Creativity Sets Award-Winning Physics Major Apart

Nathanael McKenzie

Undergraduate, Physics, School of Science

Winning IUPUI’s annual introductory physics award requires earning the best grade, but with this year’s winner, Nathanael McKenzie, there is much more.

“Nate is a creative, out-of-the box thinker who really enjoys physics problem solving,” says John Ross, McKenzie’s undergraduate advisor and School of Science Physics Club advisor. “He really embodies what it takes to be a good physics student.”

Home schooled since early elementary school, McKenzie’s ingenuity likely also played a role in his decision to pursue a challenging double major in physics and electrical engineering.

Physics undergradaute, Nathanael McKenzie, with Milad Pourrahmani and Marianne McKenzie at the Physics Club Rocketry Day “Engineering is really just applied physics, so going for the double major seemed to make sense,” says McKenzie, who spent a year studying at Ivy Tech before transferring to IUPUI. “Not knowing if I’ll end up pursuing a master’s degree in physics, the engineering major affords me good opportunities in the workplace should I decide to go down that road.”

Highly competent in math, McKenzie says his interest in physics “really clicked” when taking a high school course in the subject. That interest has thrived at IUPUI.

“I’ve had a really great experience so far at the School of Science,” McKenzie adds. “I like the physics department and the professors are constantly doing things to keep the classes engaging.”

Committed to his studies, McKenzie’s outside activities include serving as a leading member of the school’s Physics Club and volunteering for a group that provides meals to the homeless.

(In photograph: Nathanael McKenzie, with Milad Pourrahmani and Marianne McKenzie at the Physics Club Rocketry Day.)