Commencement spotlight: William Holman '21

William, a physics major, talks about having a well-rounded academic experience due to his involvement in collaborative research projects & student organizations.

William Holman, UMassD College of Engineering student
William Holman graduates from UMass Dartmouth with his degree in physics next month. (Photographer: Karl Dominey)

“My story would not be complete without discussing my time studying abroad before I became a student at UMass Dartmouth,” says William Holman, a senior majoring in physics at UMass Dartmouth. “I spent the fall 2019 semester at the University of Limerick in Ireland, and this experience helped me to grow as an individual in many ways." He says although he had become a bit disillusioned with some aspects of his education, the challenge of integrating into a different culture, university, and style of teaching helped to keep him on track.

“At UMass Dartmouth, the Physics Department has been a great fit for me. It’s easy to see that the faculty is invested in the individual success of all their students,” he says. “Also the Society of Physics Students helped me connect with many of my peers, and has advanced my education.”

In 2020, William became vice president of the Society of Physics Students. “As vice president, my two biggest roles have been organizing, planning, and running events as well as community outreach and recruitment. It has been a challenge to conduct events during the pandemic and recruitment has certainly been difficult. However, these challenges have been rewarding. This role has taught me the importance of collaboration to success for any organization.”

Working as a tutor in the Physics Department has proven beneficial for William. “Being able to work effectively as a member of a team is a skill that is often referenced but is hard to teach,” he says. “In my leadership roles, there has been a clear directive to collaborate, and this real-world experience is invaluable in a professional setting. Tutoring has also reignited interest in teaching that I had before I came to UMassD, and it has played a role in making me reconsider my career trajectory.”

Being mentored by a professor and engaged in research also contributed to a good academic experience for William who has had a fascination with astrophysics since childhood. During his sophomore year, Dr. Robert Fisher (his research advisor) approached him about an astrophysics-related project. “My research focuses on comparing the synthetic spectra generated in Type Ia supernova models to observations. The research has given me the opportunity to work with several very talented undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty in the Physics department. It has also helped me to expand my knowledge.” William graduates from UMassD with his degree in physics next month.



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