Joyce Palmer-Fortune

Lecturer & Laboratory Instructor

Joyce Palmer-Fortune

Contact & Office Hours

McConnell Hall 210



Ph.D., M.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

B.S., University of Texas at Austin


Joyce Palmer-Fortune has been a full-time laboratory instructor and lecturer with the physics department at Smith College since the fall of 2003. In addition to teaching she has worked to bring PER-based pedagogy into the introductory physics classrooms, and she oversaw the transition to the department's current combined lecture and lab format. Palmer-Fortune is active in a number of other roles at Smith; she is the physics department's representative on the Science Center Committee on Diversity, the physics department's liaison to the Spinelli Center and coordinator for the learning assistant’s program at Smith. She is active in the AEMES, STRIDE and early research programs.

Before joining Smith, Palmer-Fortune worked as an independent technology consultant in wide variety of fields related to electrical engineering, physics, chemistry and materials science. Her work was primarily researching the patentability of new technology and producing technology maps for the purpose of intellectual property planning. Specific fields included Micro-Electrical-Mechanical Systems (MEMS), photovoltaics, fuel cells, energy storage, electronic optical and fiber optical sensors, optical fiber communication systems, optical connectors, emulsion fuels, flat-panel displays, and microelectronic and integrated circuit structures.

She was also a researcher at Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) in Tokai, Japan, and at the Optoelectronics Technology Research Laboratory (OTRL) in Tsukuba, Japan. Her research was on the initial stages of thin film crystal growth in Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) of II-IV and III-V compound films on III-V compound and silicon substrates. Specifically, she worked on growth of ZnSe thin films on GaAs substrates by MOVPE at NTT, and GaSe thin films on GaAs and silicon substrates at OTRL. She characterized the films using techniques such as Auger Electron Spectroscopy, Ion Beam Spectroscopy, Electron Microscopy, X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy and Photoluminescence.