“One of the most important things in our field is to use and collect mentors,” Andrew Muñoz, experienced physicist, said during the Faces of Physics Speakers Series on Thursday, Sept. 15th.
Muñoz gave advice to students as the opening speaker of the series which the Society of Physics Students created to highlight underrepresented groups and promote inclusion and diversity in the field of physics.
“The Faces of Physics is a way to have those who may be underrepresented in physics to see people who are like them applying their skills to the field,” Eli Williamson, senior and president of the Society of Physics Students, said. “For me, it’s important to have someone to look up to in a community that you’re a part of. Nowadays you have more and more people trying to break into these communities.”
Muñoz, choosing to pursue a career in the private sector with Ensign Natural Resources, not only represents the diversity within physics, but also the diversity in career paths that physics students have open to them.
“Mr. Muñoz is a perfect example of someone in the industry that performs research beyond the academic setting,” Dr. Sean McBride, assistant professor in the physics department at Marshall’s College of Science, said.
Muñoz graduated with a bachelor’s in geophysics at Texas A&M before moving on to the Colorado School of Mines for his master’s. He would then go on to intern for Newfield Exploration Company and Devon Energy before continuing his career with Ensign focusing on seismic exploration.
Regarding the future for students pursuing a career in geophysics, Muñoz said that the natural resource industry remains vital despite climate change; however, improvements must continue to be made.
“A lot of people around the world have this hopefulness that we can be completely independent of fossil fuels; however, oil provides most of the power in the world,” Muñoz said. “But we, as the oil and gas industry, need to continue to get better and continue to be environmentally conscious of the areas we impact and our impact on the world.”
The Faces of Physics series is looking bright as well, Williamson believes, with more speakers planned for this semester and plans to continue the series for years to come.
“I see the series continuing and going strong for a long-time. The goal is to get more people involved in physics and the department,” Williamson said.
Both Williamson and McBride hope that the series will grow and get students interested in the Physics program, as well as encourage future students to attend Marshall University.
For more information about the Physics Department at Marshall University, visit marshall.edu/physics/, and for more information about the Society of Physics Students and future speakers in the series, visit marshall.edu/physics/society-of-physics-students/.