Student Profile: Jacob White, class of 2014
After running his own home-repair business and earning a degree in accounting, Jacob White switched gears and turned his eyes to the sky.
“I have always been interested in astronomy, and am taking the path to an astrophysics PhD through a physics BS degree,” White says. “I chose to attend UT Dallas because they have a physics program that is very involved with research.”
As an undergraduate, White earned Undergraduate Research Scholar Awards for three years, which allowed him to conduct research in such areas as nanotechnology and solar cells and, more recently, in cosmology and astrophysics. His faculty advisor is Dr. Lindsay King, associate professor of physics and a member of the department’s Cosmology Group.
“I have undertaken several projects related to observational astronomy and am currently working on the spectroscopy of Abell 2146, a massive galaxy cluster merger system. This work is essential in helping me get into a top astrophysics graduate program,” White says.
White also has volunteered to mentor high school students through UT Dallas’s NanoExplorers program, and he was a counselor at the UT Dallas Women in Physics summer camp for middle school girls. He also mentored a high school student who had an interest in astrophysics research – that student is now attending Harvard.
“There is a great physics community at UTD. Everyone is passionate about physics and about learning new things. The faculty all enjoy teaching, and they conduct cutting-edge research in numerous fields, giving students ample opportunities to get involved with exciting research.”
What advice would he give high school students considering physics as a major?
“Do it! Physics is a challenging, but very rewarding, degree,” he says. “Learning about how the universe works is a very fulfilling educational experience.
“Attending UT Dallas will help you gain all the standard physics knowledge, plus give you opportunities to take more specialized courses and conduct research.”