Department of Physics Staff Spotlight – June 2020

While the Duke Community celebrates this unprecedented graduating class of 2020, we would like to highlight two Duke Physics graduate and undergraduate team members for their successful development, coordination and commitment to our faculty, staff and students and first ever virtual graduating class.

Katherine Siler and Timothy Fields, Jr. would have been planning their normal annual graduations with their respective graduate and undergraduate students, but instead during one of the most unparalleled times in history had to seek an alternative way to celebrate their graduating class. Indeed, they stepped up to the occasion and were even more creative, caring and compassionate.  While we CONGRATULATE Duke’s Graduating Class of 2020, we would like to highlight the significant contributions Katherine and Timothy have served us. 

Katherine Siler
Graduate Program Coordinator to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) and Associate Chair for Teaching (ACT)

"Over the last three years, it has been my privilege to work with our Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC), Katherine Siler. Katherine brings a valued combination of energy, optimism, and responsiveness to this important departmental role. As GPC, Katherine serves as an essential connection between the Graduate School and our PhD students, helping to ensure that students are supported and on track with numerous program requirements in timely fashion. Katherine is often the first person that our incoming students meet when they arrive from all over the planet.  Especially for those who have never been to Duke or Durham, Katherine provides a welcoming and supportive environment, helping our new students successfully navigate the department, university, and Durham area. Katherine has also been a great organizer of two of the department's signature events: The Open House graduate recruiting event (typically held over two days at the end of each February) and the orientation event for newly arrived students (held over two weeks during mid-August). I cannot imagine these events being as effective or going as smoothly without Katherine's skillful efforts!  I would also like to acknowledge the essential role that Katherine played recently, with short notice, in helping the department assemble the recent video presentation to acknowledge our 2020 graduates. Duke Physics is most fortunate to have Katherine as a part of our team!" – Prof. Stephen Teitsworth

Timothy Fields, Jr.
Assistant to the Director of Undergraduate Studies

"Timothy joined Duke Physics in late 2018 as Assistant to the Director of Undergraduate Studies. He brought a strong commitment to improving the undergraduate experience in the department, and has shown amazing creativity and initiative in planning events for majors and minors as well as better ways to keep connected with students. He has applied his keen eye for design to a lot of our publicity and outreach materials, and shows his generosity in interactions with students, staff and faculty alike. Thus, it is no surprise that Timothy’s work with Katherine on the virtual graduation celebration resulted in such a fitting salute to our students: his warmth and his expertise in visual media both come through clearly." -Prof. Ayana Arce