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Sam Ciocys, Physics '15

I am currently a fourth-year student dual majoring in physics and mathematics. I plan to go to graduate school and attend a PhD program in physics. Physics and math are very important aspects of my life. I yearn to understand the Universe from a fundamental perspective, and this has always influenced me. In addition to my curious nature, I am also creative and love to teach. I have many hobbies because I love trying new things. Some of these hobbies include running, weight-lifting, and circuitry. Movies are also a big part of my life. I consider myself a movie-buff with “Spartacus”, “The Empire Strikes Back”, and “Blade Runner” being high on my list. I am also officially an aircraft pilot. Receiving my private pilot certificate was one of the most difficult and rewarding challenges I have accomplished. I enjoy ceramics and playing guitar, however, my all time favorite form of creative expression is sketching. For me, there is nothing better than drawing in the moment.

At Drexel I have been doing solid-state research under the guidance of Dr. Goran Karapetrov. Much of my experience has been characterizing nano-scale materials using atomic force microscopy (AFM), magnetic force microscopy (MFM), and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). Our research team is currently working on interactions between mesoscopic magnets and superconductors. We have a publication pending on our recent results. Along with working on research, I also train graduate students to use different scanning probe microscopy techniques.

Over my last co-op, I worked at Argonne National Laboratory in the Material Science Division. My research group collaborated with the University of Chicago to design detectors for the South Pole Telescope for analyzing the cosmic microwave background. My research specifically focused on using magnetic thin-films to systematically tailor the superconducting transition of a superconducting thin-film used in the detector elements. Next generation detectors that we are working on will be installed on SPT in a couple of years. I will return again to Argonne this co-op cycle to continue working with magnetic and superconducting nanomaterials.

I am also active in multiple clubs here at Drexel. I am the current vice-president of the Drexel Chapter of the Society of Physics Students. In previous years, I led the undergraduate research teams for Drexel SPS. However my interests extend outside of physics as well, and so I am also the Keeper of the Vault (or “treasurer”) of the Drexel Horror Movie Discussion Group. I am a founding father of this club with my roommate, Jared Ely, as the Dark Lord (or “president”). While at Drexel, I have been awarded the Susan and Donald Larson Endowed Scholarship for my academic performance and interest in experimental science. I am also under the Anthony J. Drexel Scholarship and have been admitted into the Sigma Pi Sigma National Physics Honors Society.

The physics experience here at Drexel University has been more than I could ask for. The physics major at Drexel is special because of the opportunities it provides for undergraduates. The co-op system has taken me across the country to study superconductivity and the cosmic microwave background. It is also very easy to have one-to-one interactions with my professors whether I have a question after class or I am interested in research. And lastly, my undergraduate colleagues are fantastic, both as friends and as academic team members.