Name: Michael Welter
Hometown: Toledo, Ohio
Year: Class of 2019
Internship: Welter served as the Society of Physics Students Communications Intern. The organization gave him the opportunity to explore the role that professional science communication plays in the nonprofit and education sectors. His responsibilities included assisting with editing, composition and publishing of scientific publications, developing communication services in the form of web pages targeted to engage current and alumni SPS members. Welter also conceptualized, designed and executed visual content for applications in SPS advertising, marketing and outreach.
How HPU helped you get there: “One of the unique qualities of a High Point University education is that no matter what degree you’re pursuing – physics, theatre, computer science, event management, graphic design – there is always a huge emphasis on cultivating premiere life skills. The ever-growing group of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) majors graduating from HPU is conveniently equipped to not only perform research but also broadcast that research to diverse audiences. This baseline of communications in my physics education set me apart from other intern applicants and made me uniquely equipped to tackle all the challenges that I encountered during my internship.”
Most impactful mentor at HPU: “I haven’t had one impactful mentor at HPU…I’ve had five! Each member of the physics department faculty has transformed my college experience in their own way. Dr. Aaron Titus, our department chair, has been my professor, employer, research advisor, mentor and life coach for the past three years. He has provided constant encouragement and guidance for all aspects of my life and career. Dr. Briana Fiser, my academic advisor, and I have had extensive conversations fleshing out where I would like to see myself post-graduation to formulate a plan to help me achieve my goals. Dr. Martin DeWitt was my first physics professor at HPU and has put in countless hours coordinating SPS events to keep our physics community thriving and growing. He inspired me to get involved with SPS which ultimately led to me applying for this internship. Mr. Jeff Regester joined our faculty two years ago, bringing with him a variety of skills – organization, engineering, passion, precision – which motivated me to work diligently to develop those skills within myself. Dr. Brad Barlow invited me to co-coordinate HPU’s most-attended outreach event, HPUniverse Day, giving me experience with both the logistics necessary to host such an event and managing large groups of volunteers and attendees. This doesn’t even begin to express the impact that these faculty have had on my college experience and professional endeavors.”
What has your internship experience been like, and how is it preparing you for your future?: “The SPS Internship Program is extremely unique. The SPS National office vets applications to perform interviews and place motivated undergraduate students at an organization that complements the student’s academic and career interests. Based in Washington, D.C., SPS can place interns on Capitol Hill in different capacities, at NASA, NIST, The Optical Society, The American Association of Physics Teachers, The Society of Rheology, The Center for History of Physics, and within the SPS national office. What makes this program unique is that as a NASA intern, for example, you’re treated just like a NASA employee and gain real-world research experience and as an SPS Internship Program intern working at NASA, you get the same treatment that a NASA intern gets, but you also get a window into what it would be like to work at all of the other organizations by living and engaging with 14 other interns in different fields of the internship program. With this insight and with the guidance of my mentor, this internship transformed my perspective of the world and assisted in determining the next steps in my pursuit of a career in scientific illustration.”