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Jennifer Hendryx: Fun with Physics

October 01, 2007

While many ASU students were taking a well-deserved break from academics this summer, Alpine native Jennifer Hendryx was working on advanced physics projects at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

A junior physics major, Hendryx was chosen for the exclusive internship program at Los Alamos from a nation-wide field of applicants.

“I knew I wanted to do summer research or an internship, so I searched online for something to pique my interest,” Hendryx said. “I applied to Los Alamos National Laboratory, but what turned out to be key was directly e-mailing the people in charge of the internship informing them of my interest. They had me send my résumé straight to them and hired me before the application process was even complete.”

Her research at the lab included plasma physics experiments attempting to find an efficient means to generate fusion energy.

Now that her internship is over, it’s back to the Angelo State classrooms and physics labs. But, that doesn’t mean the fun is over. Hendryx is the incoming secretary of the ASU Society of Physics Students (SPS), which has planned a whole slate of fall activities. She is also a member of the SPS Peer Pressure Team, which travels to area school districts performing dramatic physics demonstrations at student assemblies.

“Honestly, I like playing with the fun toys and eating frozen marshmallows during the Peer Pressure demos,” Hendryx said. “I think my favorite experience, though, was going back to Alpine for demos last year. Roman Rodriguez (also an Alpine grad) and I got the chance to go home and show students that physics and science, in general, are not impossible or untouchable subjects. We are regular people with an interest in the workings of the world around us and it wasn’t that long ago that we were in our audiences’ shoes.”

Hendryx credits the ASU Physics Department for expanding her options and putting her on the track to success.

“The professors are so personable and accessible,” Hendryx said.“They are not out to flunk anyone and they want students to learn and grow as scientists. We physics students also rely on one another to get through, so we are a pretty tight-knit group.”

Hendryx is set to graduate from ASU in May 2009 with plans to then move on to graduate school.

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