Celebrating her first first-author publication 

NAME: Darby Kramer 
WARTBURG MAJOR: Physics and mathematics 
CURRENTLY: Doctoral student in astrophysics at Arizona State University 

HOW DID YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE PREPARE YOU FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE: My physics and math professors provided me with realistic expectations about graduate school. I knew it was going to be hard, but they made me feel that I was smart and hard-working enough to acquire a Ph.D. in astrophysics. The college as a whole provided me with the sense of community I needed to keep pushing toward my goals and to believe I could achieve them. The diverse coursework helped me maintain and build skills that many others don’t during college, making me a well-rounded individual by graduation. My writing, reading, critical thinking, and personal skills give me an edge in a field that has traditionally consisted of people who put most of their academic focus into science and math.

Darby Kramer

HOW DOES IT FEEL HAVING YOUR FIRST-AUTHOR PUBLICATION IN THE ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL OF LETTERS: It still feels unreal! I was well-supported by my experienced research team here at ASU. My co-authors patiently guided me through the process of researching for and writing a paper, which I had never done before. I spent about 1.5 years on the work for the paper before it was published. During that time, I was conducting research, finding and fixing mistakes, and trying to choose what things were important enough to go in the paper. I have to thank Wartburg College as a whole for nurturing and challenging me to be the person I am today. I’d like to especially thank the professors and students of the Department of Math, Computer Science, and Physics who supported and believed in me from day one, allowing me to push myself and thrive in this new stage of life.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WARTBURG:  I chose Wartburg the day that I first visited. I had no idea I would put that much weight on this college visit, but by the end of it, I was telling my admissions counselor that I wanted to be a student there. It’s cliche, but the campus atmosphere pulled me in. I can’t really describe it, but my decision was made that day and everything kind of fell into place. I joined the golf team, got an amazing scholarship, and the rest was history. I never regretted it for a second.

HOW ARE YOU LIVING OUT THE WARTBURG MISSION IN YOUR FIELD TODAY: I live out this mission in my daily life, serving astrophysics and the greater scientific communities by contributing new research that supports their missions. I’m a junior member of three international science collaborations: the Atacama Cosmology Telescope, Simons Observatory, and CMB Stage 4. The members of these collaborations work together to obtain and analyze data that contain new information about the universe. Specifically, I perform novel research and contribute to others’ work if I have applicable expertise.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS: There’s no deadline for figuring your life out. I believe that it should be a lifelong process.