Alumni Testimonials

Nicolas Menicucci, BS Physics with Departmental Honors, 2002

menicucci_nick.jpgSenior Research Fellow, Department of Physics, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

I have fond memories of my undergraduate days at UNM Physics and Astronomy. The department was an extended family, with familiar faces and open office doors. The Society of Physics Students (SPS) supported us in our education with conferences and socialising.

What I valued most, though, was the rigor and breadth of the education I received. I spent many long nights working through tough problems in classical and quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, relativity, and mathematical physics.

The ample chalk, ink, and pencil lead expended on those assignments became a solid foundation in modern theoretical physics.

Departmental Honors allowed me to spend a year doing cutting-edge research in quantum information theory, leading to my first publication and a host of options for graduate school.

Without a doubt, my bachelors education in Physics from UNM was instrumental in launching my eventual career as an academic in theoretical physics.

See Dr. Menicucci speaks on Sonic Relativity

Katherine Brown, BS Astrophysics with Departmental Honors, 2002

Assistant Professor Katherine BrownAssistant Professor, Physics Department, Hamilton College

I place great value on the education I got at as an undergrad at UNM. My courses were consistently rigorous and well-taught; I often left class feeling excited about physics and the prospect of becoming a physicist.

Through my senior project and internships arranged by my professors, I got to work on topics that were at the cutting edge of research in cosmology.

Upon entering graduate school I found I was better prepared than many of the people in my first year cohort.

Now I am a faculty member at a small liberal arts college, where teaching is paramount; we pride ourselves on our low student-to-faculty ratio and ability to construct more personalized education and research experiences than at a large university. 

I find that the courses and research opportunities offered to our students are not any different than what I received at UNM.

I realize now how dedicated my professors at UNM were; I try and deliver the same positive experience and excitement about physics as I benefitted from in my time there.

David Hayes, BS Physics with Departmental Honors, 2005

David HayesPrincipal Theorist, Honeywell Corporation

I really liked my instructors during my time at the UNM physics department and they made all the difference.

My undergraduate graduate career was capped with classes taught by stand-out teachers who showed me (instead of telling me) just how fun it was to think long and hard about difficult problems and concepts.

My career in physics may have ended there if it were not for the recruiting effort of Professor Deutsch. I joined Ivan's research group in the last year of my undergraduate career and continued there through a Master’s degree.

During my Master’s program I continued to have outstanding teachers, and learned how to conduct independent research as well.

I entered a PhD program at the University of Maryland feeling very well prepared for the next level.

In summary, I always look back on my time at UNM as a great place to grow up in physics, (especially in quantum information).

It was a handful of really excellent teachers, their wish to see excellence in the classroom and their encouragement to stick with it that drove me to the path I've taken.

Adam Norman, BS Astrophysics with Departmental Honors, 2005

Aerospace Engineer Adam NormanAerospace Engineer, Blue Origin

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Physics and Astronomy department at UNM.

The strong focus on fundamentals and problem solving provided a great framework for me to study aerospace engineering in graduate school.

Aaron Zimmerman, BS Physics with Departmental Honors, 2008

Assistant Professor Aaron ZimmermanAssistant Professor of Physics, The University of Texas at Austin


I really enjoyed my time at UNM and my experience with PandA. I met wonderful peers and benefitted from some excellent instructors, who set the bar for my own teaching. At UNM I was able to take advanced courses, find research opportunities, and interact easily with my professors.

This led to my acceptance into a strong graduate program, and eventually to where I am now, trying to give the same service back to a new generation of students.

Justin Muehlmeyer, BA Physics and Astrophysics, 2010

Patent Attorney Justin MuehlmeyerPatent Attorney, Peacock Law P.C., Albuquerque


I never intended to become a practicing physicist, but studying physics at UNM gave me the skills and background that was the foundation of my patent law career now. Patent law demands the ability to pinpoint the most important technical aspects of an invention, the holes therein, and/or the similarities and differences to other technologies. Even only an undergraduate degree in Physics taught me how to ask the right questions in any scientific or engineering discipline, to spot the holes and innovations in any given technology, how to problem solve and how to think methodically. I surprise myself how quick I can understand technologies way above my education – and I owe that to UNM and the challenging professors and students I got to learn with there.

Currently, I practice all aspects of intellectual property and technology commercialization at Peacock Law P.C., New Mexico's largest IP specialized firm. At UNM I earned undergraduate degrees in Physics and Philosophy of Economics (dual B.A.s), with a minor in mathematics, and now make it my career as an attorney to assist all creative types in generating value from their great ideas. I came to Peacock Law P.C. in 2015 after serving as a judicial law clerk to Justice Charles Daniels at the New Mexico Supreme Court, where for two years I helped resolve some of New Mexico’s most complicated legal controversies. I served as chair of the Board of the Intellectual Property Section of the State Bar in 2018 and am very active in other community organizations. Studying physics at UNM was one of the best decisions I ever made and it gave me an incredible and exciting niche in my legal career.