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Student Snapshot: Maitland Witmer ’22

Maitland Witmer '22

Growing up, Maitland Witmer ’22 wanted to be a doctor, but she discovered her true calling through her Intro to Physics class. Below, she discusses the importance of making the most of one’s college experience—inside and outside of class—and the difference that caring professors can make.

Hometown:

Etters, Pennsylvania.

Major

Physics.

Clubs and organizations:  

Physics Club, Trendsetters, Tritons, Gaming Club and summer tour guides.

Honors/scholarships/awards:

Springboard Scholarship.

Favorite book:

The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni.

Favorite movie:

Dumbo.

Best thing about my Dickinson experience:

My professors! They always support me and what I am trying to do. I always feel like I can go to them for anything and talk to them about anything. If not for my professors, I don’t think I would have been as successful.

Favorite place on campus:

Tome.

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Applesauce cake.

Best thing about my major:

The physics department has a majors’ room, where students can go hang out and do homework together. Everyone is excited to be there and work together and help each other, and it builds a strong sense of community in the department.

Favorite class/learning experience:

Intro to Physics. That is where I was introduced to electronics, and I fell in love. I couldn’t wait to go to class again to play with the circuits and resistors. This is what prompted me to become a physics major.

As I kid, I wanted to be …

… some sort of doctor. When I was little, I wanted to be a neurosurgeon. My dad said that it was because I wanted to “fix stupid,” but I think it was because I thought it was cool to work with brains. Then I learned what surgeons do, and that quickly went away. I wanted to be a bunch of other types of doctors before settling on geriatric physician. I had two great-grandparents to whom I was very close, and they always struggled to get a doctor to come to the house. But when I came to Dickinson, I discovered the world of electronics, and I knew that it was the right thing for me.

Post-Dickinson plans:

I plan to go to graduate school for electrical engineering.

About my student-faculty project:

I worked with Professor of Physics Hans Pfister and two other students to build an apparatus to help first-year students better understand the concepts of divergence and curl. We then wrote a paper about the apparatus and how it helps clarify misconceptions that a lot of students have. The paper is for professors at other colleges who want to help their students better understand these basic physics concepts. We are currently working on getting it published.

Advice to younger students:

Classes and homework are important; that is why you are paying for college. But learn to let go and do things outside of class that you normally won’t do otherwise. It took me nearly two years to manage this, and now I am having a blast with things you only do in college. Like how often do you race tubs? Because I did it!

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Published August 18, 2021