Thriving in a collaborative community

Grad student Marcus Rose came to TU for applied physics master’s program community

By Kyle Hobstetter on August 30, 2023

Marcus Rose inside the Science Complex
Marcus Rose came to Towson University for the applied physics master's program after experiencing the community while taking summer classes. (Lauren Castellana / Towson University) 

Marcus Rose felt part of Towson University’s applied physics master’s program—even before he enrolled.

Rose took some of his general physics classes at TU during the summer while earning his undergraduate degree at a school in Philadelphia. The Baltimore native appreciated the fact he could take classes just five minutes from home.

He also appreciated that while he was not technically part of the program, they welcomed him with open arms. He felt so welcomed he made it official and joined TU as a graduate student.

“I owe coming to Towson University entirely to the community here,” Rose says. “I was able to visit or shadow a lot of physics programs on the Eastern Seaboard, and a lot of schools have a community among the professors who work and research together. Other schools have this collaborative community of students. And then there's those rare universities that have an integrated third community, which is the professors to the students. 

“Towson University has all three.”

One of Rose’s biggest advocates at TU is professor and program director Rajeswari Kolagani.

Even when he was just a visitor, Rose says Kolagani always made sure he met the right people as he learned the right methods. He even jokes it was Kolagani who adopted him into the program.

“She sees the potential in all of us students and is really one of our biggest advocates,” Rose says. “She gets students used to the program, introduces them to other professors who are doing things they like and is completely on everyone's side and happy to be a part of this community and foster it.”

Even when he took a gap year between undergrad and graduate school, Kolagani helped Rose get research experience.

She introduced him to a professor at Morgan State who needed a local assistant for a research project both at Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland with professors and scientists from across Maryland, including Kolagani.

This was a big deal for Rose because he didn’t have undergraduate lab courses because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Morgan State professor really leaned on his post grads to mentor me and show me the ropes,” Rose says. “Professor Kolagani also was very patient with me and taught me how these different machines can speak to one another and tell you about the materials you're making.”

Now as a full-time student at TU, Rose works as a teacher’s assistant and performs research with faculty in the physics department.

He says being at TU is better than he could have imagined because he got involved right away.

“Having the opportunity to do research right from the get-go is amazing,” Rose says. “Getting these research opportunities at TU is important because that gets me a taste of what I would do in the industry, knowing what I want to focus on and what research in this field looks like.”