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The last word: Life after physics

The last word: Life after physics

Not all physics grads “do physics” professionally. We put out the call on Twitter and LinkedIn, asking Queen’s physics graduates to tell us what they are up to these days.

[skateboarding photo]

Seen here demonstrating Newtonian laws of motion is Justin Babin, Sc’14. When he’s not skateboarding, Justin works in management consulting in Southbank, Australia.

Thinking outside the box

I graduated from engineering physics in 2014. I’m currently working in management consulting for the top consulting firm in Australia. Physics has taught me to solve challenging problems and to think outside the box (especially with quantum mechanics). These skills have helped me a lot in this new field. I may not be doing anything physics-related, but I keep up to date with physics news every day. 

Justin Babin, Sc’14, GDB’14 (Graduate diploma in business),
Consultant, PwC Australia, Southbank, Australia

[Vanessa Chiasson]“It’s not you, physics. It’s me.”

I’m a Queen’s physics fail – but I still consider that a big success. I entered Queen’s in ?DDC as a physics major but within the first week I knew it wasn’t the right path for me. No offense to physics – it was a “It’s not you, it’s me” kind of breakup and I’d like to think we’re still on friendly terms. I switched into political science and am now self-employed as a content creator, focusing on social media and online writing. 

Vanessa Chiasson, Artsci’02
Founder and senior social media strategist, Sculpt Social, Ottawa
Travel writer and blogger (TurnipseedTravel.com)

[Yue Tao]Knowing how to promote a solution

I was an international student in physics. Currently, I work as a technical sales engineer at a top company in photonics in Beijing. I appreciate the problem-solving and detail-oriented skills accumulated during my master’s research and studying periods. Especially when I am involved with varieties of technical issues from customers, I know how to promote a solution, and not just to give an answer. With my supervisor and my colleagues, I did enjoy the atmosphere of academic and spiritual freedom at Queen’s.

Yue Tao, MSc’13
Technical sales engineer, Hamamatsu,
Beijing, China

A new kind of science

My MSc (Eng) in physics (1985) helped lay a foundation that enabled my career in an innovative science that is only now becoming mainstream.

I completed my DSc in information assurance – a.k.a. information security – in 2014. How I got there is a tale that demonstrates the problem-solving and critical-thinking skills that my engineering physics studies at Queen’s helped establish.

When I graduated from Queen’s, I led a small engineering research team looking into tropospheric ducting of radar. It was a fun position that lasted 2½ years, until I was recruited to work for Communications Security Establishment [Canada’s national cryptologic agency] – working on innovative methods of securing communications systems. I spent 10 years at CSE working in different areas of communications and computing security.

After leaving CSE, I landed at Nortel, where I worked on driving security into Nortel’s telecommunications products.

I returned to school to do my DSc in 2009 as the future of Nortel was not at all promising. 

My education and experience brought me to the University of Saskatchewan, where I serve as the director of information and communications technology security, access & compliance. Ironically, my office at U of S is in the basement of the physics building so, in some sense, I have come full circle.

Although I  no longer “do physics,” I am doing applied research with one grad student in ICT security and, in my position, I support teaching, learning and research at one of Canadian’s top 15 research universities. I speak and write on information security in a variety of venues.

Dr. Lawrence Dobranski, DSc, MBA, MSc
(Eng), P.Eng., Director, ICT Security, Access &
Compliance, Professional Affiliate,
Department of Computer Science,
University of Saskatchewan

[cover graphic of Queen's Alumni Review, issue 1-2016]