Welcome new PhD students!

This fall, the department welcomes 25 new PhD students! Learn more about them below.

Michael Campanella

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Michael Campanella

Before UW–Madison: Undergrad at Florida State University

Research Interests: Particle Physics

Why UW–Madison Physics? The research opportunities

Hobbies/Interests: Playing guitar, playing piano, going to zoos

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: Z Boson

Elise Chavez

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Elise Chavez

Before UW–Madison: Undergrad at Florida State University, Fermilab internships summers of 2019 and 2020

Research Interests: High energy experimental physics

Why UW–Madison Physics? I chose to go to UW–Madison because of the cool city, great people (graduate students and faculty), and it is a great school.

Hobbies/Interests: Music (Choir), art, crafting, cooking, baking, and video games

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: Neon and photon

Anna Cooleybeck

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Anna Cooleybeck

Before UW–Madison: Undergrad at University of Michigan

Research Interests: High energy physics

Why UW–Madison Physics? The current grad students I met seemed really passionate about their work and about how they spent their time outside of classes/research. It was important to me to go to a grad school with a culture where people aren’t expected to spend all their time working. I also really admired how there are lots of organizations such as GMaWiP and the PGSC to make sure students feel involved in the department.

Hobbies/Interests: Cooking, knitting, looking at birds, drinking coffee

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: Radium and charm quark

Rene Flores

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Rene Flores

Before UW–Madison: Undergrad at Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey, Project Engineer at Grupo Antolin

Research Interests: Computational Plasma Physics

Why UW–Madison Physics? The Plasma Physics Program, the city of Madison, how kind the current students were in the Visit Weekend

Hobbies/Interests: Guitar, Videogames, Basketball & Soccer

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: Protons – Regardless of the situation, stay positive.

Sergey Gitalov

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Sergey Gitalov

Before UW–Madison: Undergrad at University of Colorado-Boulder

Research Interests: High Energy Theory

Why UW–Madison Physics? Interested in working with a particular professor

Hobbies/Interests: music, skiing

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: top quark

Paul Gradney

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Paul Gradney

Before UW–Madison: Undergrad at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Post undergraduate: US Navy for 10 years. Post Navy: Faculty Assistant at the University of Maryland for 1.5 years where I did research in nonlinear optics and attended classes to refresh my physics education

Research Interests: Plasma Physics, specifically fusion energy

Why UW–Madison Physics? For the Plasma Physics Department

Hobbies/Interests: Sailing, traveling

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: Undecided

David Guevel

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David Guevel

Before UW–Madison: Undergrad at UC–Santa Barbara undergrad, 2.5 years at Harvard Center for Astrophysics as a research assistant

Research Interests: Astrophysics

Why UW–Madison Physics? It has a large number of faculty with diverse research interests.

Hobbies/Interests: Backpacking and playing trumpet

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: Californium

Emily Joseph

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Emily Joseph

Before UW–Madison: Undergrad at University of Washington. I double majored in physics and Materials science and engineering and minored in classical studies.

Research Interests: Broadly, condensed matter. Focused, quantum information.

Why UW–Madison Physics? I am inspired by the quantum information research being conducted in the department. I ultimately chose to go to UW-Madison because I was given the opportunity to work with Mark Eriksson.

Hobbies/Interests: I love the outdoors: back-country skiing, backpacking, and kayaking. I also play the piano. Additionally, I love reading, crocheting, and baking.

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: I guess since I am studying semiconductors I should say Silicon or Germanium. But truthfully I love Gallium because of ‘The Disappearing Spoon.’

Yurii Kvasiuk

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Yurii Kvasiuk

Before UW–Madison: Studied in Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, studied and performed research in University of Oslo and Laboratoire d’Annecy de Physique des Particules.

Research Interests: Mainly high energy physics with emphasis in data analysis, computational physics, machine and deep learning and applications to physics

Why UW–Madison Physics? Because of the great research opportunities in fields of interest

Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy playing classic guitar, running (track and field), traveling. Recently I opened cross-country skiing for myself. Also I am trying to learn new languages – now French. Planning to master German as well

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: Higgs boson

Shivani Lomte

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Shivani Lomte

Before UW–Madison: Undergrad at IISER Pune, India

Research Interests: Experimental HEP

Why UW–Madison Physics? The EHEP group had a nice variety of research work which led me to chose UW-Madison.

Hobbies/Interests: Macro photography, reading non-fiction books and articles especially on human psychology, cycling and trekking.

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: Photon

Piotr Marciniec

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Piotr Marciniec

Before UW–Madison: Undergrad at Macaulay Honors College at the College of Staten Island

Research Interests: Experimental quantum computing. I am interested in working towards achieving a robust quantum computer.

Why UW–Madison Physics? The main reason why I chose UW–Madison is for the wide range of work being done in quantum computing. Since I am still not sure of a specific direction I want to go in with my research, UW–Madison hosts many faculty members working on a variety of problems in experimental quantum computing.

Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy playing the guitar, hiking, doing puzzles, and playing video games.

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: My favorite element would have to be Silicon for its versatility.

Eunji Oh

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Eunji Oh

Before UW–Madison: Undergrad at Stony Brook Univ & Univ of Seoul (dual degree program)

Research Interests: AMO + Quantum Computing

Why UW–Madison Physics? Great fit with my research interest

Hobbies/Interests: building DIY items / traveling

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: Carbon

Sanghyeok Park

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Sanghyeok Park

Before UW–Madison: Undergrad at Seoul National University

Research Interests: Quantum computing

Why UW–Madison Physics? Cutting-edge researches on quantum computing are conducted in Madison.

Hobbies/Interests: Playing sports & watching films

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: The electron

Shravan Patel

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Shravan Patel

Before UW–Madison: Undergrad at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Bhopal

Research Interests: Experimental Quantum Computing

Why UW–Madison Physics? I am interested in Quantum computing and UW–Madison has some of the best researchers working in this field. And on top of that, UW–Madison is one of the member institutions of the Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE), one of the largest collaborations working in the field of Quantum Computing.

Hobbies/Interests: playing strategic games, watching anime, and hiking.

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: Titanium and neutrino

Sanket Patil

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Sanket Patil

Before UW–Madison: Undergrad at Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani in 2019; after that, Internship at Institute for Plasma Research, Gandhinagar.

Research Interests: Theoretical and computational plasma physics of fusion devices

Why UW–Madison Physics? UW–Madison has been conducting outstanding research in the plasma physics of fusion devices. I believe that the faculty and the facilities at the university will make graduate school a rich learning and research experience for me. That is why I have chosen UW–Madison.

Hobbies/Interests: Swimming, badminton, playing the piano and the guitar.

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: Hydrogen, photon

Jon Pizzo

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Jon Pizzo

Before UW–Madison: Undergrad at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Research Interests: Plasma Physics

Why UW–Madison Physics? The attitudes of other graduate students and the research opportunities

Hobbies/Interests: Ultimate Frisbee, Volleyball

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: The Sup quark

Luca Riitano

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Luca Riitano

Before UW–Madison: Undergrad at University of Maryland, College Park

Research Interests: Particle Astrophysics

Why UW–Madison Physics? I was very impressed by WIPAC, the grad students I spoke to, and the city of Madison

Hobbies/Interests: Soccer, politics, other fields of science

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: Photon

Kunal Sanwalka

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Kunal Sanwalka

Before UW–Madison: Undergrad at UCLA

Research Interests: Plasma Physics (with a focus on fusion energy)

Why UW–Madison Physics? It was the best institution for the research I wanted to do

Hobbies/Interests: Salsa/Bachata dancing, cooking, going to the beach

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: I love all particles equally

Jack Schroeder

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Jack Schroeder

Before UW–Madison: Undergrad at UW–Madison

Research Interests: Plasma physics

Why UW–Madison Physics? I love the city of Madison, and the university has a great plasma program.

Hobbies/Interests: Biking, canoeing, climbing, skiing. Bread baking.

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: Positron

Arjav Sharma

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Arjav Sharma

Before UW–Madison: Undergrad at Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee Graduated in May 2019 and did a research internship for a few months.

Research Interests: Experimental quantum computing

Why UW–Madison Physics? Great group of faculty and research in the area of interest

Hobbies/Interests: Video games, Badminton, Violin, Fitness, Reading, Cooking

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: Element: Iron; Particle: Neutrinos (all of ’em)

Jessie Thwaites

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Jessie Thwaites

Before UW–Madison: Undergrad at the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University. After my undergrad, I took a gap year in order to complete a Fulbright Austria-Marshall Plan Award Grant with the Space Sciences Institute and Austrian Academy of Sciences. I lived in Graz, Austria and worked with Dr. Rumi Nakamura analysing data from the MMS satellites.

Research Interests: Plasma Physics

Why UW–Madison Physics? I chose UW Madison because I had a great experience at my visit weekend, and I really liked the people I met. I also chose Madison because of the strong reputation of the physics PhD program.

Hobbies/Interests: I am interested in music; I have played the French horn for 13 years. I also love being outdoors, skiing (downhill and Nordic), hiking and biking especially.

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: Meitnerium

Avani Vivrekar

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Avani Vivrekar

Before UW–Madison: Undergrad at Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati

Research Interests: Quantum Technology / Quantum Computation / Condensed matter theory

Why UW–Madison Physics? I chose UW- Madison because of ample research opportunities in my specific field. I was sure that I want to research in Quantum Technologies, and since UW–Madison is one of the institutions working in the area, it was a no brainer for me. Moreover, I also saw the MSPQC program offered by the university, which further instated the belief that this is the right university for me.

Hobbies/Interests: Reading, lots of reading

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: Platinum and photon


Avani will join the program in Spring 2021.

Winnie Wang

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Winnie Wang

Before UW–Madison: Undergrad at University of Washington studying physics/astronomy and philosophy and physics Master’s student at UMass Amherst

Research Interests: Experimental high energy physics

Why UW–Madison Physics? I chose UW-Madison because there was a large LUX-Zeplin group here. I also was interested about IceCube, and I heard about the group’s presence at the University.

Hobbies/Interests: Drawing and playing the piano

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: Xenon

Yiting Wang

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Yiting Wang

Before UW–Madison: Stony Brook University, University of Oxford

Research Interests: High Energy Theoretical physics

Why UW–Madison Physics? I would like to work with a particular professor.

Hobbies/Interests: Lego, PS4, Switch, History, Traveling

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: Higgs

Jacky Yip

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Jacky Yip

Before UW–Madison: Undergrad at The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Research Interests: Undecided. Leaning towards astrophysics/cosmology/high energy physics

Why UW–Madison Physics? Great department and the pretty city!

Hobbies/Interests: Texas hold’em poker, piano (classical), traveling, computer games, movies and dramas, derivatives trading

Favorite element and/or elementary particle: The top quark


Jacky will join the program in Spring 2021.