Willie Rockward

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February 12, 2018

The National Society of Black Physicists honors Dr. Willie Rockward


RockwardDr. Willie Rockward received a B.S. degree in Physics, cum laude, from Grambling State University. While completing a M.S. degree in Physics from State University of New York at Albany, he transferred into the doctoral program in the School of Physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). After completing his doctoral studies at Georgia Tech, he served as a civilian Research Physicist for the Advanced Guidance Division of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory located at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

Currently, Dr. Rockward is an Associate Professor of Physics at Morehouse College. Also, he is serving his 7th year as the Chair of the Department of Physics & Dual Degree Engineering Program (Physics & DDEP) and 20th year as the Research Director of the Materials and Optics Research & Engineering (MORE) Laboratory. His vision and leadership as Chair of Physics & DDEP has resulted in the department being the US #1 producer for underrepresented minorities with Bachelor of Science degrees in Physics according to the American Institute of Physics in conjunction to boasting the Nation’s most productive Dual Degree Engineering Program. He is a strong proponent of STEM mentorship using methodologies of faculty-to-student, peer-to-peer, professional shadowing, life-skills coaching, and research apprenticeship. His current research interests include micro/nano optics lithography, extreme ultraviolet interferometry, metamaterials, terahertz imaging, nanostructure characterization, and crossed phase optics.

Among his professional and social organizations, he is a member of the American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Physical Society, the National Society of Black Physicists (National President-Elect 2018-20), the National Technical Association, the Optical Society of America, the Society of Physics Students, the Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Honor Society (National President 2014-18), and the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity (Tau Chapter). 

Among his community involvement, Rev. Rockward actively serves as an Associate Minister at the Antioch Baptist Church North in Atlanta, GA and as the Director of Science and the Coordinator of Special STEM Projects for the Miller’s Military Academy in Lithonia, GA. Personally, he is married to Michelle Patterson Rockward and is the proud father of seven children and 2 grandchildren.