Meet Alum Daniel O’Brien ’17, PhD Candidate, Georgetown

Name: Daniel O’Brien

Class Year: 2017

Title: PhD Candidate at Georgetown


1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?  

I’m designing and building a “smart BandAid”-like patch for monitoring patient health.


2. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? 

I wanted to experience physics research, so I applied for and was accepted to an NSF-REU program at Georgetown after my sophomore year at Holy Cross. After, graduation, I ended up returning for grad school.


3. How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?    
My department is small and has a great community, just like HC Physics! After getting to know everybody on a first-name basis, I was sure it was the spot for me.


4. What were you involved in when you were on campus?  

I was in the society of physics students, acting as president during senior year. The rest of my time was taken by intramural sports.
5. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?
I was a physics major at HC, and my time in class taught me analytical skills that I’m sure will carry on for years. I hope to stay in STEM, moving to either micro-scale device fabrication, medical work, or climate science after grad school.
6. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work? 
My writing – every day. I write papers, grant applications, etc. When I’m not in lab, I’m either writing or analyzing data, so I recommend you take those CRAW classes seriously and don’t go skipping lecture.
7. What advice do you have for students today?
Get more involved! I wish I spent more time as an ally & engaging with BSU, Pride, POW, LASO, etc. Every community needs allyship in order to extend its reach, and that’s a sphere I wish I spent more time in. Also: take advantage of those common area requirements. They’re not just check boxes to tick — you can gain so much by really taking advantage of the liberal arts offerings.