Ah, September. Time for a new round of classes, a new set of staggeringly ambitious research goals, and a new flurry of Frisbees to dodge on the Diag. This year, there’s something else new: the Rackham Graduate Student Blog. My name is Jaclyn Sanders, and since I’ll be sharing a lot with you over this school year, you can call me Jax.
Unusually for a grad student, I’m a local girl. I grew up in Farmington Hills, Michigan, about 40 minutes northeast of Ann Arbor. I’m descended from Polish carpenters, which explains both the particular Anglicization of my last name and my instinct to feed everyone more pierogi than they can possibly eat.
When I was eleven, I decided I wanted to get a Ph.D. in chemistry and be a professor. Given that I’m twice that age now, I’d say it’s pretty remarkable that my life goal is only a little off. I still want to get my Ph.D., and I still want to be a professor, but I’m studying astrophysics and cosmology instead of chemistry. Now, I research the detection of gravitational waves from pulsars with Keith Riles and performance indicators for physics education with Tim McKay.
I got my B.A. in Physics and Mathematics at Kalamazoo College, a small liberal arts college about 90 minutes to the west. Like most Kalamazoo students, I studied abroad. I went to Hungary with Budapest Semesters in Mathematics, and came out of the experience with an antipathy towards pure mathematics, but an affinity for the intricacies of the Hungarian language, instant cream of garlic soup in a packet, and sprinkling paprika on anything that will stand still long enough. On the side, I played trumpet and sang in the jazz band, coached fencing, and studied Japanese and poetry. I also met my boyfriend John there.
Right now, I’m a third year graduate student, and I’m doing full-time research while finishing off my candidacy requirements. On top of that, I intend to apply to the dual-degree master’s program in Post-Secondary Science Education this semester so I can continue working toward my 11-year-old self’s goal of being a professor. I'm thinking that I'll have an interesting year. I look forward to sharing it with you.
About the Author
Jax Sanders, Ph.D. Student, Physics
Published in: Student Voices