At a Glance

Year: ‘23
Major: Physics
Activities: Honors College, Resident Advisor, Society of Physics Students
Why physics? “I wasn’t entirely sure what area of STEM I wanted to get into, but physics seemed very versatile.”

Physics BS

Physics majors are problem solvers, equipped with the inventive thinking and analytical skills that are valuable to a wide range of employers.

Dashon Jones’ curiosity for science blossomed as he watched the character Tony Stark build his Iron Man suit in the 2008 Marvel movie.

“My interest in STEM came from childhood and watching sci-fi movies,” the Lynn, Massachusetts, native says.

Jones envisioned himself working in STEM, but needed to figure out what path he wanted to pursue. He chose to attend UMass Lowell for help with that decision.

“I heard great things about the university’s STEM programs and research opportunities,” he says. “I felt being at UML was a great place to figure out what I wanted to do.”

The in-state tuition also appealed to Jones, who found it to be “very affordable.”

Jones enrolled as an honors physics major with the knowledge that physics degrees can be applied to a variety of disciplines, from astronomy to medicine. He quickly became involved in Physics Asst. Prof. Nishant Agarwal’s Theoretical Cosmology Group, where he researched black holes and quantum information.

“I was able to do 3½ years of research in that group, for which I’ve been very grateful,” he says.

As a mathematics minor, Jones also conducted research with mathematics Assoc. Prof. Tibor Beke. He additionally completed summer research programs at Carnegie Mellon University and the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the latter of which led to a research assistant position with the center’s Event Horizon Telescope group. The telescope captured the first image ever taken of a black hole in 2019.

“I’ve gained a lot of mentors and useful skills, thanks to research,” he says.

These opportunities also helped Jones realize the career path he wants to take, which includes getting a Ph.D. in physics, conducting postdoctoral research in theoretical physics and joining the workforce as a professor or researcher.

Jones is on the way to completing his first goal after getting accepted to Rice University’s physics Ph.D. program. He says UMass Lowell has prepared him for the rigorous coursework ahead.

“The physics professors at UMass Lowell advised me to take classes in both math and physics that went beyond the standard curriculum,” he says. “They really want you to succeed.”

One of those elective courses included selective topics in theoretical physics, in which he learned about different cosmology topics.

“That is going to be very useful for me in graduate school, so the science doesn’t look like hieroglyphics when I get there,” he says.

Research at UML

Headshot of Dashon Jones.
“I’ve gained a lot of mentors and useful skills, thanks to research.”