A Brief (Auto-)Biography of Steuard

A little personal history: I was born on August 20, 1976 in Great Falls, Montana, where I lived for a couple of years before moving to Bellevue, Nebraska. I left Bellevue when I was four years old or thereabouts to move to Lincoln, Nebraska, which was my home until I headed off on my own. Lincoln is an amazing city: centered around the University of Nebraska, it is big enough to have a decent arts community and cultural life, but small enough that it has few of the problems that seem to plague big cities everywhere. It seems unlikely that I'll end up there, but I'd like to: it's a great place to raise a family.

In particular, the public schools in Lincoln are excellent. I attended quite a few of these over the years. I went to Zeman Elementary (K-2), Maude Rousseau Elementary (3-6), Irving Junior High (7-9), and Southeast High School (10-12). Academically, I focused on math and science, but I was interested in everything. As for extracurricular activities, I sang in a boys' choir during elementary school and junior high, and I played trumpet both in and out of school. I played tennis and practiced karate (let's not talk about my less than stellar careers in tee-ball and soccer). And in general I enjoyed exploring the out of doors, whether pushing through the cool swamp behind my house, riding my bike all around the city, or something else.

I regularly participated in math and science competitions from junior high until the end of high school, especially the Science Olympiad (most of my close friends in high school were on that team; we made it to the national competition in 1992 and 1994). During my senior year, I also participated in the "We the people" competition, debating constitutional law (that national competition was the weekend after the national competition for "Science Bowl", both of them in Washington, DC, which was a little crazy; one of my other friends was on both teams as well, but he was clever enough to stay in DC the whole time). I was an active member of the school's Young Democrats club as well. In general, I achieved some spiffy things along the way, but talking about those is my grandparents' job. (For a funny story about one of my more unusual "achievements", take a look at my Prom King Page for a funny story.)

After I graduated from high school in 1994, I went to college at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California. I double majored in Physics and Math; it turns out that double majors are quite a challenge at Mudd. : ) I don't know how much I'd recommend the attempt to others, but both sets of courses turned out to be extremely valuable once I got to grad school (at least for a string theorist). Harvey Mudd is a fantastic school for someone like me who is devoted to math and science but doesn't want to completely lose touch with the humanities and social sciences. The professors are great and really care about the students, the coursework is advanced and interesting, and most of all, the student body is just as motivated and excited about those things as you are. (And if you somehow get tired of being surrounded by science types, there are four other colleges right next door; it's even easy to take classes there.) My advisor at Harvey Mudd was Thomas Helliwell; I did a research project with him on general relativity. I also made a lot of really good friends, most notably my wife, Kim.

After I graduated from Mudd, I came to the Physics department at the University of Chicago. I passed my PhD candidacy exam (shared the "best overall performance" award, in fact), and ended up doing research in string theory with Jeff Harvey. Meanwhile, Kim got a Masters in math from the University of Georgia in two years, and we were married in the summer of 2000.

After completing my Ph.D. in 2006, I taught for three years as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics at the Joint Science Department of Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges, right around the corner from Harvey Mudd. That was always a temporary position, however, and I eventually left for a tenure-track job.

And that brings us to today. I am now an Associate Professor of Physics at Alma College in Alma, Michigan (almost the exact center of the state's lower peninsula: 50 miles due north of Lansing). I was granted tenure early in 2013, and I have been serving a three-year term as Associate Provost since that summer. Meanwhile, Kim and I had a daughter in July, 2011, who is growing up to be a smart, delightful little girl.

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Any questions or comments? Write to me: steuard@slimy.com
Copyright © 2004-15 by Steuard Jensen.