Physics standout graduates

Joshua Craig Lewis is graduating in two weeks with an honor that not many students achieve.

Lewis is graduating summa cum laude with not just one bachelor’s degree, but two, in mathematics and physics — with a minor in chemistry.  

Lewis is from a single parent home in Mulvane. His mother, Shirley Lewis, said he has always been determined to succeed academically.

“Josh has always had this goal to be the best,” said Shirley, an accountant with Housing and Residence Life. “He has that drive, not to be better than anyone else, but to do the best that he can.”

That drive has been around since high school, as he graduated valedictorian of his class from Mulvane High School. Afterward, he chose to attend Wichita State because of its proximity to home and WSU’s mathematics department.  

While in college, Lewis has worked for Wal-Mart, and for the past two years, as a tutor for the physics department.

“Josh is also one of our best physics tutors in our physics help room,” physics professor Jason Ferguson said. “He can explain complex ideas to students … that are struggling. [He’s an] excellent physics problem solver.”

Lewis was a recipient of the 2010 Lenora McGregor Scholarship.

“[The scholarship] allowed me to pursue what I want to do without having to worry about having to afford it,” he said. “I don’t know if I could have done as well without it.”

Lewis also credited the influence of WSU professors for his success. He listed Ferguson, Elizabeth Behrman and Thalia Jeffres as such influences.

“Josh is very bright, very hardworking and a very serious student who will do well in whatever field he ends up,” Behrman said.

Lewis has been accepted into the graduate program at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Physics and Astronomy to pursue a doctorate in physics.

“[Physics] was so challenging,” he said. “It drove me to study it and understand these things I don’t understand intuitively.”