Joseph Maier '18, BS Physics
Hometown: Memphis, N.Y.
I've always been interested in airplanes. Everything about them fascinates me, and I would love to design fancy X-planes. I entered Clarkson intending to study aeronautical engineering, and I joined the U.S. Air Force ROTC because I wanted to be a pilot. During my sophomore year, however, I switched my major to physics, because I am absolutely fascinated by the beauty and structure that surrounds us every day. I love to jump in and explore — right down to the tiniest parts.
As for my dream of becoming a military pilot, unfortunately, my vision is not good enough. I still plan to enlist in the Air Force for four years and then go to grad school for materials science. After that I hope to get a job in research and development. I'm exploring a lot of interests and am confident that my experiences at Clarkson will serve me well after I graduate.
I'm the oldest of seven boys, and we were all homeschooled, since preschool, by our mother. A lot of my learning was self-directed, and I was given a fair amount of leeway to follow my interests, which helped me to develop a real love of learning. Being a student at Clarkson has forced me to step out of my comfort zone and take on many new and interesting problems. Being here has helped me to grow in many different ways, and I've been fortunate to find a really great group of friends.
It took just one visit for me to decide that I wanted to come to Clarkson. This small school in a small town made me feel right at home, and the beautiful setting and proximity to the Adirondacks appealed to my nature-loving side. There are all kinds of activities for students here. I especially enjoy being a member of the Clarkson Union Board, which programs entertainment events on campus. I am also involved with some of the SPEED teams, but only on an informal basis.
Another reason why I love being a student at Clarkson is the fact that students routinely work with professors on meaningful, interesting research. For instance, during my junior year, I worked in Dr. Paul Goulet's lab doing nanoparticle synthesis. The nanoparticles that I worked with were only 50–100 atoms in diameter, visible only with the use of an electron microscope. The research project I worked on explored easier, less expensive ways to make nanoparticles, which are used in all types of applications, including cancer research, the manufacture of solar cells and as an anti-microbial coating for medical equipment. It was exciting to study them in the lab!