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University of Maryland Department of Physics 1117 John S. Toll Physics Building College Park , MD 20742



xxxxxxxxxxxxxOctober 2006 - Issue 50


A Much-Needed Break, Leads to a Position as a Reporting Specialist at the Columbia Bank

Brian Jemella works as a Reporting Specialist for The Columbia Bank in Columbia, MD. While it’s not the typical position for a physics graduate student, Brian loves what he does and is grateful for the knowledge he has obtained from his UMD degree.

“The job is not completely dissimilar to my time at the university,” said Jemella who came to UMD in 1999. “I use many of the same tools that I developed and used as a researcher, except they are now being targeted towards financial and regulatory reporting.”

Brian grew up in Yorktown, New York (a suburb of NY in Northern Westchester County). His decision to attend Maryland came down to a few major factors including location, student population and department. Like many students, he yearned for a college that was far enough to feel away, yet close enough not to make travel prohibitive. In addition, Brian liked that the campus was large but with a sufficient student population to not feel vacant. In 2003, Brian graduated with a bachelor’s degree from physics.

“Academically, I think my time at UM was pretty typical,” said Jemella. “Even though I came to the University looking specifically at physics, I changed majors a couple of times and was looking to teach high school physics. I eventually decided to return solely to the physics department.”

In the spring of 2002, Brian began working as an intern for James Drake in the Plasma Theory group at the Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics. The experience was so great, that the position quickly turned into a multi-year research project. The project led Brian through graduation and into his enrollment in the AMSC graduate program in Scientific Computation. After six uninterrupted years of study, he decided to take time off from graduate school and the research project.

During his break, Brian began to explore different interests, including financing. This interest eventually led to his current position at the Columbia Bank. His position entails integrating disparate software, writing code for automation and data conversion and developing financial projection and analysis systems. Through his journey, he offers current students some advice.

“I would only say that if you graduate and decide that research is not for you, there are a lot of possibilities. Companies don’t always know how to ask for it, but more times than not they are looking for skills physicists possess.”


If you are interested in contacting Brian Jemella, please send your messages to the Editor, who will be happy to forward your questions and comments.