Physics Alumni

While approximately 75 percent of our graduates go on to continue their studies in graduate or professional school, a physics education supplies a foundation that equips you to work in many different and interesting places, such as industrial and government labs, college campuses, and in the astronaut corps. In fact, 99 percent of graduates with bachelor’s degrees in physics are usually employed, regardless of the condition of the national economy.

Augustana physics graduates have been found at the National Bureau of Standards, NASA, General Dynamics, Motorola, Boeing, Digital Globe, Northop-Grumman, Hewlett-Packard, the Environmental Protection Agency, and many more employers. Some graduates even leave the lab behind and work at newspapers and magazines, as patent lawyers, and even on Wall Street, where their problem-solving abilities and analytical skills give them a competitive advantage.

Some of our graduates include:

  • Richard Addison Wood ’87, senior software developer and engineer, Weta Digital Ltd. in New Zealand (the company responsible for visual effects in Avatar and the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy).
  • Richard Engh ’81, Professor of Physical Chemistry in Tromso, Norway.
  • T. Paul Chow ’75, Professor of Electrical, Computer and Systems Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
  • William Dannehl ’81, former Vice President for North American Sales and Dealer Services, Harley-Davidson Motor Company.
  • Jill Weber Aanenson ’93, Founder, Scientific Consulting, Inc. (a firm that conducts environmental audits).
  • John Berdahl ’99, Ophthalmologist, Vance Thompson Vision, Sioux Falls.
  • Dan Conrad ’98, physics teacher, Sioux Falls Lincoln High School.
  • Derrick Knight, ’00, President, Knight Acoustics, Rosemount, Minn.
  • Brad Hartman, ’03, civil engineer, Schemmer Associates, Council Bluffs, Iowa.
  • Nora Johnson '05, Ph.D. student in physics, Kansas State University; Fulbright Scholar at the Max Plank Institute for Quantum Optics, Garching, Germany.
  • Mark Johnson '05, civil engineer with Fagen Engineering.
  • Kelsie Betsch ’05, Doctoral candidate in physics, University of Virginia.
  • Ashley Chipman, '06, engineer with Schlumberger Limited.
  • Mike Hulstein ’06, mathematics teacher, Sioux Falls Patrick Henry Middle School.
  • Jamie Kapplinger, '06, M.D./Ph.D. student at Mayo Clinic.
  • Nate Jastram '10, Ph.D. student in electrical engineering at the University of Colorado.
  • Lucas Kramer '07, Ph.D. student in mathematics, Iowa State University.
  • Amy Lueking ’07, Fellow, University of South Dakota Medical School.
  • Ryan Mello ’06, Ruth L. Kirschstein pre-doctoral fellow in medical physics, University of Minnesota.
  • Dan Mickelson '10, graduate student in atomic physics at the University of Oklahoma.
  • Nick Smolnisky '09, studying biomedical engineering at the University of South Dakota.
  • Michael Todt '10, graduate student in physical chemistry at Cornell University.