Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan

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Graduate student Lois Smith inspires high school students

Posted: May 27, 2014

Graduate student Lois Smith inspires high school students

Doctoral Student Lois Smith visited her old high school in Buffalo, New York, to speak about her college and graduate school experiences.

Smith’s May 2014 visit to Nardin Academy High School, a private school for young woman, was considered an inspiration to the students – many of whom stated they did not know physics could be a career path until Smith spoke about it.

Smith says it was important for her to teach students about the opportunities in physics as she wished someone had told her more about it when she was in high school.

“I thought physics was more like philosophy or Latin where job prospects lied solely in academia or teaching high school. So initially when I went to college, I declared pre-med and a chemistry major. It took me one semester to realize that I was not a chemist nor a doctor, and that regardless of the outcome, I was interested and talented at physics and needed to pursue that field of study. It wasn't until later that I realized how many opportunities and options there are in studying physics.”

One of Nardin’s teachers, Ms. Anne Casper, stated on the Nardin website “I was thrilled to have Lois spend the day with my classes. It's extremely gratifying when our alums excel in such a demanding, rarefied, and cerebral STEM field. She explained her research so students could grasp its relevance…The students were enthralled."

Smith’s advisor is Professor Michael Liemohn. Her research focuses on looking at the plasma pressure peak in the inner magnetosphere during geomagnetic storms. She received a 2014 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Fellowship.

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