Physics, English major Olivia Adams selected for prestigious internship in Switzerland

BOONE, N.C. — Olivia Adams, a senior applied physics and English major from Raleigh, has been selected for the University of Michigan - CERN Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates Program (UM-CERN REU). Adams will spend nine weeks conducting research at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in Geneva, Switzerland from June through August.

Supported by funds from the National Science Foundation, UM-CERN REU provides undergraduate students from around the United States with the opportunity to conduct research with some of the world's leading physicists. The program has been highly successful in training future scientists, and many program participants have gone on to pursue graduate degrees at competitive universities and receive pretigious research honors.

At CERN, Adams plans to collaborate with scientists on an experiment involving particle accelerators. “Although I am not sure exactly which experiment I will be working on, it will most likely involve the discovery of new quantum properties, states or reactions," explained Adams, "CERN investigates how particles react under extreme conditions and how they interact with each other. Hopefully, my internship will also involve some hands-on engineering experience with particle accelerator mechanics."

The internship will allow Adams to explore a variety of physics specialties and help her gain workplace experience, which she hopes will help her decide what she wants to study in graduate school.

Adams feels that App State's Department of Physics and Astronomy prepared her for the internship. "Many of my classes have utilized computer code to solve physics problems, something which I think is more realistic for a physics career than the typical paper and pencil. CERN's programs will involve a great deal of technology and code, so I am happy to have that experience under my belt," she remarked.

When asked what she's looking forward to the most, Adams shared that she's looking forward to the international component. "There are only 15 American students selected for the program, but there are 150 European students, and the members of CERN come from all across the world, " said Adams. "Seeing how the physics world works on a global scale will be very valuable for me, and not to mention very fun!”


About the Department of Physics and Astronomy
The Department of Physics and Astronomy’s curriculum has an applied nature that includes a core of fundamental physics courses and laboratory experiences. The department prepares graduates for a variety of scientific, teaching or engineering professions, as well as future educational endeavors. Learn more at

About the Department of English
The Department of English at Appalachian State University is committed to outstanding work in the classroom, the support and mentorship of students, and a dynamic engagement with culture, history, language, theory and literature. The department offers master’s degrees in English and rhetoric and composition, as well as undergraduate degrees in literary studies, film studies, creative writing, professional writing and English education. Learn more at

By Beca DeVore and Lauren Andersen
March 8, 2023

Olivia Adams, a senior applied physics and english major from Raleigh, at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ. Photo submitted.
Published: Mar 8, 2023 8:08am