per week at the observatory and one per week at the planetarium. Those keep me pretty busy when we are out there until one in the morning. I am planning to keep teaching there for another semester or so, and then I am going to become a research assistant. I have been helping this professor and his doctoral students in his lab just to get to know the projects a little better. All this new stuff is really grabbing my interest. -- Jeremy Hansen

David Witt - 10-23-2001 - Greetings all, I recently happened across your web site and thought I would drop a quick note. I have been working at Compaq Computer Corporation since 1987 and I am currently heading up an Information Management organization responsible for supporting Compaq's Manufacturing systems worldwide. As a hobby, I like to read some Physics books or an occasional Astronomy magazine... Please say hello to Dr. Decker, Dr. Callaway, Dr. Markworth, Dr. Gruebel, and Mr. Carlton! -- David Witt, Class of 1987

Steve Collins - 09-07-2001 - I got the newsletter this week and decided I'd better update my info with you. It's been raining too much to play golf, so I decided it was time to take a job. To make an extremely long story somewhat short, UTD decided to put themselves on the map by becoming the hub of research in nanotechnology. Along with state money to fund the Texas Nanotechnology Initiative, UTD brought in Ray Baughman as a Welch Chair in the Chemistry Department, my good friend Anvar Zakhidov, and Alan MacDiarmid, the 2000 Nobel Prize winner, to direct the newly formed UTD NanoTech Institute. Somehow I ended up in the mix while consulting on buying equipment for the optics and spectroscopy labs, and never left...So I'm working as a staff scientist here within the group...University life is grand. -- Steve Collins, Ph.D., Research Scientist, UTD NanoTech Institute, Richardson, TX 75080

Robert D. Barbee - 8-18-2001 - I happened upon your web pages and looked over your alumni listings. Found an old room mate of mine - Fred VanOrsdol - in the Class of 1969. You can add me if you'd like: Class of 1970, Robert D. Barbee, BS, lives in Dallas, Texas, and is working as an attorney at his law firm, Barbee & Gehrt, L.L.P.

Actually, I graduated in May 1970, with a triple major in Physics, Math and Accounting. During my time in the Physics Dept., Fred and I each took our tour of duty teaching Physics Labs. Fred VanOrsdol and I were roommates in the very end room of Unit II (right next to a broad sidewalk that led from the main campus - Student Union, Library, Admin. Bldg., etc. - over to what, at the time, was a new cafeteria and girls dorm). I don't suppose there are such things as "girls" and "boys" dorms anymore. And I would assume "The Units" (all three of them) have long since passed into history. (they were almost history when we lived in them 1966-70) Really liked looking around the Physics Dept.'s web page and was very glad to see that the school has gone big into astronomy the way it has. What ever happened to Dr. Grubel? I had a few courses under him, including beginning astronomy. He was my favorite Physics professor during my time, although, I think Dr. Decker was the Dean of the Dept. Hope you guys do well and prosper.

When we (my wife, is an SFA grad., too) got out of school, we lived and worked in the area for years (Viet Nam was still going on. I couldn't get a job, since I was draftable. So I ended up working as a COP in Lufkin - and then later - I worked as a tax accountant at what was then Axley & Rode [are they still around?] - and then, as the accounting manager for a new transformer manufacturing plant that McGraw Edison built on the far south side of Nacogdoches (on a loop that circled the town). We eventually built our first home up in the hills behind SFA, not far from where Dr. Gruebel's home was. I guess those sub-divisions are still up there. Before any homes at all were up there, it was a great place to take your "sweetie" for a Sunday afternoon stroll.

If you enjoyed your legal consulting work, you might drop by Technical Advisory Service for Attorneys and see if you can register with them. Lots of attorneys use that service when they are looking for testifying experts. I would imagine that things like "accident reconstruction", high pressure tank explosions, etc. would be just right for a fellow with expertise in the laws of physics. And that can be fairly lucrative employment as a sideline. I'll keep you in mind as the need for that type of consulting comes up in my cases. In answer to your questions (numbering my answers the same as your questions), I have the following:

1. Please see attached an Adobe PDF file named "The Way It Was", which is an excerpt from the catalogue for Stephen F. Austin State College (it became "University" in about 1968 or 69, I think). It speaks of providing "preprofessional programs and counseling for students planning to enter Schools of ... Engineering", but I honestly do not recall ever taking note of any such programs. That may have been so, but I just don't recall it being any sort of a "serious" program; whereas, I do recall SFA have a very well thought of pre-med. program - a great business school (I think a business grad of SFA headed Arthur Andersen & Co. when I worked for them in Houston in 1975-76) - and, of course, and probably to this good day - an excellent forestry program (no plot of ground on the globe has been so well surveyed as the campus of SFA - - back during my time there, you couldn't sling a dead cat with out hitting a forestry school survey crew).

2. In our Junior and/or Senior years, Fred and I taught some of the sections of Labs for Physics 101, 102, 131 and/or 132. I just recall the Labs on ballistics as being my favorites. Some student would invariably bring in a mouse or other small critter and want to use it for "artillery practice" or some such. As "political correctness" was just over the horizon, this didn't draw "death penalty" sanctions, or anything like that from the powers that be, just a: "Come on, get that silly thing out of here and let's see if you actually learned anything in your physics class this week!"

3. I took one Astronomy course under Dr. Gruebel, in the Spring semester of 1970, just before I graduated in May, and that one course is just about all they offered, I think. In fact, I think "Astronomy" more or less came to SFA with Dr. Gruebel, so to speak. I don't recall it being offered in 1966 or 1967, before he was hired. I thoroughly enjoyed the course, but it was exceedingly basic. I recall spending the better part of a cold winter night (till about 2:00 a.m.), making observations, and drawing a chart meant to depict the apparent rotation of stars around the North Star, as seen from Nacogdoches. I just wish we could have had all of the (what looks to me to be) first rate equipment and facilities you all have now. I could have really gotten into that. I have a Celestron "4.5 inch Newtonian Reflector" telescope set up in one of our larger mediation/deposition conference rooms now, but sadly, about all I ever get to see with it are the "drug buys" down in the surrounding parking lots.

4. Were it not for my physics training, I'd never be able to bank the opposing party off the Trial Court and into the side pocket in the Court of Appeals. Actually, I've used physics in air craft crash cases, and a sunroof/rollover car wreck case, that I can recall, but using my physics studies is not a daily occurrence.

I can't imagine my e-mail messages to you being particularly useful to anyone, but if sharing parts of them would be, you're welcome to do so. Of course, if any of those folks have money to spend on a lawyer to sue or defend being sued, by all means, pass this along. Very truly yours, Robert D. Barbee, Barbee & Gehrt, L.L.P.

Major Patrick Beyer - 8-18-2001 - Nice to see a SFA Phyics Department Page! Looks Great. Quick Update. I was a 1986 Graduate, Currently a Major on Active Duty in the US Army as an Assistant Professor of Military Science at Univ of Wi Stevens Point. Say Hi to Jackie Coker and her husband Larry for me. Major Patrick Beyer, Executive Officer, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, Department of Military Science, Stevens Point, WI 54481

Kristl Adams - 6-23-2001 - Just thought I'd drop ya'll a note to say the new web page is awesome. Also thought I'd mention I received my MS in Physics this last May, from Purdue and my Doctorate is only a few years away. Thanks for all of the encouragement ... teachers like you really do make a world of difference. Keep up the good work! Kristl

Wade Skelton - 6-20-2001 - I got a job with honeywell as a process engineer. I'm still trying to figure out what that means exactly. The salary is excellent as is the atmosphere. Not to mention the fact that I get to do physics on nearly a daily basis. You can't beat that. I owe it all to SFA and the professors in the physics department. [snip] Seriously, I appreciate all the time you all spent on us during and out of class. I must also say that you [Dr. Downing] were the hardest working student in our dynamics class although many of us probably didn't realize it at the time. One more thing before I go. Working upstairs in the machine shop was a wonderful experience. It was also one of the reasons I think I was able to get this job. I thanked Bennitt before I left, but if you'd thank him for me, it might even mean more to him. He's a good man. I know Dr. Bruton was talking about getting some sort of shop class going or something. I think it's a good idea. You can never know too much. This email is getting long so I'll bring it to a close. Thanks so much and I will always look back on my time at SFA in the physics department with fondness. Oh, if you could thank Ali as well, I don't have his email. He was always so willing to help out. I wish you all the best. By the way, you'd better get home to that wife of yours. Wade Skelton

Brian Thomas - 6-14-2001 - I completed my Master of Electrical Engineering (MEE) degree from the University of Houston in 1992. I chose an electromagnetics emphasis which included microwave and antenna engineering course work. After graduating I was employed by Microwave Networks [link] as an electrical engineer. In 1995 we moved to Sacramento, California to work at Narda West [link] designing microwave filters for military and commercial applications. In 1999 I moved back to Texas and now am working for Remec Wacom [link - use this link instead of the one you have up now, please] designing passive microwave circuits (like filters etc.) for cellular base stations. I got married in 1993 to Martha McElreath and we lived in Houston until 1995. We have two boys, who were born in 1996 and 2000 (David and Jonathan). Hey, I am going to Virginia next week on a vacation. I am planning on going to visit the Green Bank Radio Telescope over in West Virginia. I will send you pictures. Here is a link to the site so you can check out what I will be looking at. Later, Brian

Steve Collins - 6-7-2001 - I was looking for some info on someone that I went to school with back at SFA and wandered across your alumni web page...It's cool that you are keeping up with that stuff. Anyway, here are some updates on a couple of people: Janell Cannedy got her MS at UTD, and is now a Senior Analyst at PepsiCo Business Solutions Group. Glen Birdwell no longer lives in Pineland (he only sought refuge there to finish his dissertation)...He lives in Damascus, MD and is an NRC Fellow at NIST. I'll send you an update on myself when I get tired of playing golf everyday and take a position somewhere. Steve Collins

Jie Liang - 4-19-2001 - It was good to see you the other day. How is everything going? I just like to let you know that I got a full-time job as Software Engineer in Iomega Corporation here in town. I am very excited about it! I'll graduate in May from Computer Science and start to work on June 4th. You know what, I am still very proud of the Physics master degree I got from your Department! Thank you very much for everything!! Sincerely, Jie ,Update - 7-1-2001 - I have been working in Iomega almost one month by now. Everything is going pretty well. We are doing some projects - software for Zip drive users, such as Digital File Cabinet, Journal (Digital Diary), Digital Photo Album, etc. I enjoy working here.

Randall Schindler - 4-27-2001 - Hey What's up Dr. Bruton? Doing any observing lately? This is Randall Schindler. I am a 2nd Lt at The Basic School in Washington, D.C. Life is pretty busy here. Send me a message if you have time. Randall,

Lee Powell Jr. - 2-19-2001 - Graduated with a BS in physics in 1995 and a MS in physics in 1998 and currently works for the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts in Natchitoches, LA. I am the Science Coordinator (department chair of the science department) and a professor of physics and astronomy. I also was recently appointed to serve on the AAPT national Astronomy Education committee. I want to thank the SFA physics department for the background that got me where I am today, and for their on-going help in providing research opportunities for myself and my students. As a last bit of news, I am getting married in March. Also, one announcement for any current MS grads from SFA or past graduates looking for a job. We have an opening for a professor of physics starting in August of 2001. The Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts is the state honors high school for juniors and seniors from across the state. We are located in Natchitoches, LA. There are four physics teaching positions at the school, and ten total science professors. A typical teaching load is about three first year physics courses with a lab (calc or non-calc based) and one upper elective a year, such as modern physics. These kids are top-notch and often end up somewhere like Cal Tech for college. Typical class size is 16, and the entire student body numbers only about 400. A minimum of a MS is required and a PhD is preferred. If interested, go to our website at and/or contact me at or at the following address: W. Lee Powell Jr., Science Coordinator, LSMSA, 715 College Ave, Nathcitoches, LA 71457, (318)357-3174 ext 154, Thanks a lot for everything. Sincerely,Lee Powell

Jeff Boehme - Well, it's official. I am now Dr. Boehme. My defense was last Friday and I passed with flying colors. I know for a fact that I would not be here if it were not for you and your classes which gave me a problem solving mentality that has served me well in my graduate career. Thank you. Now that it's over, I can focus on my job search with more vigor. It's kind of scary knowing that it's all over. I keep asking myself, "Now what?" Something will come along soon. I'm planning on coming down to visit after Thanksgiving. I would like to see everybody and the observatory if I could. The observatory played a strong role in my educational career as well, and for that I am grateful. I will let you know when I'm planning on coming down as soon as I know. See you soon and thanks again, Jeff

More news on 4-20-2001. It was very nice to receive your letter the other day. Yes, I finished my PhD in December of '99. I then had a brief post-doc position at UTD until I could find a more permanent job. I interviewed at a company called Physical Sciences, Inc. in February 2000, and they offered me a job. I've been with PSI for a year now and like it very much. They are located in Andover, Massachusetts, about 30 minutes north of Boston. We are a basic and applied R&D company that lives mostly from the SBIR contracts from the DOD, NASA, EPA, etc. I work with about 120 employees, about 75 technical people, half PhDs, with disciplines ranging from chemistry and physics to mechanical and electrical engineers. I'm currently working on several projects: electrochromics for the Air Force and Army (my thesis work), fuel cells for NASA, polymeric chemical and biological agent sensors for the Army, water purification with the EPA, and electrospinning for various agencies, just to name a few. Working on many different programs keeps me on my toes and does not force me into a rut. Living in New England has been a change. I saw more snow this winter than I had my entire life. Try digging your car out of 30" of snow without a shovel. That's work. On the other hand, the summers are fantastic. Last summer we had four days in the 90s. Needless to say, I don't miss those hot Texas August days. Hope all is well at SFA. Is the remodeling of the Miller Science building completed? Time to get back into the lab. No rest for the weary. Regards, Jeff, Jeffrey L. Boehme, Ph.D., Principal Scientist, Physical Sciences, Inc., 20 New England Business Center, Andover, MA 01810, Office: (978) 689-0003, Fax: (978) 689-3232,

Teressa Morones - 5-8-2001 - I appreciate both of you helping to work out the conflict with the 242 and 250 lab times. I also wanted to inform the both of you that this past week I was mailed an acceptance letter for an internship at Lockheed Martin, Aeronautics Division, in Fort Worth for this upcoming summer! I will be working with the F-16 Avionics Systems Integration Test team and I will be responsible for generating test documentation, including test procedures and reports, analyzing design packages and documentation, along with performing integration testing. I am very excited about my internship and how much this experience will benefit my future at Stephen F. Austin and, eventually, Texas A&M. Thank you- Teressa Morones

Wade Skelton - I just wanted to let you know I interviewed with honeywell on Tuesday. Anyhow, I thought perhaps you could let any of the physics majors looking for either internships or full-time jobs to at least check with these guys. Here's the email of the guy who got me the interview and i think he handles all of the new recruits: This guy has his ph.d in plasma physics.

John E. Raines - Jan 1999 - DX32/EVA Systems Group - 281-483-9960. I now work as a United Space Alliance contractor of the Mission Operations Directorate in the EVA and Robotics Systems Group at the Johnson Space Center. I worked on a project back in the summer directly supporting some NASA employees. One of these employees was impressed with the work I was performing without an Engineering degree. She basically told the USA people that they should contact me and here I am. Currently I'm in training to become an EVA Task Instructor. At the end of all the training steps(which takes about 7 years), I will be an EVA Flight Controller in Mission Control. I just wanted to let you folks up there know how appreciative I am of the education I received there in the Physics Dept.

Chris Spetter - 7-22-99 - It has been a long time since I last touched base with you, but I am still with the same company, CompuCom working as a Systems Engineer. I thought I would let you in on some possibilities for your students on what a Physics major may end up doing. I'm working at various customer sites assisting in NT migrations, server projects, tape backup strategies, and admin responsibilities. You can tell your undergrads that in this field they start you at around $38,000/yr with some other added incentives, but they must have some prior computer skills along with a good GPA. I still keep in touch with Mike Bobo quite frequently and I think he's looking to get out of the environmental business. The other night he was talking of going into Med school to become a doctor. I think he's more interest in just making lots of money $$. In other news, I have another child on the way due in January and my son is already 6. Time seems to have hit light speed! I hope all is well and I just wanted to drop you a note to say "Hello".

Andrew Steele, our first 4.0 graduate, is working with Raytheon. He will be on campus recruiting on Oct 11 and 12, 2000. Please notify any graduating seniors and graduate students that if they are interested in getting an interview, they need to get a resume to him early next week. They can see me for more information. Student needs a 3.0 or better GPA. He would like to visit with as many faculty as possible while here. Please try to be available as much as possible. - HDD

James Teel - Systems Analyst - ECON, Inc. ($46k start - Summer 1998) - Cost analysis and risk assessment for shuttle avionics. The job here is fun and interesting. I am providing consulting work for NASA on Space Shuttle upgrades. It is very interesting. I miss being in school though, and hope to come back up there to visit sometime in the early fall.

Charles Gallagher - I live in Houston and work for a company called FugroGeoservices. I am a seismic processing geophysicist. We process the data for underwater hazard surveys used by oil companies. I've been working here since early october. Our company is going to be expanding in the near future and we were wondering if you knew anyone who was looking for an entry level job as a geophysicist. I actually use what I learned in school, especially the reflection and refraction studies. Most of the math is done with a software package on a UNIX computer. I like what I do but I realize that I must continue my education. However, I am not sure what is in store. Good Luck in PHY 321. Charles Gallagher,, only A in PHY321 -spring '99

Carleton Stewart - 11-15-2000 - We're here in beautiful DRY Tucson, in a half decent apartment. The people here are just plain insane. You would not BELIEVE the sort of traffic accidents they keep trying to cause here. Jen is at UA working on her Epidemiology Masters and she's totally stressed out about it, but doing okay. As for myself, we all know that I'm out for a year while I get things together, and that means that I need to be working. Wonder of wonders, however, I managed to find a decent job within my first week here. The community college system out here (Pima Community College) operates several campuses, and runs a majority of its classes with "Adjunct Faculty," non-permanant, qualified instructors who are supposed to be employed for no more than 6 credit hours each semester. I got a job there, teaching Physics and Mathematics (they offer an Astronomy course, but they have a permanant faculty member who covers that...bummer). And, get this, I'm teaching 9.3 hours this semester. Even better, I have an opportunity to make something like $1500 dollars over the X-mas vacation month by teaching a low-level math class over the break...if the class makes, of course. Currently they've got me teaching Algebra (3 hours) and 1st semester, algebra-based Physics (6.3 hours). They run their science courses a little strangely, 2 meetings a week at 3 hours 20 minutes per meeting, with labs and other things supposedly integrated into the whole class under one teacher. They're very enthusiastic about it. Me ? I say, nifty idea...BAD operation. Attention-span sucks, and I keep having to make-up things to fill the time towards the end. Plus, the very few labs that are used are poorly written. One thing I do like, though, is the way I'm able (if I choose) to do tests. I can give over a number of exams to a "testing center," and the students come to the center to take the exam whenever they feel like it in the span of days I allow them. This makes it easier to do the exams, and gives me plenty of time for reviews. Now, I'm trying to expand my work load. Colombia University and a private investor jointly run "Biosphere 2" out here, and they run an intensive course in Astronomy at the site. My next door neighbor (now a friend) works in Human Resources out there and told me that they're looking to hire a "teaching assistant," though supposedly the director plans to give them more duties than what the title implies, and I'm eagerly applying for the position. I'm sorry I took so long to write, but Mr. Stewart is back on the air. Please respond whenever you get the chance. -- Carleton

More news on 5-28-2001. I'm happy to relate that Columbia University hired me as "co-instructor" for a six-week summer course at the Biosphere 2 facitlity. They call it the "Summer of Stars" and I just found out that they've authorized more money for the position and I get $650.00 a week !! I'm also teaching College Algebra at the local community college (believe it or not) this summer, and we're talking about a calculus-based basic Physics (IOW PHY 241) for this fall. Of course, this puts me no closer to a PhD, but the extra money should help me pay off the GRE people (finally) and get myself a PHY subject test score to get me in...the advantage here is that, since I'm teaching this stuff, I'm going to be able to walk into any tests with everything fresh in my brain. :)

Scott LaNeave - 11-17-2000 - Just wanted to say hello. How is everything at SFA? I am not teaching anymore, I work M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in the Dept. of Radiation Physics. It's a good job and I am really learning a lot. I am considering going to school here to get a MS is Medical Physics, this will open some more doors. My wife and I are building a house here in Houston so we are excited about that. Everything is good down here. I hope this e-mail finds you doing well also. Let me hear back from you.

Kristl Adams - 2-3-2001 - I'm doing great!! I got qualified to get my Ph.D. right before the winter break ... talk about a nice Christmas present! This is kind of a rough semester, but I'll only have one or two more classes after this. I'm currently working on a biological physics project with Dr. Steve Durbin. We have beam time at the APS (Argons National Laboratories, Advanced Photon Source) in May and I'm racing the clock to see if I can grow a Myoglobin crystal for that run. I just recently had to switch to Sperm Whale Myoglobin (SW Mb), because I couldn't get decent sized crystals from Horse Heart Mb. But the interesting thing is that you can't purchase SW Mb in the USA because we are against whaling, so we have to grow it synthetically from e-coil. I am having a total blast learning all of the molecular biology and crystallography required to get this crystal. We will eventually be looking to do a vibrational density of states measurement on this crystal. Durbin has already done a measurement on a slurry of similar material, but we need the structured order of a crystal to tell what directions the molecules are moving in (in the heme plane or out of the heme plane). There is a controversy about how the protein, myoglobin or hemoglobin (Mb x 4), prevents the binding of carbon monoxide. In Mb there is a molecule called a heme plane or a porphrin ring that contains an iron atom. This Fe binds CO 25000 times better than O2, with out Mb around it, but inside of Mb it only binds CO 100 better (these numbers are for a laboratory experiment where there are equal amounts of CO and O2, obviously in your body there is much less CO which works well if you want to live very long). We hope to get some incite to how the molecule changes when it is bound to different things (O2, CO, nothing). If you have any females graduating in the next few years and they can stand the cold, you should send them this way ... they didn't have any American females apply last year, and only two this year ... they even asked me if I knew women in physics looking for a grad school. I'm also heading up a summer camp outreach program for middle school age girls. I was told about the program the minute I signed on to come to Purdue and this will be my third year working it. The camp is called ScienceScape and it is a week long all girls science camp that the Physics Dept. sponsors. There was a study done some time ago that concluded girls loose interest in science and mathematics in there middle school years and therefore don't choose those kinds of classes and clubs in high school. This leads to less women in those fields. This camp was designed around the idea of keeping and peaking girls interest in science during those years so that they can have the opportunity to choose those paths later in life. So we act as mentors and instructors for the week. We prepare labs and field trips that will teach them some fundamentals as well as give them a since that they can accomplish anything in any field they choose. Last year we covered some basic astronomy, simple machines, archemdies principle, structure design and simple circuits. They build star locators, foil boats to sink with pennies, egg drop devices, balsa wood bridges, and they soldered a light activated alarm circuit. I have fallen in love with the program and it is great to see the girls come back the next year. This year I am the sole physicist left, but I've recruited two other young women to help me out with this. One of them is a Chemical Engineer and the other a biology/crystallographer, I think our different backgrounds will bring a better mix of labs to the camp. Now I just have to come up with super cool physics labs that can compete with bio and chem labs. Let me know if you have any good ideas! Lets see, anything else while I'm writing my past two years story? Oh, I teach astronomy labs here. The indoor labs are quite similar, but we go outside as often as the weather permits and do labs involving constellations, the rotation of the earth, and the earth's tilt. We also go to a local observatory when possible to show the kids the planets and galaxies and stuff. Again it was really great to hear from you. Let me know how everyone is doing and what the dept. is up to. Kristl,, West Lafayette, IN 47906

Martin Prado - was in our Pre-engineering program and transfered. How are you? I am now working for SCHLUMBERGER with all levels of management coordinating engineering projects which in some cases will be utilized in various parts of the globe. As I pursue my upcoming career as an engineer, I am taking my upper level engineering courses ( i.e. Thermo II, Vibrational Analysis) as I work in order to support myself. I understand this will take me a little longer to finish my degree but i have time. Hope to come up soon. Good Days ahead. Martin Prado, Engineering Assistant- Intern, Completion Systems, SCHLUMBERGER, 7030 ARDMORE, HOUSTON, TEXAS 77054, USA, 713.749.5845 voice, 713.790.0376 fax,

Brian Warner - 4-24-2000 - I was surfin' the net and found your web site. It *finally* dawned on me that you're with Stephen F. Austin. I can claim being an alumnus of one whole semester back in the 77-78 year (second semester). It had been too long out of school and other things and so I couldn't go back to college life. I see the original building and obsering pods are still there. I helped with the astronomy labs and remember the trips from the campus to the site on the old school bus. I'm glad to see the program is continuing to advance. I still look for SFA on the college scoreboards and regret that I was not able to finish my studies. At least I'm still playing around with asteroids. Clear Skies, Brian Warner, 716 Palmer Divide Observatory, Colorado Springs, CO,

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