Division of Science





Department of Mathematics
The City College of New York
160 Convent Avenue
New York, NY 10031

Phone: (212) 650-5346
Fax: (212) 650-6294

Merna Youssef accepted to the University of Texas at Austin for her Ph.D

This Fall, I will start my Ph.D in Physics at the University of Texas at Austin. I was admitted to the City College of New York in 2015 with the goal to pursue physics for my bachelor’s degree. When I was a sophomore, I declared my major to be physics but I felt unsatisfied to leave mathematics. A few days later, I declared my second major to be math with a concentration in pure mathematics. Pursuing a double major in physics and mathematics at CCNY opened the door for me to meet with a lot of people from whom I have learned a lot in and outside of academia.

I want to thank my research supervisor, Professor Alexios Polychronakos, for giving me the opportunity to perform my honors thesis under his invaluable guidance. He has taught me how to be resilient and how to overcome frustration. His sincerity, kindness, and love for physics have inspired me. Also, thanks to Professor Parameswaran Nair for giving me the chance to conduct two independent studies over the topic of particle physics and for the invaluable discussions I had with him, which opened a new door of interest to me in physics.

I would also like to thank Professor Christian Wolf from the Mathematics Department for showing me the beauty of mathematics and for his support in graduate school applications. His enthusiasm and motivation towards mathematics have inspired me. I am thankful for all the support and guidance he had offered me in these past two years.

I would be a remiss if I didn’t mention Professor Timothy Boyer who has been my role model as an amazing instructor. I am deeply grateful to have learned from him how to be an advocate for one’s opinion in science even if it is against the flow. I also want to thank Dr. James Hedberg, Professor Joel Gersten, Professor Alexander Punnose and Professor Joseph Bak for their council and advice throughout the past 5 years.

I also want to thank my cohort in the physics and the math department for being who they are. I honored to be one of them, as they were very encouraging, loving, and wonderful colleagues in every meaning of the word.

I am grateful for the people who gave me opportunities, and I regret that I couldn’t thank each one of them as I have intended to do so. Lastly and above everything, I want to thank god for the love, support and guidance he has given me to pursue this academic path against all odds set before me. And also for giving me the opportunity to meet those wonderful people and be a part of the CCNY community, which has offered me more than what I have dreamed of as an immigrant wishing to study physics. I appreciate every single moment I was able to go to school and be part of such a wonderful community. With that said, I am looking forward to joining UT Austin’s community and I am excited to see what UT Austin is holding for me.

Posted 07/15/2020; expires 08/14/2025; visible to public