Ken Polodak


Age: 38

Education: Ph.D Physics, Pennsylvania State University; MA Higher Education, Penn State; BS Physics Rochester Institute of Technology

Hometown: Auburn, NY

Community Involvement: Mentoring high school students in summer research projects; Coaching Grasshopper baseball in Rouses Point; Advisor of the Physics Club (2009-2013).

“I like working with and mentoring students of all skill levels so that they can gain an appreciation for physics that they haven’t had before,” said Dr. Ken Polodak, Associate Professor of Physics, SUNY Plattsburgh. “By promoting the value of education, and continuing to encourage companies to open or expand, the North Country can attract, and keep, the younger generation. I’m excited about new businesses, such as Norsk Titanium, which will provide high-paying skilled engineering positions.” An educator for 14 years, Polodak won the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2016.

Who are your favorite influencers?

Stephen Hawking, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and John Oliver.

What are you doing to make a difference in your profession?

I am writing for an open source (free) online textbook for OpenStax that will help reduce the cost of a college education. In addition, I am the Vice-Chair (and will be Chair) of the NYS section of the American Physics Society that provides a bi-annual physics symposia around the state and is accessibly to the public.

What is the single most important characteristic for success?

Loving what you do for a living, and having a family that supports you as you support them. I maintain a work/life balance by making lists of priorities and crossing them off as I complete them. I also try my best to communicate with my family regarding the time I need to accomplish my work goals.

What is something no one would guess about you?

I like to follow WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and went to multiple live events in the past.

Write a note to your younger self…

You are doing all the right things to be successful. Keep up with your education and your future will be just fine.