Meet Spring 2017 Graduate James Farmer
From a difficult family life and a challenging high school experience to success in the School of Physics, James T. Farmer proves academic success is possible if one is determined.
James T. Farmer survived an unstable home life to succeed at Georgia Tech.
From a difficult family life and erratic performance in high school, to a B.S. in Physics from Georgia Tech, James T. Farmer proves that academic success is possible despite huge odds. His academic career at Georgia Tech is a testament to his determination.
An unstable home life resulted in attending five high schools; a tour in the Navy was a means of escape. But Farmer’s hard work resulted in not only enrolling in Tech, but succeeding in the School of Physics. Now he hopes to add more chapters to his success story as a doctoral student.
What attracted you to Georgia Tech?
I was initially interested in aerospace engineering. As such, I was attracted to Georgia Tech for the rigor and reputation of the engineering school.
How would you describe your life before enrolling in Georgia Tech?
I was in the Navy before college. I joined because I didn't have a lot of options when I graduated from high school. I was working full time while attending Middle Georgia State University. I had enrolled there with the intention of transferring to Georgia Tech for aerospace engineering.
What is the most important thing you learned while at Georgia Tech?
I learned the difference between a student and a scholar. I've learned how to use the resources available to me to teach myself outside of the classroom.
What surprised or disappointed you the most about Georgia Tech?
I’ve had no real surprises and no real disappointments.
Which professor(s) or class(es) made a big impact on you?
Associate Professor Flavio Fenton as had a big impact on my development. He has been my research advisor since I started at Georgia Tech and has pushed me to go after many opportunities I would not have even known about without him.
What is your most vivid memory of Georgia Tech?
My most vivid memory involves staying up all night in the Howey Library to work out homework assignments. I also enjoyed the Washington, D.C., trip with the Society of Physics Students.
If you participated in experiential learning activities, what was the most valuable outcome of your experience?
I’ve had great undergraduate research experiences thanks to Dr. Fenton, and I’ve had the opportunity to present my work at conferences.
On the basis of your experience, what advice would you give to incoming freshmen at Georgia Tech?
Work hard, study relentlessly, but never pass up an opportunity to relieve some stress.
What feedback would you give to Georgia Tech to improve the campus experience for future students?
I would ask them to increase funding for undergraduate research programs. I’ve learned more about how to be successful in my future career by doing research than I could possibly learn in a classroom.
Where are you headed after graduation?
I’ll be enrolling in a physics Ph.D. program. I’ve been accepted to a few schools but haven’t yet chosen which one I'll attend.