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Alumni Visiting Committee

The Visiting Committee consists of departmental alumni who meet with faculty, staff and students annually and provide advice on strategic initiatives and future directions for growth. We are grateful to the members of this committee for their contributions. Learn more about the committee below.

Bill Lawson
Dr. William F. Lawson is the Chair of the Alumni Visiting Committee. He is the Vice-President of Corporate Development & Execution at the University of Tulsa. Dr. Lawson is an applied physicist with a broad technology background including 31 years at DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory and its precursors, the last 12 years of which he served in leadership roles in the oil and gas research program area.  He retired from DOE in January, 2006, as the first Director of DOE’s Strategic Center for Natural Gas and Oil. Dr. Lawson served as the  Executive Director of the Petroleum Technology Transfer Council from 2011 through 2012. He taught as an adjunct professor for the 2006-2007 academic year at the University of Oklahoma in the colleges of Business and Earth and Energy.  Dr. Lawson received all his collegiate degrees in physics from West Virginia University. He retired from the United States Navy with the rank of Commander.

Caitlin Ahrens
Dr. Caitlin Ahrens received her B.S. in Physics/Astrophysics and Geology from West Virginia University in 2015, and her Ph.D. in Space and Planetary Science at the University of Arkansas in 2020. Dr. Ahrens is a Postdoctoral Program Fellow at Goddard Space Flight Center, where she is also a member of the Diviner Science Team. Her research involves remote sensing of icy surfaces and volatile interactions, including permanently shadowed craters at the lunar poles, focusing on the composition and thermodynamics of ices. In 2018, Dr. Ahrens received the Ten Outstanding Young Americans award (presented by the Jaycees) for her efforts in science communication and outreach.  Learn more about Dr. Ahrens here.

Jerry Carr
Dr. Jerry Carr, Jr. received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Physics at West Virginia University, obtained after graduating with a B.S. in Physics from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2007. He is the President of the Morgantown/Kingwood branch of the NAACP, and a plasma physicist and federal project manager for the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). Dr. Carr's leadership and outreach as a physical scientist extends beyond his assignments at NETL. He tries to use his distinction as the first Black Ph.D. physicist from WVU to inspire others to pursue their dreams in science and education. Learn more about Dr. Carr here.

Bruce Dean
Dr. Bruce Dean received the B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Physics from WVU (1991, 1994, 1999), as well as the M.S. Degree in Mathematics in 1996. After graduating, Dr. Dean joined the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center where he began work as an Optical Physicist, and later formed a Wavefront Sensing and Control Group where he is currently Group Leader.  Dr. Dean holds 10 U.S. Patents and is the lead wavefront sensing algorithm developer for the James Webb Space Telescope. He has received numerous awards including: the NASA Headquarters Exceptional Technology Achievement Medal, the Federal Executive Board Bronze Award for Volunteer Service, and the Goddard Honor Award for Engineering Achievement.

John Lannon
Dr. John Lannon received B.S., and Ph. D. degrees in Physics from WVU (1991, 1996). and is currently is the General Manager of Micross Advanced Interconnect Technology. Since 2002, he has worked on the fabrication and improvement of resistive IR emitter devices (a MEMS-like device) for Infrared Scene Projectors. Beginning in 2005, he assisted with the development of high density interconnects (sub-20 µm pitch) for die stacking and detector hybridization and more recently contributed to the development of wafer-level vacuum packaging (WLVP) for MEMS devices. As part of Micross, he focuses on the development and implementation of 3D integration and advanced packaging technologies for government and commercial applications, as well as the development of novel 3D microstructures.

Jagadeesh Moodera
Dr. Jagadeesh S. Moodera received his Ph.D. in Physics from Indian Institute of Technology (Madras). He joined MIT in 1981 as a research staff at the Francis Bitter National Magnet Laboratory (FBML), where he leads the “Thin Film Magnetism, Superconductivity and Nanospintronics” group. He has worked in several areas of fundamental and applied physics including nanospintronics, spin polarized transport and tunneling, thin film magnetism, superconductivity and topological insulators. He was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2000 and awarded the Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize from the American Physical Society in 2009. Learn more about Dr. Moodera here.