Student Achievements

Jessica Giammalvo ’12

Jessica Giammalvo’s time at Stonehill reflects the special kind of synergies that occur when you earn a science degree at a liberal arts college.

Giammalvo, who is currently pursuing an advanced degree in education in Virginia, performed research on how the metallic core of the Earth is slowly solidifying as the planet cools and also won a first place award in the Stonehill Science Poetry Contest with a poem titled “The Physics Spirit.” In her spare time, she played rugby with the College club, which is part of the Division II Rugby Northeast Conference.

In her physics research project, Giammalvo worked with Alessandro Massarotti, assistant professor of physics at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Their project — titled “Internal Properties, Thermal and Atmospheric Evolution of Super-Earths” — focused on computer simulations of rocky planets’ interiors. It was done as part of the Stonehill Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE), in which students are eligible to participate after completing their first year.

“Studying physics was one of the best parts of my time at Stonehill. During my time with the Department I was given many opportunities to gain both teaching and research experience.
The class structure of the Physics program provided ample time to get know my professors personally and this was great influence on my decision to continue studying at the graduate level.”
Dave Thomas, now pursuing his PhD in Physics at Tufts University

David Thomas ’12

Dave Thomas, who is currently pursuing his doctorate in physics at Tufts, was also able to take advantage of Stonehill’s many research opportunities. As a research assistant, he had experiences that gave him a distinct advantage when applying to graduate programs. While at Stonehill, he:

  • Developed a coincidence counting system for use in a quantum ghost imaging apparatus
  • Traced and corrected faults in a variety of different pieces of laboratory hardware
  • Initiated development of a wavemeter to test the quality of the light being generated by the mode-locked Ti:Sapphire laser
  • Designed and developed the cooling system for the photomultiplier tubes that were used in detecting the entangled pairs

Beyond the laboratory, he was a resident assistant in one of Stonehill’s residence halls, where he planned, budgeted and ran monthly educational and social programs for residents. He also served as assistant Scoutmaster for a Boy Scout troop in Norwood, Mass., and as a member of the ski patrol at Blue Hills Ski Area in Canton, Mass.