CAS Corps Feature: Austin Murphy, Physics and Astronomy

The CAS Corps are chosen to serve as representatives to all constituents of the College of Arts and Sciences and to create, promote and execute opportunities for academic and professional growth. These students represent a variety of departments from across the College of Arts and Sciences and will represent the College at events through interaction among current students, future students, parents, donors and alumni.

Each month we will be introducing one of our students representing the college in the 2020-21 academic year through a question and answer format. This month, meet Austin. For more about the CAS Corps, visit:

Austin Murphy 

Hometown: Amherst, V.A.
Major: Physics - Applied Physics

What clubs or organizations are you a member of?
National Society of Leadership and Success, Renewable Energy Initiative and the Fly Fishing Club.

Sports or hobbies?
Running, weight lifting, guitar and fly fishing.

Location(s) you hope to go for an internship, study abroad or research experience.
I hope to conduct research in the physics labs starting in the fall semester. I hope to do an internship as a medical scribe.

Research or coursework you have been most passionate about?
My favorite course work has been in my upper level physics and mathematics courses. I love the challenge they provide and the satisfaction in overcoming certain difficult problems. My passion in these courses stems from helping others overcome the same problems that I have struggled with.

What has been the biggest challenge for you this summer?
The biggest challenge I have faced this summer is staying connected with friends and family while having to study for summer courses, work and social distance.

What has given you peace, relaxation or been your outlet over the summer?
Going outside and running has been wonderful for relaxation and obtaining some peace.

What has been the book, podcast and/or tv show you found rewarding or enjoyed over the summer?
The books that I have really enjoyed reading are the Bible and Sun Tzu's "The Art of War." Both books provide tremendous insight on how to overcome challenges, win your inner and outer battles and be the best person you can be. I also really love watching YouTube videos on how to play certain songs on the guitar and random documentaries.

What are you most excited about this coming semester?
I am excited about being back on campus and being able to go to the library and study with friends again. It is something I took for granted last semester and really missed while we were all away.

What are you most anxious about this coming semester?
I am nervous about the effects of social distancing on my ability to meet new people in classes and also my ability to study on campus or with other people.

What is one of your favorite memories at Appalachian thus far?
One of my favorite memories at Appalachian was winning the intramural basketball championship my freshman year as an underdog team. Nothing compares to the rush of an unexpected victory!

What do you like about Boone and the surrounding community?
I love the tight community in Boone and at Appalachian. Although there are thousands of people here, I still see familiar and friendly faces everywhere I go.

What do you feel has been valuable in your education at Appalachian versus another institution?
At Appalachian, students have an incredible support system from faculty and staff. If students are willing to reach out, I can guarantee there are many people who would be more than happy to help with whatever their issue may be.

Tell us about one faculty member that has made an impact on your life and how.
Dr. Witold Kosmala, my former Calculus I and Calculus II professor, taught me the value of hard work and that the results someone gets is proportional to the amount of effort they put in. I truly believe that anyone can do anything if they truly set their mind to it and put in the effort.

Tell us about one other connection you have made while at Appalachian - a friendship, mentor, colleague, a new found hobby or interest?
Dr. Jennifer Burris, the department chair of the Physics and Astronomy Department, has given me a lot of wonderful opportunities and has supported me throughout my time as a physics major.

What is your favorite place on campus and why?
My favorite place is the spot in the upper parking lot by Mountaineer that overlooks all of campus.

What is your understanding of "sustainability" after being at Appalachian?
Sustainability is much more than recycling. It is more than renewable energy. It is more than agriculture. Sustainability is the practice of leaving something better off than you found it and leaving a better world for future generations that will inhabit it.

What do you hope to do after graduation?
I hope to attend medical school.

What is your dream job?
My dream job is to be a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.

Austin Murphy. Photo Submitted.
Published: Oct 6, 2020 9:23am