American Physical Society
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Advice for Parents of Children that like Physics and Physical Science

If your child likes to ask why, takes things apart to figure out how they work and is excited about doing experiments in their physics and physical science classes, they may make great physicists. Of course, you might be wondering how they should prepare to become a physicist and exactly what they will for a living, once they become a physicist. The answer is that they can do a wide variety of things as a physicist. Some physicists pursue careers in medicine, others pursue careers in wind or solar energy technology development. Some physicists pursue careers in communications technology and others pursue careers as consultants to either the government or corporations. There are many options, but most of these options are hard for students to notice because, as you may have noticed, the word physics seldom appears in the career path.

So how does your student learn about the options? This website is a good place to start. They can browse through a library of Profiles of Physicists and see specific examples of how others have used college degrees in Physics to pursue exciting and diverse career paths. They can learn a bit about the various specialty areas in physics (astronomy, nuclear, materials, etc) by browsing the Physics Topics section. They can learn what companies have hired physicists with bachelors degrees in the past few years in the Physicist Employers section. When they want to get down to practical details of what types of salaries they can earn as a physicist, they can check out the Physics Career Facts section. They may also want to know how to prepare for their career and how to finance their education. The answers to these questions are found in the Information for Students section. Of course, you can learn more by browsing these sections, too!

After looking through what you find here, there are bound to be questions that you wish you could ask a real physicist, so how can you find someone to answer these questions? Check out the Physics Educational Institutions section. There are over 750 colleges and universities that grant degrees in Physics and there is bound to be one close to you. Each one of these programs employs physicists that would be happy to answer your questions and talk to your student about physics and career paths for Physicists!

Marta Dark McNeese

Marta Dark McNeese - Physics Professor

Marta Dark McNeese was born in a suburb outside of Washington, D.C.  She remembers being interested in math and the sciences as early as fifth grade. "I liked the idea that there was a process to learn and problems to solve in math and science, and I remember thinking of other topics--like history--as dates and things to memorize, " she said.  Marta's interest in physics and astronomy deepened as she went through middle school to high school--which was a special school she had applied to because it had a science and math program.  While there, she took a number of difference science classes, but found that she didn't like biology or chemistry.  "Physics was the one for me, " she said.

When she was in eighth grade physical sciences class, Marta found that she could especially identify with her instructor, who was an African-American woman.  Since then, Marta has endeavored to be a mentor to other young women similar with similar experiences through her work at Spelman college.  Spelman is "a wonderful environment for me, and I really wanted to be there so I could encourage young black women to go into the sciences, " Marta says.  And to those few students who maybe don't get the appeal of physics right off the bat,  Marta says, "You're really trying to understand how the universe works.  What could be more exciting than that?"