Senior Katie Karnes from Cincinnati, Ohio is the only member of the class of 2017 to be an astrogeophysics concentrator. Her love of physics didn’t come until her senior year of high school thanks to a great physics teacher. This inspired her to register for introductory physics, which in turn led to her interest in astrogeophysics.
Karnes’ relationship with Physics and Astonomy Professor Balonek also played a part in her interest in astrophysics. “Professor Balonek has been a great advisor to me since the beginning of my first-year,” Karnes said. “He has connected me with alumni in the field and has helped me plan for the future.” Her major and love of physics has led to many summer experiences within the field.
“After my sophomore year, I had the opportunity through a Research Experience for Undergraduates program to do research with scientists at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute and NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California,” Karnes said. “That summer was an amazing experience, and my project was on detecting exoplanets, which are planets orbiting other stars. I spent last summer at Stony Brook University working with Tim Glotch ’99 on a project studying the optical characteristics of pyroxenes, a type of mineral.”
On campus, Karnes is involved in a diverse group of activities and clubs. She is co-president of the Ski & Snowboard Club, dances in the Colgate Ballet Company and works as a teaching assistant for the Astronomy 101 and 102 classes.Karnes studied abroad in Cardiff, Wales where she learned about Welsh culture.
“I had many once-in-a-lifetime experiences while traveling around Wales and other countries in Europe,” Karnes said. “At the same time, being abroad helped me develop an appreciation for the quality of classes and professors that we have here at Colgate.”
When it comes to advice for first-years, Karnes urges them to take initiative. “Take initiative and take ownership of your future,” Karnes said. “This applies to all aspects of your life – making friends on campus, getting involved with extracurricular activities, finding summer jobs, connecting with your professors and even networking with alumni.”
Karnes plans on further pursuing her love of astrogeophysics after Colgate.
“I’m preparing to apply to grad school to study planetary science,” Karnes said. “I’d love to continue the research I did two summers ago on exoplanets.”