Meet the REUs

Jessie Thwaites

Home Institution: College of St. Benedict/St. John's University
Research Project: Nuclear beta spectroscopy of the future
UW Mentor(s): Alejandro Garcia

Q: What are your physics/science interests?
I love science because of its universality, and I am interested in physics for its ability to describe the world through math. I am interested in astrophysics and space physics, but I really like exploring all areas of physics, especially if I know very little or nothing about them. This summer in particle physics is completely different than anything I have ever done.

Q: What are your other interests?
I love music and have played horn since I was in 5th grade in elementary school. I love playing in orchestras and ensembles, my favorite being a brass choir that I have been fortunate enough to play with at my university. Music is an entirely different sort of challenge from physics for me, but I love the challenge that it gives to me. I also love going outside and exploring through biking, swimming, and hiking.

Q: What would you like to do after college?
After college I plan to go to grad school, although I might take a year off to work or travel depending on how everything works out. I would really like to earn my PhD in physics at some point.

Q: Tell us one strange but interesting fact about yourself.
I like to eat tomatoes like apples.

Q: What first sparked your interest in Physics?
I have always liked interesting puzzles and challenges that you have to work on to understand. In high school, physics was my most difficult class, and I liked it because of the challenge that it was for me. I like physics because of its connection with the world, and the way that it uses higher level math to model the real world.

Q: If you could have any pet what would it be?
Probably a cat of some kind. Realistically a friendly cat that I find at a shelter, unrealistically some sort of panther or huge cat. I also like big dogs, but I would want to make sure that I had enough time to care for it and give it the attention that it deserves, and I'm way too busy for that to be realistic.

Q: If you had a free month and unlimited funds, how would you spend your time?
Travel the world! I would go to experience many different cultures as possible. I would definitely want to go to Japan and New Zealand, and maybe Tibet.

Q: If you could get a grant to study anything what would it be?
Something in space, maybe Europa or Io? I love reading about Juno, so it would probably be related to Jupiter.