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  SJR STATE ALUMNI SPOTLIGHTS

FEBRUARY 2022

JONATHAN ROBERTS – (2018)
Ph.D. in Astrophysics student – Northwestern University

spotlight Jonathan Roberts

Each month, St. Johns River State College will honor one of its own in an alumni salute, celebrating the career milestones, community contributions and personal reflections of those who began their collegiate journey as SJR State Vikings.

With a Bachelor of Science in Astrophysics from the University of Florida and his sights set on working for “tech giants” such as Tesla, Meta, or Google, Jonathan Roberts is currently enrolled in the doctorate program in Astrophysics at Northwestern University. He will complete the program in about five years.

Proudly, Jonathan began his collegiate journey at St. Johns River State College (SJR State) and believes that “all students should first start their journey at SJR State.” Read on to find out why!

JOHNATHAN, WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO STUDY AT SJR STATE?
After graduating high school, I wanted to stay local to acquire my A.A. degree while being active in the community. I felt that SJR State was the best place to do that!

WHAT DID YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A STUDENT AT SJR STATE, AND WHAT/WHO IMPACTED YOU THE MOST DURING THAT TIME?
I enjoyed the class sizes and the many activities on campus for students. The professors were a major impact on my being able to succeed. Professors like Professor Red, Metcalf, Dr. Okasha, and Wilson all gave me tips and tricks to succeed in undergrad and in graduate school.

WHAT DID YOU FIND MOST CHALLENGING DURING YOUR STUDIES AT SJR STATE?
The most challenging thing for me was learning how to approach studying and personal learning. Each person learns differently, so the challenge of some classes helped me to understand my learning style.

WHAT INSPIRED YOUR INTEREST IN ASTROPHYSICS?
While in Professor Red's Physics 1 and 2 classes, we would discuss the uses for the topics discussed. When I was diving deeper into the compacts taught outside of class, I found that astrophysics was the best place to proceed because there are many things still unknown.

PLEASE SHARE A BIT ABOUT YOUR FUTURE PLANS IN THIS FIELD.
For the next five years, I will be working toward my Ph.D. in Astrophysics. After that, I plan on applying to major tech giants such as Tesla, Meta, and Google to become a Machine Learning engineer. While in my Ph.D. program, I will work on creating deep learning algorithms to detect gravitational waves using data from different detectors such as LIGO and LISA.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE CONTEMPLATING ENROLLING AT SJR STATE?
I believe that all students should first start their journey at SJR State. The tools that you will acquire at SJR State transfer very well anywhere you go. The more personal teaching you will receive here is much better than anywhere else.

ANY OTHER COMMENTS ABOUT YOUR ACADEMIC AND/OR FUTURE CAREER JOURNEY?
Going to SJR State was the best decision I could have made for my college career. The personal teaching, the smaller class sizes, and the wonderful professors and students made me learn so much. I will forever remember my time at SJR State.

ARE YOU AN SJR STATE ALUMNUS?
Click on the link below to share your recent accomplishments and join the SJR State Alumni Association today - we'd love to hear from you!
https://www.sjrstate.edu/fdalumni.html