"I've always been the kind of person who really wants to challenge herself," says Lillie Ghobrial of Orange County, a junior in 2010 majoring in physics and president of both the Astronomy Club and the Society of Physics Students.
Why did you major in physics?
I knew I wanted to do astrophysics in the seventh grade. This was because of books I read. I almost didn't go to college for it, because people kept saying it was so hard and there are no girls in it.
What made you want to come to Oswego?
I liked the fact it was such a small school where there were some interesting physics research opportunities, so I could do some one-on-one projects with professors. I worked with Dr. Shashi Kanbur to hunt for Cepheid variable stars — stars whose light pulsates regularly — from among candidate stars in a large database, doing analysis to match them with known Cepheids. These pulsating stars help measure distances among objects in the known galaxies. I am just getting started on nuclear physics research with Dr. Anne Caraley.
What is your favorite part of studying at Oswego?
The classes are so small — you get so much individual help. You get so much closer to other students in the major because it is so small. One of my classes last semester had three students. Another one had five.
What are you interested in doing after graduation?
I'm going to go to graduate school. I'm definitely going to end up in research. I'm going to specialize in astrophysics or in some area of nuclear or medical physics.