“I had this fear that students from bigger schools would be ahead of me, but what I quickly realized was that we were covering things I had already learned because I had been prepared by Austin Peay.”
Hometown: Thompson's Station, Tennessee
Involvement: Department of Physics Glass Group
When Joshua Allen took part in a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at Princeton University’s Princeton Center for Complex Materials, he worried how he’d compare to students from larger schools, but it took no time before he realized that Austin Peay’s Department of Physics had prepared him to work side-by-side with some of the brightest minds in the world.
“I had this fear that students from bigger schools would be ahead of me in terms of their understanding, but what I quickly realized was that we were covering things I had already learned,” Allen said. “If anything, other students were spending more time on review than I was because I came into the REU prepared by my work at Austin Peay.”
Substantial research opportunities can be hard to come by for undergraduate students at many universities, but Allen is one of a number of Austin Peay students conducting hands-on research that will prepare them for graduate school and beyond. In his time at Austin Peay, Allen has co-authored multiple presentations at annual meetings of the American Physical Society Southeastern Section, explored possible substitutes for crystalline materials in modern technology as a part of the University’s “Glass Group,” and worked alongside some of the world’s leading experts in glass production during a study abroad trip to the Czech Republic.
“A lot of the students I worked with were on their first or second research experience because they’re coming from larger schools where professors work with grad students and don’t have the time for undergrads,” Allen said. “What Princeton liked about me when selecting students for this opportunity was my experience; I had already studied abroad and worked at national and international laboratories.”