#PROFspective: NASA Grant Recipient Emilio Vega

Emilio standing outside of the Science building.

Today we feature Emilio Vega, a senior Physics major with a minor in math and a certificate of undergraduate study in health physics from Monroe, NJ (Middlesex County). Emilio talks about his research and his time here at Rowan.

Why did you choose your major?

I first fell in love with physics when I was a junior in high school. It was my first time taking a class like it. I loved how it was a field that studies the phenomena of nature and reality. I want to know how the universe works down to the last little detail. I thought it was fascinating that over the last few hundred years we have excelled so far and are able to have such amazing technology at our disposal. 

Emilio standing in front of steam.

What opportunities have Rowan been able to give to you?

Rowan has allowed me to really excel in my field. All the professors have been so kind and supportive. They are always there for me when I have questions or if I am not feeling too confident in myself during a certain part of the year. They are always there for me. They have provided me that opportunity to do research here and that research experience so that I am more of a competitive candidate in the workforce. 

I was awarded a NASA grant. It is awarded to a few students through New Jersey and the whole basis is that you have to come up with a research project on your own that NASA could use in the future. In my case I was doing research under Dr. Nicholas Whiting and our research was essentially the generation and applications of parahydrogen, which is just another type of hydrogen gas. So come spring semester we are going to be doing a lot of work with that. And there is going to be a symposium that I have to present a poster but we do not have that many details on that right now, it is too early. 

Emilio standing outside.

Tell me about a time Rowan felt like was home.

My friend group from freshman year is still my friend group now. They are my best friends and I know that they are my friends for life and that is because of Rowan. You can click with someone so well and your background does not matter. We are here together getting the same education and bonding through that. We met at Holly Pointe Commons in A Pod and were talking in the group chat. We all have the same sense of humor so it just works great.

Emilio standing outside.

Anything else you want to mention?

If you just put in the time and the effort you can excel in math, physics or engineering you just have to be in the right mindset. These STEM-like courses teach you critical thinking which can be applied to anywhere else. In physics, it is basically one big puzzle of life and it gives you that critical thinking skill that you can apply anywhere. 

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Story and photography by:  Stephanie Batista, sophomore Music Industry major

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