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Anna "Annie Kate" Turner

Physics Ph.D. | Plasma & Space Physics

“West Virginia University has cutting-edge research opportunities for students. My research has sent me around the world to share my work and meet with leading experts in my field.”

Hometown: Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, USA

Hobbies: Traveling, playing video games, and knitting

One interesting fact: I used to be a USA pre-Olympic swimmer.

Q&A with Annie Kate

  • What are your favorite things about the department?
    • My favorite thing about the department is the people. Every individual here wants to see you succeed, faculty and students alike. They go out of their way to be as helpful as possible. The environment is so welcoming, fun, supportive, and positive.
  • What do you think is the most interesting thing about your research?
    • I love that my research requires you to pull information from different areas of physics in order to fully explain the phenomena you observe. It truly challenges you think things through in a different way and to work with other people in the field to find a plausible answer.
  • Why did you want to pursue physics?
    • I knew I was interested in space physics after attending the West Virginia Governor’s School for Math and Science (GSMS) before entering high school. Prior to this, I didn’t know that space physics was something I could study, let alone have a career in. The ability to improve upon our current understanding of physics, as well as using it to describe different systems, is incredibly fulfilling.
  • Why did you choose West Virginia University?
    • As a West Virginia native, WVU has long been a substantial part of my life. I got my Bachelor’s degree in physics at WVU in 2020 and loved the environment fostered within the department. After learning that space physics research within the department was expanding, I knew that it would be a great opportunity to return for graduate school.
  • How have your professors and/or staff helped you be successful?
    • I can’t even begin to touch upon the things that the faculty have done to support me. Not only did they support me in my time at WVU as an undergraduate, but when I graduated and began job hunting, several faculty members continued to check in on me and offer assistance and advice. Upon returning for graduate school, this trend was only amplified. I have received council regarding my career, my research, and my classes frequently.
  • What advice would you give to an incoming student?
    • I think the most important thing to do when entering a program, regardless of level, is to surround yourself with people that are in a similar place in their journeys. Higher education can be stressful, but working on homework with classmates or commiserating over tricky classes is something I’ve found absolutely essential to success and overall well-being. Not only does this improve your understanding of content, but it also establishes a support system that will aid in your success and comfort.

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