Alumni Mentor

Kevin Waters

Back to Alumni Mentors: Chemistry/Physics

I launched my science career when I came to Terre Haute in the Fall of 2009 as a first-generation college student looking for a great and affordable education. Indiana State provided me with a productive learning environment, filled with excellent teachers, mentors, and peers. While at Indiana State, I majored in physics, minored in German and mathematics and attended the Honors College before graduating in 2013.

Attending a smaller school allowed me to be involved on campus from the start. I did this through teaching, research and working in the Department of Chemistry and Physics department, Residential Life and a few student organizations. Right after my first year, I had the opportunity to participate in the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE), and worked for that summer and the next two with Drs. West and Zhang. The research exposed me to computational modeling, high performance computers and many other tools that I now use on a daily basis. I was also able to work as a teaching assistant, under the supervision of Mrs. Baltz-Knorr, in the labs and as a tutor in the learning center. Having the chance to teach the material to other students provided me a strong foundation for learning and teaching at the graduate level. It was through these activities and excellent mentors that my academic passions evolved into a career.           

With my experiences at State, I decided to continue my education and attend graduate school. Having a STEM degree opened the door to receive complete financial support to pursue an advanced degree. I was accepted at Michigan Technological University and then I started my research investigating the future’s nanomaterial using numerical methods on high performance computers. I am currently finishing up my PhD in physics at Michigan Tech, and will continue my career in a post-doctoral position.