I came to Pacific University in 2004 after spending five years as a faculty member in the Physics Department at the United States Naval Academy (USNA) in Annapolis, MD. In fact, I had been granted tenure at USNA before
moving to Pacific. So, why did I choose Pacific? Four main reasons:
My dedication to innovative teaching
My dedication to doing optics research with students
The Physics Department at Pacific is unique in that the every
faculty member is committed to implementing research-based teaching
techniques. This shared vision produces a creative, vibrant community
in which to pursue a career as an educator.
During my time at Pacific, I have played an active role in the
development and implementation of innovative teaching methods and
tools. I have presented this work at American Association of Physics Teachers meetings and have recently received a grant (with Dr. Stephen Hall in the Physics Department at Pacific) from the Berglund Center for Internet Studies to incorporate innovative technology-based teaching methods in the
optics course I teach in the College of Optometry at Pacific.
3. The opportunity to teach at a liberal arts college and a college of optometry
I received my Ph.D. in Physics for my experimental study of optical
switches (devices used to control the direction that light
propagates). Since then, I have done extensive research in nonlinear
fiber optics. Most recently, I have been investigating nonlinear
absorption in capillary waveguides and waveguide arrays. This research
has applications in places where there is a potential for damage due to
high intensity lasers such as in the military and in the
telecommunications industry. I am doing this work in collaboration with
scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington DC, USNA, and the Chemistry Department at Pacific. During the past 9 years I have received over $300,000 in external funding from agencies such as NRL, the National Science Foundation, and Research Corporation to support this research.
Students at Pacific have the opportunity to join me in this effort
through experimental research in a state-of-the-art optics lab at
Pacific or through computer modeling research with Dr. Kevin Johnson in the Chemistry Department at Pacific. Students who have worked with
me have had their results published in peer-reviewed journals such as Optics Letters and have had their results presented at regional and national
conferences such as the Murdock Undergraduate Research conference and
the Conference on Lasers and Electro-optics. Several of these students have gone on to pursue advanced degrees at institutions such as University of Cambridge, MIT, and University of Oregon.
The Physics Department at Pacific is also committed to providing
research opportunities for students. All physics majors at Pacific are
required to do either a senior capstone research project or an
internship. Often times, these projects are the culmination of two or
more years of research that the student has done with their faculty
advisor. These research experiences are extremely valuable, no matter
what career path the student ultimately chooses after graduation since
it gives them "real world" experience where there is not a cookbook
recipe for how to go about solving problems and the answers are not
known ahead of time.
4. My dedication to my family
I was attracted to Pacific's mission and vision to provide undergraduates with a broad education that prepares them for the complexities of life in an inherently interdisciplinary world. This matches my personal goals to continue to expand my own knowledge of philosophy, history, and literature. In my experience, it is the blending of all of these areas (along with physics) that lead me to a rich and fulfilling life.
I enjoy the opportunity to teach in the College of Optometry at Pacific. As discussed above, my research interests are in the realm of optics and I have found it extremely rewarding to teach optics concepts in the context of optometric applications. Furthermore, I enjoy helping build bridges between the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Optometry in order to help undergraduates interested in pursuing optometry as a profession. To that end, I am the faculty advisor for the Pre-Optometry Club at Pacific.
I grew up in Portland, Oregon and many of my family members still live in the area. I attended Benson Polytechnic High School and Eastern Oregon University before moving to Pennsylvania to pursue my Ph.D. at Lehigh University. Although I enjoyed my time on the east coast, I always hoped to return to the Pacific Northwest. Pacific University is ideally located for me to pursue my interests outside of work. I enjoy spending time with my family and a wide spectrum of activities including reading (last book read: Treasure of Khan by Clive and Dirk Cussler), camping (enjoyed Sunset Bay State Park this summer), and watching TV/movies (favorite TV show: Battlestar Galactica; recent movies watched: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Love Actually).