Melany (McGillvray) An

Melany (McGillvray) An

Physics and astronomy, 2007

Physical scientist for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

After graduating from Lycoming, I went on to get my masters of science at Georgetown University in health physics with a concentration in nuclear nonproliferation before beginning my job with Homeland Security a year and a half ago. It's very interesting to work in a 24/7 operational environment.  My data analysis and assessments are conducted in real-time, so the pressure is always on.  I never get bored because every day is different. 

My professors really encouraged students to take on summer internships and supported our independent research.  While I was a junior, a Lycoming physics alumnus (Jeff Garrett '81) presented a colloquium about his company, Outgassing Services International (OSI).  The day following the colloquium, Mr. Garrett interviewed students for the opportunity to come work for him as a summer intern.  I was the lucky student who was selected and flew out to Palo Alto, Calif., that summer.  While I was there, I prepped samples, did GC/MS analysis, and was exposed to the private industry and how it interacts with the federal government. 

When I returned to Lycoming as a senior, I took what I learned at OSI and started independent research, which in turn became my Departmental Honors project.  I spent many evenings in the lab and was amused to see that Dr. Fisher had placed a label on one of the desks that said "Melany's Office".  A key part of what I do now was fostered by that internship opportunity and supportive faculty members.

My favorite Lycoming experience was being the co-captain of Dance Club and teaching or going to dance classes almost every night!  It made me so proud when the tickets to our shows would sell out and that President Douthat and his wife were always in attendance.