Monday, August 12, 2019 - 8:59am
By:
Alan Flurry

A big week on campus, as fall semester begins and so many new students begin a great journey. Physics and astronomy major and Goldwater Scholar Mackenzie Joy shares a few insights about her path to a successful future:

I chose to attend UGA because …
The first time I came to UGA was in February 2016 when I was interviewing for the Foundation Fellowship. I had never really considered UGA my top choice of where to go for my undergraduate studies, but interacting with all the students who were so passionate about this school completely changed my mind. By the end of my two days in Athens, I knew this was the right school for me. The opportunities I’ve had to do research with astrophysicists, travel to conferences and study abroad have confirmed just how great of a decision I made.

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My favorite professor is … 
… Loris Magnani. Dr. Magnani was my intro astronomy professor and has since been my professor for four more upper level physics and astronomy classes. I also researched with him for two years, analyzing spectral data from the interstellar medium. Dr. Magnani introduced me to the field of astrophysics and taught me how interesting and meaningful classes can be when you stop focusing solely on tests and grades and start trying to relate material to the things you observe every day. He’s probably the most well-read person I have ever met, and I love talking to him about basically any topic. He’s also hilarious and has a real affinity for dog memes, as anyone who visits his office can tell.

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What is your passion and how are you committed to pursuing it?
I’ve been passionate about learning how and why the universe exists the way it does since I first learned about space. I want to learn as much as I possibly can in my lifetime to hopefully contribute to the theories being written about the beginnings and eventual end of the universe. This passion is why I’m pursuing a degree in astrophysics, but through my time at UGA I’ve discovered another passion that I hope to develop more. Working with elementary students as part of the Lunchbox Garden Project has revealed to me my love of teaching and working with kids. In my future I hope to work in a position that provides opportunities for me to inspire young kids, especially girls, to maintain their curiosities and pursue STEM fields.

Welcome to all new UGA students. Mackenzie and the many other amazing students you join on campus provide a wonderful compass for charting a path for intellectual and career fulfillment. Best wishes in discovering yours.