Physics Major Awarded National Scholarship

University student Veronica Romanek ’23, awarded highly-competitive $25,000 Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) scholarship.
Veronica Romanek ’23, a physics and Spanish double major from Hampton, New Jersey, was awarded a highly-competitive national Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) scholarship.
Veronica Romanek ’23, a physics and Spanish double major from Hampton, New Jersey, was awarded a highly-competitive national Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) scholarship.

Veronica Romanek’s interests are as vast as the universe.

A member of The University of Scranton’s class of 2023, she is a double major in physics and Spanish and participates in Scranton’s undergraduate Honors Program. She has presented her physics research project at several conferences including those hosted by the American Geophysical Union, CEDAR, HamSCI, SARA, the National Science Foundation, and others.  As part of another project, she built an atmospheric sensing device that was launched into space through NASA’s RockOn project. Aside from physics, she is a certified Physical Fitness Zumba instructor and offers weekly Zumba classes on campus. She is also a peer health educator for the University’s Center for Health Education and Wellness and an active amateur (ham) radio operator, the latter of which helped her earn a highly-competitive national Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) scholarship.

Romanek is among just 20 recipients of the $25,000 scholarship awarded for the 2022-2023 academic year by the ARRL National Association for Amateur Radio. Recipients must hold an amateur radio license and maintain an exceptional GPA in their coursework, in addition to demonstrating active ham radio participation and meet other requirements.

Romanek began at Scranton with an undeclared major. She had an interest in physics and foreign languages but wasn’t sure whether she wanted to pursue either as a major.

“I joined a lot of clubs and asked a lot of questions,” said Romanek, who recalled a meeting with Nathaniel Frissell, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics and electrical engineering at The University of Scranton, that led her to pursue physics as a major.

“I stopped by his office at the time he was beginning to install radio equipment in the Loyola Science Center. He invited me to help with some of the installation of the impressive equipment as he answered my questions and I was hooked,” said Romanek.

By supplementing her coursework and getting involved in the University’s ham radio club, Romanek was among a group of Scranton students who participated in NASA’s 2021 RockOn Workshop through which students were sent kits to build atmospheric sensing devices. The devices were built and tested on campus, then sent to the RockOn program headquartered in Colorado. Romanek’s device was among the 28 chosen to be launched into space on June 24, 2021, from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on a two-stage Terrier-Orion rocket.

Romanek said her participation with the RockOn Workshop was one of her best experiences at Scranton and gave her a “taste of what working on a scientific team is like.”  She worked with fellow physics majors, computer scientists, engineers as well as with students from other disciplines. She is also the current and founding president of the W3USR University Amateur Radio Club.

In the summer of 2022, Romanek presented “HF Doppler Observations of Traveling Ionospheric Disturbances in a WWV Signal Received with a Network of Low Cost HamSCI Personal Space Weather Stations” at the National Science Foundation CEDAR Workshop. She also presented “Traveling Ionospheric Disturbance Observations with the Grape Personal Space Weather Station” at the 2022 Dayton Hamvention. She also attended the Incoherent Scatter Radar (ISR) Summer Workshop where she got to run an experiment on the antennas located at the MIT Haystack Observatory. In addition, Romanek participated in the national Youth on the Air (YOTA) Camp, which is a week-long camp that took place at the Voice of America Museum near Cincinnati, Ohio, for young people from across the country to meet and learn more about amateur radio.

After graduation, Romanek plans to pursue a Ph.D. in either plasma physics or astrophysics. As she looks back at her time at Scranton, she treasures most the friendships made on campus. She also appreciated the breath of liberal arts classes she took that included courses from outside her majors including geography, philosophy, and history which allowed her to continue to explore her vast interests. Romanek was awarded membership to a number of honor societies at the University of Scranton, including: Physics Honor Society, Engineering Honor Society and World Language Honor Society.

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