“One of the most important things in our field is to deploy and gather mentors,” said Andrew Muñoz, veteran physicist, during the Faces of Physics Speakers Series on Thursday, September 15.
Muñoz advised students as the opening speaker of the series created by the Society of Physics Students to highlight underrepresented groups and promote inclusion and diversity in the field of physics.
“The Faces of Physics is a way to see those who may be underrepresented in physics applying their skills to the field,” said Eli Williamson, senior and president of the Society of Physics Students. “For me it’s important in a community that you belong to have someone to look up to. Today there are more and more people trying to invade these communities.”
Muñoz, who has chosen to pursue a career in the private sector with Ensign Natural Resources, represents not only the diversity within physics, but also the diversity of career paths open to physics students.
“Mr. Muñoz is a perfect example of someone in the industry exploring beyond academia,” said Dr. Sean McBride, assistant professor in the physics department at Marshall’s College of Science.
Muñoz earned a bachelor’s degree in geophysics from Texas A&M before transferring to the Colorado School of Mines for his master’s. He then did internships at Newfield Exploration Company and Devon Energy before continuing his career at Ensign and focusing on seismic exploration.
Regarding the future for students pursuing a career in geophysics, Muñoz said the natural resources industry remains vital despite climate change; however, improvements still need to be made.
“A lot of people around the world have this hope that we can be completely independent of fossil fuels; However, oil provides most of the world’s energy,” Muñoz said. “But we as the oil and gas industry must continue to improve and continue to be environmentally conscious about the areas we make an impact and our impact on the world.”
The Faces of Physics series is also looking good, Williamson believes, with more speakers planned for this semester and plans to continue the series for years to come.
“I see the series going strong for a long time to come. The goal is to get more people involved in physics and faculty,” Williamson said.
Both Williamson and McBride hope the series will grow and spark student interest in the physics program and encourage future students to attend Marshall University.
For more information about the Physics Department at Marshall University, go to marshall.edu/physics/, and for more information about the Society of Physics Students and future speakers of the series, go to marshall.edu/physics/society-of-physics- students /.