Spring Career Event: Careers Outside of Academia

Join us on Thursday, February 27 at 3PM (Howey N-201) for the chance to hear from five physics majors who entered fields outside of academia!


  • Nicole Benker: Argonne National Lab
  • Julie Moraeu: Medical Dosimetrist at New York Proton Center
  • Dr. Elim Thompson: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Dr. Meredith Nevius: Lockheed Martin
  • Dr. Sydney Chamberlin: Climate Policy Associate

Detailed Bios

Nicole Benker
Company: Argonne National Lab
Position: Operations Assistant (accelerator operator)
Education: Bachelors of Science in Physics and Math, University of Nebraska-Lincoln 2018
Bio: In undergrad, Nicole got the opportunity to work with NASA, project managing Nebraska’s first science payload to the International Space Station. After graduating, she moved to Illinois to work on the beamline at the world’s first (and now oldest) superconducting heavy ion collider. She lives on the edge of some foggy woodlands with 3 cats, 3 frogs, and about 400 books.
Julie Moraeu
Company: New York Proton Center
Position: Senior Medical Dosimetrist
Education: Bachelors of Arts in Astronomy and Physics, Boston University 2011 Certificate in Medical Dosimetry, Suffolk University 2013, Passed Board Exam to receive CMD (Certified Medical Dosimetrist) Feb 2014
Bio: During her senior year of completing her bachelor’s in astronomy and physics, Julie decided to change directions. Through a friend, she discovered the field of medical dosimetry. What drew her to this field was the amount of collaboration it entailed between different groups of people including physicians, medical physicists, and radiation therapists. Also, she loved the idea of helping people in real-time on a day to day basis in a clinic. It gave her an opportunity to use her physics background and learn some new things related to radiation oncology and medicine in general. Since she started her career 6 years ago she has enjoyed every second of being a medical dosimetrist. She has a very positive outlook in life which is appropriate since she now focuses specifically on proton radiation therapy. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling to new places or ice skating at the many rinks in NYC.
Dr. Meredith Nevius
Company: Lockheed Martin
Position: Research Scientist
Education: BS, MS, and PhD in Physics, Georgia Tech (2011, 2012, 2016)
Bio: Meredith specializes in a field of materials research rooted in materials characterization and failure analysis. As a subject matter expert in the field, she has led teams of mechanical, electrical, and materials engineers in failure analysis. She currently performs materials research and testing in the physical and thermal extremes materials can experience in deep-space environments, including atomic oxygen plasma, and electron and proton beam exposures. Outside of work, Meredith is an avid supporter of children’s rights, supporting children across the world through organizations including World Vision and Knit For Kids, and STEAM initiatives in education. She is married to a fellow Lockheed engineer (and Georgia Tech alum), and is the mother of a high-energy kindergartener.
Dr. Elim Thompson
Company: NOAA
Position: Software Engineer
Education: Ph.D. in Physics, University of Maryland College Park 2018; Masters of Science in Physics, University of Maryland College Park 2013; Bachelors of Arts in Physics and Astronomy, Boston University 2011
Bio: Elim, as in the “elim”inator, got her Physics Ph.D. from the University of Maryland College Park. Over the past decade, she went from the biggest objects in the Universe like Black Holes and Neutron Stars to the tiniest such as quarks and neutrinos. As an experimentalist, she had traveled around the globe including the LHC and the South Pole. Now, she is working with oceanographers to monitor sea level and tidal data around the country at the National Ocean Service (NOAA). Physics has trained her mind to eliminate any problems in front of her because a physicist is capable of building, calculating, coding, and basically doing anything he/she/they want!
Dr. Sydney Chamberlin
Company: The Nature Conservancy
Position: Climate Policy Associate
Education: Bachelor of Science with Honors in Physics, Utah State University 2009; Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, Utah State University 2009; Doctorate in Physics, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 2015
Bio: As an undergrad at Utah State University, Sydney studied physics and math, and fell into gravitational physics (pun intended ;)) which she pursued for her PhD. She also found that she enjoyed science communication, and engaged heavily in science outreach during her time in graduate school. Sydney’s research in physics focused on developing methods to detect gravitational waves, and in 2015 she and other members of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration detected gravitational waves for the first time. Although these first detections were exciting, Sydney’s passion was focused on communicating about, rather than doing, science, and she knew she wanted to use her skills to help inform real-world problems with science. After doing a postdoc at Penn State, she accepted a Science Policy Fellowship with the California Council on Science and Technology, and spent a year working in the California State Senate on natural resources policy. She now works on climate change policy with The Nature Conservancy in California. When she is not working, Sydney likes spending time outdoors, dreaming up nerdy puns, and being walked by her rescue dog, Nova.

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