Maxwell Adolphson

Electrical & Systems Engineering

Where did you complete your undergraduate degree?
University of Colorado, Boulder

Please provide your lab and description of research.
I work in the Micro/Nano Photonics lab under the advisement of Dr. Lan Yang. Our research stems from the Whispering Gallery Mode (WGM) Resonator platform that we use to explore ideas in fundamental physics as well as more practical applications like biochemical sensing.

What played into your decision to get a graduate engineering degree?
From my undergrad I knew I had a passion for research, discovery, and innovation but I wanted to utilize these skills in a more applied way than I could if I had stayed with pure physics, which was my undergraduate degree. This is why I wanted to pursue a graduate degree in engineering, to be a part of innovative, groundbreaking research that showed real world, concrete applications.

Why did you pick WashU?
I chose WashU for a number of reasons, the first being the universities commitment to excellence in research and in everything we do here. With a bar this high I knew I would have plenty of opportunities to learn and grow as an independent researcher. The second most important reason I joined WashU was the funding. Being a fully funded PhD student lifts the burden of having to work every semester for your pay. Here, we are allowed to fully commit to and focus on our research without the added pressure to bring home a paycheck each month.

What is your favorite thing about St. Louis?
My favorite thing about Saint Louis is the diversity of the landscape here. You can be in the full blown city, surrounded by skyscrapers, in downtown but just a half hour away from some of the most beautiful hiking trails just outside the city.

What advice would you give to a new student?
A PhD is a marathon, not a sprint. Take care of your physical and mental health through this time and avoid burning out.

What campus activities or groups would you recommend to a new student?
Always keep a look out for events each week, in and out of the engineering school, seminars, and clubs / student groups like AGES

What are your plans for the future?
I want to work in R&D for a startup or government research agency.