Faculty Profile: Robert Utter – Elite of Rowland Heights
Hi Robert! Thanks for taking a break from classes to talk with us! Tell us a little about your background. Where are you from, where did you go to school, and all that good stuff?
I'm originally from La Puente, California. I received a B.A. from Whittier College with a major in Physics and a minor in Math. I also received a M.S. from California State University, Fullerton with a major in Physics.
Lots of your students are heading to college soon and will be choosing majors and classes and all that fun stuff. What was your favorite college course?
My favorite college course was called Chaos in Science and Literature. The first half of the semester dealt with chaos theory and how complex systems are not very deterministic due to all the unknown variables. The second half of the semester discussed literature that referenced the chaos theory, the butterfly effect, fractals, and strange attracters. It was a very fun and interesting course. I liked it because it was different from all of the other typical math and physics courses I was taking.
What are some tips or advice or you’d give to your high school self?
I would tell my high school self to get involved in the drama club freshman year. I joined the drama club my junior year in high school and wished I had started sooner. Drama really helped me handle public speaking and to be comfortable in front of a large crowd.
What do you know about college now that you didn’t know before you attended?
I now know that college is really only the beginning. Back then I felt college was all I was going to need. In reality, graduate school has been much more important for me. A bachelor's degree now is not worth the same as it was 30 years ago. A master's degree is really the key to having a successful academic-related career.
If you were a character from Star Wars, which one would you be?
Definitely Obi-Wan Kenobi. As a physics professor, I'm always teaching students “The Ways of the Force.”