Published: Nov. 6, 2023 By

Over 250 students attended the second annual Physics and Quantum Career & Internship Fair in October. Held in partnership with JILA and CUbit, and sponsored by IonQ, the event drew more than 25 employers from industry, national labs, and government agencies. Due to high demand last year, the career fair was expanded and held in the UMC Glenn Miller Ballroom.

An employer talks with students at the career fair

The career fair connected both undergraduate and graduate students with employment and internship opportunities. Dr. Danny Rehn from Los Alamos National Laboratory commented “It was great to see interest from students at different stages of their physics and engineering careers.” Rehn is an alum from CU Boulder Physics and now works as a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Coincidentally, the fair was held shortly after the recent Colorado Quantum Tech Hub designation, which emphasized the importance of quantum workforce development. Many quantum-focused employers were in attendance including several alums who founded successful companies.

Dr. Ben Bloom (PhysPhD’2014), Chief Technology Officer and Founder of Atom Computing said, “the fair was an exciting opportunity to meet all the amazing students from undergrads to PhDs, taking their first steps into quantum or those already contributing to the field.”  

Dr. Scott Davis (ChemPhysPhD’1999), CEO of Vescent, added, “Vescent needs physics trained talent to enable the next generation of quantum systems… this was an excellent opportunity to meet potential future Vescent team members and chat with students about life in the private sector.” 

Physicists are in high demand in the job market with overall employment expected to grow faster than average through 2032 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Physics and engineering physics graduates find employment in a variety of industries including research, engineering, finance, software development, and education.  

Students are pictured talking with employers at tables

Majoring in physics also provides excellent preparation for a career in the field of intellectual property. Physics students perform highly on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) according to the American Institute of Physics. Taryn Elliott (Phys’2007) represented the major law firm Polsinelli at the career fair. “We’ve enjoyed meeting and talking with students about the different career paths available to them using their physics degrees,” said Elliott. She added “the quality of education in the department is readily apparent through our conversations with many talented students.” 

Professor Mike Ritzwoller commented on the motivation to host a physics-specific career fair. “It’s unusual for physics departments to play a role in the placement of their students in industry or national labs,” said Ritzwoller. “There are many exciting opportunities for physics graduates outside of academia and demand for physics students and graduates at all levels is exceptionally high.”

Ritzwoller added, “CU Boulder Physics is actively working to help our students explore all opportunities for their future. It’s one of the many things that make Boulder an exciting place to pursue physics education and research.”

The Department of Physics thanks IonQ for sponsoring the 2023 Physics and Quantum Career & Internship Fair, and CU Boulder's Career Services for providing logistical support.