Breaking the Stereotype: A spotlight on 2017 RC female physics graduates

by robb on June 14, 2017

The 2017 graduation year is special one for a variety of reasons. It is the 175th year of Roanoke College. The Physics Group at Roanoke College saw one of its largest group of graduating students ever, and more importantly, nearly 30% of those graduating physics students were from underrepresented groups: females and minorities.

According to American Institute of Physics statistics, nationwide the percentage of undergraduate physics degrees earned by female students is less than 20% of the total, lagging significantly behind the number of female students graduating with an undergraduate degree in other sciences. Also, the number of women pursuing graduate level work in physics and other technical fields, like engineering, continues to lag below 20%.  Given these nationwide trends, Roanoke Physics seems to beat those trends in a positive way. We are encouraged by the uptick in the number of female students currently majoring in and/or graduated in recent years. The 2017 graduating class had 4 female physics majors, a record in itself. Each of these four women are talented and accomplished graduates and well set on a scientific and/or a technical career.

From left to right in first row of the the picture above: Taylor Ferebee, a physics and math double major, is headed to Clemson University to pursue a Ph. D in mathematics and applied science. Rebecca Muolo, a physics major and an IT enthusiast, is headed to Mountain View, CA to make her mark at Google Inc. Linnea Kremer, former captain of Roanoke College’s women’s soccer team, is headed to University of Nottingham, U.K., to pursue her two passions; post-graduate studies in medical physics and soccer. Hanna Lyle, winner of senior physics scholar award, is headed to University of Colorado, Boulder to pursue a Ph. D in materials science a good mix of her physics and chemistry background.

I am personally thrilled to see these talented young women of science, each pursuing their passion and continuing to make big strides in STEM fields.

-Dr. Rama Bala, Associate Professor of Physics, MCSP