Andrew graduated from Norris High School in Firth, Nebraska, and was already enrolled at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln when his uncle, a Doane graduate and member of the board of trustees, encouraged him to consider Doane. Andrew made a visit and was immediately attracted to the liberal arts environment available at Doane.
"I had/have very diverse interests that I want to pursue. Most notably, I knew that with a liberal arts education I would not only be allowed, but encouraged, to pursue these other interests such as music, web design and management and mass communications (some of these things trickling into my primary pursuit, physics, even today)."
Professors Wentworth and Plano Clark remember Andrew as an outstanding physics student, not just in the classroom, but also working on research projects, including three summer research experiences. But Andrew's diverse interests also were apparent in his extensive involvement in both instrumental and vocal music programs, award-winning work with the college radio station, course work outside of physics, and involvement in several web-development projects.
Andrew's interest in physics originated in an early childhood fascination with electricity and magnetism, and he always showed a strong aptitude for mathematics and problem solving in school. Originally, Andrew intended to pursue mechanical or electrical engineering through Doane's Dual Degree program, however his interest in basic science grew as he took more physics courses. Andrew has many memorable experiences at Doane including presenting some of his summer research at a national American Association of Physics Teachers meeting in Austin, Texas.
"Overall though, my most memorable events occurred with my involvement in music on campus, most notably touring the country with the vocal jazz group 'Jazz Unlimited'."
After graduation from Doane, Andrew pursued graduate work in physics at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, where he worked with Professor Shireen Adenwalla in the field of experimental condensed matter physics. Andrew's research concerned magnetic interactions in nanoscale materials, and he was able to publish five peer-reviewed papers as first-author and gave several invited talks at other universities and at Argonne National Laboratory.
After completing his Ph.D. in 2009, Andrew pursued post-doctoral research with Professors Chris Leighton (chemical engineering and material science) and Marc Hillmyer (chemistry) at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. His work at the UMN concerns developing materials that can be used in basic research on nonmagnetic systems and in applied research involving spintronics (an emerging technology that exploits the spin of an electron in electronic devices instead of the charge) and solar cells.
Andrew believes that the Doane physics program and his other experiences at Doane helped him tremendously.
"The help I received from the Doane physics program can be quantified quite easily. Upon entering graduate school I received exceptionally high marks on all of the entrance exams, competing with students that had done their undergraduate work at major research institutions and other countries. This told me, quite directly, that my preparation was similar or better than most institutions. In addition, I had many occasions to speak publicly at Doane (MindExpo, National and regional meetings, radio DJ, etc...), which has served me well in my ability to present my research to an audience."
What is Andrew up to now? When he isn't working on research at the University of Minnesota, he is spending time with his son Ryan and his wife Becky, who is also a Doane graduate.