My Wartburg research prepared me for graduate school 

NAME: Darby Kramer 
CLASS YEAR: 2020
MAJOR: Physics and mathematics 
CAMPUS INVOLVEMENT: Women’s golf, SAAC, Unified Sports Day
CURRENTLY: Doctoral student in astrophysics at Arizona State University 

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WARTBURG:  I visited Coe College first, and I liked it, but the campus was confusing for me. Then I came to Wartburg, and I knew this was my place. I told my mom that I loved it. It wasn’t any one thing, but the people are the best. They cater to the students. I could tell that campus was geared for students.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON YOUR MAJOR:  I decided on my physics major right away as a freshman because I did well in and enjoyed AP Calculus in high school but still had a passion for science. Physics is the perfect blend of math and science for me! As a junior I realized I did not need many more math courses to complete the math major, so I picked that major up as well.

Darby Kramer

HOW DID YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE PREPARE YOU FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE: Wartburg prepared me for the future in so many ways. I was able to do research after sophomore year with my professor, Dr. Ben Bousquet, which prepared and qualified me for an REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) the next summer and aided my acceptance into graduate school. I developed strong relationships with all of my physics, math, and computer science professors and fellow students, which created the perfect learning environment for me. They made my classes easy to engage in and I am so thankful for that. 

WHERE DID YOU DO YOUR REU: The program I got accepted into, Supporting Undergraduate Research at Geneseo (SURGE), was at the State University of New York, Geneseo. I worked under a faculty member to study the UV light that comes form intergalactic nebula. Essentially I’m studying the space that is outside of our galaxy.

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE CLASS: Oh gosh. My favorite class was probably Topics in Astrophysics with Dr. Charles Figura, because it was the class that showed me what I want to do with my physics major. Before that I was pretty lost in terms of my career path, but Topics in Astrophysics inspired me more than enough to choose astrophysics research as my career. Some days I was definitely way too excited in that class! 

WHAT WAS YOUR MOST DIFFICULT CLASS: My most difficult class was probably Quantum Mechanics with Dr. Bousquet. Though I had an introduction to QM in Modern Physics, I did not understand that physics could be an abstract science until I took this course. I probably should have taken Linear Algebra before this class because it would’ve made a lot more sense. It was also difficult because Dr. Bousquet was secretly absent for several days toward the end of the semester. We later found out it was because he and Dr. Sam Larimer were adopting their baby, Julianna! 

WHERE DO YOU SPEND MOST OF YOUR TIME ON CAMPUS: The third floor of the Science Center is just a great atmosphere. It’s either super quiet when everyone is in class or there are always people around and professors can answer a question if you need it. They just jump in and help. We all know every one of the physics professors. They all knew me by my first name. it’s basically a family with the physics majors who have been taking the classes with me. We are all in the same classes, and it’s not a bad thing. We use our strengths to help each other.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WARTBURG MEMORY:  There is no way I could actually pick a favorite memory from Wartburg. One memory that is definitely toward the top of my list is when the band I was the drummer in, Toad Stanley, opened for Andrew Hoyt at Wartburg Dance Marathon’s Band Together event at Sasquatch Jacks. It was amazing to share a stage with good friends Peyton Meisner, Noah Dodd, Will Hasken, and Karlee Boyle in front of so many fellow students, and to be doing it for the kids!

WHY WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WORTH IT: Wartburg was absolutely #WorthIt , 10 times over. It was worth it to me because I made amazing lifelong friends while having experiences that shaped me as a person. I became who I am at Wartburg. And when I struggled, I had so many people to lean on, from roommates to friends to my amazing boss, Ruth Hein, to my professors. Even though we didn’t get many of our special senior events, the fact that the whole campus mourned with us made me realize how much the Class of 2020 did matter to everyone. I will always cherish and miss my time spent there. Thank you to every single person who came into my life during those four years. Go Knights!