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Physics Spotlight

Thomas Baker: Shadowing Yields Clarity

“What I appreciate about Transylvania is that it helped develop me as a well-rounded person, reinforcing the idea that to be a complete and balanced human being you must cultivate your mind, body, and soul.”

As a Transylvania senior, Thomas Baker ’10 was getting concerned about what he would do after graduation. Then a chance encounter at a fair for incoming first-year students launched him toward a career in medical physics.

After agreeing to work the major/minor fair, Baker ended up talking to Christine Leurman ’09, who was studying to become a medical physicist.

Intrigued, Baker began researching the profession. Physics professor Jamie Day arranged for Baker to shadow another Transylvania graduate who was already working in the field in Lexington. That experience confirmed Baker’s career plan.
In 2012 he completed a master’s degree in radiological medical physics at the University of Kentucky. “I was blessed enough to receive one of two accredited residency positions in the Markey Cancer Center at the UK hospital in Lexington. Interestingly, the other resident chosen was Sam Gerring, the only other physics major in the Transylvania class of 2010.”

In addition to his physics classes, Baker appreciated the interdisciplinary classes at Transylvania, which challenged him “as a critical thinker, writer, and communicator.”

"I am thankful for the liberal arts approach at Transylvania, as it has helped sharpen professional skills like writing, presenting, and teaching that are very useful in my job. I think those skills, along with the time management skills I acquired at Transylvania, have helped me continue to distinguish myself."

While at Transylvania, Baker was also involved with Campus Crusade for Christ, which helped him focus outwardly on the needs of others. He continues to have a strong desire to help people and currently tutors under-privileged kids in Lexington.

As he gains expertise in the medical physics field, Baker hopes he finds more ways to be of service to others. “Right now there aren’t many opportunities worldwide to use medical physics in missions. But who knows, every movement needs a ‘Pioneer,’ right?”

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