More Challenges, Please

Julia Huddy '19

Julia Huddy ’19

Julia Huddy ’19 believes that the experiences that challenge you often change you for the better. That's exactly what she discovered when her service in the local community changed her worldview and the hardest class she ever took provided her favorite in-class experience. Below, she discusses what she’s learned from family and community members; the original research she's conducted on campus, at the University of Maryland and at Princeton University; her favorite class; and more.


Newtown, Pa.


Math and physics.

Clubs and organizations:

MOB, Montgomery Service Leaders (MSL), Physics Club and first-year mentor.


John Montgomery Scholarship, Alpha Lambda Delta and Pi Mu Epsilon (Math honors society)

Favorite book:

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman.

On choosing a major:

Coming in, I knew I really liked doing calculus and solving complicated problems. It took me a while to figure out exactly what classes I wanted to take, but once I was in the physics department I knew I had to stay. It was easy to declare a major, because in Tome, everyone treats you like family.

As I kid, I wanted to be …

… a chef. Growing up, I used to watch Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meals, and I always found it interesting that she could take one thing and make it into something else so quickly.

Julia Huddy '19 presents original research during summer 2017,

Julia Huddy '19 presented original research through a summer 2017 program at the University of Maryland.

Favorite class:  

Introduction to Theoretical Physics with [Associate Professor of Physics & Astronomy] David Jackson. It was the hardest class I’ve ever taken, but it pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me a better student. I got the chance to do some very interesting math and make new friends while learning about something that genuinely piqued my interest. I would take it over again in a heartbeat if I could.

Favorite place on campus:

Tome, especially the roof.

About my research:

During summer 2017 I participated in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at the University of Maryland. REU programs are NSF funded and happen across the country in almost all STEM fields. I taught myself to use MatLab and developed code to three-dimensional model lithium-ion distributions within lithium-ion batteries. I really enjoyed the project, because I got to experience research at a large research institution, and it showed me what life would be like as a graduate student. This project is what originally inspired me to want to focus on energy storage and renewable energy research and sparked my interest in graduate school.

This past summer, I was a part of an REU program at Princeton. As a part of this program, I worked with a graduate student to solution process chalcogenide materials and implement the materials as cathodes in lithium-ion batteries. Over the course of the summer, I had the opportunity to work on various machines to characterize materials and spent almost every day up to my elbows in a glovebox. This project helped me gain more in-lab experience and solidified my desire to go to grad school.

During my junior year, I worked with Professor Jackson and a few other undergrads to develop a theoretical analysis of the motion of a spinning tube and design an experiment to test our theory. At times it was difficult to make progress on the project while trying to keep up with school work, but this research was so enjoyable that it didn’t feel like work. We all had a great time whether we were in the lab taking data or sitting in Tome late at night doing derivations.

This semester I am doing research on solar air heaters with Professor [of Physics & AstronomyHans Pfister. We’re working toward developing a solar air heater that is both energy and cost efficient. I’m really excited to be a part of this project because it involves hands-on interaction with renewable technology and it connects engineering to physics.

My little-known hobby/talent:

I played the cello for 10 years.

Favorite thing about Dickinson:

The Montgomery Service Leaders program. It’s a unique program through which students can get involved with a local nonprofit and work to make connections between their community and their coursework. Through the program, I got to work at the Carlisle Arts Learning Center (CALC), where they helped me develop new ways to address problems and encouraged me to be less confined in my thinking. Working there showed me how deeply rooted even the smallest things in a community can be, and how important it is for students to get involved in Carlisle while we’re here at Dickinson.

Post-Dickinson plans:

I hope to pursue a Ph.D. in applied physics. I would like to do research in energy storage and possibly teach one day.

Biggest influence:

My family. My parents and my siblings are always there for me no matter what, and they’ve taught me how to loosen up and have fun. Not everything in life needs to be planned out exactly, and sometimes I forget that. It’s nice to have them to remind me that you can be spontaneous, enjoy the little things and still get things done.

Most important thing I’ve learned so far:  

It’s OK to ask for help. It’s hard to admit when you can’t do something all on your own, but asking questions helps you gain confidence and always makes things easier.

Read more Student Snapshots.



Published December 4, 2018