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2023 Maize and Blue Scholar Recipient: Chavella Garibay

We are taking a moment to celebrate our 2023 Maize and Blue Scholars. The award is presented to undergraduates who demonstrate outstanding academic performance and embody intellectual maturity, depth, character, talent, and a commitment to serving the university and the community.

Chavella Garibay

Chavella Garibay is one of the award recipients this semester so we asked her several important questions pertaining to her experiences on campus. Keep reading to learn more.

Q: Why did you choose to complete your grad/undergraduate studies at UM-Flint?

A: I choose UM-Flint because of their amazing on-line programs, which allows students the flexibility of attending school while balancing the demands of their personal and professional lives. 

Q: How did you pick your major and what were some driving factors?

A: I chose psychology because I found the topic fascinating. I took my first college level psychology course as an elective and switched my major the following semester. I want to help others push through their mental barriers and assist them with their growth into a new understanding of themselves and their behaviors. I would like to help impact the world with positive mental health, one goal at a time. 

Q: How do you think your education, classes and experiences helped you for life after graduation?

A: My education has only improved my experiences. As I continue my career in healthcare, my education has helped me relate to others, patients, families, and other medical professionals. I have continued to gain knowledge in both psychology and gerontology that has been helpful in my current role as a medical case coordinator, and within clinical settings in general, both now and in the future. 

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

I am currently looking into UM-Flint’s health care administration and management master’s programs and hope to continue to grow within my career field.  

Q: Do you have a favorite professor?

A: I do not. In complete sincerity, all of my professors have been fantastic here, at UM-Flint. I cannot give them the proper credit. I was constantly impressed with their knowledge and level of expertise. My psychology professors were especially thorough and engaged. I have spoken with many of them directly throughout my undergraduate program and they have been extremely helpful, regularly available when I needed them, and very supportive. However, I want to give a specific shoutout to both Hillary Heinze and Amanda Taylor, who have always made themselves available to help me, and gave that extra push of encouragement when I needed it.  

Q: What was your best or favorite college memory?

A: I always felt very accomplished at the end of every semester. Some have been harder than others, but recognizing how much I learned and reminding myself that I was that much closer to achieving my goals, have been some of my biggest motivations. Outside of academics, the last few years have included a lot of personal growth, which has only empowered me further to keep reaching for my goals.    

Q: How does it feel to be recognized as a Maize & Blue Scholar?

A: Winning this award has been very humbling, and I am honored to have been recognized. I have worked very hard the past few years for myself, but it is really nice to know that my efforts have been noticed by someone other than myself. It was very unexpected, and it has reinforced my sense of self-pride and self-esteem. I am extremely honored and proud to accept this award, and it feels fantastic. Thank you UM-Flint!

Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d give incoming freshmen?

A: Try everything!  Do not be afraid to fail. And remember to always be kind to yourself . Push yourself to be your best and accept it when you cannot. College is about learning, but not just academically. Absorb everything you can while you have the chance to. 

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2023 Maize and Blue Scholar recipient: Jennifer Musk

We are taking a moment to celebrate our 2023 Maize and Blue Scholars. The award is presented to undergraduates who demonstrate outstanding academic performance and embody intellectual maturity, depth, character, talent, and a commitment to serving the university and the community.

Jennifer Musk

Jennifer Musk, a non-traditional student and mother of four from Kalamazoo is just one of the award recipients. We asked her several important questions pertaining to her experiences on campus. Keep reading to learn more.

Q: How does it feel to be recognized as a Maize & Blue Scholar?

A: “I am deeply honored to represent the University of Michigan-Flint as a Maize and Blue Distinguished Scholar. It feels incredibly special to have my years of dedication, hard work and positive character recognized. Go Blue!”

Q: How do you think your education, classes and experiences helped you for life after graduation?

A: “My education at UM-Flint, enriched by diverse classes, has deepened my understanding of psychology and equipped me with practical skills and insights for navigating real-world challenges. Through research projects and coursework, I have honed my critical thinking, problem-solving and communication abilities. I feel empowered by my successes, ready to take on future challenges in my career and life and continue being an advocate for the well-being of others.”

Q: How did you pick your major and what were some driving factors?

A: I chose to major in psychology because of my personal experiences caring for those with behavioral health conditions. This journey, coupled with a strong desire for self-improvement and knowledge, fueled my commitment to psychology. My passion lies in using my education to foster understanding, empathy and support for mental well-being.”

Q: Do you have a favorite professor?

“I have enjoyed interactions with all my professors and appreciate their diverse approaches. The growth I’ve experienced in each class has been invaluable. Several professors, including Dr. Nathaniel Miller, Dr. Karen Bedell, Professor Amanda Taylor, Dr. Hillary Heinze, Dr. Yael Sela, Dr. Rita Fields and Dr. Mark Simon, have left a lasting impact on me. I must also give special recognition to Dr. Miller. He offered me unwavering support and encouragement, through multiple psychology courses, which played a pivotal role in fostering my confidence as a student of psychology.”

Q: What was your best or favorite college memory?

A: “Winning the 2022 Raphelson Prize stands out as a cherished memory from my time at UM-Flint. I submitted my research proposal with the understanding that it was not the typical submission of completed research. Despite not anticipating a win, I submitted my proposal with pride. The joy I felt upon winning added a layer of fulfillment to the experience.” 

Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d give incoming freshmen? 

A: “I would advise incoming freshman to let go of preconceived expectations about college and instead embrace the diverse opportunities for learning, growth and joy that each unique experience presents.”

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UM-Flint faculty member DJ Trela

UM-Flint professor reflects on nearly 25 years of service

DJ Trela is retiring from the University of Michigan-Flint and exits knowing that he’s had a robust impact on the university as a whole, in the College of Arts and Sciences and CAS faculty, staff and students. 

In his 24 years at UM-Flint, Trela has had different positions but will be most remembered for serving as    CAS dean from 1999 to 2013. 

“From the moment I first began interviewing for the position, I felt a strong affinity to UM-Flint and the city, which reminded me of a smaller version of my hometown in Chicago,” he said. “I have always been proud to call myself a University of Michigan faculty member.”

Trela says that serving as the dean was a job that never got old because there were always new initiatives to pursue, like expanding the number of graduate programs offered by CAS during the 2000s. In addition, he worked to build a diverse group of staff and faculty members, to refine promotion and tenure standards and to codify multiple processes that mystified many because they had never been written down. 

When Trela’s time as dean came to an end, he shifted his attention to teaching and university service.

“I really enjoyed teaching freshman and senior honors seminar courses. I have also hugely enjoyed gaining proficiency in online instruction in courses like introduction to fiction, science fiction and fantasy, and crime fiction.”

He also began serving on university-wide committees and became chair of the old faculty council and the recently initiated faculty senate. He also served as chair of the Department of Foreign Languages, and recently chaired the task force that devised a revised campus-wide general education program. These are all   points of pride for him because service in these roles required the confidence and support of his faculty colleagues   

“The fact that faculty would entrust a former administrator with such important faculty leadership roles is extremely gratifying for me.” 

Trela also recognized the contributions of university staff. He said that the faculty role is largely focused on instruction and shaping institutional governance, and in some ways faculty are the most visible part of the university. However, Trela credits university staff for carrying out tasks like registration, recording grades, balancing budgets and even admitting students.

“This is a tremendously productive and dedicated group of people who largely work behind the scenes.”

Trela adds the thing he enjoyed most about working at UM-Flint were the relationships he built with staff, faculty and the campus community. 

“In a very real way, Flint became ‘home’ for me. I was surprised at how much I ended up enjoying being engaged with alumni and friends of the university and college.”

Trela also reflected on time spent away from home as well. After completing his undergraduate degree in history at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the early 1980s, he studied abroad and completed his Ph.D. in English literature at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. His focus was Victorian literature, specifically the Scottish writer Thomas Carlyle.

“I wish that everyone could be required to study abroad for at least a semester. Immersing yourself in another culture leads to new perspectives, experiences and friends,” he said. “It was a broadening and enlightening experience, which is the very essence of higher education.”

He adds that studying abroad helped him grow as a scholar and as a person as well.

“At first it scared the daylights out of me, but it turned me into the person I am today.”

Trela’s retirement plans include continuing research on the histories of Chicago neighborhoods like the Gold Coast, where he and his husband have a second home, and Sandburg Village. What became the Gold Coast was originally a Catholic cemetery  during the 19th century, and  Ernest Hemingway briefly lived in the area.

“I am actively researching and will eventually write more about these areas of the city. This is just the tip of the research iceberg.” 

CAS interim dean Douglas Knerr said that Trela  made wonderful and sustained contributions to UM-Flint throughout his career at the institution.  

“We will miss his wise and thoughtful counsel, rapier wit, and steadfast commitment to our students, faculty, and staff.”

2023 Maize and Blue Scholar Recipient: Ryan Seifferlein

We are taking a moment to celebrate our 2023 Maize and Blue Scholars. The award is presented to undergraduates who demonstrate outstanding academic performance and embody intellectual maturity, depth, character, talent, and a commitment to serving the university and the community.

We asked Ryan several important questions pertaining to his experiences on campus. Keep reading to learn more.

Q: Why did you choose to complete your grad/undergraduate studies at UM-Flint?

A: I knew that I wanted a University of Michigan degree, but as a non-traditional student I also knew that I wanted smaller class sizes that were diverse. Because I would be commuting to wherever I chose to go, the distance to school was an important factor. Fortunately, I discovered that I could have all of these things at UM-Flint and all within a reasonable commute. The classes were small, yet still diverse, with people from all different backgrounds and ages. It is for this reason that I have continued my education from undergraduate to graduate school at UM-Flint.

Q: How did you pick your major and what were some driving factors?

A: It was the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and I found myself locked up at home like the rest of the world. I had recently lost my business prior to the start of the pandemic and knew that I had to sit down and figure out a plan for the future. This was also a time of heightened political tension in the country and I knew that I wanted to become more involved politically. Initially, I chose my degree in political science because I wanted to run for public office in the future. It seemed like the best place to start was completing my undergraduate degree and learning the fundamentals of how government worked.

Q: How do you think your education, classes and experiences helped you for life after graduation?

A: My education and classes have prepared me to be a critical thinker and to always step back and look at the big picture of whatever issue I may be working on. In both political science and public administration, the decisions that are made can have both positive and negative effects on many people’s lives. This means that it is always crucial to listen to all different perspectives and try to see the situation from other points of view and how a decision may affect individuals. Through my extracurricular experiences on campus working with Turn Up Turnout (TUT), Campus Vote Project (CVP), and as a Research Assistant I have also learned the importance of being a civically engaged citizen, something that will undoubtedly follow me throughout life.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I am continuing my education at UM-Flint as a Public Administration graduate student and am also working on campus as a graduate student research assistant. Upon completion of my master’s degree, I hope to further my education with a PhD in Political Science with aspirations of teaching at a public university. My research interests are in public policy, American government and urban politics.

Q: Do you have a favorite professor?

A: I have enjoyed my time with most all of my professors who I have had at UM-Flint, but especially that with Dr. Kim Saks, who is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and the MPA program director. It’s rather hard to sum up just how much of an impact she has had on my college career, from working as her research assistant to conjuring up plans for events and activism on campus, she has always been there to support and encourage me along the way. What I admire most about Dr. Saks is that she is able to have this profound effect on all her students, always making sure each student feels like they have her undivided attention and that she is always there rooting for your success. One can only hope to come across such a professor in their time at college. Thank you, Dr. Saks!

Q: What was your best or favorite college memory?

A: My favorite college memory is getting to work with Turn Up Turnout, which is a tri-campus organization that seeks to educate and empower students on the importance of voting. During my time with Turn Up Turnout I was able to work with students from all UMICH campuses, an experience I otherwise would not have had. Most impactful to me was being able to create a Dinner for Democracy event, which is where students create and give a presentation on a topic and its relationship to voting before their peers. This experience helped me to become a better public speaker and taught me the importance of working with and listening to feedback from your peers, all of which proved to be immensely beneficial to my presentation.

Q: How does it feel to be recognized as a Maize & Blue Scholar?

A: It is thrilling to have my hard work and dedication to my education be recognized, as well as my extracurricular activities on campus. The path to getting to this point in life has been filled with many ups and downs, so to be recognized for such an honor is not just exciting but also very motivating to want to continue on this current path.

Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d give incoming freshmen?

A: Get involved on campus and be sure to be civically engaged now and throughout life. A large part of my education was outside of the classroom working on extracurricular events around campus. While this was not a requirement for my degree, the knowledge I gained from being engaged on campus will follow me throughout life. When it comes to being civically engaged, always know that you can make a change and do not ever let the power you hold with your vote go to waste. #Vote

Students share details, experience about Wyatt Exploration Trip to Berlin

Some lucky University of Michigan-Flint students embarked on a trip of a lifetime this summer. It was all thanks to the Wyatt Exploration Program, a one-of-a-kind experience focusing on global engagement and learning through experiences. Students traveled to Germany’s capital city, Berlin, along with Wyatt fellow and UM-Flint associate professor of history Christopher Molnar. 

While this wasn’t Casey DeMoss’ first trip abroad, she enjoyed it nonetheless. “I was most excited to simply exist in a new place,” said DeMoss, who graduated this past spring. The Fenton native has also visited England, France, Japan and Taiwan. 

DeMoss added that her favorite part of the trip was visiting the Jewish Museum, which featured a mix of traditional and nontraditional exhibits and presentations. “It was such a unique experience. I was amazed at the multitude of different ways they used to make an impact on the viewer, and I thought their use of multi-sensory experiences was extremely impressive.”

DeMoss said the Wyatt trip made a profound impact because it provided her with the opportunity to connect with the city in the current day after learning about its past. She adds that having an itinerary planned by Molnar added to her overall experience.

“It was like experiencing a week-long live walking lecture,” said DeMoss. 

History and social sciences joint program major Natalie Peck added that the trip allowed her to immerse herself in German culture. “I loved getting to see and try so many different things that just aren’t available in the United States.” This was the Fenton native’s first time outside of the U.S.

Peck said that the trip provided her with multiple benefits, the first being a tangible way to experience history. “I got to experience German history firsthand versus reading about it in a textbook. It made what I was learning about more personal.”

She added that the trip also changed her perspective about world history. “History provides the foundation on which present-day cities are built.”

Peck adds that she was most interested in seeing the Berlin Wall. 

“It seems so crazy that a wall was built to separate a whole city based on a largely fictional line. It was interesting to see what remained and how things around it adapted to it and evolved separately,” said Peck. 

Nick Lee, a ’23 history graduate from Montrose who holds a social studies teaching certificate said the trip was the “cherry on top” of his journey towards a bachelor’s degree and something he’ll never forget.

“I hope that I can teach high school students so that I can share my pictures, souvenirs, and stories from Berlin. I want to teach students that it’s more than a place on a map, and that its culture is alive, thriving and adapting as time goes on.”

Lee’s favorite part of the trip was The East Side Gallery, an iconic display of street art and a historical landmark. “Getting to walk down the gallery and see some of the famous pieces that are on display there was amazing,” he said.

DeMoss, Peck and Lee also talked about their favorite dining experiences during their trip. “[The dining experiences are] something that I personally believe Dr. Molnar did an amazing job at,” said Lee. “To help experience that melting pot culture, Dr. Molnar had us try different cuisines from Turkish to Italian to Vietnamese.” Lee enjoyed all of these experiences, but by far his favorite dining experience was the Turkish barbecue. “The design of the meal, on top of the quality of the food and the company, made it easily one of the most memorable dining experiences of the trip.”

Peck said that she was intrigued to learn that some of the restaurants had special menus devoted to asparagus, which was in season during their trip. “It was fun to try something a little out of the box like that,” she said. DeMoss said she enjoyed trying things like a Turkish lamb dish called döner kebab; currywurst, or a German sausage sliced and covered in a sauce of ketchup mixed with curry powder; and schweinshaxe, which is a roasted ham hock. 

During the 2023-2024 academic year, the Wyatt program will focus on the history of Ireland, with an all-expenses-paid trip taking place in spring 2024. The trip is open to all history majors and minors. The Wyatt Exploration trip is just one example of the opportunities that the UM-Flint History program has to offer to its students. To learn more, visit its website

Armstrong Park

SNAPSHOTS: FYE Borders and Crossings class trip

Last November, we told you about a trip two University of Michigan-Flint professors were planning as a part of the Vehicles of Upheaval course connected to a program called “Borders and Crossings: Exploring Global Questions at UM-Flint.”

The trip, which took place over Spring Break, was well-documented by students and Ben Gaydos, associate professor of design, as well as Stephanie (Vidaillet) Gelderloos, English lecturer.

Students stepped out of their comfort zone and forged meaningful connections and friendships on a moving, poignant road trip exploring the brutal reality of daily life for African Americans in the South that led to the Great Migration.

Students also enjoyed some down time and fun times together in New Orleans and at the Corvette Museum in Kentucky. 

a group of students collecting fish from the Flint River

$100K goal for Endowed Opportunity Fund is in sight

Several years ago, the College of Arts and Sciences leadership set out to create an endowed fund with the explicit purpose of funding best practices for student growth, supporting projects that foster excellence in education, scholarly or creative activity, community engagement, and service.  Since the fund’s creation, numerous donors have given to the CAS Endowed Opportunity Fund and put the college within $9,000 of reaching the $100,000 goal. 

This fund is a flexible resource that enhances the student and faculty experience by providing funding not appropriated in other portions of the college’s budget. In the past year, funds like these have assisted dozens of students and faculty in conducting such things as:    

  • Phone interviews on health information
  • Research on fish populations impacted by the Hamilton Dam removal
  • Payment for students to have academic work submitted for publication
  • Assistance for students attending virtual conferences
  • Helping a student to develop prototype signage in a Flint neighborhood to improve community connections
  • Purchasing biological materials for use in lab research
  • And more!
A photo of Cam McLeman

Dr. Cameron McLeman is the incoming chair of the Department of Mathematics and Applied Sciences and the Chairperson of the CAS Student Support Committee charged with raising funds for the project. Dr. McLeman is excited about the progress and hopes the goal might be reached by the end of June. When asked about the fund, he said, “This year we made the fund a priority for Giving Blueday and the community responded. This progress represents the coming together of students, faculty, staff, and the community to dedicate funds to support our students’ academic experience at UM-Flint.  Closing the fiscal year by reaching our goal would show such a strong commitment to our faculty and students.”

At the College of Arts & Sciences, we pride ourselves on creating lifelong learners whose college experience outfits them with the skills necessary to succeed in their personal and professional lives.  The skills gained by involvement in the types of projects supported by the Opportunity Fund are critical to that effort. 

Please consider making a gift to the CAS Endowed Opportunity Fund!

two students sitting with their laptops smiling.

Five Resources for CAS Students in 2021-2022

Students in the College of Arts & Sciences at UM-Flint can expect so much more than just attending classes! We love seeing our students have amazing experiences outside of their normal class schedule, and we’re passionate about providing students with the resources to have those experiences.

Here are five opportunities CAS students can take advantage of in the 2021-2022 academic year.

1. Professional Academic Advisors

Psychology advisor Nicole Altheide advising a student

Every major in the College of Arts & Students has a dedicated professional advisor to help students create a personalized degree plan to fit their needs.

Meeting with your advisor helps to ensure that you graduate on-time, meet requirements for your degree, and gain the experiences needed for life after graduation. For example, advisors help students who are preparing for medical school to ensure they meet application requirements.

And don’t miss out on other academic supports like the Writing CenterTutoring, and Supplemental Instruction.

2. CAS Opportunity Fund

The CAS Opportunity Fund helped Art & Design students open a pop-up t-shirt shop.

The CAS Opportunity Fund helps to fund research projects, travel, professional development, and more for our faculty, staff, and students.

Recent projects funded with help from the CAS Opportunity Fund include archaeological field school in Massachusetts, a pop-up t-shirt shop in Flint, and a language immersion program in Cuernavaca, Mexico. We will let everyone know when the application period begins for the next round of Opportunity Funding!

3. Research with Professors

Sabrina Dougherty (left) and Dahlia Kassel (right) presented their research at the American Psychology-Law Society in New Orleans.

Your interaction with professors can be so much more than hearing lectures in class. Many students work directly with professors on research projects, allowing them to explore their interests further and build their resumes while still in school.

And with the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program and Summer Undergraduate Research Experience Program, students can even get paid while gaining valuable research experience.

Biology students are studying the ecology of the Flint River with their professors, and two psychology students studied eyewitness testimony and presented their findings at a national conference.

4. Career Advising

Myesha Cannon is available for career advising for a year after graduation.

Myesha Cannon is the career advisor for students in the College of Arts & Sciences. She offers a number of workshops throughout the academic year, covering topics such as: interviewing, job offers, salary negotiations and online networking.

In addition to one-on-one and small group advising sessions, students also have access to industry resources like Handshake, an online job board that allows you to network with employers both locally and across the nation.

5. Minors and Certificates

The Department of Africana Studies offers both a minor and a certificate.

You’ll learn so much more in college than just your major, and there’s no better way to broaden your horizons than by adding a minor or certificate to your major field of study.

CAS offers six undergraduate certificate programs:

Africana Studies Certificate
Design Thinking & Practice Certificate
GIS & Geospatial Technology Certificate
Interaction Design Certificate
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Certificate
Women & Gender Studies Certificate

UM-Flint also offers close to 80 minors, so you’re sure to find something that both interests you and complements your major.

There are plenty of other resources to help you have a great 2021-2022, but this list should help you get started. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact CAS at UMFlintCAS@umich.edu.

Dr. Kimberly Bender speaking in front of the class

Exploring Criminal Justice at UM-Flint!

CAS Student Ambassador April is a Communication Studies major exploring other fields of study offered by the College of Arts & Sciences. For this article, she sat down with Dr. Kimberly Bender to learn more about Criminal Justice.

This is Dr. Kimberly Bender’s fifth year as an assistant professor with UM-Flint’s Criminal Justice program. Her research focuses on corrections–individuals in jail or prison, or those out on parole.

There are three main areas of emphasis for criminal justice students at UM-Flint:

  • Law Enforcement
  • Courts
  • Corrections

After taking the required introductory courses, Dr. Bender explains that students can take additional elective courses relevant to their particular interest. For example, there are class offerings that offer a critical examination of gender, racial, and class implications of criminal laws and criminal justice practices (CRJ 433: Social Inequality and Crime).

After speaking with Dr. Bender, a great intro course to learn more about criminal justice (and the program itself) is CRJ 185: Introduction to the Criminal Justice System. This course gives you a great overview of the program and will help to debunk the myths surrounding crime, courts, and more. Any students interested in pursuing the program further can work towards a minor or a major in criminal justice!

Preparing for the Future

There are many different career options for students studying criminal justice. Some students take their education further by pursuing law school after gaining a valuable understanding of how the system works. Other students start work following graduation in careers working with juvenile facilities, a variety of city departments ( like Flint’s Department of Health and Human Services), or law enforcement positions such as a police or parole officer. With three different focuses, students can select coursework that best prepares them for future careers.

What I found most interesting about the criminal justice program was the real world experiences students can gain while earning their degrees. In Professor Bender’s corrections course, students take a trip to a prison to gain additional insights on what they learn in class. In a course focused on how minors interact with the criminal justice system, students get a similar experience by stepping into a juvenile detention facility. These out of class experiences bring a new level of understanding to what students learn in theory. There is also an optional internship course, allowing students to gain further real-world experiences and to build their resumes while earning course credit.

a physics classroom

Exploring Physics at UM-Flint!

CAS Student Ambassador April is a Communication Studies major exploring other fields of study offered by the College of Arts & Sciences. For this article, she sat down with Dr. James Alsup to learn more about the Physics program.

One of the first tasks of my day is pouring my morning coffee. It’s so routine I don’t even think twice about how it happens, let alone that physics plays a key role in getting the liquid boost to my ceramic cup every morning! We may not realize it, but physics is a part of our everyday lives. From the atoms that compose our genetic makeup, to the forces involved with moving cars, all the way to outer space, the art of physics plays a role in everything. 

Physics is much more than meets the eye, or the atom, or the universe!

I got the unique opportunity to have a discussion with Dr. James Alsup, an associate professor at UM-Flint who researches High Energy Theory, Quantum Mechanics, and Black Holes within the physics program. Having never taken a physics class myself (not even in high school) I had a lot to learn from Dr. Alsup.

Dr. James Alsup

Physics contains a wide range of different specializations, from particle physics (dealing with electrons and photons) to cosmology, the study of the universe. Somewhere in the middle there is Biological Physics; which deals with radiation and nuclear medicine, Electricity and Magnetism; this is where much of engineering comes to play, and classical physics; which dives into how and why objects move. I know what you’re thinking; this all sounds extremely fascinating! Where can I learn more?

A great course for students to learn all about everything physics has to offer is First Year Experience: Tales From The Dark Side. This class challenges its students to be curious about the world around us. Students get to see a lot of different kinds of physics and even get their feet wet with some experiments and calculations! If interested in pursuing a career in Physics, there are many possibilities from which to choose. It’s typical for Physics majors to continue their education in graduate school. From there, they can decide what specialization is most interesting to them. Most graduates will go on to conduct groundbreaking research through studies and experiments.

Students, Faculty, and the Physics Luncheon

One of my favorite aspects Dr. Alsup about the Physics program was how connected they were. Once a month, students and faculty from the department come and have a “Physics Lunch” together, where they discuss current research and all things physics! This luncheon really stood out to me as a clear example of how dedicated and passionate everyone in the department is about learning and growing together. No student has ever been turned away the opportunity to expand further on different aspects of research. Although there may not be a specific class for each physics specialization, the program ensures students will get a taste of each subcategory. Upon beginning their capstones, students get the opportunity to work closely with professors on their final projects. Students have access to advanced scientific equipment to use for their research efforts. They are granted complete access to pursue whichever field of physics they please in their capstones. Dr. Alsup recalled one of his favorite pieces of research conducted with his students on the study of black holes. They closely reviewed the forces involved around two black holes that are stuck next to each other. Dr. Alsup explained to me that their research was closely correlated with planet formation!

What you need to know about the Physics program

If you’re passionately curious about the world and the forces within it, physics might just be the major for you! At the University of Michigan-Flint, you will be exposed to three major branches within physics: theoretical, experimental, and computational. The study of theoretical physics is the use of mathematics to make scientific predictions. Experimental Physics takes those predictions and tests them in the lab. The study of computational physics, as Dr. Alsup puts it, is “sort of its own thing.” To put it simply, it’s a combination of computer science, physics, and mathematics to solve complex problems. I know you must be jumping out of your seat, eager to get started, but there are a few things to be aware of before being a physics major. It is apparent that as a student you have a commitment to yourself, along with your classmates and professors, to learn and grow as a physicist. The physics program is no walk in the park and requires individuals who love the field, and want to be challenged inside and outside the classroom. Dr. Alsup shared that, “Being a little nerdy goes a long way in Physics.”