College of Letters & Sciences
Physics students studying


Contact Information

Robert Benjamin
Department Chair & Professor
Phone: (262) 472-5114
Location: Upham Hall 156
Patricia Filipiak
Academic Department Associate
Phone: 262-472-1067
Location: Upham Hall 151

Physics Alumni

Our Recent Graduates:

  • Spring 2022

     Physics Majors

  • Jessica Kienbaum-Graduate School 
  • Curtis Smith-Engineering  

    Physics Minors

  • Chelsie Golackson
  • Brett Steck
  • Jacob Tetner

UW-W Physics Alumni

Are you a UWW Physics Grad? 

Would you like to provide current and future UWW Physics students an idea of career paths available to Physics Majors?

Please consider sending your name, a picture, year graduated, major and minor, and a short description of your current professional activities to:

Michael Dorn-ReedMichael Dorn-Reed

2017 – BS Physics-Engineering at UW-Whitewater (Dual Degree)
2017 – BS Mechanical Engineering at UW-Milwaukee

Mechanical Engineer at Johnson Controls, Milwaukee, WI   

I am responsible for analyzing vibration data used for predicting and preventing industrial HVAC machine failures within JCI's worldwide database. I also give technical support regarding our vibration application to mechanics in the field.

Monica Ripp

2015 – BS Physics-Graduate School and Chemistry majors, Math minor at UW-Whitewater
2021 – PhD Physics at Syracuse University. 

After UWW I went on to get a PhD from Syracuse University studying Soft Matter Physics. Now, I am working as a post-doc research fellow studying force chain networks in compressed granular packings at Haverford College, PA. 

Alexandres Fernandes

2014 – BS Physics-Graduate School  and Applied Math majors UW-Whitewater
2017 – MS Physics at University of Albany, New York

After the Master’s Degree, I did research at UW-Whitewater and UW-Madison with Dr. Benjamin, developing Deep Leaning networks to find rare objects in a large Astrophysical dataset and to achieving better than human performance in visually detecting sources of interest.
Then I taught in the UW-Whitewater Physics department for a year while Dr. Benjamin was on sabbatical leave. Now I am teaching at Madison Area Technical College ( MATC) and Edgewood College.

Ashton Falduto Ashton Falduto

2013 – BS Physics-Graduate School major with Math minor, UW-Whitewater
2017 – MS Physics, Central Michigan University
PhD Candidate Technische Universitat Darmstadt, Germany

After my degree, I did a variety of things. I first went to industry where I built and calibrated equipment for bio-pharmaceutical companies. I then had another job in industry testing the chemical composition of materials, such as construction materials, against heat and flame. I then went to Central Michigan University and received my Master’s degree in Physics. During this time, I did research in the field of nuclear astrophysics. Since 2018, I have been pursuing my PhD at the Technische Universität Darmstadt in Darmstadt, Germany in the field of experimental nuclear physics. It is very hands on work, I have built a detector and help with experimental setup. It also involves a lot of computational work with coding and analyzing data.

Loryn Zachariasen Loryn Zachariasen Sommerville

2013 BS Physics-Graduate School major with minors in Geology and Math at UW-Whitewater

One of the highlights of my time at UW-Whitewater was trips to the Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, AZ. I was able to work along-side graduate students, doing research and installing new equipment on the 0.9m WIYN telescope. After graduating, I began as a research assistant at UW-Milwaukee, doing bio-statistical experiments and teaching others.  I did some  technical writing for B/E Aerospace and technical support for Hubbell Power Systems. Now, I am a Product Specialis/Proposal Engineer in the Transformer Division at the Eaton Corporation.  

Rasheedat Yahaya Rasheedat Yahaya

2009 – BSE Physics Education, UW-Whitewater

Since graduating from UW-Whitewater, I have taught science and physics at schools in Nigeria and, more recently, in the United Kingdom (UK).  Right now, I am teaching at Bristol Free School. My presence in the classroom shows girls they can do ‘hard science’.  Education plays a powerful roll in influencing life changes and I want to be part of proving opportunities for my students

Ryan Haislmaier

2008 - B.S. Physics Major, Chemistry and Math Minors
2009 - 2016 - PhD, Penn State Univ, Dept of Materials Science and Engineering 

2017 - Postdoctoral research scholar, U of Minnesota, Dept of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

2018 - PTD Engineer at Intel Corporation, Hillsboro, Oregon

My Postdoc research involved the development, synthesis, characterization and nano-processing of complex thin film materials grown by hybrid molecular beam epitaxy. By tuning the chemistry and structure of complex oxide thin films, a broad range of exotic material properties such as ferroelectricity, ferromagnetism and multiferroics can be engineered from the level of atoms, enabling far reaching device applications for next generation electronics. With this experience, I started as a PTD Engineer for Intel in the spring of 2018.

Eric Phillips

2008 - B.S. Physics Major, Math Minor  

2010 – UW-Madison M.S. Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics

After finishing the Master’s degree, I began my career as a Nuclear Reactor Engineer at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Sequoyah Nuclear Power Plant. In 2019, after a two year licensing program, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted me a Senior Reactor Operator License for Exelon’s Braidwood Nuclear Generating Station where I oversaw operation of their two nuclear reactors. In 2020, I accepted a position as the Reactor Engineering Manager at Sequoyah Nuclear Power Plant. I oversee the storage and use of approximately 4500 nuclear fuel assemblies. I also manage a team of 4 engineers that provide technical recommendations and reactivity oversight to the operations crew.

Chase Sutherland

2008 - B.S. Physics Major, Math Minor

I worked for a while at Briggs and Stratton using LabVIEW to do endurance and qualification testing.

Then I worked at  Cummins in Stoughton, WI, in the crankcase ventilation lab. We used gravimetric efficiency to test how well our products are performing. It was pretty interesting work since I knew the products I worked on will someday be on the road.

 Since 2013, I have been working at Woodward, Inc,  as a Mechanical 2 Test Engineer, designing automated hydraulic and pneumatic test systems for aerospace manufacturing lines.

Joe Grams

December 2006 - B.S. Physics Major, Math Minor
Technical Support for Epic Systems Corporation

I primarily support our product's installation on Citrix Servers and Windows Machines. I also do occasional development and scripting.

Josh Vizanko

December 2006 - B.S. Physics Major, Math Minor

I used to be a mechanical designer for Nothelfer Gilman in Janesville, primarily designing and detailing welding and assembly systems for car factories for various automotive clients using SolidWorks.  

 Now, I am Senior Mechanical Designer for Caterpillar Global Mining

RB Jacobson

May 2006 - B.S. Physics Major, Math Minor
Graduate Student/ Research Assistant
UW Madison Materials Science Interdisciplinary

Principle Research: Fabrication of Three Dimensional Photonic Crystals by Stacking Silicon Nanomembranes using Electron Beam Lithography. Photonic crystals are periodic dielectrics that allow creation of a photonic band-gap that depend on the arrangement of the dielectrics. Introduction of defects in the dielectric periodicity create optical states within the band gap similar to dopants in a semiconductor. Since I am using silicon (and germanium), the optical range of the devices is in the near infrared (telecommunication wavelengths).

Jeff Polak

May 2006 - B.S. Physics Major, Math Minor
2010 - MS in Physics from  North Carolina State University

I am a Physics instructor and Laboratory Coordinator at the University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, IN. My usual teaching load includes our Physics for Educators course as well as lectures and laboratories in both our algebra- and calculus-based introductory sequences. In addition to my teaching duties, I am the faculty sponsor for the STEM Living Learning Community and I am also involced in orientation activities as a Faculty Advising Fellow.

In graduate school, I worked with the NC State Physics Education Research and Develpment group  on research that focused on student understanding and the use of calculus in introductory physics. I also worked on projects that involved the  SCALE-UP classroom, the Matter & Interactions curriculum, and the  VPython programming environment.

Matthew Benson

May 2002 - B.S. Physics Major, Management Computer Systems (MCS) Major
Software engineer on the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) for Honeywell.

The CEV will eventually replace the space shuttle and return man to the moon. I'm part of a small team that is designing and building the CEV avionics. This is my second job out of college. My first job was working as a test engineer on the International Space Station program for Boeing.

Ethan Westcot

May 2001 - B.S. Physics Major, Math Minor

2002 - MS in Engineering Mechanics, Penn State University

GE Healthcare
Imaging Subsystems - Tubes Engineering
Senior Lead Systems Designer , Waukesha, WI Mechanical Engineer

After graduation from UWW, I went on to Penn State University where I earned my MS in Engineering Mechanics in 2002 with thesis research focusing on Powder Metallurgy. I began my professional career as a Project Engineer for two years at a metal injection molded component manufacturer in Minnesota, then moved to my current role as a Senior Mechanical Engineer for GE Healthcare in X-Ray Tube Engineering for CT Scanners beginning in 2005.

Brandon Palicki

1999 - B.S. Physics Major, Math Major
Programmer: Product Development & Production
Briggs & Stratton Home Power Products Group

I design the programs, using LabVIEW, to do all the endurance and qualification testing in our Lab and final production performance verification. In our division of Briggs and Stratton we engineer and produce generators, pressure washers, outboard motors, pumps, air compressors/Inflators and home standby's. I'm also responsible for any future products that will need to be tested.

Scott Beardsley

1995 - B.S. Physics Major, Math Major
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI

I research human visual processing, neural engineering, and functional imaging.

John Klinge

1988 - B.S. Physics Major, Mathematics Minor
Senior Staff Aeronautical Engineer
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company - Advanced Development Programs

I have worked for Lockheed Martin since 1991. I am a Level 6 Aeronautical engineer (Principal) at the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in Palmdale, California, developing propulsion systems for military aircraft. I specialize in design, analysis and testing and manage a team of engineers while supporting Advanced Development Programs. 

Michael Westphall

1985 - B.S. Physics, Mathematics Majors
Project Research Scientist
Space Astronomy Laboratory, UW-Madison

I'm currently using UV polarimetery to study magnetic fields in the Milky Way galaxy. I started out my career studying color in paper fabrication processes then moved on to investigate isotopic ratios of galactic cosmic rays. I have also designed systems for looking at human DNA proteins.

Robin Smith

1983 - B.S. Physics and Mathematics Major

Following my graduation I taught physics for the US Navy's Nuclear Power School. After my tour of duty I went to work for the Naval Space Surveillance Center in 1988. In 1996 I transferred to the Naval Research Laboratory where I worked as a research physicist. My duties included serving as an astrodynamicist, RF engineer and analyst for a satellite communications branch.  I retired in 2012 after 37 1/2 years of naval service.

I retired in 2016 as President and lead physicist at RTSI Consulting, Spotsylvania, VA, where I worked with the aerospace industry providing support in the areas of RF engineering, orbital mechanics and software for remote instrument control and data collection.

I'm currently attending the University of Virginia working to complete my master's of science degree in high energy phsyics.

I served as president of the Society of Physics Students and was inducted into Sigma Pi Sigma while at Whitewater. I started the annual faculty-student picnic and softball game.

Brian McLean

1981 - B.S. Physics and Math
Plant Engineer - Point Beach Nuclear Plant

I taught physics, reactor principles, and chemistry at US Navy Nuclear Power School in Orlando, FL from 1981 until 1987.  In 1987, I completed a M.S. Electrical Engineering degree at UCF and started working in the commercial nuclear industry at American Electric Power in Columbus, OH.  My family and I moved back to Wisconsin in 1991 when I started working as an engineer at Point Beach Nuclear Plant.

Cody Kreischer

1980 - B.S. Physics Major
CEO Kreischer Optics

Hi! I'm Cody Kreischer, owner, President, and chief sales and technical contact at Kreischer Optics until I turned it over to my son, Tristan (2010 UW-Whitewater Physics graduate). I've worked in every phase of optical manufacturing, from curve generating to hand polishing of precision surfaces. In 1983, I completed my Master's degree at the University of Arizona's Optical Sciences Center with emphasis on lens design and optical testing. After three years of working as a Senior Engineer at Recon Optical in Barrington, Illinois, I decided it was time to devote myself full time to Kreischer Optics.

Scott Beutlich

1978 - B.S.E. Physics teaching
High School Physics Teacher
Crystal Lake South High School , Crystal Lake, Il.

I have been teaching High School Physics at Crystal Lake South High School in Crystal Lake, Illinois for 29 years. I love my job teaching Physics to students and sharing ideas with other teachers. I have coached 45 high school teams in Baseball, Basketball and Volleyball. I am president of a local Physics teacher share group (over 220 teachers) called Physics Northwest. We meet once a month during the school year and share demonstrations and teaching ideas. Three of the members are former Physics students at CL South. I am also a table leader for grading the Advanced Placement Physics exams for the College Board.

Pat Slane

1977 - B.S.E. Physics/Mathematics Majors
M.S and PhD -UW- Madison

Director of Chandra X-Ray Observatory

Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory at Harvard University

I am the Director of the Chandra W-Ray Observatory, operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and Harvard University. My research interests center on studies of supernova remnants, neutron stars, and X-ray studies of our galaxy. Our GaS research group actively includes a team of students and postdocs in a broad range of research areas.

Ralph H. Zee

1974 - B.S. Physics major, Mathematics minor
Acting Associate Provost and Vice President for Research of Auburn University.
Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Auburn University's College of Engineering

After receiving his BS in Physics from UWW, Ralph completed his graduate study at UW-Madison receiving his master's and PhD degrees in materials science. He was a materials scientist at Chalk River Laboratory in Canada until 1986 at which time he joined the faculty at Auburn University. His administrative responsibility began in 2001 when he assumed the duty of the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Engineering. In January of 2007 he was appointed Acting Associate Provost and Vice President for Research of Auburn University with the responsibility of promoting research and building partnerships.

Art Andersen

1967 - B.S. Physics and Math Majors
CEO Virtual Surfaces, Inc. Computer Scanning & Surface Services

Art is a "paleotechnologist.", it's an occupation that straddles the prehistoric and high tech manufacturing. Andersen's company, Virtual Surfaces, Inc. in Mount Prospect, Ill., provides engineering services to commercial clients. Using advanced software and high resolution three-dimensional scanners, he works with industry, the scientific community and museums to "connect the dots" that define surfaces.

Warren W. Hein

1966 - B.S. Physics and Mathematics
Program Officer, Division of Undergraduate Education
National Science Foundation

Warren Hein graduated in 1966 from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics. He then attended Iowa State University on a National Defense Education Act Fellowship and graduated in 1970 with a PhD in Nuclear Physics. Hein taught physics at Northern State University and South Dakota State University in South Dakota from 1970 until February 1997. In 1997 he became Associate Executive Officer for the American Association of Physics Teachers in College Park, Maryland. In September 2007 he moved to the National Science Foundation as program officer in the Division of Undergraduate Education. Hein and his spouse Melanie live in Alexandria, Virginia, with their two cats. 

Robert Douglas

1960 - B.S. Physics and Math Majors
CEO Virtual Surfaces, Inc. Computer Scanning & Surface Services

Mr. Douglas retired as the President of Advanced Assembly Automation in 1999. Following his retirement, he has served as a consultant for Wright Technology Network, a non-profit organization, dedicated to the transfer of technology from the United States Air Force to industry. Currently he is consulting with ConnecTerra, a provider of middleware software for the RFID industry. In this role he interfaces with the University of Wisconsin UW E-Business Consortium on a monthly basis.

Mr. Douglas has more than thirty years of technical managerial experience in the industrial automation field. Prior to joining Advanced Assembly Automation in 1992, he was Vice President of Marketing for the Materials Handling Division of Litton Industrial Automation. He also served as the President of Engineered Systems Division of Litton, General Manager of Gilman Engineering and Manufacturing Company and in various technical roles for Gilman and the Parker Pen Company.