Firsthand Opportunities


Firsthand in the Classroom

Berry physics courses emphasize classroom engagement, which means most of the time you will be actively working to solve problems or perform experiments rather than listening to someone talk.  Research on physics education shows that students don't learn physics well by listening to a lecture or watching someone else solve a problem.  To learn physics effectively you must do the physics yourself!  We make sure our students have the opportunity to do physics under the guidance of an experienced instructor who knows how to nudge you in the right direction while still allowing YOU to do the thinking and the work (and thus gain the knowledge).  Our award-winning professors have many years of experience using active learning strategies that focus on what STUDENTS do rather than what the teacher does.  So if you really want to learn physics, come to Berry, roll up your sleeves, and start doing physics!

Firsthand in the Workplace

Many of our physics and DDE students have physics-related jobs through our Student Work Program. Our students work as homework graders, tutors, lab setup assistants, observatory assistants, and research assistants.  Most of our jobs have flexible hours so that students can find times to work that fit with their class schedules.  Student work positions are a great way to put your knowledge to work and make some extra money - and the experience you gain will be invaluable after you graduate.  Students interested in a work position in the department should contact the department chair to find out what positions are available.

Firsthand in the Research Lab

Berry physics and DDE students can engage in real physics research with a Berry faculty member.  These research positions can be done for pay (through our Student Work Program - see above) or for academic credit (as an Academic Internship).  Either way, you gain valuable research experience that can be vital for those who plan to go on to graduate study.  Many of our student researchers give formal presentations of their work at professional conferences, or even co-author papers that are published in professional journals. Berry undergraduate students have co-authored papers published in prestigious physics and astronomy journals like The Astrophysical Journal, Physical Review Letters, Physical Review E and D, and The American Journal of Physics.   Students interested in doing research with a Berry physics professor should talk to each of the professors to determine what projects might be available. 

Firsthand in the Summer

Your physics/engineering training doesn't have to end when classes are over!  Berry physics and DDE students engage in a variety of summer activities that give them hands-on experience in their chosen fields.  Some students work as research assistants with a Berry faculty member during the summer, for pay or for academic credit.  Other students find summer research internships elsewhere (such as the Undergraduate Student Research Program at NASA or the National Science Foundations' Research Experience for Undergraduates hosted at a variety of universities).  If you are interested in summer research, talk about it with one of the Berry physics professors and visit The Physics Nucleus for a listing of opportunities.  Students can also find opportunities for corporate internships in engineering or related fields through Berry's Career Center.