2013 graduate Christopher Rooney pursues graduate degree at Cornell
Christopher Rooney, a 2013 graduate of Hays High, participated in Scholar’s Bowl, Orchestra, Full Chord Press, Science Olympiad, Math Relays, National Honors Society, Musical, Spring Play and a book club while in high school. Rooney is currently a graduate student studying astronomy at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.
“I am a teaching assistant for some college-level Astronomy classes, which has been fun,” Rooney said. “Last semester I got to take students to the local observatory on a regular basis. That observatory has a really cool roughly 100-year-old telescope in it.”
While at Hays High Rooney took and participated in a few classes and clubs that pertained to his current path of study.
“I took Advanced Physics with Shepherd-Adams and the one-off class Project Science,” Rooney said. “Science Olympiad kinda counts too as well as the college calculus courses I took at FHSU. They were inspiration for me to try a Physics major, which I started after I decided Computer Science wasn’t for me. Then it turned out that the Physics major was the first step on my eventual path to an Astronomy grad program.”
Rooney had initially entered into the University of Kansas with a major in Computer Science but quickly switched to Physics.
“I started off college as a Computer Science major, but hated it so I switched to Physics,” Rooney said. “Then I took an Astronomy elective and enjoyed it, took a few more, and before I knew it I was halfway to an Astronomy major. Then I decided I’d rather do Astronomy than Physics when I applied to grad school. A bonus is that I can continue doing programming in an Astronomy career even though it wasn’t my major.
At KU Rooney completed a double major in Physics and Astronomy, however, even though he has already made it this far he’s still unsure of what he is going to do with his future.
“I haven’t really gotten a taste for what research is like because the first year of graduate school is mostly teaching and taking classes,” Rooney said. “But if I end up enjoying research I might apply to become a professor (after at least four more years of graduate school). If I don’t enjoy research as much, I’ll investigate engineering or teaching opportunities.”