Student Experiences

At FMU there are many opportunities beyond the classroom that create a deeper learning experience.  From conducting research side by side with professors, participating in regional and national conferences, finding camaraderie in student clubs, and bringing the love of science to the community through outreach, our students have many options to get involved.

Research Experience

Cutting-Edge Research

Physics & Engineering students work with faculty on research projects through the semester.  Topics range from testing quantum optics with lasers to working with images of supernovae in nearby galaxies to modeling molecular interactions.  Projects can last a single semester or be continued in-depth over multiple semesters, and results are often presented by the student at national conferences.  Interested in conducting research with us? Peruse some of the department’s research areas.

Presentations at Conferences

Students completing research have the opportunity to present their results at local and national conferences either through posters or giving a talk.  The department makes a strong commitment to this, and FMU students have consistently presented at the American Physical Society’s (APS) conference, SESAPS (the SouthEastern Section of the APS) meeting, the North Carolina Health Physics Society (NCHPS) meeting, and the Meeting of the Astronomers of South Carolina (MASC).  Other meetings at which our students present include the American Astronomical Society (AAS) annual meeting, the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) meeting, and the South Atlantic Coast Section of the AAPT  meeting.

Internships and More

Local Industry

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Extra-classroom Experience

From trips to businesses, national labs, and even the White House, to sending up a balloon to edge of space to monitor radiation levels, there are lots of extra out-of-classroom experiences for our students.

Student Clubs

Society of Physics Students (SPS)

Physics majors and physics enthusiasts are the members of this student club, which organizes social activities which often include movie night at the planetarium, liquid nitrogen ice cream parties, and observing at the observatory.  This club has also had strong showings with their entries into the university-wide competitions for Quiz Bowl and Cardboard Boat Race.

Additionally, FMU is home to chapter #406 (Zone 5) of Sigma Pi Sigma, the Physics Student Honor Society.

Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers Student Chapter

The local student chapter of IISE at FMU stays busy.  From organizing tours of local industry facilities to competing in (and winning) campus-wide competitions, engineering students have lots of opportunity to socialize and to learn outside the classroom.

Science Outreach


Students have the opportunity to bring the love of science to the community.  Among other events, students have hosted telescope observing sessions at the FMU observatory, volunteered at the annual Pecan Festival, and inspired young students at the Sand Hills Science Fair.