Sara Mueller

Laboratory Physicist, Brown University

Workshop Facilitator

Mueller graduated with a Ph.D. in Physics from The Ohio State University in Dec of 2019, which she categorizes as “the least fortuitous moment to graduate with a Ph.D.” She notes, “I had a few postdoc offers pending, and then the pandemic hit and they all got canceled. All of a sudden I had no offers, which was wild.” Mueller had been working at a postdoctoral position at City College of New York (CUNY) for eight months when she was advised to apply for the position of Laboratory Physicist by a Brown Physics alumni, “one of my mentors from graduate school, Shawna Hollen [Ph.D. ’13], sent me the job listing.”

Mueller was intrigued by the position, “it’s a really unique opportunity because a lot of places don’t have someone who coordinates all the instructional labs…I thought it was really exciting.” Mueller was also drawn to the Providence area for family reasons, “my wife’s family is from the area and we moved to Providence before I found out about my postdoc offer [at CUNY].” Mueller says she always loved running physics experiments and believes the job is a perfect fit for her, “the thing that I find very cool about this job is that I get to do all of the things I really enjoyed doing as a graduate student and none of the things I didn’t enjoy doing like writing grant proposals.”

Mueller says she is also favorably impressed by the department’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity. “It feels good to be in a place where I know that the battles that I have been fighting my whole career are different, and
I don’t have to feel like I’m just spinning my wheels. I don’t feel like I have to justify my own humanity as a queer woman [at Brown].” She says she is also, “really impressed with the staff, everyone is so helpful it’s almost ridiculous.”
Mueller confesses there is one additional thing that attracted her to Brown, “I’m not going to lie, there’s a little part of me, young Sara, whose dreams have come true because I’m now in the same building as Leon Cooper. I did superconductivity research early in my career and he was an inspiration.”