Katrina Hay

Associate Professor of Physics


Email: hay@plu.edu

Office Location: Rieke Science Center - 251

Office Hours: (On Campus) Thu: 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm (On Campus) Fri: 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm (On Campus) Mon - Fri: By Appointment

Curriculum Vitae: View my CV

  • Professional
  • Biography


  • Ph.D., Physics, Oregon State University, 2008
  • B.S., Physics, Mathematics, Linfield College, 2002

Areas of Emphasis or Expertise

  • Fluid Physics


  • Little Bear's Big Night Sky (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 2015) : View Book

Selected Presentations

  • Geoscience Association, Co-author Research Presentation: “ Capillary Droplets Embedded in a Lubricating Film: Enhancing rock-liquid solute transfer ” Maria Inés Dragila and Katrina M. Hay, Denver, Colorado (October 2013)
  • Geoscience Association, Co-author Research Presentation : “ Erosion potential of capillary solitons in fluid transport through the epikarst ” Maria Inés Dragila and Katrina M. Hay, Denver, Colorado (October 2013)
  • Symposium on Learning and Teaching, Co-author Scholarly Presentation: Curiosity Questions poster presented (by Dr. Carolina Illie), SUNY Oswego (Fall 2012)
  • Northwest Section American Physical Society, Co-author Conference Research Presentation: Research Intern, Matthew Hubbard presented “ How tongue size and roughness affect lapping, Vancouver, B.C., Canada (Fall 2012)
  • 2012 National meeting of American Association of Physics Teachers, Scholarly Presentation: “ Pre-Course Student Questions as Motivators for Class Lessons, Philadelphia, PA (August 2012)

Selected Articles

  • "Teaching the Physics of Energy while Traveling by Train." The Physics Teacher Vol. 51, February 2013:
  • "How Tongue Size and Roughness Affect Lapping." research article ( submitted August 2012, reviewed, edited, resubmitted May 2013 ) M. Hubbard (student researcher) , K. Hay, submitted to Journal of Undergraduate Research in Physics
  • "560 multiple choice questions with answer-specific feedback (Online Quizzes) (Scholarship of Teaching) requested by editor, for the publisher W. H. Freeman to accompany new textbook." University Physics for Life Science July 2012:
  • "Physics of energy as a travel course." (Public Intellectual, article) published in EnergyTeachers.org Community Newsletter. Ithaca, NY February 2012:
  • "Physics of Fluid Spreading on Roughness." Special Issue on Modeling, Analysis and Simulations of Multiscale Nonlinear Systems, Conference proceedings, Oregon State University 2007 Katrina M. Hay, Maria I. Dragila; International Journal of Numerical Analysis and Modeling Vol. 5, 2008:


  • 2019-2020 Faculty Excellence Award in Advising, PLU
  • 2018 "Inspirational Woman" - PLU Center for Gender Equity
  • Outstanding Student Paper at conference in Hydrology section for presentation: “Physics of two-phase flow on rough surfaces” at American Geophysical Union Conference 2006, San Francisco
  • Certificate of Appreciation for JPL internship and presentation awarded by the Oregon Space Consortium (2005 Annual Affiliate Meeting)
  • Teaching Fellowship, Oregon State University 2002-2008
  • Sigma Pi Sigma (physics honor society), inducted 2002


I enjoy explaining physics concepts on a level that is understandable. Depending on a student’s mathematical and scientific background, the language you choose to communicate physics to them is crucial. Physics often has a reputation of being mystical and impossible, but it’s not when it’s broken into its most simple concepts. It’s all around us: driving a car, making music, flying in an airplane, drinking through a straw, riding roller coasters… It can be very satisfying to understand the physical phenomena in the world around you. The value of physics is that it is a way of thinking, not just a piece of knowledge. The most important thing you can take from a physics class is the ability to look at a problem that you have never seen before, break it up into its fundamental concepts and not give up until you have solved it.