Thomas Richardson Furman University

Class of 2015
Hometown: Greenwood, S.C.

The science department as a whole played a large role in my decision. Specifically, my physics teacher in high school thought highly of the physics department here and I knew I wanted to major in physics or music. The reputation of Furman's physics department won me over.

Life as a Physics Major

  • Why did you decide to come to Furman

      The science department as a whole played a large role in my decision. Specifically, my physics teacher in high school thought highly of the physics department here and I knew I wanted to major in physics or music. The reputation of Furman's physics department won me over.

  • Why did you decide to be a physics major?

      I've always had an analytical mind. I have strong problem-solving skills, and I like to know how things work.

  • Best experience in the department?

      The faculty is really involved in students' lives, and concerned with their advancement. My advisor, Dr. William Baker, has always been a source of encouragement to his students.

  • Favorite class

      Electricity and Magnetism. It's pretty math heavy, and it's a fascinating subject.

  • Favorite professor

      Dr. William Baker and Dr. David Moffett. They know the content really well and they just enjoy teaching. They enjoy getting to know their students.

  • Research/Internship experience

      After my sophomore year, I did research at Clemson University, working with fluorescents and developing a thermal thermometer. Dr. William Baker helped coordinate this research experience for me through Townes Fellowship, a program that connects us to materials science and research at Clemson.

Best of List

  • Best study location:

      I usually study in my apartment because it is a little more isolated there, with reduced distractions.

  • Favorite Activity:

      Playing the mandolin. I started playing guitar when I was 13 and I listened to my uncle play bluegrass as I was growing up. He's a mandolin player, so I was always kind of in love with the sound. Then, it fell into my hands.

  • Best thing about Greenville:

      For me, it's the local church community. The best things about Greenville are the families in the community that are connected to college students and are invested in their lives.

  • Biggest challenge:

      Working diligently can become a challenge because it's really easy to get distracted. It's definitely not a bad thing to just drop everything and go on a trip with some friends every once in a while, but maintaining a strong work ethic is important.

  • Favorite place to eat:

      Henry's Smokehouse on Wade Hampton Rd. It's a little hole in the wall barbecue shack.

  • Favorite Furman tradition:

      The Midnight Breakfast. You run into everyone in the Dining Hall late at night and it's a good time to briefly put away your books. You can cut loose for a little bit and relax.

Helpful Tips

  • Choosing a major:

      Find something that you actually enjoy, not necessarily something that is lucrative. You don't want to be stuck doing something you hate for the rest of your life.

  • Studying:

      The smaller nuances are what helped me. Something as small as a playlist can be beneficial. Also, do whatever you can to eliminate interruptions.

  • Getting involved on campus:

      Seek out older students that have been around and already know what's going on. Someone who is a little older can guide you based on interest.

  • Making friends:

      Just be yourself. It's not high school anymore, where there's a popular crowd or something like that. Find the people that share the same interests as you through clubs or intramurals.

  • What isn't in the brochure:

      The depth of relationships with faculty is surprising. The student-to-faculty ratio is definitely small, but the numbers don't necessarily speak to how much that really means.

  • Living on campus:

      Get to know everybody and try to connect with as many people as possible. Intentionally build deep relationships.

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