Senior Pyxie Star discovered her passion for physics at Evergreen, will pursue PhD at the University of Washington

Portrait of Pyxie Star

After a lifetime of homeschooling, Evergreen senior Pyxie Star found her place at Evergreen. This fall, Star will enter University of Washington’s physics PhD program. She’ll remember Evergreen as the place where she discovered her passion for physics.

“I grew up homeschooled, so Evergreen was less intimidating [than a] traditional school,” Star explains.

Star enrolled at Evergreen to study ecology and botany to complement her background in taxonomy and farming, but found herself drawn to a wide variety of scientific fields. Her first year, she registered for Patterning the World, a 12-credit pre-calculus and physics program.

“I just loved it,” she says, “so, I switched my focus to physics right away.”

After taking a few more science and physics courses, Star registered for a 12-credit Independent Learning Contract (ILC) to learn Python, a widely used computer programming language. Her goal was to earn a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) grant funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) which funds schools to pay students to conduct research. Her hard work paid off and she was awarded the REU grant.

With strong research skills in her back pocket, and a newfound passion, Star continues to contribute to the science world. She has often faced people who doubted her abilities, but she continues to prove them wrong with her successes and working as a teacher’s assistant and a tutor in Evergreen’s Quantitative & Symbolic Reasoning Center (QUASR).

“It’s challenging learning how to navigate around others’ ideas in ways that I can still be productive,” she admits. But, she’s up for the challenge. “Working to gracefully mend my way through these ideas yet fully be a part of this community is a balance,” she says.

Star looks forward to contributing more to the science world by working for an industry or in academia conducting research. As a PhD student at the University of Washington, she plans to pursue planetary science and explore the realm of astrophysics.