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Paul Nienkamp (1997, Physics/Mathematics)

 photo of Paul NienkampPaul graduated from Sandy Creek High School in Fairfield, NE, and came from a family with strong Doane connections.  His sister, father, 3 uncles, 2 aunts, 3 cousins, and 3 extended relatives all went to Doane, so it was a good bet he would as well.  

Paul has pursued an interesting and unusual intellectual journey since coming to Doane. Originally he intended to participate in Doane's engineering dual degree program with Washington University, but the lure of pure physics became overwhelming, and he decided to pursue graduate studies in physics at Creighton University.  After completing a masters degree from Creighton, Paul taught mathematics and physics at the Duchesne Academy in Omaha, NE. After two years at Duchesne, Paul took another turn and decided to pursue a Ph.D. program in the History of Science and Technology at Iowa State University, and completed his history Ph.D. in 2008 (that's his graduation photo on the right).  He then became a faculty member in the history department at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, MI.

One memorable event from Paul's time at Doane was watching a car being pulled out of Miller Pond after it had rolled down the drive of Smith Hall.

"Everyone with a class in the Goodall Science Building (and the dorms, quads, art building, union, and administration building) came out to watch – including the professors. We learned how deep the pond was that day."

Paul says that the Doane physics program helped him appreciate the importance of a broad, liberal arts education, and gave him the grounding in the sciences that insured success in physics graduate school.

What is Paul up to now?  He is teaching history classes and also serves as  the director of history teacher education  at Fort Hays State University, where he is assistant professor of history.  

"I still use my understanding and background in science and mathematics to incorporate the history of science and technology into my history instruction and attempt to reach a broader segment of students in my classroom."