Eric Wagner ’16: Next Step Dartmouth

Posted on June 8th, 2016 by

Eric Wagner '16

Eric Wagner ’16

Recent graduate Eric Wagner ’16 has an exciting journey ahead. In September the Marquette, Mich., native will pack his bags and travel to Hanover, N.H. to start a four-year doctoral engineering program at Dartmouth College. Wagner earned a full-ride scholarship to Dartmouth through a research assistantship program focusing on metallurgy, materials science, and crystallography.

Wagner says coming to college in Minnesota was something he always wanted to do, and Gustavus especially stood out. “Academically and athletically it was the perfect fit. That combination really sealed the deal,” he said.

Wagner double majored in physics and mathematics, served as the president of the Gustavus Nordic ski club, competed on the cross country and track teams, and was a member of the Society of Physics Students. The four-year experience both inside and outside the classroom helped make his next step a possibility. “During my time at Gustavus I got a much clearer idea of where I wanted to go with the knowledge and experiences that I had,” Wagner said.

That knowledge and experience stood out to his professors in the physics department. “Eric is a bright and hard-working student with good problem solving skills. He took courses in physics, mathematics, and chemistry and did well in all areas despite the heavy workload,” professor Chuck Niederriter said. “Eric was a great student to have in our program.”

“He is constantly thinking of ways to generalize a concept or broaden an idea into a new regime of applicability. He is the type of student who can take a basic prompt and move it into an unexpected and creative direction,” professor Paul Saulnier added.

Wagner has high praise for the physics department as well. “The physics faculty members make learning a community effort instead of just a major where people just go in and study the same thing,” he explained. “I understood the kind of community I would be a part of from my brother, Zach Wagner ‘13, but actually being immersed in it was an awesome experience.”

Overall, Wagner says his path to Dartmouth has largely been shaped by his time at Gustavus. “Entering college I knew what I was good at — which is math and physics — but I really didn’t know where I wanted to go with it, so the liberal arts classes that I took in the history and political science departments gave me a worldview that helped me understand the kind of things that are important to me,” Wagner said.

Wagner hopes to work on solar energy at Dartmouth, combining his love of physics and environmental science. “I want to become an engineer so that I can provide better solutions for people,” he said

When Wagner makes the move to Dartmouth, he’ll be greeted by at least one familiar face — classmate Griffin Reed ’16 will begin medical school studies at Dartmouth this fall.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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