Department of Physics, Engineering, and Astronomy
Stephen F. Austin State University

Fall 2020 Edition

Alumni Success Stories

Tabitha Stricklin '20

Product Engineer, Robroy Industries

"This degree challenged me in many ways, but I feel that it prepared me for industry. In addition to school, I started an internship with Robroy Industries in May 2018. Upon graduation this May, I was offered a position with them as a Product Engineer. Additionally, I took my FE on June 24th, 2020 for the first time and passed it. The Engineering program at SFA is rigorous and requires a lot from its students, but it works and it's worth it. "
-- Tabitha Stricklin

Jammie Johnson '18

Project Engineer, Gupta & Associates, Inc.

"I been so busy with projects [at Gupta & Associates, Inc.] I basically help maintain the electrical components for wastewater treatment plants and elevation storage tanks across Texas. The department helped me in numerous ways from understanding linear analysis and to gain a love for Physics."
-- Jammie Johnson

Kyle Fuller '18, Kyle Henry '18, and Taylor Gill '18

Project Engineer, Manufacturing Engineer,
and Quality Engineer

Ford AV and Lockheed Martin

"2 years ago: Stressed about grades and not knowing if we were going to get jobs. Now: Project Engineer, Manufacturing Engineer, Quality Engineer. If you keep your goals in focus and put your head down and work hard, you can make it. I do miss those days sometimes though!"
-- Tayl
or Gill

Tyler Keith '11

Radio Frequency Engineer, NASA - Johnson Space Center

Mission Control Center Recon Specialist, NASA - JSC

CRONUS Flight Controller for the ISS, NASA - JSC

"I had started as a computer science major but quickly transferred to physics after my first year. I discovered programming wasn’t really my thing and I really enjoyed learning about electrical circuits and kinematics. I went on to do some really fun things in the physics department like teach physics labs, joined the Society of Physics Students, built a coil gun for a demonstration, and took pictures of stars and galaxies at SFA’s observatory. It was a very exciting experience and one of the most memorable times of my life that I will always cherish. Yes, even the exhausting hours spent in the PRC trudging through long complex physics problems. At least I had a great group of friends there with me."

Skyler Self '18

Queue Observer, Multiple Mirror Telescope Observatory

"When I enrolled in my first semester of classes at SFA, I had no idea what I wanted my future to look like. After taking my first Astronomy course, I knew immediately. I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to teach students, not only through traditional labs, but also through the Planetarium and Observatory as well. Though it was a difficult road, I owe much of my success to the support from my professors. In particular, Ed Michaels not only encouraged me to work towards my dream but also allowed me to contribute to his research which led to my first publication. Now I get to do what I love!"

Jordan Garcia

Jordan volunteered some of his time this summer to make 100 face shields in Maker Space 2 of the STEM Building. Clear thermal laminate is attached to face shield frames which are 3D printed from an SFA design. This clear plastic is held in place by 3D printed TPU gaskets. Jordan Garcia, Savan Cleveland, Tristan Sims, and Mark Salazar have been meeting with Dr. Aul and Dr. Bruton via Zoom over the summer to develop plans for face shields, ear savers, sneeze guards, partitions, and a filter adapter for a full face diver's mask.

Research - Looking for Students

Astronomy with Mr. Edward J. Michaels

Recent surveys have uncovered thousands of new eclipsing binary stars as well has a host of other types of transient events occurring in the night sky. Students could be the first to perform a detailed photometric study of any one of these stars by acquiring multiband CCD observations and analyzing the resulting light curves.

Another challenging student project would be to observe the transit of an exoplanet passing in front of its host star. The TESS space telescope is currently detecting hundreds of new exoplanet candidates that will need follow up observations!

For more information:

Engineering with Dr. Hector Ochoa

Compressive Radar using GPUs – In this work we are aiming to implement compressive sensing algorithms in the GPU cluster. Students who are interested should be comfortable with programming and mathematics. There is no need for knowledge in Compressive Radar and GPU programming. Part of the research work will involve learning about it.

Twisted Coiled Polymer Actuators (TCPAs) – In this research we are at the point where we are interested in implementing different types of polymers. Currently, we have LDPE in a pellet form, and we want to create our own filaments using the material. Then make them into a TCPA, and compare it against other materials.

For more information:

Physics with Dr. James Adams

I’d like to work on more computational projects involving light scattering and optical phenomena. One area I’m interested in is calculations involving the diffraction of coherent light in both near and far field domains. This work can be extended from light to radar emissions and will involve development in Python and or Java.

Another project of interest using Monte Carlo methods is the examination of ground state properties of nuclei. Using a Metropolis algorithm one can calculate the ground state energy of a nucleus for a candidate wave function. By adjusting the parameters of the wave function while minimizing the ground state energy, one can find a set of parameters to use for calculating other physical quantities of interest including angular momentum, mean radius of the nucleus, etc.

For more information:

This is only a small sample of the research opportunities available for engineering and physics students in our department. For more information visit our student research website here, or email us at or

Keep us informed!

We would like to hear from you!
Graduates: Let us know about your current position or activities.
Students: Share images of you in our maker spaces, labs, or student organization activities.
Everyone: Contact us if you have any questions about our programs. or or

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