Clarina de la Cruz
NSM PhD Student
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by Peggy Sheehan
Dedicated and devoted to her career path in physics, fourth-semester NSM PhD student Clarina de la Cruz knew she wanted to be a physicist while she was still quite young. At the age of 13, Clarina was already imagining the route she would follow to attain the goals she had set for herself.
Before she left the Philippines, Clarina earned an MS in Physics at the University of the Philippines - Diliman, but decided to come to the United States to earn her PhD in order to broaden her exposure to cutting-edge research and theory. While making this decision she looked at several universities in this country, but ultimately chose the University of Houston because of her interest in superconductivity and the reputation of Dr. Paul Chu, a world renowned expert in that field.
Clarina entered UH in the fall of 2003 and will finish her core courses this spring. She is now happy to be working with the same professor that prompted her interest in UH originally – Dr. Chu. In the next few years, she will continue her research and complete her dissertation for the PhD in physics. Her career interests may lead her into the academic side of physics because she has a love for teaching (gained while teaching college physics courses in the Philippines) and would also like to pursue her research.
Once she got to the University of Houston, she began to experience the field of physics in a broader way – she states it best herself: “Our department contains a diverse group of physicists with wide ranging interests and is rich in many of the fields and subfields of the discipline.” It is this fact which fully opened up the world of physics to her and she began to have other interests in addition to her original focus on superconductivity.
As her interests broadened, she found herself doing work in the field of magnetodielectrics. Her investigations center around the study of multiferroic holmium manganite, which has potential technological applications in creating novel memory storage devices. She recently won first prize at the UH Texas Center for Superconductivity and Advanced Materials (TcSAM) student symposium for her research in this area.
Clarina is happy at the University of Houston and says that, “The core courses are hard and competitive here, but I still feel a camaraderie with my peers in the program.” She thinks working in the lab is more “fun” than studying the material in books, and values the support she has gotten in the lab from Research Associate Professor Dr. Bernd Lorenz. The entire program here has pushed her to “develop a strong character and intellect because of the competitive difficulty of the physics’ core.” She also acknowledges that “the professors in my core courses played a big role in helping me perform up to and beyond my potential by establishing a professional and intellectually charged environment in the classroom.”
While here, she has had to “drive herself to succeed, to stay disciplined.” She is proud of herself, and she should be – she is a wonderful young woman who has not only dreamed big, but made those dreams a reality through her own strength and perseverance. Students like Clarina de la Cruz come to UH for renowned colleges such as NSM and stars like Paul Chu, but it is first-rate students like Clarina that make NSM and the University of Houston great.
© University of Houston 2005