Jocelyn E. Pitman, '13

Hometown: Keene, NH
Degree: BS, Physics

Why did you choose to attend WPI?
WPI is a fantastic place to be a science major. Because it's a tech school, you get to see the applications of what you're learning and researching in what other students around you are doing every day. Often, we think of physics as studying spherical cows in vacuums, but at WPI you can see the effects that physics has on every other major and every possible field.

How has WPI’s philosophy of Theory and Practice, and working with teams, been beneficial to you during your time at WPI?
During my career as a WPI student, it has become increasingly apparent that the philosophy of Theory and Practice will be incredibly beneficial in the working world. We don't just swallow the formulas we learn; we do laboratory experiences to see the way these formulas govern the world around us. And in the lab we don't work alone; students at WPI, especially in the physics department, know the benefits of working with a team. In a team, you get to see things from many different perspectives, and often a team member can approach a problem in a completely different way from anyone else and see a solution others might not see.

What do you think are WPI’s greatest strengths?
WPI's greatest strengths are definitely the project programs. IQP and MQP are some of the hardest parts of a student's career at WPI, but the skills gained are invaluable. Aside from the topics, which are always relevant to the state of the world, learning how to work effectively in a team, make use of available resources, conduct interviews with professionals, and develop programs, which can be implemented by others, are not just useful for classes, but are all great life skills.

How have the professors in your department impacted your studies and your life?
Professor Quimby is my academic advisor, and I honestly could not have hoped to be paired with anyone better. He is incredibly passionate about the material he teaches and is always willing to have an in-depth conversation if you're interested in something that won't be covered in class. In the summer of 2011, I had to have hip replacement surgery, and Professor Quimby was very supportive while I was trying to figure out how to work my course schedule around the time I had to take off. It meant a lot to have his help through that difficult period, and I'm sure that he's a big part of the reason that I'm still on track to graduate on time.

What are your research projects?
I finished my IQP last term and am looking forward to starting my MQP. My IQP dealt with working to improve student health on campus by developing and implementing a simulation of herd immunity to the seasonal flu. We were basically trying to improve seasonal flu vaccination rates among freshmen.

What do you hope to do when you graduate? What would be your ideal job?
My hope when I graduate is to go into some kind of research. I'm not 100% sure what kind yet, but that's why they call physics the Swiss army degree: you can use it to do whatever you want!

Groups or extracurricular activities you participate in at WPI:

  • Alpha Gamma Delta Women's Fraternity
  • Social Committee
  • National Residence Hall Honorary
  • Mathematical Sciences Peer
  • Learning Assistant
  • Students Promoting Animal Welfare

Academic or professional awards you have received:

  • Charles. O. Thompson Scholar
  • Dean’s list

Additional comments:
As for the WPI experience, its greatest asset, I believe, is that it will truly prepare a person for the real world. It’s not easy; you’re expected to learn to do things on your own, and there’s nobody holding your hand. But, if you take advantage of the opportunities available to you, you can do anything required of you within your classes. I also like that WPI places much more emphasis on what you learn rather than how well you perform on exams.

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