Class of 2025
Majors in Physics and Italian Studies
My name is Ava Bailey, and I am a junior majoring in Physics (with a concentration in astrophysics) and Italian Studies. As a physics student, I am the Social Media Coordinator for Duke’s chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) through which I help publicize SPS events and meetings while also serving as a mentor for other physics students particularly those interested in astrophysics and cosmology research. As someone interested in astro and cosmology, I conduct research on type Ia supernova cosmology with Prof. Dan Scolnic, and I’ve been able to make some of my closest friends and best Duke memories through my research program. Beyond physics, I am a member of the Duke University Wind Symphony (French horn section!) and I work with English Prof. Astrid Giugni on researching printing and publishing in early modern London and early North American colonies. After Duke, I hope to continue studying both astrophysics and Italian in grad school (hopefully in Italy or Europe!) and pursue becoming a future astrophysicist or cosmologist.
Favorite Class: Since my two majors are so different from one another, I feel like I have to give two answers to this question. For physics, my favorite class was definitely Introduction to Astrophysics (Physics 305) with Prof. Mark Kruse. I really enjoyed this course because it was my first proper, in-class experience with astrophysics and my specific physics interests, and the interesting content combined with Professor Kruse's engaging teaching style made the class such a wonderful experience. As for Italian courses, my favorite had to be Italian Sociolinguistics (Italian 303S) with Prof. Luciana Fellin. This was one of the first Italian classes I took that truly went above and beyond language learning, and it was very rewarding to be entrusted with the language in such a way that we were encouraged to use it to express complex ideas and topics, do our own research about Italian language and culture, and explore outlets of language use that expand beyond grammar and vocabulary. This class was very pivotal in my understanding of the Italian language not just as a uniform, standardized means of communication but as a dynamic element of a much deeper Italian culture that holds historical and societal meaning as well as communicative capabilities.