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Perfect Match: Snowboarding and Physics

09/09/15

C:\fakepath\Cody Gawle mug crop.jpgWhat prompted Cody Gawle ’16 of Huntington, Mass., to major in physics? His passion for snowboarding, of course, as he takes what he learned from studying kinematics and mechanics, and transfers it to his riding.

A snowboarder for the past decade, Gawle is a former United States of America Snowboard Association (USASA) competitor who participated in the southern Vermont division. His skills earned him a trip out to the national competition at Copper Mountain in Colorado (pictured at right, bottom photo).

One of the reasons he chose MCLA was its proximity to Mount Snow. When they can, Gawle and his roommate head out for some time on the slopes.

“Snowboarding for me is a way for me to express myself. It’s an escape with no boundaries and limitless possibilities. I enjoy snowboarding because it is a mix between adrenaline, adventure and creativity,” Gawle said.

In addition, with his understanding of the laws of physics, he’s gained a better understanding of the sport.

He also selected MCLA because of its physics major. Back on campus, Gawle said his academic experience has been “top notch.”

“If it weren’t for my teachers, I highly doubt I would be anywhere near where I am today academically. MCLA offers small classes which really maximizes the time you get to spend with your teachers,” he explained.

“I chose physics because I really liked the challenge it presented me with,” Gawle continued. “It made me really work to understand the material. I’ve got to say, my favorite part about physics has to be the application, and really understanding how things work.”

Because his physics professors want their students to learn through a combination of research, problem-solving skills and collaboration,these undergraduates have the capacity to tackle almost any problem, making physics a most versatile degree.

C:\fakepath\Cody in Colorado crop.jpgAlthough Gawle is not certain of the exact career path he’d like to take, his “dream job” would be to work for NASA, perhaps in celestial mechanics.

Students who study physics at MCLA also enjoy many perks of being part of this department, where professors to get to know their students well. Because they know their students’ interests, the professors can customize their education to help them achieve their goals.

Professors in the physics department also keep in touch with their students, even after graduation.

After selecting MCLA’s physics program, Gawle decided to minor in mathematics.

“Taking the physics major put me two or three classes away from the math minor as it is,” he explained. “The math minor will be good for future employment, because you can’t do physics without math.”

It wasn’t until he became a student at MCLA that Gawle discovered the impact that small class sizes could have on his education. In addition, he says the best part of attending the College, is the community and the friends he has made over the past three years.

“I would recommend MCLA to prospective students,” Gawle said. “I was able to maximize my education because I came here, and I think everybody should follow that opportunity.”