Dr. Peggy Hill
Hill was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, and attended the College of William and Mary, where she received her Bachelor of Science in physics in 1976. She then held a series of teaching positions where she taught physical science, physics and geometry in diverse environments such as a college preparatory academy, a metropolitan urban middle school and an all-boys Catholic high school.
During her high school teaching years, she developed an avid interest in astronomy and became an active member of the St. Louis Astronomical Society, where she built her own six-inch Newtonian reflector telescope through a class offered there, which she still uses today.
In 1989, she earned her Master of Science in physics and in 1994 a doctoral degree in molecular science, both at Southern Illinois University–Carbondale, where she developed a love of physics research and the study of novel magnetic materials. Following graduation, she taught for three years at the University of Northern Iowa.
She joined the faculty at Southeast in 2000 and currently is a professor of physics in the Department of Chemistry and Physics. Her research lab contains facilities for synthesizing and characterizing new magnetic alloys such as the transition metal based magnetocaloric materials, which have the promise of replacing the current vapor-cycled refrigerators with ecologically friendly and energy efficient counterparts, and with nickel-manganese based materials that have the potential for use as magnetic switches.
Her research on magnetic materials has resulted in 17 peer reviewed articles and more than 29 state, regional and national conference presentations. She has been the recipient of three external grants and two Southeast grants.
In 2017, she served as a lead volunteer for the Citizen Continental America Telescope Eclipse (CATE) Team-040 in Perryville, Missouri, during the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse. This Southeast student and faculty member team collected data and images for the National Solar Observatory as part of a nationwide endeavor of 68 separate teams to study the time evolution of the inner solar corona over the 90-minute duration of the eclipse across America.
In addition, she was a member of the University’s SEclipse Committee that organized campus activities for the eclipse, and led or participated in numerous public lectures, magazine and newsletter articles and outreach activities for the community and University during that time.
In her spare time, she enjoys reading, jogging and traveling with friends.