Class of 2013
TU senior Kirby Smithe began his college career as a physics/pre-med major, but it didn’t take him long to realize he was interested in other areas of physics.
“My second year, I added a double major of mathematics, but I decided that wasn’t for me, so I moved into EE 3143 (Electronics I),” he said. “It turned out to be my favorite class that I’ve ever taken at TU.”
Now, Smithe is preparing to graduate with his bachelor’s degree in engineering physics and a deep appreciation for applied science.
“I wanted to understand how the universe works, and now I do to a much greater extent,” he said.
With his undergraduate degree nearly complete, he plans to attend graduate school and research nanoelectronic technology.
“I’m hoping I’ll get an internship at a local engineering firm sometime soon, so I can gain some summer experience before graduate school,” he said. “I’d like to eventually work for Intel, IBM or a similar company.”
A Goldwater Scholar with a 4.0 grade-point average, Smithe is on the right track to meeting that career goal. In addition to carrying a heavy class load of 17 hours a semester and conducting research projects, he has spent his summers studying abroad. In 2010, Smithe traveled to Yokohama, Japan, to participate in the NanoJapan Program, funded by the National Science Foundation. While working at Keio University, he learned the basics of several advanced techniques such as molecular beam epitaxy and scanning tunneling microscopy.
The following summer, he worked in the experimental physics department at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Duisburg, Germany. Made possible through a Research Internship in Science and Engineering scholarship, Smith’s research used electrochemical etching to produce high-quality scanning tunneling microscopy tips.
“This internship not only gave me a second taste of international camaraderie, but also provided me with a sharp contrast to the experience I had in Japan,” he said.