Scott Locke is a 5th year graduate student studying particle physics, specifically, neutrinos. He was interested in both particle and medical physics while applying to graduate school, but ended up in neutrinos because it piqued his interest the most. Scott likes being able to feel like he is able to make a difference on a project instead of being another cog, and most of the neutrino experiments at UCI he was looking at would give him the opportunity to prove himself. Scott works on the Super-Kamiokande experiment and in the low energy group on reducing spallation background, mainly for the solar analysis, but his work also has implications on the DSNB search. He was also able to spend time working on mini-CAPTAIN and was able to help with a successful neutron data taking run in July 2017 as the DAQ expert. Post PhD, Scott is still hoping to find a path that is as fun as it is challenging. On one hand, he would love to go postdoc and eventually become a professor, but at the same time he knows that whatever decision he makes he has to take his wife’s situation into consideration. Hopefully things become more clear, but for now he is fine just going along for the ride and seeing where life takes him. Outside of physics, Scott enjoys sports. He loves to run but has been bad at keeping up with it in graduate school. Playing sports is his release a lot of the time or just being active, part of the reason for constantly making the IM teams. It blends exercise and being social so he is able to get two birds with one stone. He used to play Pokemon Go a lot which was a great way to meet many different people across campus, many of which he still sees even though he no longer plays. His out of department professor for his advancement was met through Pokemon Go. Scott says that sometimes it is hard to maintain a good balance, especially as he hits different points where he starts to get overwhelmed with an approaching deadline. The biggest thing he makes sure to do is identify when he is in a lull or not taking care of himself like he should, and take the necessary steps to break out of it. Scott will identify where the imbalance is, what the imbalance is, and do what he can to fix it.
Scott organized the IM department sports teams for many reasons. He played a lot of competitive sports growing up and felt it would help with his work/life balance. He discovered that most of the time you want to get grad students to do something, the less they have to do on their own, the more likely they are to participate. Since Scott wanted to get out and play with his colleagues, he knew the best way to make it happen was to organize it himself and make it happen. It took two tries to make a soccer team, and he carried that momentum to continue making teams, and have to date managed the physics teams for 7 leagues. Last quarter we had outdoor soccer and basketball. This quarter we have a flag football team and a few of us joined up with the Mathletes for softball. We were close to having a futsal team, but the time slot we had ended up interfering with a good number of TA schedules of those who wanted to play. A few of the basketball players from last quarter play pickup every Tuesday for those who cannot make a consistent time commitment. In the fall he plans on having at minimum a flag football and arena soccer team. Scott hopes to add volleyball to the list of department teams as well. He also hopes that more women will get involved in the sports teams. Overall, Scott wants the department sports teams to give graduate students a break. He knows that sometimes students get bogged down in work and it can start to take over. He likes to get the teams out for an hour or two a week to be active, give everyone’s brain a rest, and have some fun. The teams also allow students from different labs and groups to become better friends, creating a closer community within the department. He hopes that the teams will continue once he graduates so that future students have an opportunity to get involved, and is currently working with people to make that a reality.
The Student Spotlights are a series brought to you by a collaboration between the UCI Physics and Astronomy Blog Team and the Physics Graduate Caucus at UCI