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Physics Graduate Community (PGC)

Mission Statement

The Physics Graduate Community (PGC) was founded by UF physics students to facilitate the building of community and a robust peer-to-peer resource network for graduate students within the physics department.

Our goal is to improve the professional and social development of the graduate student community through frequent interactions including seminars, panels, presentations, and the sharing of snacks and meals. We regularly host events within the department that are designed to help our peers through all aspects of their careers.

Arriving in Gainesville for the first time, help with homework and exams, choosing courses, preparing for a conference or talk, writing a paper or dissertation, finding housing, and accessing key campus resources such as health and wellness services. These are challenges common to all physics graduate students. Our program is designed to help you through these challenges by leveraging the knowledge and experience of your fellow classmates.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the mentors listed below. We look forward to hearing from you!



Jake RosenzweigJake Rosenzweig, Director

Office: 2014 NPB
Office Phone: 352-846-3133
Email: rosedj1@ufl.edu
Advisor: Andrey Korytov

Research Interests:   Jake is performing a precision measurement of the Higgs boson mass using 2016-2018 (Run2) data collected from the CMS detector and looking for evidence of new particles which may be produced through exotic Higgs boson decays.

Bio: Jake grew up in Jacksonville, FL, earned a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry from UF in 2011, and joined the UF physics graduate program in 2016. Fun fact: he met his wife, Suzanne, in Prof. Sikivie’s quantum mechanics class – talk about romantic! Jake is grateful to “pay it forward” by helping organize the PGC. Jake enjoys adages, exercise, programming, board games with friends, and hiking on Coloradan mountains.


Mayar ShahinMayar Shahin, Vice Director

Office: 2232 NPB
Email: mayar.shahin@ufl.edu
Advisor: Purushottam Dixit

Research Interests: Biophysics. I have been working on dynamical microbiome data analysis. I am particularly interested in dimensionality reduction techniques and their use on biological data.

Bio: I like putting things together; wooden and jigsaw puzzles. I like cooking and going on long walks. Adjusting to the move from Cairo, Egypt to Gainesville, Fl.



Hoda AklHoda Akl, Treasurer

Office: 2232 NPB
Office Phone: 352-392-1668
Email: hodaakl@ufl.edu
Advisor: Purushottam Dixit

Research Interests: There are many ways in which one can use physics to think about biological problems. If we look at the cellular system we can imagine that there are many parameters that determine its behaviour, and if we examine real data we will find that this “determination” is not fully deterministic, but probabilistic. I am currently interested in figuring out the underlying distribution of those parameters that are relevant to a certain biological signalling model pathway. I am also interested in machine learning and information theoretic application to biological problems.

Bio: Hoda grew up in a home where you, if you were willing to pay attention, could see the Egyptian pyramids through the window. She had a good time there before deciding to join graduate school for even more physics. Some of her interests outside of physics are reading, writing and organizing which when taken to an extreme, is a little counter-productive. Hoda tries hard to not become a robot during her time doing physics Ph.D. and to help with that she likes to engage and relate with other students and learn from their valuable experiences.


Davis Chen

Davis Chen, Archivist / Social Media

Office: B51
Office Phone: 3523920477
Email: dclover23@ufl.edu
Advisor: Dominique Laroche

Research Interests: Davis is working on fabricating and probing SiGe bilayer devices at low temperature and high magnetic field.

Bio: Although Davis was born in Ohio he pretty much grew up in FL. He enjoys going to music festivals, doing outdoor activities, playing board/video games, cooking and just trying new things. He also likes traveling around the world, experiencing new cultures and going on trips.


Don George

Don George, Photographer

Office: 1127
Email: daniel.george@ufl.edu

Research Interests: LISA aims to overcome the seismic noise wall that LIGO experiences by being a space-based gravitational-wave detector. Don is working on characterizing spurious signals that manifest as artificial gravitational-waves that emerge from angular jitter of the three spacecrafts. One of the main components of the three spacecrafts is the telescope that sends and receives light between spacecrafts. He is also working with the LISA group to build optical setups that will test stability requirements.

Bio: After being born in Kerala, India, Don moved to Qatar when he was 3 years old. After learning about the states of matter and microbes in middle school, he thought English literature was a far more interesting subject. Things changed in high school where he had an amazing physics teacher that changed everything. After coming to Gainesville, he likes to travel whenever possible, play the guitar, and take pictures. He still thinks about the shawarmas he had in Doha.


1-on-1 Mentors

Alex TuckerAlex Tucker

Office: 2161 NPB
Office Phone: N/A
Email: a.tucker@ufl.edu
Advisor:Clifford Will

Research Interests: Gravity, General Relativity, Gravitational Waves, Black Hole Dynamics, Post-Newtonian Theory

Bio:  I grew up in the mountains of Northern California, where the clear night sky inspired my dreams of becoming an astrophysicist. At the age of 19, I moved to Austria, working as a nanny and tutor, whilst acquiring the level of German required to attend university. I received my BSc in physics from the University of Innsbruck, Austria and then returned to the US to pursue my PhD at the University of Florida where I’m now in my final year. I’m an adventurer at heart and take every opportunity to travel and explore with my partner and our three fluffy pups. Some of my hobbies are rock climbing, backpacking, diving, playing frisbee, cycling, and dancing. Pronouns: she/her


Pawan PrakashPawan Prakash

Office: B71
Office Phone: N/A
Email: pawanprakash@ufl.edu
Advisors: Peter Hirschfeld and Richard Hennig

Research interests: Material informatics and Computational Condensed Matter

Bio: Bio?…Nahh, I am into Physics.



Ioannis Michaloliakos

Office: 2110 NPB
Office Phone: 352-392-6859
Email: ioannis.michalol@ufl.edu
Advisor: Bernard Whiting

Research Interests: Gravitational Waves and Cosmology

Bio: I did my undergrad at NKUA in Athens, Greece. I started my graduate studies at UF Physics in 2017 and I am a member of the LIGO scientific collaboration. I enjoy a variety of sports – basketball, soccer, tennis to name a few – and I also play chess (which is maybe also a sport…? No? Okay).


Moinul RahatMoinul Hossain Rahat

Office: 2064 NPB
Office Phone: 352.273.3683
Email: mrahat@ufl.edu
Advisor: Pierre Ramond
Research Interests: My research is focused on model building using grand unification and family symmetry to probe neutrino masses and mixings and leptogenesis. I also work on Quantum Information in the context of black holes.

Bio: I was born in Chittagong, Bangladesh and spent the first 18 years of my life there. I did my Bachelors in Electrical Engineering in Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Before moving to Florida, I worked in Mumbai, India for two years as a quantitative researcher. I am married and have a ten months young son. I love cooking and I am an avid fan of Bangladesh Cricket team.


Yining YouYining You

Office: 2066 NPB
Office Phone: N/A
Email: youy@ufl.edu
Advisor: Wei Xue
Research Interests: Quantum Optics and High Energy Theory

Bio: Yining loves to study and review theory texts and lectures. He is organizing a weekly mini workshop for grad students. https://researchseminars.org/seminar/TPRC



Retired Organizers/Mentors

Alex Schachtner

Alexander Schachtner

Research Interests: Novel light emitting-transistor technology, carbon nanotube thin film deposition, image and micrograph statistical analysis.

Bio: Alexander came to study physics at UF after completing the 2014 Materials Physics REU Program. Alexander is a co-founder of PGC and is passionate about improving the community for all of his colleagues. Alexander graduated in August of 2021 and the title of his doctoral dissertation is “Directed Drying and De-suspension of Single Wall Carbon Nanotube Thin Films for OLED Applications.”





Suzanne RosenzweigSuzanne Rosenzweig

Research Interests: Searching for new physics signatures within the scalar sector of the standard model in a kinematically-rich final state comprising a high multiplicity of b jets. The search will be performed on proton-proton collision data collected by the CMS experiment during the LHC’s Run 2 period.

Bio: Suzanne transferred to UF at the beginning of her junior year of undergraduate and enrolled in the graduate program in 2017. She has a diverse background in physics, with work experience in a biophysics experiment lab, a condensed matter experiment lab, and a high energy experiment group. She enjoys reading, hiking, and playing the piano.




Sanjib KatuwalSanjib Katuwal

Research Interests: Quantum Gravity and Cosmology.

Bio: Sanjib is originally from Nepal and came to US with his wife Rojina in 2017 to join UF as a physics graduate student. Beside physics, he enjoys reading philosophy and literature. He spends most of his free time pondering about the nature of human suffering and bondage.




Ambika ShakyaAmbika Shakya

Research Interests: Electric field control of magnetism (magnetoelectric effect) is an exciting field of research with potential for applications in memory devices and spintronics. I study electric field effects on the ferromagnetism of perovskite manganese oxide (manganite) thin films. I design and fabricate micrometer sized gold electrode patterns on the thin films using lift-off-photolithography process and perform transport measurements. I have been able to observe interesting features like electric-field driven dynamic percolation and tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR). I am interested in forming magnetic tunnel junctions by reducing the size of the microstructures and enhancing the electric field effects on TMR. I am also interested in growing manganite thin films using pulsed laser deposition (PLD) technique.

Bio: Ambika was born and grew up in Kathmandu, Nepal. She earned her bachelor’s degree (in 2005) and master’s degree (in 2007) in physics from Tribhuvan University in Nepal. After that she served as a lecturer of physics in her country and came to UF in 2015 for her PhD. As a mentor, she is happy to help and support fellow graduate students. Besides physics, she loves to travel, cook, play badminton and board games, dance, practice yoga and meditation.