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I was a Physics/Math double major in undergraduate school (USF/Tampa), and earned my MS/Ph.D in Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona/Tucson. I have always worked in industry, as both an Optical Thin Film Coating engineer (for 10+ years) and a machine control programmer for vacuum chamber system (for 25+ years). I spent many years alternating between the two fields (conflict of desire and interest), and now do programming for machine control about half time and residential computer IT support the other 10 - 30 hours.
I was initiated into Sigma Pi Sigma in 1973, and have supported the program since then with contributions to annual "membership" and a contribution to my original Sigma Pi Sigma chapter at the University of South Florida. I have participated in the annual "Adopt-A-Physicist" program for the last two years, and enjoyed it very much.
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I currently own my own business, providing computer IT support for residential customers and small businesses about 50% of my time, and doing machine control programming as a contractor the remaining time. I also continue to do optical thin film design as a contractor, working especially in anti-reflection coating, color shifting coatings, and polymer on metal coatings. I started out as a physics student (and a pretty decent one at that) and wasn't introduced to computer programming until my senior year in undergraduate college, when I took a Theoretical Physics class and started out learning how to program FORTRAN to solve physics problems. I discovered at that time that I was really good at programming, and from that time forward as a graduate student in Optics, I split my time between Physics/Optics and computer control of instrumentation and then industrial equipment. Being very good at two disparate fields can be a good thing, and a difficult thing. Earning a PhD taught me critical thinking, how to research "unknown" information, and problem solving. Persons with advanced degrees (MS/MA and PhD) often find themselves migrating to other fields during the course of their working lifetime, and that is probably a very proper thing. I am very gratified that I have ended up working at tasks and jobs that are both interesting and fulfilling.
Finally, being the owner of my own business, I can set my own schedule as I wish. One of my favorite loves is volunteering, especially for non-profits. Most of the time this is doing computer IT work (everyone has a computer, right?), but I also do other kinds of volunteering, including mentoring.