APS CUWiP at MSU

The Department of Physics & Astronomy at Michigan State University (MSU) is proud to be a host site for the APS Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics (APS CUWiP). This is a three-day regional conference for undergraduate physics majors. The 2019 conference will start Friday evening, January 18 through Sunday afternoon, January 20, 2019.

The MSU conference will bring together over 150 regional undergraduate women in physics and successful female physicists to focus on supporting women in physics and on their professional development. The meeting will provide ample opportunities for interacting with fellow physicists, including:

  1. Presentations by professional physicists on their cutting edge research and personal career paths
  2. Panels featuring career opportunities outside academia
  3. Workshops and panels offering guidance on how to get involved in summer research, the graduate school application process, transferring from a small college to large physics department, preparing for and applying for jobs in industry, best practices for mental wellbeing, and much more.
  4. An opportunity for undergraduate attendees to present their research in a poster session
  5. A tour of National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory and the MSU Physics Department labs

There will also be a Pre-Conference Professional Development Workshop.

 

Who can apply?

Any undergraduate student at a US institution is invited to apply to attend an APS CUWiP. Apply to the site location determined by your region. Students in Canada are encouraged to apply to the Canadian CUWiP at the University of Ottawa

How much does it cost to attend?

Students who are accepted to attend the conference must pay a one-time registration fee of $45, which helps offset some of the cost of the conference, including all lodging and meals. Lodging (for non-local students) and food will be covered by the conference; you do not need to pay for your hotel room or food at the conference. Financial assistance and fee waivers can be obtained on a need-by-need basis; email cuwip@pa.msu.edu for more information.

MSU is one of 12 regional sites hosting conferences simultaneously across the United States organized through the American Physical Society and its local organizing committees. MSU will host students from institutions in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and parts of Pennsylvania (West of State College).

2019 APS CUWiP Conference Site Locations

Want to Volunteer?

Click here to register as a part- or full-time volunteer for MSU's Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (the weekend of January 18th-20th).

Are you a faculty accompanying your students to MSU?

PLEASE REGISTER! Click here to register as an accompanying faculty during MSU's Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics.

Want to Donate?

We value any support that you can give us, as the students pay only $45 for the entire weekend. The MSU Local Organizing Committee, with the support of APS, has raised funds to house and feed the attendees, and to support the speakers to help create a diverse and enriching program for the attendees. Please consider adding your support with a monetary donation here.

About APS CUWiP

CUWiP Attendance Over the Years
Women in Physics

The goal of APS CUWiP is to help undergraduate women continue in physics by providing them with the opportunity to experience a professional conference, information about graduate school and professions in physics, and access to other women in physics of all ages with whom they can share experiences, advice, and ideas. Past participants have described their experiences attending CUWiP as an enlightening and empowering experience.

A typical program will include research talks by faculty, panel discussions about graduate school and careers in physics, presentations and discussions about women in physics, laboratory tours, student research talks, a student poster session, and several meals during which presenters and students interact with each other.

In 2006, the University of Southern California hosted the first APS CUWiP. The grassroots effort grew quickly, and within just a few years there were six conferences being hosted simultaneously.

 

How to Apply

Applications will be available from September 3rd, 2018 until October 12th, 2018. In order to apply, head to the APS website: https://www.aps.org/programs/women/workshops/cuwip.cfm. When the application is available you will be asked to fill out a form asking for:

  • Contact information
  • Institution and Field of Study
  • Preferred site to attend APS CUWiP and justification
  • Question asking if you have requested travel funding from your department
  • Applicant statement on objectives for attending APS CUWiP (100-200 words)

 

If you are accepted, you will be asked to fill out a registration survey. Students who are accepted to attend the conference must pay a one-time registration fee of $45. If you cannot afford the registration fee and your department/college is unable to help, you may request a fee waiver to APS directly at women@aps.org by submitting a statement attesting to your financial need and verifying that department or university funds are not available. Further details will be provided when you are invited to register for the conference. You must request a fee waiver at least two days in advance of registering (not applying)

We highly recommend applicants contact their department to ask for travel funding. If you have already asked your department and they are unable to provide you with funding, there will be limit travel funding available on a reimbursement basis. Contact cuwip@pa.msu.edu for more details.

Speakers

Keynote Address

Dr. Fabiola Gianotti
Dr. Fabiola Gianotti

Fabiola Gianotti received a Ph.D. in experimental particle physics from the University of Milano in 1989. Since 1994 she has been a research physicist at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, and since August 2013 an honorary Professor at the University of Edinburgh.

She is also a corresponding member of the Italian Academy of Sciences, foreign associate member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States and of the French Academy of Sciences, honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy and Foreign Member of the Royal Society, London.

Dr Gianotti has worked on several CERN experiments, being involved in detector R&D and construction, software development and data analysis. From March 2009 to February 2013 she held the elected position of project leader (”Spokesperson”) of the ATLAS experiment. The ATLAS Collaboration consists of 3000 physicists from some 38 countries. On 4 July 2012 she presented the ATLAS results on the search for the Higgs boson in an historic seminar at CERN. This event marked the announcement of the discovery of the Higgs boson by the ATLAS and CMS experiments.

Dr Gianotti is the author or co-author of more than 550 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals. She has given more than 40 invited plenary talks at the major international conferences in the field. She has been a member of several international committees, such as the Scientific Council of the CNRS (France), the Physics Advisory Committee of the Fermilab Laboratory (USA), the Council of the European Physical Society, the Scientific Council of the DESY Laboratory (Germany), the Scientific Advisory Committee of NIKHEF (Netherlands) and the Scientific Advisory Board of the UN Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki- moon.

She received honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Uppsala, the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, McGill University (Montreal), University of Oslo, University of Edinburgh, University of Roma Tor Vergata, University of Chicago and University of Naples.

Dr Gianotti was awarded the honour of “Cavaliere di Gran Croce dell’ordine al merito della Repubblica” by the Italian President. She received the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics (2013), the Enrico Fermi Prize of the Italian Physical Society (2013), the Medal of Honour of the Niels Bohr Institute (Copenhagen, 2013), and the Wilhelm Exner Medal (Vienna, 2017). She was included among the “Top 100 most inspirational women” by The Guardian newspaper (UK, 2011), ranked 5th in Time magazine’s Personality of the Year (USA, 2012), included among the “Top 100 most influential women” by Forbes magazine (USA, 2013 and 2017) and considered among the “Leading Global Thinkers of 2013” by Foreign Policy magazine (USA, 2013).

Plenary Speakers

Dr. Njema Frazier
Dr. Njema Frazier

Dr. Njema J. Frazier is the Director of the Office of Experimental Sciences at the Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

As Director, Dr. Frazier serves as a senior expert in the field of experimental sciences and related research and development, as applied to the behavior and reliability of nuclear weapons. Dr. Frazier oversees a portfolio totaling over $900M that directs, plans, and coordinates R&D programs, including those in nuclear physics, hydrodynamics, plasma physics, materials science, high energy density sciences, and ignition sciences. She provides expert scientific, technical, and budget advice to senior agency, interagency, and Congressional members and staff on the management of the Nation’s experimental science programs. Dr. Frazier has been with NNSA since 2001 and has previously served as Physicist, Acting Deputy, and Acting Director for a number of NNSA’s flagship scientific and technical programs established to ensure the United States maintains a safe, secure and effective nuclear weapons stockpile without explosive testing.

Prior to joining the NNSA, Dr. Frazier was a professional staff member for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science. A long-time trailblazer in science, Frazier was the first African-American woman to graduate with a physics degree from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as the first to receive a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from Michigan State University. Additionally, as the co-founder of the DOE POWER (Professional Opportunities for Women at Energy Realized) Employee Resource Group, a member of the National Advisory Board of the National Society of Black Engineers, and Chair of the Algebra by 7th Grade Initiative for grades 3 to 7 she continues to champion diversity and inclusion for the next generation.

Dr. Frazier’s Major Awards include – Black Girls Rock! STEM Tech Recipient, Leadership Ambassador, Department of Energy OneDOE Campaign, Ebony Magazine, Power 100 Honoree, National Defense University, Joint Civilian Service Commendation Award, DOE Champion for the Minorities in Energy Initiative (MEI), National Nuclear Security Administration Distinguished Service Award, and Black Engineer of the Year, Science Spectrum's Trailblazer Award.

Dr. Frazier was sworn in as a member of the US Government’s Senior Executive Service September 12, 2018.

"I am a physicist and I love STEM education, social justice, MCU, pocket Aces, nuclear security, and my family!"

Dr. Erica Snider
Dr. Erica Snider

Erica Snider received her B.S. in physics from the California Institute of Technology, and her Ph.D. in high energy physics from the University of Chicago.

A As a post-doc at The Johns Hopkins University, she contributed to the construction of high-precision particle track detectors, and to the discovery of the top quark, one of the elementary constituents of matter. After joining the physics staff of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, her research focused on studying the properties of particles with bottom quarks, and on searches for new particles and phenomena, including searches for the Higgs boson. Over the same period, her technical work revolved around software and computing, where she led various software working groups, and was responsible for large-scale computing solutions for the colliding beam experiments at Fermilab. In 2011, she began working on neutrino physics, and on providing shared computing solutions across many fixed-target experiments at Fermilab. She is now leading a project to share reconstruction and simulation software for the current generation of neutrino experiments at Fermilab that utilize liquid argon detectors.

In recent years, Dr. Snider has dedicated herself toward creating a more inclusive and equitable work environment at Fermilab and beyond, and addressing the lack of diversity within high energy physics. Toward this end, she has worked within the women’s employee resource group on women’s issues and outreach events for high school girls. She has also taken on a leadership role in the LGBTQ+ employee resource group, led or participated in various initiatives to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion, and spoken at numerous events in and out of physics on topics related to transgender and LGTBQ+ inclusion, and on normalizing trans identities.

"I am a physicist and an athlete, a cook, a chocolate fiend, a woodworker, a sister, an aunt, a niece, and an advocate for a world where it doesn’t take an act of bravery just to be yourself."

Diversity, Intersectionality, & Bias Panel

Dr. Cynthia Aku-Leh
Dr. Cynthia Aku-Leh

Cynthia Aku-Leh is a Research Scientist at ISciences LLC, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Cynthia Aku-Leh is a Research Scientist at ISciences LLC, Ann Arbor, Michigan. She conducts research and development as member of the remote sensing group. Prior to joining ISciences, she worked at the Max Born Institute in Berlin, in the division of Femtosecond Spectroscopy of Solids. Before that she worked on spin-polarized electron gases in semi-magnetic quantum wells both at Kings College of London and at the Institute des Nanoscience du Paris, France. Dr. Aku-Leh received her Ph. D. in experimental condensed matter physics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Outside of research, Cynthia teaches as an Adjunct faculty at Baker College in Flint, MI. She serves on the executive committee of the Ohio Region Section of the APS and is president of the Ann Arbor Section of the OSA.

"I am a physicist and a teacher. I like helping others. This has led to my involvement with various organizations and outreach activities."

Dr. Stephanie Lyons
Dr. Stephanie Lyons

Dr. Stephanie Lyons is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at MSU.

She is a nuclear experimentalist who investigates stellar reactions that create the various elements we have in the universe and how they contribute to stellar evolution. She is passionate about supporting women and minorities in physics and is thrilled to be helping organize CUWiP.

" I am a physicist, and I am also an avid baker. I enjoy trying new recipes I find online or through cooking shows like The Great British Bake-Off. (Mary Berry is just the best!!)"

Priscilla Pamela
Priscilla Pamela

Priscilla Pamela finished high school at age 15 in Venezuela, and came to the US as an International Student to pursue a career in Physics.

She obtained her Associate’s degree in 2001, transferred to Florida International University (FIU) and graduated in 2005 with her BSc in Physics. Her original interest was Astronomy, however this shifted towards Nuclear/Particle Physics and in her senior year she engaged in the implementation of Modeling Instruction at FIU. Learning about the field of Physics Education Research she became the first PER Graduate Student at FIU.

Priscilla earned her MSc in Physics in 2009 and decided to explore career options outside of academia. She got a Data-Analyst job at Care Resource in 2010, earning a promotion 9-months later to Quality Assurance and Data Analysis Supervisor. Care Resource is South Florida's oldest/largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare organization, with a strong focus on serving the LGBTQ+ community. She later worked at a Large Hospital as a Performance-Analyst; a sudden/brief career change led her to work at Royal Caribbean as a Business-Analyst. It was made clear that there is a tremendous need/future in healthcare for non-traditional physicists, so in February-2018 Priscilla went back to work at Care Resource as their Data Analysis Manager.

"I am a physicist working at a non-profit healthcare organization and my passion is analyzing data. I have an interest in the education of future scientists, especially women/underrepresented minorities. I firmly believe that there is a place for physicists in the healthcare environment outside the traditional paths!"

Dr. Angela Wilson
Dr. Angela Wilson

Angela Wilson is the John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Michigan State University.

From 2016-2018, she was Director of the National Science Foundation’s Division of Chemistry, where she was responsible for a staff of 40, a $250M budget, and funding priorities in chemistry across the U.S. Prior to this, she was Associate Vice Provost for Faculty at the University of North Texas, Regents Professor, and Founder and Director of UNT’s Center for Advanced Scientific and Computing. She earned her B.S. in chemistry (minors in physics and mathematics) from Eastern Washington University and her Ph.D. in chemical physics from the University of Minnesota. Her postdoctoral fellowship was at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a Department of Energy laboratory.

Honors include the 2015 Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal, the highest award dedicated to women in chemistry; Fellow of the American Physical Society, American Chemical Society, and American Association for the Advancement of Science; National Associate of the National Academies; and 2018 Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame inductee. She is Editor of Computational and Theoretical Chemistry.

She co-leads an international award program for women via the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), has been invited to write articles and give numerous presentations about success strategies for women in science (i.e., Nature Reviews Chemistry). She was keynote speaker at the 2017 National Diversity and Equity Workshop. Topics include success strategies for women, negotiation, navigating conflict, communication strategies, and non-traditional career pathways.

"I am a chemical physicist and I also enjoy time with my kids (12 and 9), playing and coaching soccer, Zumba, playing basketball, and spending time at the gym."

Careers Panel

Elizabeth Hogan
Elizabeth Hogan

Elizabeth Hogan is a Manufacturing Integration Engineer currently working for First Solar, a photovoltaic manufacturing company, located in Perrysburg, OH.

She received a BSc in Physics and German from the University of Notre Dame in 2011 where her undergraduate research focused on nuclear physics. She has worked at First Solar since graduation, first as a development technician running lab and manufacturing line experiments then as a manufacturing engineer maintaining tool sets and monitoring long- and short-term production line performance. While working, Elizabeth completed a MSc in Physics from the University of Toledo in 2015, with a concentration in the professional and scientific aspects of the photovoltaic industry. Both in undergrad and at First Solar she has participated in outreach programs focused on getting youth interested in STEM fields. Outside of work she is wife to a loving husband, mother to a feisty two year old, long-distant friend, book club member, Deutsch enthusiast, and Disney-phile.

"I am a physicist and I am a wife and mother, figuring life out as I go, just like everyone else. I hope to use what I have learned to make the world just a little bit better."

Mary Irving
Mary Irving

Mary Irving is a Scientist in the Innovation Group at Amcor Rigid Plastics.

Her job entails testing new materials for use in Amcor products. She also provides support to engineers using new and novel materials in their projects and assists quality with testing and standardization. She has been with Amcor since 2015 and in her current position since 2016. She graduated from Kansas State University with a master’s in physics in 2015 and did her undergraduate work and St. Bonaventure University.

"I am a scientist and I am also trying to find my own path. Outside of work, I enjoy telling stories, in writing and comics, and spending time with my husband and daughter."

Jane O'Loughlin
Jane O'Loughlin

Ms. O’Loughlin has worked at Battelle for more than 33 years, currently as program manager in medical devices and neurotechnology, previously in biological detection systems, electronic products, lasers and electro-optics, card-based digital transactions and device security, and improvements in operational efficiency.

She’s also managed groups and facilities including Microfabrication, integrated Quality, and electrical and software engineering co-ops and interns (cue Dr. Sawtelle!).

As PM in medical devices she has the remarkable opportunity of working with a team of neuroscientists who have made history by reanimating the hand of a quadriplegic by “reading his mind” via an implanted electrode array and delivering electrical stimulation to his forearm. She leads teams of engineers and human centric designers to develop equipment and solutions for clients to meet scope and quality requirements within schedule and budget constraints.

Ms. O’Loughlin took her first physics class during her senior undergraduate year at Denison University where she double majored in Mathematics and French. After spending her junior year in France studying language and literature, she was eager to return and complete that last science requirement. And then physics -- at last she understood the reason why anyone would want to study differential equations! Physics brought her math to life and her life was never the same.

Ms. O’Loughlin has a BA with Honors from Denison, an MS in Physics from Miami University, MBA from Franklin University, and an MA in Theology from Ohio Dominican University. She is a Project Management Professional (PMP).

"I am a physicist, a project manager and lifelong learner, currently amazed by the brain and neuroplasticity. I am a certified yoga teacher and ashtanga yoga practitioner, weightlifter, occasional public speaker, occasional traveler, and minor polyglot."

Don Pata
Don Pata

Don Pata is a high school physics teacher and has spent the last 20 years teaching at Grosse Pointe North high school.

He is the 2011 winner of the PAEMST (Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching) as well as a member of the 2016 AAPT Master Teacher Leader Cohort. Beyond teaching physics he teaches astronomy and runs the planetarium for the school district. He is currently participating in an effort to bring computational modeling to the physics classroom. In addition to teaching at the high school he is the lead facilitator and facilitator coordinator for the Modeling Instruction group in Michigan.

"I am a high school physics and astronomy teacher and I also run the district's planetarium. When I'm not at school I spend time chasing around my 4 children (all under 9 years old). In addition to my day job I work with science teachers all over the state on progressive teaching practices. Recently I have embarked on a plan to implement computer science principles within my physics teaching curriculum."

Tasha Summers
Tasha Summers

Tasha Summers received her BSc. in Physics from the University of Regina in Canada in 2005. Her first job was as an operator and accelerator physicist in training at the new Canadian Light Source in Saskatoon.

In 2009 she moved to Long Island, NY, to work as an operator at the RHIC collider at Brookhaven National Lab. A few years later she transferred to the NSLS-II as a lead operator and user interface developer during construction and commissioning of the new lightsource. In 2016 she moved to Michigan to apply her experience operating and commissioning accelerators and expertise at developing operator interfaces to NSCL’s ReAccelerator and the FRIB facility. Recently she has been studying UX research and design and is excited for her team of developers to apply the techniques to operator interface design.

"I am an operator interface designer and I love music and travelling. My husband (who also works at FRIB) and I use concerts as an excuse to travel to other cities where we enjoy sampling the local food and drink. When not working or travelling we enjoy relaxing at home and binging on Game of Thrones or watching cat videos on YouTube."

Workshop Speakers

Dr. Cynthia Aku-Leh
Dr. Cynthia Aku-Leh
Work-life Balance & 2-Body Problem

Cynthia Aku-Leh is a Research Scientist at ISciences LLC, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Cynthia Aku-Leh is a Research Scientist at ISciences LLC, Ann Arbor, Michigan. She conducts research and development as member of the remote sensing group. Prior to joining ISciences, she worked at the Max Born Institute in Berlin, in the division of Femtosecond Spectroscopy of Solids. Before that she worked on spin-polarized electron gases in semi-magnetic quantum wells both at Kings College of London and at the Institute des Nanoscience du Paris, France. Dr. Aku-Leh received her Ph. D. in experimental condensed matter physics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Outside of research, Cynthia teaches as an Adjunct faculty at Baker College in Flint, MI. She serves on the executive committee of the Ohio Region Section of the APS and is president of the Ann Arbor Section of the OSA.

"I am a physicist and a teacher. I like helping others. This has led to my involvement with various organizations and outreach activities."

Dr. Rana Ashkar
Dr. Rana Ashkar
STEP UP 4 Women

Rana Ashkar is an assistant professor of Physics at Virginia Tech.

rior to her current appointment, she held a Clifford G. Shull Fellowship at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, preceded by a joint postdoctoral scholarship at NIST and the University of Maryland at College Park. Prof. Ashkar completed her graduate studies at Indiana University and was the recipient of the university-wide 2014 Esther L. Kinsley doctoral dissertation award. Her research focuses on nanoscale structures and dynamics in soft matter, with specific emphasis on polymeric systems and biomimetic lipid membranes. Among the many approaches that she uses in her research, she is particularly interested in the applications of x-ray and neutron scattering techniques to resolve collective molecular structures/motions that are critical to the technological and biological applications of soft materials. Beside her scholarly achievements, Prof. Ashkar is committed to diversity and inclusion in STEM fields and has been an active member on several committees promoting a better environment for minorities in sciences. She was the founder and first chairperson of the "Women in Neutrons Sciences” committee at Oak Ridge National Lab and is currently the chair of the site visits subcommittee of the APS Committee on the Status of Women in Physics.

"I am a physicist and an amateur writer and painter. I also like reading, dancing, cooking, gardening, and solving puzzles. My passion for Physics is driven by the desire to develop new skills and solve hidden problems, which I apply equally to my research and my hobbies."

Dr. Marsha Carolan
Dr. Marsha Carolan
Improving Mental Health & Wellbeing Practices

Dr. Marsha Carolan is a licensed therapist in the state of Michigan.

She is also a retiring tenure stream faculty member in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies where she is core faculty in the Couple and Family Therapy program and director of their campus training clinic. In this clinic, she has implemented with her graduate students, a special program for couples who have severe conflict and interpersonal violence. She has been licensed for over 30 years and has worked with graduate students for almost 25 years as a supervisor and advisor. Her past research has focused primarily on oppression and women's health. This year, she joined the Facility for Rare Isotopes Beams as a Wellness Coach, where she is working as a part time consultant to address individual and work effectiveness. She is enjoying this new role as she is meeting many new interesting people and learning about the inner workings of a prestigious laboratory.

"I am a therapist and I believe that women are amazing but they need to cherish and take care of their mental and physical selves."

Dayah Chrisman
Dayah Chrisman
Adapting to Large Universities

Dayah Chrisman is pursuing her Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics at Michigan State University, studying nuclear structure at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory.

Prof. Laura Chomiuk
Prof. Laura Chomiuk
Imposter Syndrome

Laura Chomiuk is an associate professor of Physics and Astronomy at Michigan State University, where she researches energetic stellar events like novae, supernovae, and black hole jets at a range of wavelengths, with a particular focus on radio observations.

With these observations she can probe the physics of the ejection mechanisms in these explosions, to constrain the circumstellar environments of the exploding stars, and to test models of both the progenitor systems and of the explosions themselves. Laura is also the director of the MSU Observatory, through which she leads a myriad of public outreach efforts. She received her PhD in Astronomy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and previously served as the Jansky Fellow, National Radio Astronomy Observatory Resident at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Michigan State University.

"I am an astronomer and I love my two pet goats. I care deeply about responsible stewardship of our wonderful natural resources here in Michigan."

Dr. Katy Colbry
Dr. Katy Colbry
Mentor/Mentee Relationship
&l; Maximizing Your Research Experience

Katy Luchini Colbry is the Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Services at the College of Engineering at Michigan State University, where she completed degrees in political theory and computer science.

A recipient of a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, she earned Ph.D. and M.S.E. in computer science and engineering from the University of Michigan. She has published dozens of peer-reviewed works related to her interests in engineering education and graduate student success. Dr. Colbry is a Master Facilitator for the National Research Mentor Network (NRMN) and the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER). She is also the Director of the Engineering Futures Program of Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society, which provides interactive seminars on interpersonal communications and problem solving skills. The Engineering Futures Program includes a national network of volunteer facilitators who conduct hundreds of sessions serving thousands of engineering students and professionals each year.

"I am an engineer and administrator who spends her days trying to improve the lives of graduate students. I am also a wife, a mother, and an advocate for individuals with special needs and their caregivers."

Elizabeth Drueke
Elizabeth Drueke
Applying to REUs & Internships

Elizabeth Drueke is a third-year Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan.

She received her bachelor’s degrees in physics and advanced mathematics in 2016 from Michigan State University. While an undergrad, she spent three years doing top quark physics with the ATLAS group at MSU. With this experience, she was awarded the chance to participate in the CERN Summer Student Programme in Geneva through the U of M REU. Since moving to Ann Arbor, Elizabeth has changed fields and is currently doing research in experimental condensed matter physics. In particular, she is using ultrafast spectroscopy to study the symmetry properties of various topological materials. Outside of physics, she is a proud mom to two cats and spends most of her weekends with family.

"I am a physicist and a member of the broader community. While my work is important to me, it does not define who I am as a person, and I always try to make sure that I have time to devote to other priorities in my life."

Dennis Foren
Dennis Foren
Applying to Grad School & Fellowships

Dennis Foren is a fifth-year physics PhD candidate at Michigan State University.

He's a high-energy phenomenologist: that means he adds hypothetical content to the Standard Model of particle physics and investigates how that might affect modern or near-future experiments. Right now, he's analyzing what happens if you add a finite dimension of space to our usual four-dimensional spacetime and let gravity permeate in all five of those dimensions. One dramatic consequence of this construction is that it automatically generates infinitely-many massive spin-2 particles (they form a so-called "KK tower"). These new spin-2 particles could potentially be found as resonances at colliders (like the LHC) or via their cosmological implications (like affecting how much dark matter we expect to see). This is his first CUWiP, and he looks forward to meeting and supporting the next generation of physicists!

"I'm a physicist, and I stream games with my friends, write blog posts, and binge-watch shows. When my work requires a lot of reading or writing, I like to check out new coffee shops and parks. Even when I'm at my busiest, I'm usually listening to new music or comedy podcasts."

Rachel Frisbie
Rachel Frisbie
Applying to REUs & Internships

FFrisbie is a 4th year graduate student at Michigan State University working with Megan Donahue.

She uses X-ray data from the Chandra and XMM-Newton telescopes along with optical data from the SOAR telescope to study the effects of feedback on galaxy clusters and nearby early-type galaxies. How black holes regulate their own growth, and the growth of the surrounding galaxy is still an unsolved problem, but observations of the gas surrounding the black hole are an easily observable way to study them. Rachel attended CUWiP as an undergraduate in 2013 and is excited to be able to contribute as a graduate student!

"I'm a physicist and also a musician and competitive powerlifter. My hobbies help keep me balanced throughout graduate school, along with quality snuggles from my dog and support from my husband."

Dr. Paul Guèye
Dr. Paul Guèye
Adapting to Large Universities

Dr. Paul Guèye received his BS and MS in Physics and Chemistry from the University Cheikh Anta Diop (Dakar, Senegal).

He obtained his Ph.D. (1994) in Nuclear Physics from the University of Clermont-Ferrand II (Aubière, France). He joined the nuclear physics group of Hampton University as a postdoc in 1995 and was part of the first sets of experiments conducted at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Newport News, Virginia). While continuing his work at this facility, Dr. Guèye joined the MoNA Collaboration in 2013 to conduct low energy nuclear physics experiments at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory/Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (East Lansing, MI). He was the Chair of the HU Physics Department from 2015-2018. He is now a Professor at MSU, working at the NSCL/FRIB.

Dr. Guèye has been or is actively engaged in various national and international committees such as: Chair of the Liaison Committee for Under-Represented Minorities of the American Institute of Physics, President of the National Society of Black Physicists, Executive Director of the MoNA Collaboration, Member of the Advisory Committee on the Strategic Programs for Innovations in Undergraduate Physics of the American Association of Physics Teachers, Founder and Chair of the Minority Sub-Committee of the American Association for Physicists in Medicine, Coordinator of the Council for HBCU Physics Department Chairs and Representative for the US French Embassy of the US Francophone Space Research Association amongst others. Dr. Guèye was recognized by President Barack Obama in 2015 for some of his work.

"I am a physicist and I love to meet people from different background to share knowledge and experiences, and learn from each others. My wife is my ground and I am passionate about K-12 education (thanks to my daughter) … and I love to cook, swim and practice martial art."

Dr. Philipp Grete
Dr. Philipp Grete
Python Programming for Physics Research Pre-Conference Workshop

Philipp Grete is a postdoctoral research associate in the Physics and Astronomy Department at Michigan State University.

After receiving a B.Sc. in Computer Science in 2008 from the University of Cooperative Education in Stuttgart, Germany, he worked for Hewlett-Packard before studying Physics (B.Sc.) and Computer Science (M.Sc.) at the University of Göttingen, Germany, from 2010 to 2013. In his Ph.D. thesis (2014-2016, University of Göttingen, Germany) he worked on subgrid-scale modeling of compressible magnetohydrodynamic turbulence. Since October 2016, he is a postdoctoral research associate at Michigan State University working on modeling astrophysical plasmas and on high performance computing methods for astrophysical fluid dynamics.

"I'm a computational astrophysicists, and I also took part in the first crossminton world championship. I enjoy all kinds of racket sports, games in general (from board to bar to video), and holidays with a backpack and without internet/cell."

Dr. Cyndee Gruden
Dr. Cyndee Gruden
Discussion of LGBTQ+ in Physics

Dr. Cyndee Gruden is Interim Dean and Vice Provost for Graduate Studies at the University of Toledo.

She is also a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She was raised and educated in New Hampshire. She obtained her doctorate from the University of Colorado at Boulder and served as a postdoctoral associate at the University of Michigan. In 2003, she became a member of the faculty in the College of Engineering at the University of Toledo to pursue her passion for teaching and mentoring students.

Dr. Gruden and her students study urban stormwater management and modeling and advocate for the implementation of green stormwater infrastructure. Her research group collaborates widely with non-profits, municipalities, community members, private sector consultants, and other academic institutions. She is also engaged in mentoring and outreach activities toward equity and inclusion in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

"I'm an engineer, and I also love running trails. I have a wonderful running community composed of women of all ages and abilities. Exercise, family, and friends provide a joyful and necessary balance to my professional life."

Nat Hawkins
Nat Hawkins
Python Programming for Physics Research

Nat Hawkins is a recent bachelor’s graduate from the Physics and Astronomy Department at Michigan State University.

In Nat’s undergraduate career, he worked on a research project in the Physics Education Research Lab trying to explore the ways in which undergraduate students engage with computation in transformed introductory physics courses. Nat also participated in computational biophysics research as an undergraduate where he worked to implement clustering methods on gene expression data for Acute-Myeloid Leukemia patients as well as building predictive models for diagnosing patient health status based on their gene expression. Currently, Nat is working on researching ways to improve computational science education with the Department of Computational Math, Science, and Engineering at Michigan State. This work entails conducting interviews with expert practitioners in the field of computational science in both academia and industry. Through this work, Nat aims to incorporate skills deemed important by professionals to better prepare students for their potential future careers. Nat plans to start graduate school next Fall and pursue a PhD in bioinformatics and computational biology.

"I’m a physicist and a computational scientist, but the best way to describe me is I’m just a nerd. And proud of it! I love playing dungeons and dragons, classic video games, and watching movies."

Dr. Micha Kilburn
Dr. Micha Kilburn
Discussion of LGBTQ+ in Physics

Micha Kilburn is the Director of Outreach and Education for an NSF Physics Frontier Center, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics - Center for the Evolution of the Elements, or JINA-CEE.

She received her Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics from Michigan State University in 2011. Originally a post-doc, she joined the faculty in 2016 at the University of Notre Dame, where she develops and manages a wide variety of outreach programs and creates digital media related to Nuclear Astrophysics. More recently she has also been researching youths’ attitudes towards science with respect to gender and been speaking on the value of diversity and challenges of inclusion. She has served on the APS Committee on Informing the Public and is currently the Chair of the Education Committee for the APS Division of Nuclear Physics.

"I am a physicist and educator who enjoys hiking and backpacking with my dog in the warm months, and playing strategy games in the cold months. I also geocache, kayak, bowl, and make stained glass projects… as time permits"

Prof. Carolyn Kuranz
Prof. Carolyn Kuranz
APS Professional Development

Professor Carolyn Kuranz graduated with honors in Physics from Bryn Mawr College in 2002 and earned her PhD in Applied Physics from University of Michigan in 2009.

She is currently an Research Associate Professor at the University of Michigan and Director of the Center for Laser Experimental Astrophysical Research, funded by the Department of Energy. Dr. Kuranz has led high-energy-density physics experiments at facilities around the world studying hydrodynamic instabilities, radiation hydrodynamics, and magnetohydrodynamics. She is an ex officio member Executive Committee of the Division of Plasma Physics of the American Physical Society and was recently awarded the American Astronomical Society's Laboratory Astrophysics Division's Early Career Award.

Prof. Kendall Mahn
Prof. Kendall Mahn
Work-life Balance & 2-Body Problem

Kendall Mahn is a professor of physics and astronomy at Michigan State University who studies the tiny, subatomic particle called the neutrino.

Her primary research program uses an accelerator to send a beam of neutrinos or their anti-particles, antineutrinos across Japan to determine interesting properties of how neutrino types interfere with each other, on the Tokai-to-Kamioka Experiment. She also works on the future Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) which will send neutrinos from Illinois to South Dakota. She received her PhD in physics from Columbia University, was a 2016 Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, and holds numerous leadership positions on her experiments.

"I am a physicist and a bit of an extrovert and introvert. I enjoy talking to people I’ve never met before and to those I am close to, ideally on a nice walk outside near trees.”"

Laura Merner
Laura Merner
What to Do With a Physics Degree

Laura Merner is a senior scientist at the American Institute of Physics.

At the Statistical Research Center, she collects and analyzes data on education and employment in physics (and related) fields. Specially, Laura focuses on minorities among degree recipients in STEM fields and workshop and questionnaire design. She received her PhD in Geography and Environmental Systems in 2014 from University of Maryland Baltimore County.

"I am a scientist and I also an advocate, a rock climber, and a partner."

Pam Micallef MD, LLPC
Pam Micallef MD, LLPC
How to Write Resumes & CV’s
Skills for Interviews

Pam Micallef has a Master of Arts degree and is a licensed Professional Counselor with over 30 years of business, industry and academic experience in recruiting and career counseling.

She currently works for Oakland Community College, and has worked with local and national companies as well as groups and individuals from executive to clerical levels. Her expertise ranges from career exploration and educational planning to job search and networking strategies. Pam is sensitive to the individual backgrounds and needs of her clients, was recently awarded Oakland Community College’s Diversity and Inclusion Champion award in 2018 and was recognized as an Honor Roll Awardee by Birmingham Community House/Race Relations & Diversity Task Force. She has been an annual presenter for the American Association of University Women Back to School Conferences and her career transition workshops have been featured in the Oakland Press.

"I’m a counselor and my heart doesn't just belong to people - it belongs to animals, in particular abandoned dogs. We have rescued four so far, and in particular, my go to breed is German Shepherd's – and not just puppies."

Prof. Brian O’Shea
Prof. Brian O’Shea
Applying to Grad School & Fellowships

Brian O’Shea is a computational and theoretical astrophysicist who uses large-scale simulations to study how galaxies form and evolve over the age of the universe.

He received his B.S. in Engineering Physics from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 2000, and his PhD in physics from UIUC in 2005. He was a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow Los Alamos National Laboratory from 2005-2008, and has been a professor at Michigan State University since then. He is currently a member of MSU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, Department of Computational Mathematics, Science, and Engineering, and the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory.

"I’m a physicist and a dad to two awesome little girls. I love to cook (and I’m getting my daughters into it!) and garden, and I also love to play board games, read science fiction, and to hike and camp."

Teresa Panurach
Teresa Panurach
Applying to REUs & Internships

Teresa Panurach is a non-traditional first-year graduate student at MSU pursuing her astronomy PhD under the guidance of Jay Strader and Laura Chomiuk.

She is interested in characterizing the most compact objects in our galaxy, such as black holes and neutron stars. She is excited to be organizing CUWiP and being a resource to underrepresented minorities within the physics community.

"I am a physicist, and I am also a dog lover. My pug is my best friend. We do everything together including napping and hiking. I also enjoy cooking and playing video games!"

Terri Poxon-Pearson
Terri Poxon-Pearson
Applying to Grad School & Fellowships

Terri Poxon-Pearson is a fifth-year physics graduate student at Michigan State University.

She is a nuclear theorist who studies nuclear reactions that are important in stellar explosions and neutron stars. She attended CUWiP as an undergraduate and found it to be very empowering (and helped me get a great research opportunity!) She's very excited to help facilitate this awesome conference experience for more female physicist!

"I'm a physicist, and I also love spending time outside. I love to camp and hike and run (very slowly) outdoors. I have also been exploring Michigan on summer days on the back of my motorcycle! I might even try snowshoeing this winter!"

Ariel Robbins
Ariel Robbins
Adapting to Large Universities

Ariel Robbins is the assistant director and academic advisor for the Charles Drew Science Scholars program in the College of Natural Science at Michigan State University.

Drew Scholars is a comprehensive academic support for students pursuing NatSci disciplines with an emphasis on students historically underrepresented in STEM. She has been working with Drew Scholars since 2008 and has been one of the primary sources of support for its students.

"I am a mathematician and an advocate. I believe that all students can succeed at the University, especially when they feel they belong on campus and are fully supported throughout their stay. I understand their experience and it is my privilege to be able to guide them and aid them in reaching for and attaining their goals."

Prof. Vashti Sawtelle
Prof. Vashti Sawtelle
Talking About & Navigating Race in Physics

Prof. Vashti Sawtelle is an assistant professor at MSU. She is a physics education researcher who studies how learning environments support (or inhibit) students from diverse backgrounds in their learning physics.

She works hard to support women in physics and help them find the career paths that suit them, and is excited to welcome CUWiP participants to MSU!

"I'm a physicist, and I'm also a runner, gardener, and mother. When I'm at home you will regularly find me working in my garden to grow delicious tomatoes and peas, or pushing a stroller as I train for the next 10k!"

Dr. Devin Silvia
Dr. Devin Silvia
Python Programming for Physics Research

Devin Silvia is a faculty member in the Department of Computational Mathematics, Science, and Engineering (CMSE) at Michigan State.

He received his PhD from the University of Colorado in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences. Devin is a computational astrophysicist using numerical simulations to understand how the gas between and around galaxies influences galactic evolution.

Outside of his research, Devin is committed to being an effective educator by building inclusive classroom environments and leveraging research-based educational practices to maximize student learning gains. He is currently focused on teaching introductory Python programming, computational modeling, and data analysis. In addition to teaching these topics, Devin is leading new education research efforts in CMSE to better inform curriculum development and understand how students learn computational skills.

"I am a computational astrophysicist, STEM educator, husband, dog owner, craft beer enthusiast, coffee fanatic, and Superman aficionado. I spend my free time brewing beer, roasting coffee, and running. I believe that as members of the scientific community we should be committed to making our world accessible to all and unwelcoming to none."

Prof. Jaideep Taggart Singh
Prof. Jaideep Taggart Singh
Work-Life Balance

Jaideep Taggart Singh applies atomic, molecular, & optical physics techniques to answer fundamental questions in nuclear and particle physics.

His group is presently involved in two long term research projects: the development of a single atom microscope for measuring low-yield nuclear reactions relevant for stellar nucleosynthesis and the search for time-reversal symmetry violation using pear-shaped nuclei in atoms and molecules. Jaideep’s teaching projects are to incorporate writing instruction into the senior physics advanced lab course and research-based methods into large lecture courses in order to increase student engagement and active learning. He is also active in outreach and is developing a planetarium show which acts as a virtual tour of the National Superconducting Cyclotron Lab.

"I am a physicist and I adore used books because they are gems."

Dr. Erica Snider
Dr. Erica Snider
Discussion of LGBTQ+ in Physics

Erica Snider received her B.S. in physics from the California Institute of Technology, and her Ph.D. in high energy physics from the University of Chicago.

A As a post-doc at The Johns Hopkins University, she contributed to the construction of high-precision particle track detectors, and to the discovery of the top quark, one of the elementary constituents of matter. After joining the physics staff of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, her research focused on studying the properties of particles with bottom quarks, and on searches for new particles and phenomena, including searches for the Higgs boson. Over the same period, her technical work revolved around software and computing, where she led various software working groups, and was responsible for large-scale computing solutions for the colliding beam experiments at Fermilab. In 2011, she began working on neutrino physics, and on providing shared computing solutions across many fixed-target experiments at Fermilab. She is now leading a project to share reconstruction and simulation software for the current generation of neutrino experiments at Fermilab that utilize liquid argon detectors.

In recent years, Dr. Snider has dedicated herself toward creating a more inclusive and equitable work environment at Fermilab and beyond, and addressing the lack of diversity within high energy physics. Toward this end, she has worked within the women’s employee resource group on women’s issues and outreach events for high school girls. She has also taken on a leadership role in the LGBTQ+ employee resource group, led or participated in various initiatives to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion, and spoken at numerous events in and out of physics on topics related to transgender and LGTBQ+ inclusion, and on normalizing trans identities.

"I am a physicist and an athlete, a cook, a chocolate fiend, a woodworker, a sister, an aunt, a niece, and an advocate for a world where it doesn’t take an act of bravery just to be yourself."

Kimberly Steed-Page
Kimberly Steed-Page
Work-Life Balance & 2-Body Problem

Kimberly Steed-Page is the Director of the Student Parent Resource Center at MSU.

Her passion involves helping college students and families reach their greatest potential. She believes, “when student parents succeed, their children succeed.” Her goals as Director for the SPRC are to increase services and support for student families, increase campus and community awareness of student families at MSU, and improve outreach to area schools and teen parents regarding educational opportunities at MSU; and to support student parent self-advocacy. She is the Project Director of “Spartan Kids” federal grant supporting low-income student parents at MSU.

Kim has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at MSU for fifteen years. Kimberly is active on several campus committees including Co-Facilitator of the Food and Housing Insecurity Faculty Learning Community and the Women’s Advisory Committee to the Vice-President for Student Affairs and Services. Kim holds a Bachelor Degree in Social Work (BSW) from the University of Texas-El Paso and a Master Degree in Social Work (MSW) from MSU.

"I am an advocate social worker, wife and mom of two children, ages 14 and 5. For work-life balance, I enjoy spending time with my family, volunteering, and participating in church and community activities."

Dr. Abbie Stevens
Dr. Abbie Stevens
Improving Mental Health & Wellbeing Practices

Abbie Stevens is an NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on accreting black holes and neutron stars, which are very compact and have super strong gravitational fields.

She uses spectral-timing analysis to study rapid X-ray variability from the inner regions of these sources to learn how matter behaves in the strong-gravity regime. Abbie is also on the Steering Committee for STROBE-X (a proposed NASA Probe-class X-ray mission), an Affiliated Scientist with NICER (a soft X-ray telescope on the International Space Station), and is heavily involved in the python in astronomy and open science communities.

"I am an astronomer and traveler, intersectional feminist, sci-fi/fantasy/speculative fiction reader, and tea drinker."

Mary Beth Stevens
Mary Beth Stevens
APS Professional Development Pre-Conference Workshop

Mary Beth Stevens has over 25 years’ experience in crisis response & conflict resolution, including 19 years as organizational ombuds in a 10,000-person national laboratory.

Her educational background in psychology has been made practical by her work as an ombuds, hostage negotiator, mediator, critical incident debriefer and facilitator of trauma survivor groups. She regularly provides training on conflict resolution, communications and negotiations skills and is certified by the National Council for Behavioral Health as a Mental Health First Aid instructor. She has presented training for APS regularly since 2016.

"I am a listener, a speaker and a singer. My teenage daughters give me ample opportunity to practice the skills I teach."

Tasha Summers
Tasha Summers
Adapting to Large Universities

Tasha Summers received her BSc. in Physics from the University of Regina in Canada in 2005. Her first job was as an operator and accelerator physicist in training at the new Canadian Light Source in Saskatoon.

In 2009 she moved to Long Island, NY, to work as an operator at the RHIC collider at Brookhaven National Lab. A few years later she transferred to the NSLS-II as a lead operator and user interface developer during construction and commissioning of the new lightsource. In 2016 she moved to Michigan to apply her experience operating and commissioning accelerators and expertise at developing operator interfaces to NSCL’s ReAccelerator and the FRIB facility. Recently she has been studying UX research and design and is excited for her team of developers to apply the techniques to operator interface design.

"I am an operator interface designer and I love music and travelling. My husband (who also works at FRIB) and I use concerts as an excuse to travel to other cities where we enjoy sampling the local food and drink. When not working or travelling we enjoy relaxing at home and binging on Game of Thrones or watching cat videos on YouTube."

Prof. Stuart Tessmer
Prof. Stuart Tessmer
Applying to REUs & Summer Research

Stuart Tessmer is an experimental condensed matter physicist who studies the behavior of electrons in nanoscale devices and in materials that show fascinating quantum mechanics.

His group’s experimental techniques include Scanning Tunneling Microscopy and Charge Imaging -- a novel low temperature probe of electron charge that achieves an incredible sensitivity of 0.01 electrons per root hertz. Current projects include probing electrons in superconductors and topological insulators and semiconductor structures. Superconductors and topological insulators are both materials that exhibit surprising and subtle behavior of charge and spin. When these materials are brought into contact spectacular effects can result, including the formation of Majorana fermions bound states. Tessmer is also the academic advisor and the undergraduate program director for the MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy.

"I’m a physicist who loves music because… who doesn’t love music!"

Prof. Kirsten Tollefson
Prof. Kirsten Tollefson
Applying to Grad School & Fellowships
How to Write Resumes & CV’s

Kirsten Tollefson is an associate professor in the Physics & Astronomy department at Michigan State University whose research is in particle astrophysics.

She is also the Graduate Program Director and Associate Chairperson. She splits her time between advising ~175 graduate students and doing research with the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) gamma-ray observatory in Mexico and the IceCube Neutrino observatory at the South Pole.

Kirsten obtained her bachelor’s degree in physics from Gustavus Adolphus College, a small liberal arts college in Minnesota, before heading off to University of Rochester where she received her PhD in particle physics. For her dissertation she measured the mass of the newly discovered top quark and then spent 20 years measuring everything she could about top quarks using the Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF) and then the ATLAS experiment at CERN. In the last decade she has been able to merge her longtime love of astronomy with particle physics and now does research in particle astrophysics. She has been focusing on using gamma rays to search for dark matter with the HAWC experiment and just joined the IceCube experiment so she can do multi-messenger astrophysics, looking for astrophysical sources that emit both gamma-rays and high-energy neutrinos.

"I am a particle astrophysicist and mom. I love taking walks with my 8-year old son and dog and riding a tandem bike with my husband."

Dr. MacKenzie Warren
Dr. MacKenzie Warren
Discussion of LGBTQ+ in Physics

MacKenzie Warren is an NSF Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow at Michigan State University.

His research focuses on computational modeling of core-collapse supernovae. MacKenzie uses computation models to explore the nuclear and neutrino physics that occurs in these extreme astrophysical environments. He received his PhD in Physics from the University of Notre Dame. MacKenzie is also an outspoken advocate for LGBTQIA+ inclusion in STEM fields. He is a member of the American Astronomical Society's Committee for Sexual-orientation and Gender Minorities in Astronomy and the National Organization of Gay & Lesbian Technical Professional's Postdoc Committee. MacKenzie regularly gives presentations to physics & astronomy departments on how to make their programs LGBTQIA+ inclusive and has written extensively about his experiences as a queer and trans scientist.

"I am an astrophysicist and I am a queer trans man who enjoys hiking with my dog, knitting, and mountain biking."

Dr. Angela Wilson
Dr. Angela Wilson
Imposter Syndrome

Angela Wilson is the John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Michigan State University.

From 2016-2018, she was Director of the National Science Foundation’s Division of Chemistry, where she was responsible for a staff of 40, a $250M budget, and funding priorities in chemistry across the U.S. Prior to this, she was Associate Vice Provost for Faculty at the University of North Texas, Regents Professor, and Founder and Director of UNT’s Center for Advanced Scientific and Computing. She earned her B.S. in chemistry (minors in physics and mathematics) from Eastern Washington University and her Ph.D. in chemical physics from the University of Minnesota. Her postdoctoral fellowship was at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a Department of Energy laboratory.

Honors include the 2015 Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal, the highest award dedicated to women in chemistry; Fellow of the American Physical Society, American Chemical Society, and American Association for the Advancement of Science; National Associate of the National Academies; and 2018 Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame inductee. She is Editor of Computational and Theoretical Chemistry.

She co-leads an international award program for women via the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), has been invited to write articles and give numerous presentations about success strategies for women in science (i.e., Nature Reviews Chemistry). She was keynote speaker at the 2017 National Diversity and Equity Workshop. Topics include success strategies for women, negotiation, navigating conflict, communication strategies, and non-traditional career pathways.

"I am a chemical physicist and I also enjoy time with my kids (12 and 9), playing and coaching soccer, Zumba, playing basketball, and spending time at the gym."

Prof. Yue Qi
Prof. Yue Qi
Networking & LinkedIn

Yue Qi is a professor in the Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Department and inaugural Associate Dean for Inclusion and Diversity in the College of Engineering at Michigan State University.

She received her Ph.D. in Materials Science from Caltech in 2001. She was a co-recipient of 1999 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology for Theoretical Work during her Ph.D. study. After her Ph.D., she spent 12 years working at the Chemical Sciences and Materials Systems Lab, General Motors R&D Center. At GM, she developed multi-scale models starting from atomistic level to solve problems related to forming and machining of lightweight alloys, and developing energy materials for batteries and fuel cells. She won three GM Campbell awards for fundamental research on various topics. She transitioned from industry to academia in 2013 and built the “Materials Simulation for Clean Energy” Lab at MSU. She received the 2017 TMS Brimacombe Medalist Award for her significant contributions in multidisciplinary computational materials science.

"I am a materials physicist and a proud mom. When my kids (17 and 15) think I am still useful to them occasionally, it will make my day."

Physics Slam Speakers

Prof. Danny Caballero
Prof. Danny Caballero

Danny Caballero is physics education researcher who studies how tools and science practices affect student learning in physics, and the conditions and environments that support this learning.

He earned his B.S. in physics from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004. Danny worked on opto-microfluidics experiments at the Georgia Institute of Technology and earned an M.S. in physics before shifting his research focus to physics education. He was the first physics education focused Ph.D. from Georgia Tech in 2011, working on computational modeling instruction and practice.

Danny then moved to the University of Colorado Boulder as a postdoctoral researcher and helped transform upper-division physics courses. At MSU, he conducts research on how students learn physics through their use of tools such as mathematics and computing. His projects range from the fine-grained (e.g., how students understand particular elements of code) to the course-scale (e.g., how students learn to model systems in electromagnetism) to the very broad (e.g., how does computing affect learning across a degree program?).

"I am a physicist and I was the first in my family to attend college. I enjoy cooking, biking, and spending time with my three daughters."

Prof. Laura Chomiuk
Prof. Laura Chomiuk

Laura Chomiuk is an associate professor of Physics and Astronomy at Michigan State University, where she researches energetic stellar events like novae, supernovae, and black hole jets at a range of wavelengths, with a particular focus on radio observations.

With these observations she can probe the physics of the ejection mechanisms in these explosions, to constrain the circumstellar environments of the exploding stars, and to test models of both the progenitor systems and of the explosions themselves. Laura is also the director of the MSU Observatory, through which she leads a myriad of public outreach efforts. She received her PhD in Astronomy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and previously served as the Jansky Fellow, National Radio Astronomy Observatory Resident at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Michigan State University.

"I am an astronomer and I love my two pet goats. I care deeply about responsible stewardship of our wonderful natural resources here in Michigan."

Prof. Tyce DeYoung
Prof. Tyce DeYoung

Tyce DeYoung is a particle astrophysicist who works with the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, a cubic-kilometer sized detector at the South Pole.

IceCube uses neutrinos to probe the dynamics of astrophysical objects such as blazars, supermassive black holes in distant galaxies which launch kiloparsec-sized jets of relativistic particles into space. DeYoung also uses IceCube data to measure the properties of neutrinos, the least-well understood fundamental particles yet discovered. A graduate of Grinnell College and the University of Wisconsin, DeYoung was a faculty member at Penn State University for eight years before coming to MSU. He is interested in the relationship of science and scientists to society, and participates in efforts to improve science teaching at the high school and undergraduate levels and to broaden participation in science.

"I am a physicist and a citizen — I believe that both scientific knowledge and scientific ways of thinking are crucial elements for building a society that provides peace, prosperity, and opportunity for everyone. Understanding and evaluating evidence is increasingly important for participation in a democratic society, and this is what science is all about. I hope that in the future more people of all backgrounds will choose scientific careers, but also that people in all walks of life will have more interest in science and more understanding of how science is really done."

Prof. Huey-Wen Lin
Prof. Huey-Wen Lin

Huey-Wen Lin is a faculty in the Department Physics and Astronomy & Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering at Michigan State University.

Her research uses high-performance supercomputers to calculate physical quantities at the quark and gluon level (that is, using quantum chromodynamics or QCD). These strong interactions are directly calculated from the Standard Model path integral, using a four-dimensional grid in Euclidean spacetime, a theoretical tool known as lattice gauge theory. She received NSF CAREER Award in 2017 for her research and an outreach project to get kids interested in . Bringing more students to physics and computational science is one of her goals at MSU. She has been a fervent supporter of women and minorities in physics, initiating the Women's Luncheon in her subfield, which now has become an annual event at the international conference.

"I am a computational physicist and a proud mom to two science-hungry young girls."

Prof. Johannes Pollanen
Prof. Johannes Pollanen

Johannes Pollanen leads the Laboratory for Hybrid Quantum Systems (LHQS) at MSU and holds the Jerry Cowen Chair of Experimental Physics.

His research group explores the fundamental physics and potential quantum information applications of quantum systems comprised of electrons confined to reduced dimensionality and superconducting circuit based quantum bits (qubits). Recently, his group and collaborators demonstrated a method for controlling the orientation of a class of 2d electronic liquid crystals known as the quantum Hall nematics. Before coming to MSU, Johannes was a postdoctoral scholar of physics at the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM) at Caltech. He received his PhD from Northwestern University.

"I am an experimental quantum physicist and I enjoy middle and long-distance running. In grad-school, I was really into the marathon distance but more recently I've been focused on shorter distance, mostly 5K and 10K races."

Prof. Artemis Spyrou
Prof. Artemis Spyrou

Artemis Spyrou received her PhD in experimental nuclear astrophysics from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece in 2007 and has been at MSU ever since.

Artemis initially joined as a postdoc, then Assistant Professor and now Associate Professor of Physics. Since 2015 she is also the Associate Director for Education and Outreach for the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. Her research is in the field of Nuclear Astrophysics. As an experimentalist Artemis designs and performs experiments to study nuclear properties that drive astrophysical processes. She runs experiments and collaborate with scientists all over the world. As Associate Director Artemis oversees the education, outreach and diversity activities of the laboratory. This includes ensuring that the lab's students and postdocs receive proper mentoring and that the lab is a welcoming and inclusive workplace. Artemis enjoys participating in outreach activities like giving public talks and presenting physics demos at outreach events.

"I am a physicist and also a mother. Outside of the lab I spend almost all of my time with my two girls, 5 and 9, my husband and my dog. We like hiking, swimming, baking, reading books and watching movies."

Prof. Gillian Ryan
Prof. Gillian Ryan

Gillian Lynn Ryan is an assistant professor of physics at Kettering University in Flint, MI.

Since her first research experience as an undergraduate freshman, Ryan’s research has primarily focused on computational biophysics. Over the course of her career she has applied statistical physics to model dynamic systems related to viruses, bacteria, animal cells, and even trees! She recently led a successful initiative to bring high-performance computing resources to Kettering University, and is the lead researcher affiliated with the brand new KUHPC.

Originally from Nova Scotia, Canada, Ryan earned a BSc in physics from St. Francis Xavier University in 2004, and a MSc and PhD in physics from Dalhousie University in 2006 and 2010 respectively. She relocated to PA in 2010 as a postdoctoral fellow at Lehigh University and remained there until 2013, when she joined the Department of Physics at Kettering. She currently teaches courses ranging from introductory physics to thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, and conducts research with undergraduate researchers in the Computational Physics Lab.

"I am a physicist and I carry my kindle with me everywhere I go. When I’m not on campus I can often be found curled up with a fantasy novel, my two cats, and a large cup of tea."

Posters

All posters should be printed prior to the conference; posters should be 48” x 36” in size. We will be providing thumbtacks to hang your poster during the session. If you have any questions or concerns about the poster session, please reach out to cuwip@pa.msu.edu and we will assist you.

 

Astronomy/Astrophysics & Cosmology

Presenter: Alexandria Bakhsh
University: University of Michigan - Flint
Title: Semi-Analytic Modelling with the HST
Abstract: Quasars are supermassive black holes at the heart of galaxies that accumulate matter into a disk. During accretion, the infalling material becomes extremely hot and therefore radiates light across the spectrum. In the observed spectra, we often detect gas outflowing from the system silhouetted against the luminous disk. The physics and geometry of this gas is of interest here. In particular, we are interested in using observed spectra to infer the sizes of these gas "clouds" and other physical parameters. We use comparisons between observed and simulated spectra to examine the geometry and physical conditions of these clouds. We will present challenges in the underlying physical model that are evident in trying to simulate comparison spectra along with ways that our group is using to address those challenges.

Presenter: Mattie Bowen
University: University of Michigan
Title: CMB-S4/10ths: Modeling the Next Generation of Cosmic Microwave Background Telescopes
Abstract: The cosmic microwave background (CMB) is the afterglow of the universe’s most extreme high-energy physics fourteen billion years ago: the Big Bang. The upcoming CMB Stage IV experiment, CMB-S4, will be the definitive ground-based project of its kind. Its scientific and technological precision will require an understanding of the details of potential telescope designs at an unprecedented level. Multiple CMB-S4 telescope candidates are currently being developed, including a 6.7-meter telescope to be constructed at Simons Observatory (SO). Using current schematics from SO and CCAT-prime, my research involves designing a 1/10th scale model of the upcoming SO telescope which we will build and characterize to gain a full understanding of its far sidelobe diffraction patterns. This experiment, known as CMB-S4/10ths, will allow for the characterization of all systematics before the final telescope design is complete.

Presenter: Megan Dubay
University: Central Michigan University
Title: Analysis of Blazhko Effect RR-Lyrae Variable Stars
Abstract: A pipeline to reduce and analyze photometric observations of RR-Lyrae variable stars was created using IRAF and Python, which resulted in a generated light curve and determination of the primary period using Fourier analysis. As a method of testing this pipeline and as an observation prediction tool, synthetic RR-Lyrae curves are being created with variable parameters to test the created pipeline, as well as determine the sampling needed to obtain a Blazhko period measurement.

Presenter: Hannah Gallamore
University: Michigan State University
Title: Detecting Transiting Bodies Using KELT and the MSU Observatory
Abstract: Understanding exoplanet formation and evolution is important to learning about our own Solar System. The Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT) is a wide-angle exoplanet search with one telescope in the northern hemisphere and one telescope in the southern hemisphere, allowing for the entire sky to be surveyed throughout the year. KELT is optimized to observe sources in the 8-10 V magnitude range, which falls fainter than stars normally observed for planets with the radial velocity method and brighter than stars typically observed for planets with the transit method. KELT surveys for possible exoplanet candidates by observing the light curves of stars and searching for the periodic dips of a transiting body. However, the KELT pixels are large, which can cause the light from multiple stars to blur together in the KELT aperture. This blurring can cause uncertainty in exoplanet detections. For example, eclipsing binary stars with deep transits can appear as exoplanets with shallower transits. Follow up observations of KELT exoplanet candidates are required to better determine the nature of the transits. The purpose of this project is to use the better resolution of the MSU Observatory telescope to complete these follow up observations with the goal of separating eclipsing binaries from transiting exoplanets.

Presenter: Samantha Hudson
University: Hiram College
Title: Searching for Near-Infrared Spectral Variability of early-L type Brown Dwarfs
Abstract: Near-infrared spectra for five brown dwarfs were obtained by the SOFI instrument on the New Technology Telescope (NTT) in April of 2002 as part of the CLOUDS survey to look for variability in brown dwarf atmospheres (Goldman et al. 2008). This data was not reduced or analyzed for spectral variability at that time. For my REU project, I took this data and created a procedure to reduce the spectra and prepare the data for variability studies. The European Southern Observatory (ESO) provides a data file organizer called Gasagano and a common pipeline library of recipes to facilitate reduction of SOFI data. However, these tools are not maintained and failed halfway through the data reduction, so packages from IRAF were used instead. We present here the data reduction procedure and the future work that could be done on the extracted spectra to search for spectral variability. If successful, this work will add to the growing body of data for brown dwarfs with variable behavior and ultimately help resolve uncertainty regarding general patterns and causes of variability in brown dwarfs across spectral classes.

Presenter: Nikki Justice
University: The Ohio State University
Title: The Curious Case of UV Piscium: A Modern Analysis
Abstract: Short-period (P < 2 days) binary systems are ideal candidates to learn about angular momentum loss in stars that occurs through stellar winds or tidal effects. By timing eclipsing systems, this spindown can be made apparent; the eclipses will occur earlier as the stars lose distance between them. This makes systems with substantial historical data optimal targets. We present new data and early results on one such system known as UV Piscium, a binary with a period of 0.86 days. Photometric data was collected using the 1.3 and 2.4 meter telescopes at MDM Observatory at Kitt Peak. Data reduction was performed to produce light curves and an updated ephemeris that, upon early inspection, shows a period decrease. We compare these new measurements in combination with historical data on UV Piscium to existing angular momentum loss models calibrated on local stars of known age. In addition, there appears to be a sinusoidal pattern in the earlier light curves we collected that is not present in later data, suggesting the existence of star spots dissipating over time which indicates the presence of stellar winds. The project is still in progress and further results will be published in a paper slated for summer of 2018.

Presenter: Ashvini Krishnan
University: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Title: Near-Earth Cosmic Explosions: Rate and Threat Assessment
Abstract: Cosmic explosions, such as supernovae and gamma-ray bursts, are potentially harmful to life on Earth. At close enough distances, the ionizing radiation could cause a mass extinction event. Furthermore, live radioactivity on the Earth and the Moon point to at least one nearby supernova explosion about 3 million years ago. Our process involved computing the average rates of supernovae and gamma-ray bursts near Earth using a realistic model of the Milky Way galaxy. From that data, we can assess the potential threat of biological extinction on Earth from such events, as well as its possible impact on the galactic habitable zone.

Presenter: Sarah Murphree
University: Kenyon College
Title: On the Schrödinger Picture of Dark Matter
Abstract: The mystery of Dark Matter has piqued the interest of many astronomers and physicists since the 1930s. Vera Rubin was the first to find conclusive evidence for the existence of Dark Matter in the late 1970s but since then we have only been able to describe how it behaves and the consequences of its existence. In other words, we don't know what the majority of matter is! We used to describe Dark Matter is a Weakly Interactive Massive Particles (WIMP) but lack of experimental evidence has propelled cosmologists to explore Dark Matter as a scalar field. In my talk I will discuss the differences between two of these approaches: the Klein-Gordon equation and the Schrödinger equation.

Presenter: Rachel Nguyen
University: Kenyon College
Title: Generation of Primordial Black Holes in Hybrid Inflation
Abstract: Supermassive black holes exist at the center of many galaxies. However, we do not know how they are formed. Observation of quasars with redshift z>6 imply that supermassive black holes may have a primordial origin. Primordial black holes may be generated from inhomogeneities in the Universe following cosmic inflation. We explore the generation of primordial black holes though a model of hybrid inflation. The phase transition that marks the end of inflation creates a spike in density perturbation which seeds primordial black holes.

Presenter: Jeniveve Pearson
University: The Ohio State University
Title: The Curious Case of UV Piscium: an Analysis of Historical Data
Abstract: RS Canum Venaticorum variable (RS CVn) type binaries are short period binaries which often exhibit irregular light curves due to the active nature of both stars in the system. For example these curves may display non-periodic sinusoidal backgrounds as a result of starspots. This has proved to be the case for UV Piscium, a RS CVn-type binary with a period of 0.86 days made up of a primary component of mass 0.983 M☉ and a secondary component of mass 0.764 M☉. UV Piscium has a long observation history, evaluation of which may answer questions regarding the movement of the stars in the system. The historical light curves and eclipse timings dating back to 1971 have been compiled and analyzed with the ultimate intention of determining if the period of the system has altered and if the irregularity in the light curve appears periodically. The historical analysis of UV Piscium will be eventually combined with current observations from the MDM Observatory at Kitt Peak, resulting in a paper slated for summer of 2019.

Presenter: Madeline Stover
University: Kenyon College
Title: Calibration Error of Advanced LIGO and its Effect on Parameter Estimation
Abstract: Gravitational waves are ripples in spacetime that the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) Scientific Collaboration works to detect. Calibrating the data from these detectors is essential for further analysis of the gravitational wave signal. We improve the calibration of the LIGO detectors by tracking time dependent parameters. The cavity pole frequency is a time dependent parameter that characterizes a critical component in the detector and changes due to drift in the alignment and thermal state of the interferometer optics. We studied how calibration error from the drifting cavity pole frequency affects our ability to extract information about how colliding neutron stars deform. The process of extracting the physics of the source from its gravitational waves is called parameter estimation (PE). To see how calibration affects PE we modified the PE software to mimic the presence of calibration errors due to a drifting cavity pole frequency. We found that cavity pole error did not bias PE. We would have to have a measurement of the cavity pole error that is off by about 50% in order to bias our PE results. We also investigated the effect of total calibration error, which expands beyond the error due to the drifting cavity pole frequency, on PE and found no significant bias in measured parameters. Further, we investigated how loud an event would need to be such that total calibration error would bias PE. We found that an event would need to have a signal-to-noise ratio over 2000 to bias PE results.

 

Astroparticle and Nuclear Astrophysics

Presenter: Aalayah Spencer
University: Michigan State University
Title: SECAR: The Separator for Capture Reactions in Nuclear Astrophysics
Abstract: Knowledge of the reaction rates of proton and alpha capture reactions that take place in stellar explosions (e.g., X-Ray Bursts, Novae, etc.) is crucial to understanding the mechanisms behind those explosions and the nucleosynthesis at those sites. The SEparator for CApture Reactions (SECAR) is a recoil separator that will be dedicated to measure the reaction rates of astrophysically relevant capture reactions on unstable isotopes of mass 15 to 65. SECAR is currently under construction at the National Superconducting Laboratory (NSCL) and the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB). It consists of 8 dipoles, 15 quadrupoles, 3 hexapoles,1 octopole and 2 Wien filters with stringent performance conditions. This presentation will focus on the methods and tools used to optimize beam transport and tuning through the separator. The magnet acceptance procedure used to ensure that the magnets that make up SECAR will be able to perform at the desired specifications, including testing for magnetic field reproducibility, will also be presented

Presenter: Zhiquan Sun
University: University of Michigan
Title: Detecting Axion Dark Matter Using Radio Signals from Neutron Stars
Abstract: Axion is a theoretical particle, one of the best-motivated candidates for dark matter. Detecting axions are extremely hard because it only interacts weakly with ordinary matters. While direct detection experiments are undergoing, we propose a way of indirect detection. In strong magnetic fields, axion and photons can have resonant conversion, which creates outgoing signals. Therefore in the high magnetic field region in the neutron star magnetosphere, axion dark matter can be converted to radio signals and thus be detected by us. I will present the details of this detection, as well as signal prediction from some of the potential targets, which include the Milky Way Galactic center, M31, and M54

 

Atomic, Molecular, & Optical Physics and Plasma Physics

Presenter: Norah Ali
University: Hiram College
Title: Adsorption of a Tethered Polymer Chain in a Slit
Abstract: Here we study the adsorption of a confined flexible polymer chain to an attractive surface. The polymer is end-tethered to an attractive plane which forms one wall of a slit-like pore. At low temperature the polymer will be completely adsorbed on to the attractive wall while at high temperature the polymer will be desorbed and in a random coil configuration. We use a Wang-Landau simulation algorithm to compute the density of states of this system from which we can construct the complete thermodynamic behavior. Our main interest is how the width of the slit affects the location of the adsorbed-to-desorbed transition. Geometric confinement usually favors a compact state over an expanded state [1], however, here we find that as the slit width is decreased the desorbed (expanded) state is favored (i.e., the transition moves to lower temperature). For extremely narrow slits (where we have a pseudo 2D system) we find a crossover to stabilization of the adsorbed (compact) state. We also study the effects of chain length on the location of this transition. [1] Taylor, Macromolecules 50, 6967 (2017).

Presenter: Fernanda Banic Viana Martins
University: Kenyon College
Title: Ultracold plasma dynamics in a radio frequency field
Abstract: A cold plasma consisting of ions moving slowly within a swarm of neutralizing electrons is a promising vehicle to interrogate interactions in many-body systems. One exciting route to the formation of plasma is through a cold, dense cloud of highly excited Rydberg molecules — states for which a loosely bound electron interacts substantially with its neighboring molecules. In a custom-built vacuum chamber, a molecular beam composed of nitric oxide in a rare gas carrier is directed past a laser-interaction region to a distant micro-channel plate detector that is sensitive to charged particles. Nitric oxide molecules undergo a two-photon, resonant excitation to yield a high density of Rydberg states, which evolves into stable ultracold plasma. In this project, a radio frequency (rf) electric field excites plasma oscillations. We analyze the effects of the rf field by collecting the electron signal produced by both Rydberg states and plasma across a range of initial Rydberg gas densities. This resonant interaction raises electron temperature which reduces the amount of plasma formed. Strikingly, the rf field also impacts the lifetime of the Rydberg population.

Presenter: Hannah Benston
University: Wright State University
Title: Predictive Modeling of Sleep Deprivation Induced Fatigue Based on Terahertz Chemical Analysis of Breath
Abstract: The objective of this experiment was to identify a breath-fatigue model capable of quantifying decline in reaction time induced by sleep deprivation. 10 subjects underwent a 40 hour long sleep deprivation study at The Navy Medical Research Unit - Dayton (NAMRU-D). Six breath samples were taken along the timeline of this study at approximately four hours intervals. Reaction time were tested using Psychomotor Vigilance Task (PVT) testing. Breath chemical composition was tested using Terahertz chemical sensing at Wright State University. Several predictive algorithms were developed and tested in their ability to predict fatigue from breath composition.

Presenter: Elizabeth Breen
University: Hiram College
Title: Solvent Induced Unfolding of a Polymer Chain
Abstract: Many bio-molecules fold into specific 3D shapes that are closely associated with their functions. For many small proteins this folding transition follows an all-or-none process analogous to a first-order phase transition. Here we study a simple homo-polymer model that undergoes a similar type of folding transition and thus may provide some insight into the underlying physics of protein and bio-molecule folding [1]. In particular we investigate solvent induced folding or unfolding of a chain in a dense solvent environment. We study a flexible square-well-sphere chain in an explicit solvent of hard spheres. There is an adjustable attractive interaction between the solvent and the chain that mimics the effects of changing the solvent pH or concentration of a chemical denaturant. Starting from conditions favoring a folded polymer, increasing the chain-solvent interaction causes the solvent molecules to "stick to" or solvate the chain. This solvation effect can disrupt the folded chain structure, driving the chain into an open, unfolded conformation. Here we use both Wang-Landau and Metropolis Monte Carlo simulation techniques to study this isothermal, solvent-driven chain unfolding process.

Presenter: Brianna Fitzpatrick
University: Alma College
Title: Fabrication of Optical Structures in PDMS
Abstract: In this research, we introduce an alternative fabrication technology to build a Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) waveguide system for bio-sensing applications. The sensor is based on the fact that the refractive index (RI) of PDMS can be manipulated by changing the the ratio between the base and the curing agent, as well as the curing temperature. We further increase the RI difference between the core and cladding by adding a microstructure in the cladding.

Presenter: Samantha Lapp
University: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Title: Engineering tunable local loss in a synthetic lattice of momentum states
Abstract: Dissipation can serve as a powerful resource for controlling the behavior of open quantum systems.Recently there has been a surge of interest in the influence of dissipative coupling on large quantum systems and, more specifically, how these processes can influence band topology and phenomena like many-body localization. Here, we explore the engineering of local, tunable dissipation in so-called synthetic lattices, arrays of quantum states that are parametrically coupled in a fashion analogous to quantum tunneling. Considering the specific case of momentum-state lattices, we investigate two distinct mechanisms for engineering controlled loss: one relying on an explicit form of dissipation by spontaneous emission, and another relying on reversible coupling to a large reservoir of unoccupied states. We experimentally implement the latter and demonstrate the ability to tune the local loss rate over a large range. The introduction of controlled loss to the synthetic lattice toolbox promises to pave the way for studying the interplay of dissipation with topology, disorder, and interactions.

Presenter: Mary Claire Lynch
University: Wittenberg University
Title: Development of a Triple Langmuir Probe System
Abstract: Electric probes are among the most basic and widely used plasma diagnostics. The most commonly used electric probes is a single Langmuir probe. However, Langmuir probes require relative stable plasmas, complicated circuits to measure the I-V characteristics and provided limited temporal resolution of the plasma parameters. To address these limitations, we have built a triple Langmuir probe system. This poster presents the design of a triple Langmuir probe system and the corresponding data acquisition system. Preliminary results will also be presented.

 

Geophysics and Atmospheric Physics

Presenter: Vicki Knoer
University: University of Louisville
Title: Statistical Properties of Short-term Variability of Atmospheric Tides in the Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere
Abstract: This research focused on the identifying short-term (<30 days) energy relationships in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere that could be used to update existing atmospheric models. Using 31.5 years of data generated by eCMAM and dividing the data by thermodynamic energy inputs and sinks, correlations were found between DW1 and DE3 temperature and advection data over the equator from 11-74 km and specifically linear advection was found to be an important influence between 8-120 km. Additionally, multiple tidal wavenumber structures were analyzed using autocorrelation to identify a 22-23 day lag and a 26 day lag. The first may be caused by disturbances in the upper troposphere while the second may be due to solar influences.

Presenter: Dany Waller
University: University of Kentucky
Title: The Undeniable Attraction of Lunar Swirls
Abstract: Lunar swirls are complex structures on the Moon with distinct visual patterns and magnetic characteristics. Current research suggests that the sustained brightness of lunar swirls relies on local magnetic fields to shield impinging solar wind, based on a shift in electromagnetic wavelength peaks related to solar radiation and space weathering. This research project combines recent models and methods to characterize these anomalies at the surface of the Moon, exploring the effects of field strength and position. This work began by producing a high-resolution map of a famous swirl named Reiner Gamma using magnetics data from multiple lunar orbiters. Now the project is moving to the next stage, creating a model at surface level to match the observations from satellite data. This model requires parameters such as geometric constraints, field strength, source inclination and declination, and direction of magnetization, all of which will be used to examine the possible underlying structure and formation of these swirls. These maps and models may have considerable impact when selecting lunar landing locations and potential colony locations on the Moon.

 

Biophysics

Presenter: Anna Argento
University: University of Michigan
Title: Role of the Extracellular Matrix in High-Grade Glioma Self-Organization
Abstract: Glioblastomas (GBM) are the most common adult brain tumors, characterized by rapid invasion into normal brain and high therapeutic resistance. Despite extensive research on GBM invasion, growth patterns remain unclear. Our data demonstrate that GBM tumors exhibit self-organized multicellular structures, termed “oncostreams,” that may influence tumor invasion and malignancy. Shape analysis of human and mouse GBM characterize oncostreams as large groups of uniformly-oriented fusiform cells distributed throughout the tumor. Genetically-engineered glioma mouse models show a negative correlation between oncostream density and animal survival, suggesting that oncostreams contribute to tumor malignancy. Laser microdissection of oncostreams followed by RNA-Seq and bioinformatics analyses indicate that extracellular matrix (ECM) terms comprise an over-represented gene ontology, implicating the ECM as a key regulator of oncostream organization. Comparison between wild-type IDH1 and mutant IDH1 tumor models confirm that collagen expression levels positively correlate with oncostream density and tumor aggression. Furthermore, induced degradation of collagen on organotypic tumor slices causes a decrease in oncostream density. To study the biomechanics of oncostreams, we developed a novel in-vitro model of oncostreams by co-culturing ECM-secreting fibroblasts and NPA glioma cells. Using confocal time-lapse imaging, we found that cells within streams move with different speed and directional correlations compared to non-stream cells. We created correlation maps of relative cell positions and orientations and fit them to a statistical mechanics flocking model. Manipulation of the underlying ECM may prove to disrupt this model, representing a key target for anti-glioma therapies.

Presenter: Anika Friedman
University: Ohio University
Title: Modeling the Kinetics of Neurofilament Transport and Axonal Growth
Abstract: Neurofilaments are a major component of the cytoskeleton of the axons of neurons and they contribute to the establishment of the axon's cross-sectional area. Neurofilaments are also a cargo transported on microtubules at a discontinuous rate. Studies have shown that the neurofilament transport velocity slows significantly and continuously prior to and after sexual maturity of the organism is reached. Direct experimentation has given insight into the kinetics of neurofilament transport, but currently direct experimentation can not determine the exact mechanism by which neurofilaments are transport or the cause of the decrease in neurofilament transport velocity. Computational modeling of neurofilament transport will help us to establish possible mechanisms for the transport and subsequent slowing of neurofilaments and to evaluate the possible contribution of neurofilament transport velocity to changes in axon diameter. Our hypothesis is that growth of the axonal cross-sectional area requires a combination of changing kinetic and structural factors for neurofilaments and microtubules. This research aims to develop models which would provide new insights into the mechanism of axon growth in normal development which could help determine mechanisms of abnormal axon swelling in associated neurodegenerative diseases.

Presenter: Caroline Jipa
University: The Ohio State University
Title: Dissociation rate compensation mechanism for budding yeast pioneer transcription factors
Abstract: For efficient storage and protection, DNA in cells is packaged into chromatin. The base unit of chromatin in the Nucleosome, 147bp of DNA wrapped around a histone octamer core. Different levels of DNA packaging effect the accessibility of DNA and gene expression. For example, the DNA in a Nucleosome is inaccessible to transcription factors (TFs), preventing expression of the gene. So how does gene transcription begin in these dense regions of chromatin? There exists a class of TFs called nucleosome depleting factors (NDFs) that have high affinity to nucleosomes and are involved in nucleosome positioning. The focus of this study is Reb1 and CBF1, NDFs in S. Cerevisiae. This study aims to characterize the binding kinetic to nucleosomes vs free DNA and shed light on properties of NDFs that help them function. Various Methods such as Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assays, Ensemble Fluorescence measurements, and single molecule TIRF microscopy were used on various DNA and Nucleosome constructs. These constructs were made to contain a cy3 and cy5 FRET system used to measure binding and unwrapping. The constructs also varied in position of the binding site, with sequences containing either no site, or a site at 3, 8, 13, or 18bp into the nucleosome. We found that NDFs binds to the entry-exit region of DNA without evicting the octamer and has similar affinity to DNA and Nucleosomes. While NDFs experience the same decrease in on rate as other TFs, they compensate with a slower off rate to nucleosomes. These properties are similar to human pioneer factors which are essential for cell differentiation, which suggest the mechanism maybe generalizable to eukaryotes.

 

Condensed Matter Physics

Presenter: Mariah Goeks
University: Northern Michigan University
Title: Studying Semiconductors with Muon Spin Research Techniques
Abstract: The natural abundance of hydrogen and its tendency to act as a compensating dopant in semiconductors means that inclusion, even in small concentrations, through processes such as everyday exposure or during manufacturing can significantly modify the electrical, optical or magnetic properties of the host. This makes understanding the mechanisms responsible for the behavior and associated characteristics of H impurities essential for efficient development of materials for device applications. For example, titanium dioxide is of interest for use in a wide range of applications such as hydrogen storage or as a replacement to silicon dioxide as a gate oxide in highly miniaturized transistors. Small concentrations of H in TiO2 can greatly enhance bulk conductivity, yet the role H plays in this effect is still an open question. The same properties that make hydrogen such an interesting impurity (e.g. high reactivity, tendency to form complexes) also make it nearly impossible to study directly.

Muon Spin Research (MuSR) techniques use implanted 100% spin-polarized positively charged muons (μ^{+}) to probe the local electronic and magnetic properties of systems. Muons have the same spin and charge as a proton but are nine times lighter. These similarities, along with the muon’s 2.2 μs average lifetime, allow the muon to serve as an experimentally accessible analogue to isolated hydrogen impurities in materials. When implanted into a sample, the muon precesses in the effective field at the stopping site until decay, upon which a positron is emitted preferentially aligned with the muon spin. By tracking the time evolution of the muon’s spin, we can map the local (microscopic) environment, ultimately providing insight into processes and dynamics involving isolated H centers.

This contribution discusses the primary MuSR techniques used in semiconductor research through select examples from our group’s recent work on materials currently of interest for potential applications.

Presenter: Rebecca Lalk
University: Case Western Reserve University
Title: Photoluminescence Investigation of ZnGeN_2 and ZnGeN_2-GaN Mixtures
Abstract: Heterovalent ternary nitride semiconductors of the II-IV-V_2 configurations are relatively new materials closely related to GaN. Thus, like GaN, these semiconductors are promising for optoelectronic applications including ultraviolet and visible light emitters. In this project, we measure photoluminescence spectra to investigate the II-IV-V_2 compounds, ZnGeN_2 and ZnGeN_2-GaN mixtures, which are produced via metalorganic chemical vapor deposition under a variety of growth conditions, such as growth time and temperature, the ratio of starting material, and the crystallographic orientation and composition of the substrate. The photoluminescence characterization of these materials at various temperatures reveal the relative roles of intrinsic, radiative defect, and nonradiative defect recombination channels. The temperature and intensity dependence of these recombination rates illustrate the effect of different growth conditions on the crystal quality.

Presenter: Anna Osella
University: Michigan State University
Title: Perpendicularly Magnetized Ferromagnets for Cryogenic Memory
Abstract: When a thin enough non-superconducting material is placed between two superconductors, a supercurrent can still pass between them. This device, called a Josephson Junction, can be used as part of a memory cell in superconducting supercomputers. If the non-superconducting material is a ferromagnet, a phase shift can be picked up between the electron waves coming into the first and out of the second superconductor, depending on the thickness of the ferromagnet. We are able to control this shift by inserting a second ferromagnet that can switch between magnetizing parallel or antiparallel to the first, acting as an extension of the first or canceling out its effects. This phase difference can then be read as a zero or one and used for memory storage. If a third ferromagnet is added between them, with its magnetization perpendicular to the magnetizations of the other two, then a new type of supercurrent can pass through the junction with the advantage that its behavior is less dependent on the thicknesses of the magnetic layers. We are looking into ways to make the third magnetic layer with natural out-of-plane magnetization. We will report on the magnetic properties of palladium-cobalt and gold-cobalt thin film multilayers with the goal to optimize our Josephson junction memory devices.

Presenter: Zoe Phillips
University: Purdue University
Title: Optimizing conditions for growth of continuous layers if transition metal dichalcogenides using chemical vapor deposition
Abstract: Two-dimensional materials are receiving a growing attention due to their physical properties that often differ from their bulk counterparts. 2D Niobium diselenide (NbSe2) is a metallic compound with great potential for integration into novel 2D structures and devices. So far, few layers of NbSe2 has been synthesized using mechanical exfoliation and molecular beam epitaxy in order to study their physical properties. The purpose of this work is to determine optimal conditions to growth Niobium diselenide continuous monolayer by chemical vapor deposition (CVD). With this aim, we varied the amount of precursors, the growth time, the growth temperature, and the carrier gas. Powder Niobium (IV) chloride and Selenium were used as solid precursors for evaporation within the CVD reactor. SiO2 substrates were pleased downstream at different positions in the furnace. The samples were characterized by using Raman spectroscopy, SEM and AFM.

Presenter: Nathan Szymanski
University: University of Toledo
Title: Dynamical stabilization of delafossite nitrides for solar energy conversion
Abstract: We present a thorough first principles investigation of the stability, electronic structure, and optical properties of nine delafossite structured ternary transition metal nitrides. Phonon density of states computed at zero-temperature shows that all compounds are dynamically unstable at low temperatures. Including finite-temperature anharmonic effects stabilizes all compounds at 300 K, with the exception of AgVN2. Analysis of Crystal Orbital Hamiltonian Populations (COHP) provides insight into the bonding and antibonding characters of A–N and B–N pairs. Instability at low temperatures can be attributed to strong A–N antibonding character near the Fermi energy. B–N bonding is found to be crucial in maintaining stability of the structure. AgVN2 is the only compound to display significant B–N antibonding below the Fermi energy, as well as the strongest degree of A–N antibonding, both of which provide explanation for the sustained instability of this compound up to 900 K. Hybrid functional calculations of electronic and optical properties show that real static dielectric constants in the semiconductors are related to corresponding band gaps through the Moss relation. CuTaN2, CuNbN2, AgTaN2, AgNbN2, AgVN2, AuTaN2, and AuNbN2 exhibit indirect electronic band gaps while CuVN2 and AuVN2 are metallic. Imaginary parts of the dielectric function are characterized by d–d interband transitions in the semiconductors and d–d intraband transitions in the metals. Four compounds, CuTaN2, CuNbN2, AgTaN2, and AgNbN2, are predicted to exhibit large light absorption in the range of 1.0 to 1.7 eV, therefore making these materials good candidates for solar-energy conversion applications. Two compounds, AuTaN2 and AuNbN2, have band gaps and absorption onsets near the ideal range for obtaining high solar-cell conversion efficiency, suggesting that these compounds could become potential candidates as absorber materials in tandem solar cells or for band-gap engineering by alloying.

 

High Energy & Particle Physics

Presenter: Allyson Brodzeller
University: Bowling Green State University
Title: Using Kinematics to Identify Quarks and Gluons in Final Dijet States
Abstract: Quarks and gluons produced in the LHC rapidly fragment into groupings of
collinear particles referred to as jets. Quark-initiated and gluon-initiated jets
leave similar signatures in the ATLAS detector. Improving the classification of
jets has a variety of useful applications in searches beyond the standard model and for studies on jet substructure. A boosted decision tree classifier was trained using the Toolkit for Multivariate Analysis to identify quark leading jets in dijet events using the event kinematics along with the subleading jet’s mass. Evaluation of the kinematic jet classifier shows best performance at high η values and in the leading jet PT range of 1.5 TeV to 2.5 TeV. A kinematic-
based jet classifier will provide useful samples from real collision data that can
be used in the training and validation of jet substructure-based taggers.

Presenter: Miranda Carver
University: Ohio University
Title: Investigating the Decay of the f1(1285) Meson using the CLAS Detector
Abstract: Mesons are usually made up of one quark and one anti quark. The f_1 (1285), a possible candidate of quasibound molecular structure, meson was first measured in photoproduction with a proton target at Jefferson Lab with the CLAS detector. The f_1 (1285) meson is considered a member of the axial vector ( J^PC= 1^(++)). The f1has isospin and strangeness of 0. The aim of this research is to study the photoproduction reactions (1) γp→f_1 (1285)→π^+ π^- π^+ π^- (p) and (2) γp→f_1 (1285)→ΚΚ ̅π(p). The branching ratio is 11% for the 2π^-+ 2π^+ final state and 9% for the Κ Κ ̅ π final state. There is an interest to study the f_1 (1285) meson because it could give insight to "molecular" states of observed mesons. If f_1 (1285) was dynamically generated from the Κ^* Κ ̅+cc interaction it will have a dominant quasibound molecular structure. Phase space would predict that decay into 2π^-+ 2π^+ is favored over decay to Κ Κ ̅ π. Data from the CLAS detector can confirm the branching ratios. Also, the data can measure the angular distribution compared to phase space and theoretical models of f_1 (1285) as a Κ^* Κ ̅ molecule.

Presenter: Kristin Dona
University: University of Michigan
Title: Study of the K0_L → K0_S Regeneration Process with the KOTO Detector
Abstract: The KOTO experiment is a high-energy particle physics experiment located at the J-PARC research facility in Tokai, Japan. The immediate goal of the experiment is to measure the branching ratio for the neutral kaon decaying into a neutral pion and two neutrinos. This decay is extremely rare: the branching ratio predicted by the Standard Model is less than 1 per 30 billion. Due to the rarity of this decay, it has yet to be experimentally observed; however, measuring its branching ratio is one of the best opportunities for observing additional contributions to CP violation. CP violation is related to the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe, but current Standard Model predictions are not sufficient to explain the observed disparity. An experimental branching ratio measurement will either confirm Standard Model predictions or point towards new physics.
    Since the decay we are looking for is very rare, we need to be able to distinguish our decay from all other events coming into the detectors. To do this, a complete understanding of the background inside the KOTO detectors is necessary. Being able to recognize other decay modes that mimic the signal is necessary for measuring the rare decay rate. This poster will present a background analysis project for collected data which looks at the regeneration of long lived neutral kaons into short lived neutral kaons as they pass through the detector, and predicts the amount that regeneration contributes to the background.

Presenter: Alexis Mulski
University: University of Michigan
Title: Muon Spectrometer Upgrade for the ATLAS Experiment at CERN
Abstract: The BIS78 (derived from the ATLAS muon system naming convention) upgrade project extends the trigger coverage of the muon spectrometer in the barrel-endcap transition region. It is intended to reduce the frequency of fake triggers that emanate from the endcap shielding materials- an integral part of keeping the muon spectrometer within trigger budget. The upgrade will be installed in Long Shutdown 2, during which the LHC will suspend data taking in order to implement Phase I of the experiment upgrade. In addition, the upgrade serves as a pilot project for the Phase-II upgrade of the LHC, which proposes the replacement of all ATLAS inner barrel resistive plate chambers. Over the last several months, a “vertical slice” test has been staged at the CERN BB5 facility, which tests the compatibility of all components in the data generating chain.

 

Nuclear Physics

Presenter: Amelia Doetsch
University: Wayne State University
Title: The Search for πf7/2 Intruder States in 73As
Abstract: Previous studies of 73As have led to speculation regarding the possible existence of a πf7/2 intruder state. f7/2 states have been observed in only two other nuclei in this mass region: 71As and 67Cu. The low-lying 577 keV level was thought to be the base of a 7/2— band, which would indicate πf7/2 orbital occupation. This orbital occupation would suggest that the 73As nucleus is severely deformed, with β2≥0.4, as it is nearly impossible for non-deformed nuclei in this mass region to access the f7/2 orbital. High spin states in 73As were studied using the 14C(62Ni, p2n) reaction performed at Florida State University with a beam energy of 50 MeV. A Compton-suppressed Ge detector array made up of three Clover detectors and seven single-crystal detectors was used to record γ-γ coincidences. Directional correlation of oriented nuclei ratios (RDCO) were used to determine spin states. Coincidence data showed no evidence of a 7/2— band structure. Furthermore, while the 577 keV level was previously thought to have a spin of 7/2, in this study, RDCO calculations were used to determine a spin value of 5/2 for this state. These results suggest that there is no πf7/2 orbital occupation in the 73As nucleus. This knowledge can inform future studies as to why 71As and 67Cu form f7/2 bands but 73As does not.

Presenter: Chloe Langlois
University: Wayne State University
Title: Charge-Dependent Particle Correlations in p+p Jets at STAR
Abstract: This research set out to observe how the quark gluon plasma (QGP) affects charge conservation within jets of heavy ion collisions. To do this, we are first looking at charge correlations in p+p jets, where no QGP is formed, in order to obtain a comparable baseline for the Au+Au jets and to shed light on the process of hadronization.

 

Physics Education

Presenter: Sarah Maestrales
University: Michigan State University
Title: Improving Science and Degree Self Efficacy Through Near-Peer Video Modeling
Abstract: We are looking to improve science and degree self efficacy for students entering the College of Natural Science. Many studies have shown video modeling can be an effective resource for teaching desired behaviors to students. It is also relatively inexpensive in comparison to other methods that would be capable of reaching such large numbers of students. And while video modeling has been used frequently, there is little research into the importance of including specific elements in those videos. After examining the available data, we believe we can use near peer video modeling to improve the science and degree self efficacy of our incoming student body while furthering research to improve video modeling in the college setting.

Presenter: Carissa Myers
University: Wright State University
Title: Operationalizing identity in a survey of students from laboratory classes
Abstract: This project explores student responses to the first iteration of a survey, which is being built to measure physics identity from a practice perspective in physics lab courses. Identity is a multidimensional construct of how a person perceives themselves and how they position themselves within a community or environment. Part of the process of measuring identity is determining what constitutes an identity statement, and what factors help separate these statements from the rest of the response. We present an analysis of an open-ended survey given to students enrolled in an introductory physics laboratory class. Student responses were analyzed and coded for emergent themes, which were discovered in the student’s interpretations of questions regarding physics lab practices. In this poster, we present progress on both the coding scheme that emerged, and set of question stems for a future iteration of the survey that targets physics identity in lab classes.

Schedule

 

Note: All times are in the Eastern Time Zone

Date Time Event
18
Friday
January, 2019
11:00 AM
Conference Check-In Begins (through 6PM)
[Kellogg - North Lobby]
12:00 - 4:00 PM
(Optional) Professional Development Workshop
[NSCL]
3:00 - 5:00 PM
(Optional) Lab & BPS Tours
[NSCL/BPS]
6:00 - 6:30 PM
Opening Remarks
[Kellogg Big Ten BC]
6:30 - 7:45 PM
Welcome Dinner
[Kellogg Big Ten BC]
7:45 - 8:30 PM
Plenary Talk: Erica Snider
[Kellogg Big Ten BC]
8:30 - 9:15 PM
Meet & Greet / Networking Event
[Kellogg Big Ten BC]
19
Saturday
January, 2019
8:30 - 9:00 AM
Breakfast
[Kellogg Big Ten BC]
9:00 - 9:50 AM
Workshops
[Kellogg Break out rooms]
10:00 - 10:45 AM
Panel: Diversity, Intersectionality, and Bias
[Kellogg Big Ten BC]
10:45 - 11:15 PM
Coffee Break
11:15 - 12:05 PM
Workshops
[Kellogg Break out rooms]
12:15 - 1:45 PM
Lunch with Graduate Students
[Brody Hall]
1:45 - 2:00 PM
Group Photo
[Kellogg Auditorium]
2:00 - 3:30 PM
Plenary Broadcast: Fabiola Gianotti
[Kellogg Big Ten BC]
3:30 - 4:00 PM
Coffee Break
[Kellogg Lincoln]
4:00 - 4:50 PM
Workshops
[Kellogg Break out rooms]
4:50 - 5:15 PM
Bus to Tours
5:15 - 6:05 PM
NSCL Tour / Planetarium Show
6:15 - 6:30 PM
Grand Canonical Ensemble Performs
[BPS Atrium]
6:30 - 8:00 PM
Banquet Dinner
[BPS Atrium]
8:00 - 9:15 PM
Ice Cream Bar & Physics Slam
[BPS 1400]
9:15 PM
Bus to Kellogg
20
Sunday
January, 2019
8:30 - 9:00 AM
Breakfast
[Kellogg Big Ten BC]
9:00 - 9:45 AM
Plenary Talk: Njema Frazier
[Kellogg Big Ten BC]
9:55 - 10:45 PM
Workshops
[Kellogg Break out rooms]
10:45 - 12:00 PM
Coffee Break & Poster Session
[Kellogg Lincoln]
12:00 - 1:00 PM
Panel: Careers
[Kellogg Big Ten BC]
1:00 - 2:00 PM
Box Lunch & STEP UP 4 Women
[Kellogg Big Ten BC]
2:00 - 2:30 PM
Closing Remarks & Poster Awards
[Kellogg Big Ten BC]
 

Workshop Schedule

Start Time Workshop 1
Rm 106
Workshop 2
Rm 105
Workshop 3
Rm 104
Workshop 4
Rm 103
Workshop 5
Heritage Rm
Sat, Jan 19 at 9:00am What to do with a Physics Degree* APS Professional Developement Applying to Grad School and Fellowships* Talking About and Navigating Race in Physics Work-Life Balance & 2-Body Problem
Sat, Jan 19 at 11:15am Applying to REUs & Summer Research* How to Write a Resume & CV 101 Improving Mental Health and Wellbeing* Mentor/Mentee Relationship* Adapting to Large Universities
Sat, Jan 19 at 4:00pm Mentor/Mentee Relationship* Basic Skills for Interviewing What to do with a Physics Degree* Impostor Syndrome Discussion of LGBTQ+ in Physics
Sun, Jan 20 at 9:55am Applying to Grad School and Fellowships* Networking/LinkedIn Applying to REUs & Summer Research* Improving Mental Health and Wellbeing* Python Programming for Physics Research

* Workshop runs more than once.

Conference Center Map

Workshops

Start Time Workshop 1
Rm 106
Workshop 2
Rm 105
Workshop 3
Rm 104
Workshop 4
Rm 103
Workshop 5
Heritage Rm
Sat, Jan 19 at 9:00am What to do with a Physics Degree* APS Professional Developement Applying to Grad School and Fellowships* Talking About and Navigating Race in Physics Work-Life Balance & 2-Body Problem
Sat, Jan 19 at 11:15am Applying to REUs & Summer Research* How to Write a Resume & CV 101 Improving Mental Health and Wellbeing* Mentor/Mentee Relationship* Adapting to Large Universities
Sat, Jan 19 at 4:00pm Mentor/Mentee Relationship* Basic Skills for Interviewing What to do with a Physics Degree* Impostor Syndrome Discussion of LGBTQ+ in Physics
Sun, Jan 20 at 9:55am Applying to Grad School and Fellowships* Networking/LinkedIn Applying to REUs & Summer Research* Improving Mental Health and Wellbeing* Python Programming for Physics Research

* Workshop runs more than once.

Conference Center Map
 

Workshop Descriptions

What to Do With a Physics Degree

Wondering what you can do with a degree in physics? What opportunities are available with only a Bachelors, Masters, or PhD? What does employment look like for each of the different sectors (academia, national lab, industry, etc.) and what range salaries can you expect? This talk is meant to supplement the career panel to give more general information about the options you have with a degree in physics and their impact. It will also you give a chance to ask questions about opportunities within different areas of physics and outside of physics, and how to market your physics degree to get those jobs.

Applying to Grad School & Fellowships

Sit down with professors who have been part of the graduate school application review process as they take you through tips for picking and applying for graduate school. These speakers also have experience with students applying for fellowships and will speak about the opportunities available for you to apply for before enrolling at a graduate school along with helpful hints for those applications. Graduate students will also be on hand to share their experience with these applications.

Applying to (and information about) REUs & Summer Research

Sit down with professors who run MSU’s REU programs! You’ll hear about what REU programs typically offer, along with ways to get involved in other research opportunities and programs. There will also be discussion of tips for your applications and things to keep in mind when choosing where/what to apply to. Graduate students will also be on hand to share their experience with these programs and the application process.

Discussion of LGBTQ+ in Physics

Are you an LGBTQ+ person in physics, or an ally looking to make a meaningful difference? Join us for a discussion with members of the LGBTQ+ community who are at varying career stages in physics. The exact course of the discussion will be driven by the participants, but talking points include sharing experiences as LGBTQ+ physicists, how the field has progressed, where it still needs to go, and what both LGBTQ+ people and allies can do.

Improving Mental Health and Wellbeing Practices

Mental Health can take on many forms and people who work in high stress environments are prone to experience mental health issues. Even worse, studies show that gender minorities experience mental health problems at significantly higher rates. These issues can surface in many forms, including but not limited to depression, anxiety, burnout, homesickness, and Seasonal Affective Disorder. This workshop provides an opportunity to discuss mental wellbeing as pertains to physicists and future researchers in general. The conversation will cover many questions and tips, such as what to do on a regular basis to maintain your mental health, and what actions or activities can help you when you’re in panic-mode. This workshop will be led by a trained systems therapist and an astronomy postdoc who advocates for the mental wellbeing of early career researchers.

Impostor Syndrome - What is it and how to handle it

Despite having a good GPA, awards, and other tangible evidence of their abilities, many people experience the fear that they're not as intelligent or capable as other people "think" they are. This is called impostor syndrome and the feeling is especially prevalent in difficult fields, such as physics, and tends to affect minorities--though everyone is susceptible. Come learn about how to identify imposter syndrome and methods to use to try to minimize its effect.

Talking About and Navigating Race in Physics

Have you struggled to figure out how issues of race, ethnicity and equity play out in the context of physics education? This workshop is designed for folks that may feel novice in talking about race and ethnicity to attend, but welcome everyone who is interested in exploring this area as well. We will support participants to examine educational spaces through the lenses of race and ethnicity. Topics to be explored will be guided by participant input and may include, but are not limited to: identity, culture, privilege, microaggressions, implicit bias, and color-blind rhetoric. We will engage in group conversations, self-reflection, and practice responding to issues of race and ethnicity that commonly arise for students in physics.

Work-Life Balance & 2-Body Problem

There is life outside of school and work! Attaining work-life balance is a constant and very personal shuffle, and can be especially challenging if you aren’t the only person in your household. In physics, we jokingly call the issue of moving around with a significant other and/or household in tow the “2-body problem,” and it can be a very large and daunting process to navigate. This workshop combines two topics which may seem different on the surface, but both involve balancing your physics and non-physics life throughout your career. There are no “right answers” we can give, but there will be a panel of people versed with both issues who can offer their experience and advice.

Mentor/Mentee Relationship & Maximizing Your Research Experience

Research experience is an unofficial requirement for graduate school and a good way to develop skills for the job market. This workshop will provide advice for managing your relationship with your research mentor and getting the most out of your research experience. These skills can be applied in other contexts too, including jobs outside of research, since finding yourself a mentor is a good practice no matter what career you decide to go into!

Networking & LinkedIn

Networking is a social skill that can be a boost to any career, whether in academia or in industry. Conferences like this one provide opportunities to network face to face, and professional social media like LinkedIn allows connections to stay alive online. Learn what it means to network, advice for starting conversations, and how to maintain professional relationship throughout your career.

How to Write a Resume & CV 101

Looking at resume templates, figuring out which to choose and what information to include, can feel like an overwhelming task. This workshop will help participants understand resume writing and how to organize education, background and experiences into their own manageable marketing tool. It will also discuss the difference between resumes and CVs.

“Say What?” - Basic Skills for Interviewing

Whether at a job fair pitch, academic program/grad school interview, or job/internship interview, candidates can make the opportunity count if they understand important interviewing fundamentals. This workshop will provide concrete foundation and tasks which will help participants become more comfortable navigating the interview process.

Adapting to Large Universities (from community college and/or small colleges)

Tips on how to survive at a large physics research university at graduate school or transferring in undergrad when coming from a small college. Also discussion on how to transition to working in large study groups and dealing with larger class sizes that have to cater to a range of academic backgrounds.

APS's Professional Skills - Negotiations, Communication, and Leadership

“With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), APS has trained women in physics to host professional skills seminars for students and postdocs at APS-sponsored meetings and at universities and institutions. Professional Skills Development Seminars are highly interactive workshops where participants will learn and practice communication and negotiation skills.” The typical seminar is two hours, but we will try to condense the content without losing the main focus. The goal is to target “professional skills that women need to effectively perform research and thrive in physics, including how to (1) negotiate a graduate, postdoc, or professional position in academia, industry, or at a national lab, (2) interact positively on teams and with a mentor or advisor, (3) think tactically, (4) enhance personal presence, (5) develop alliances, and (6) achieve professional goals.” --Taken from APS Professional Development website

Python Programming for Physics Research

Computation is an integral part of all modern physics research, but it isn’t always taught in standard undergraduate coursework. This workshop will introduce the Python programming language and several modules that are useful for scientific computing both in the lab and for theory. Depending on attendance and background knowledge, each workshop may be split into “beginner” and “advanced” tracks. Students who have never programmed before are welcome to attend and will be given resources and materials for learning Python.

Sunday’s Lunch Presentation: Direct action to increase women in physics

The STEP UP 4 Women project is tackling the issue by designing research-based curriculum/classroom strategies for high school teachers to encourage women to study undergraduate physics. STEP UP 4 Women seeks to increase the number of women earning degrees in physics by dramatically increasing the number of women majoring in physics in college, closing the gap between the those that take physics in high school (~50%) and those that enter college intending to declare a physics major (~20%). Unlike other sciences, post-secondary participation in physics falls dramatically, with high school, in most cases, being the last time we can inform and recruit large numbers of women into the field. If half of high school physics teachers recruit one additional female student to a physics major, the incoming college gap will be closed. --Taken from APS STEP UP 4 Women webpage

Pre-Conference Professional Development Workshop

APS CUWiP at Michigan State is proud to offer a Pre-Conference Professional Development Skills (PDS) Workshop on Friday, January 18th from 12-4 pm. It is free and open to all conference attendees. Email cuwip@pa.msu.edu if you would like to attend so we can obtain a final headcount for lunch. A variant of these workshops will be offered during the main conference.

Participants in the pre-conference workshop should arrive at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center before 11:30 to check-in and drop off their luggage. Participants will then be shuttled to and from the workshop site by the campus buses. We ask that attendees have a Google account and bring their laptop as there will be limited number available. Please note that there will be time on Friday to attend one of the labs tours in addition to the pre-conference workshop.

Time Group A Group B
12:00pm - 1:30pm APS Professional Development Python Programming for Research
1:30pm - 2:30pm Lunch Lunch
2:30pm - 4:00pm Python Programming for Research APS Professional Development
 

APS Professional Development

The American Physical Society has trained women in physics to host professional skills seminars for students at APS-sponsored meetings. The Michigan State CUWiP’s Pre-Conference PDS Workshop is a highly interactive, friendly forum where participants will learn and practice communication and negotiation skills. The Professional Skills Development Workshop is designed to provide women physicists with professional training in effective negotiation and communication skills, as well as a special opportunity for networking. This workshop will be conducted by APS professional facilitators.

Python Programming for Research

Computation is an integral part of all modern physics research, but it isn’t always taught in standard undergraduate coursework. This workshop will introduce the Python programming language and several modules that are useful for scientific computing both in the lab and for theory. Depending on attendance and background knowledge, each workshop may be split into “beginner” and “advanced” tracks. Students who have never programmed before are welcome to attend and will be given resources and materials for learning Python.

Direct action to increase women in physics: How you can help change the physics community

STEP UP 4 WOMEN LogoWhile nearly half of the students taking physics in high school are women, only 20% of the students interested in physics majors in college are women. How can you help to change this pattern? Together with a team of high school physics teachers, physics education researchers have developed two high school physics class lessons and a guide for everyday actions that have been shown to increase the interest of high school women in physics careers. Join us to learn about this exciting program to help high school teachers encourage women to pursue physics careers and how you can help change the way high school students view their future in physics. Learn more at stepup4women.org.

Travel Information

Campus Map

Lodging and most conference facilities for the Mid-Michigan CUWiP will be at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. There are several ways to reach the Kellogg Center, which is located at 219 S. Harrison Rd, East Lansing, MI 48824.

By Car

The Kellogg Center is located at 219 S. Harrison Rd, East Lansing, MI 48824 (if you have an older GPS, you may need to use the old address, 55 S. Harrison Rd).

Parking passes are available with advance notification. If you are coming by car, we ask that you try to carpool with other attendees from your home institution.

By Train or Bus

The Kellogg Center has a shuttle that services the Amtrak/Greyhound station. To schedule shuttle service, please call (517) 432-4000. Shuttle service must be arranged with 24 hours notice.

The Amtrak station code is LNS, and is serviced by the Blue Water and Wolverine trains. The address of the station is 1240 S. Harrison Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823.

The same station also serves as a stop for the Greyhound bus service.

By Plane

There are two airports from which you can reach the Kellogg Center without renting a car: Lansing and Detroit. We recommend using the Lansing Airport if at all feasible.

Lansing Airport

The Kellogg Center has a shuttle that services the Lansing Airport (LAN). To schedule shuttle service, please call (517) 432-4000. Shuttle service must be arranged with 24 hours notice.

Detroit Airport

If the Lansing Airport is not a feasible destination, the Michigan Flyer bus service can get you from the Detroit Airport to East Lansing. This service must be booked in advance. When scheduling your departure on the Michigan Flyer, remember you should arrive at the Detroit Airport at least 2 hours before your flight's scheduled departure time. You must also know which terminal your flight is departing from.

When arriving in East Lansing on the Michigan Flyer, you will be dropped off at the Marriott (333 Albert St). A Kellogg Center shuttle is available to take you from this stop to the CUWiP conference center. To schedule shuttle service, please call (517) 432-4000. Shuttle service must be arranged with 24 hours notice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

About APS CUWiP
The APS Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) are three-day regional conferences for undergraduate physics majors. The 2019 conferences will be held January 18-20. The primary goal of the CUWiP conference is to help undergraduate women continue in physics by providing them with the opportunity to experience a professional conference, information about graduate school and professions in physics, and access to other women in physics of all ages with whom they can share experiences, advice, and ideas. The 2019 program at Michigan State University will include research talks, panel discussions about graduate school and careers in physics, workshops and discussions about women in physics, student research talks and poster session, and laboratory tours.
Any undergraduate student with an interest in physics may apply to attend an APS CUWiP. For the last decade, Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics (APS CUWiP) has helped undergraduate women thrive in physics by providing them a with a unique opportunity to engage with and learn from other women in physics at all stages of their physics careers. At APS CUWiP, budding physicists will experience a professional conference, learn about graduate school and professions in physics, and share invaluable experiences, advice, and ideas with other women. Undergraduate students are eligible to apply and register for the conference, and we encourage non-undergraduate students or interested faculty/mentors to email cuwip@pa.msu.edu for details about attendance and participation.
Most people say "Cue-Wip"
Application and Registration
Any undergraduate student attending a US college/university may apply.
It is very important to complete all parts of the application and to write a thoughtful Applicant Statement. If conferences are oversubscribed, priority will be given to applicants who:
  1. Are undergraduate physics or engineering physics majors
  2. Have never attended an APS CUWiP
  3. Are applying to attend the conference that is geographically closest to their expected location January 18-20, 2019
There is no formal application or registration process for non-undergraduate students and interested faculty/mentors. We encourage you to email cuwip@pa.msu.edu for details about attendance and participation.
No. You apply to attend an APS CUWiP conference (the one closest to you), and you are accepted, wait-listed or declined according to the priorities listed above. Application is free, and the deadline is Friday, October 12, 2019 at midnight ET. After you have been accepted, you then you register to attend the conference to which you have been accepted (you may be assigned to a different conference depending on the number of applications) to confirm that you will actually be attending. There is a one-time registration fee of $45, which helps offset some of the cost of the conference, including all lodging and meals.

2019 APS CUWiP Conference Site Locations

Please refer to the APS CUWiP map. If you do not apply to the site that you will be geographically closest to at the time of the conference, your application may be denied.
No, but you should have an estimate of the cost. If you are traveling by air, or long distance train or bus, and your travel cost is not covered by your department, your travel agenda and cost must be approved by the conference organizers before you book your travel. Due to the limited nature of our travel funds, we ask that you find the most economical means of transportation to and from the conference. For example, reach out to others in your department and see if carpooling is an option.
First, make sure you submit your application by the deadline. Second, make sure you put some thought into why you want to attend and what you want to get out of the conference. Please answer all questions on the application fully and honestly. Offering to present a talk or a poster will not affect your chances of being selected to attend.
Cost and Funding
Students who are accepted to attend the conference must pay a one-time registration fee of $45, which helps offset some of the cost of the conference, including all lodging and meals. Lodging (for non-local students) and food will be covered by the conference; you do not need to pay for your hotel room or food at the conference. We expect that your travel expenses will be covered by your home department or college. If you cannot afford the registration fee and your department/college is unable to help, you may request a fee waiver to APS directly at women@aps.org by submitting a statement attesting to your financial need and verifying that department or university funds are not available. Further details will be provided when you are invited to register for the conference. You must request a fee waiver at least two days in advance of registering (not applying)
Please talk to your department chair, manager, or director of undergraduate studies before registering for APS CUWiP. You might ask an academic advisor, faculty member you know, or other mentor for guidance about who to ask if you are unsure. You can also contact us if you would like guidance in asking your department for travel funds.
Eligibility
No. While we encourage you to present a talk or a poster if you have been involved in research, you are welcome just to attend the conference and participate in the activities.
The content of this year's conference will not be exactly the same as last year's, and you are welcome to apply to attend again. However, if more students apply than we can accommodate, preference will be given to students who have never attended an APS CUWiP.
Yes, all attendees must register by the deadline.
Because of the high demand of students and travel costs of those who are not in our region, we will only be able to accept students who will be in the region at the time of the conference. This conference is not intended to be a graduate school visit.
Students from Canada are encouraged to apply to the Canadian Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CCUWiP) site at the University of Ottawa. Students from Canada may apply to closer U.S. sites if desired. However, Canadian students accepted to U.S. sites are not eligible for reimbursement of travel expenses from the conference or for waiver of the registration fee.
APS is only able to fund students attending universities in the U.S. We welcome students attending non-U.S. institutions to email our site at cuwip@pa.msu.edu or another CUWiP site to ask if you can apply to attend. APS CUWiP sites will not be able to reimburse students attending non-U.S. institutions for accomodations or travel.
Absolutely! We encourage you to apply. Undergraduate students at any U.S. college or university may apply.
Only undergraduate students who will be over 18 at the time of the conference may apply to APS CUWiP. Please contact us at cuwip@pa.msu.edu if you have other eligibility questions.
Faculty are welcome to travel with and attend the MSU conference programming with their students. The MSU host site will not be providing hotel rooms for faculty, but we can help direct you where to find nearby lodging options. Contact cuwip@pa.msu.edu for more information.
Yes, students of all genders are welcome to attend this conference. If you have questions or concerns about the housing for this conference, please contact us at cuwip@pa.msu.edu
Travel and Hotel
Students are responsible for arranging their own travel to the conference. We encourage students to coordinate with other attendees from their institution. Please be in communication with your local chair or faculty member if your department is reimbursing you for travel costs. If your department cannot fund your travel, please communicate with cuwip@pa.msu.edu for plane and train ticket approval before purchase. For more information on Travel to MSU please see the
Because your travel costs are reimbursable, it is expected that you will attend all of the conference events as scheduled. If you have special circumstances, please contact us to discuss them cuwip@pa.msu.edu
Students will be lodging at the Kellogg Center, which is also where the majority of the conference is taking place! You do not need to book your own room. We will gather information on who needs lodging and your roommate preferences during registration. Please visit our Travel Page for more information. If you are driving to the conference, you may park at Kellogg Center--please indicate that you are driving during registration. Do not make your own hotel reservations.
There are two nearby airports. Lansing (LAN) is the closest and Detroit (DTW) is further away, but manageable. There bus and shuttle options from both airports. See Travel Page for more details. We will help you with travel between airports and Michigan State University, by organizing shuttles, or pointing you to commercial services. If you plan to fly, please contact us before making your reservation.
Email us about your travel beforehand cuwip@pa.msu.edu, you should contact your department first. If you are being reimbursed by the conference (rather than by your department): after the conference, you can submit the reimbursement form that will be provided to you. Reimbursement will be mailed to you within the month. For more details please contact us at cuwip@pa.msu.edu
Miscellaneous
We will request dietary restriction information on the registration form. If you believe your dietary needs are unusual, please contact us and we will work to accommodate you.
The conference has no dress code, and we encourage students to be comfortable. There will be a plated banquet on Saturday evening and many students enjoy dressing up for this event. You may wish to look at photos of previous conferences to see what students typically wear. Michigan in the winter can be cold, so bring warm clothes ideally in layers so you can adjust for your comfort.
We will request information on disability status on the registration form. Please contact us in advance at cuwip@pa.msu.edu if you have unusual requirements, and we will work to accommodate you. For more information on MSU's resources, please see: https://www.rcpd.msu.edu/awareness.
There will be a student poster session showcase. We welcome submissions of research from all attendees to present at a poster session. Note a project does not need to be completed; you can present something you are currently working on. All posters should be printed prior to the conference; posters should be 48” x 36” in size. We will be providing thumbtacks to hang your poster during the session. Contact cuwip@pa.msu.edu if you have questions or need assistance with this process!
Yes! We have set up a Facebook page  APS CUWiP at MSU and we are on  Twitter.
Please contact us if you are comfortable so we are aware. We will encourage you to try your best during the networking opportunities, but if you need to be paired up with someone you know (either in rooming or meals), please let us know (cuwip@pa.msu.edu) so we can try to accommodate you. We hope that you will be able to comfortably attend the conference and get something from it, but we understand that everyone needs to go at their own pace.
Please contact us at cuwip@pa.msu.edu to discuss your needs.
A pronoun is what a person chooses to use to refer to themselves. For example: If Xena's pronouns are she, her, and hers, you could say "Xena ate her food because she was hungry. " She, her, hers and he, him, his are common examples of pronouns. Some people call these "female/feminine" and "male/masculine" pronouns, but many avoid these labels because, for example, not everyone who uses he feels like a "male" or "masculine." There are also lots of gender-neutral pronouns in use. Here are a few you might hear:
  • They, them, theirs (Xena ate their food because they were hungry.) This is is a pretty common gender-neutral pronoun.... And yes, it can in fact be used in the singular.
  • Ze, hir (Xena ate hir food because ze was hungry.) Ze is pronounced like "zee" can also be spelled zie or xe, and replaces she/he/they. Hir is pronounced like "here" and replaces her/hers/him/his/they/theirs.
  • Just my name please! (Xena ate Xena's food because Xena was hungry) Some people prefer not to use pronouns at all, using their name as a pronoun instead.
  • Never, ever refer to a person as “it” or “he-she” (unless they specifically ask you to.) These are often used as offensive slurs.
Based on the information here and resources linked therein.
APS CUWiP seeks to be a safe space for all participants. By asking for pronouns, we are ensuring that we don't accidentally misgender any of our participants or make harmful assumptions based off of appearance. Even if you have never considered this in relation to yourself, by including your pronouns on your name badge you can help to make other APS CUWiP participants comfortable. We hope you will consider this.

Contact Us

 Join us on Facebook or  Twitter. If you have any questions or concerns, please email us at cuwip@pa.msu.edu.

Phone: 517-884-5531 (Kimberly Crosslan)

cuwip@pa.msu.edu

Mailing Address:
Biomedical and Physical Sciences
567 Wilson Rd
East Lansing, MI 48824

Meet MSU's Local Organizing Committee

Chairs & Faculty Advisor

Jessie Micallef
Jessie Micallef

Jessie Micallef is a third-year graduate student at Michigan State University (MSU) getting a dual PhD in Physics and Computational Mathematics, Science, and Engineering.

She works on the particle physics experiment IceCube under Dr. Tyce DeYoung studying neutrino oscillations. She is very excited to be planning her second CUWiP conference and attended one for the fifth time!

"I'm a physicist, and I'm also a filmmaker. I majored in physics and film in undergrad, because I loved doing both! I've worked on everything from short films, an HBO documentary, music videos, and silent films."

Claire Kopenhafer
Claire Kopenhafer

Claire Kopenhafer is a second-year graduate student at MSU pursuing a dual PhD in Astronomy and Computational Mathematics, Science, and Engineering.

She uses supercomputers and simulations to study galaxy formation with Dr. Brian O'Shea. She is very excited that Michigan State is hosting CUWiP, which has been her dream since late undergrad.

"I'm a physicist, and I also study medieval sword fighting. I like training and sparring with my friends, but I also like playing video games at home with my cat."

Prof. Vashti Sawtelle
Prof. Vashti Sawtelle

Prof. Vashti Sawtelle is an assistant professor at MSU. She is a physics education researcher who studies how learning environments support (or inhibit) students from diverse backgrounds in their learning physics.

She works hard to support women in physics and help them find the career paths that suit them, and is excited to welcome CUWiP participants to MSU!

"I'm a physicist, and I'm also a runner, gardener, and mother. When I'm at home you will regularly find me working in my garden to grow delicious tomatoes and peas, or pushing a stroller as I train for the next 10k!"

Post-Docs

Dr. Rachel Henderson
Dr. Rachel Henderson

Dr. Rachel Henderson is a postdoctoral researcher at MSU, working in the Physics Education Research Lab (PERL).

Her research focus is on developing formal structures to support transformed physics laboratories while developing assessment tools and practices for understanding student learning in these laboratory courses. She is excited to play a role in providing a fantastic opportunity for young female physicists.

"I'm a physicist, and I'm also a softball player. I played all 4 years in college and continue to try and play when given the opportunity. I have also had the pleasure to coach young female student-athletes within the community college environment."

Dr. Stephanie Lyons
Dr. Stephanie Lyons

Dr. Stephanie Lyons is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at MSU.

She is a nuclear experimentalist who investigates stellar reactions that create the various elements we have in the universe and how they contribute to stellar evolution. She is passionate about supporting women and minorities in physics and is thrilled to be helping organize CUWiP.

" I am a physicist, and I am also an avid baker. I enjoy trying new recipes I find online or through cooking shows like The Great British Bake-Off. (Mary Berry is just the best!!)"

Dr. Andrea Richard
Dr. Andrea Richard

Dr. Andrea Richard is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at MSU.

As a nuclear experimentalist, she studies nuclei of interest for basic nuclear science, nuclear astrophysics, and nuclear security. This is her first CUWiP conference and she is excited to bring physics research, support, and mentorship to young women and minorities in physics.

"I am a physicist, and I am also a book lover and language enthusiast. I enjoy reading various genres from the classics to modern literature, and like the challenge of learning new languages."

Dr. Mallory Smith
Dr. Mallory Smith

Dr. Mallory Smith is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory.

As an experimentalist, she studies nuclear astrophysics and nuclear structure. Her work focuses on understanding the behavior of neutron-rich nuclei. She is passionate about physics education and mentorship, and excited to be a part of this years CUWiP organizing committee. She attended her first CUWiP as an undergraduate and found it to be an informative and invaluable experience.

"I'm a physicist and I really like fire. Bonfires, flameworking, pyrotechnics are some of the most enjoyable moments, ever. But since it's usually hard to play with fire, I dabble in other areas. I am eclectic curiosity seeker who pursues adventures and new hobbies - too many to list!"

Graduate & Undergraduate Students

Adam Anthony
Adam Anthony

"I am a physicist, and I also am a huge pyromaniac. Anytime fire can be brought in is a good day, especially if there are also some fun electronics or outdoors stuff in the mix."

Nik Breslin
Nik Breslin

Nicholas "Nik” Breslin is a second-year graduate student at Michigan State University getting a PhD in Physics.

He works in ultrafast condensed-matter physics studying under Dr. Chong-Yu Ruan studying ultrafast thermal and optical phase transitions. He is passionate about inspiring the next generation of physicists and is excited to be a part of this years CUWiP local organizing committee.

"I am a physicist, and a giant geek. I am mostly a homebody, but love going to conventions to share my love of video games, tabletop games, fantasy & sci-fi films, and anime. Although most days I just like to hang out at home with my wife and my cat."

Devyn Cantu
Devyn Cantu

Devyn Cantu is a fourth-year graduate student at MSU getting a PhD in Physics.

She works on the astroparticle physics experiment IceCube under Dr. Tyce DeYoung studying high energy neutrinos that originate from outside of our galaxy. She loves to encourage women to chase whatever they are passionate about and is excited to be a part of the CUWiP organizing committee.

"I am a physicist, and I am also a pilot. Flying is my biggest passion in life, with or without a plane! I got my pilot's license in high school, I am working on obtaining my skydiving license, and I am in pursuit of my ultimate dream job of being an astronaut!"

Rachel Frisbie
Rachel Frisbie
Applying to REUs & Internships

FFrisbie is a 4th year graduate student at Michigan State University working with Megan Donahue.

She uses X-ray data from the Chandra and XMM-Newton telescopes along with optical data from the SOAR telescope to study the effects of feedback on galaxy clusters and nearby early-type galaxies. How black holes regulate their own growth, and the growth of the surrounding galaxy is still an unsolved problem, but observations of the gas surrounding the black hole are an easily observable way to study them. Rachel attended CUWiP as an undergraduate in 2013 and is excited to be able to contribute as a graduate student!

"I'm a physicist and also a musician and competitive powerlifter. My hobbies help keep me balanced throughout graduate school, along with quality snuggles from my dog and support from my husband."

April Garrity
April Garrity

April Garrity is an incoming first year graduate student from South Carolina and is pursuing her PhD in Physics at MSU.

She is currently working with Dr. Hendrik Schatz in the testing and development of SECAR. Being a participant of CUWiP once before, she is looking forward to getting involved with the conference from the other side!

"I'm a physicist, and I'm also a musician! I play the guitar, cello, piano and love to sing; I actually almost majored in music! Naturally, I spend a lot of my free time writing music and playing covers of my favorite songs."

Caley Harris
Caley Harris

Caley Harris is a third-year physics graduate student at Michigan State University.

She performs experimental nuclear astrophysics research at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory and is interested in the origin of the elements. After attending CUWiP twice as an undergraduate student, she is very excited to play a part in hosting this year. She is passionate about encouraging more young women to become physicists!

"I'm a physicist, and I'm also a (mostly) self-taught artist. I enjoy taking on new projects that involve learning new skills, such as weaving, watercolor, screen printing, and graphic design. I also enjoy spending time with my two pets, Pico the guinea pig and Kubo the cat, and am an avid squirrel enthusiast and an amatuer gardener!"

Jessica Maldonado
Jessica Maldonado

Jessica Maldonado is a third-year graduate student at MSU pursuing a PhD in Astronomy.

She uses radio telescopes to observe the aftermath of supernova explosions and then uses models to determine the original star system that existed before the explosion. As a third generation child of Mexican immigrants, diversity in physics has been at the forefront of her career and she is very passionate about offsetting the statistics. Having participated in a few CUWiPs on the west coast, she hopes to give back to the community and empower other young women physicists!

"I'm a physicist, and I love all things food, especially tacos. I like finding new places to eat, frequenting Starbucks and dancing. I also like watching English soccer, NFL, and recently NHL as the Las Vegas Golden Knights are my hometown heroes!"

Teresa Panurach
Teresa Panurach

Teresa Panurach is a non-traditional first-year graduate student at MSU pursuing her astronomy PhD under the guidance of Jay Strader and Laura Chomiuk.

She is interested in characterizing the most compact objects in our galaxy, such as black holes and neutron stars. She is excited to be organizing CUWiP and being a resource to underrepresented minorities within the physics community.

"I am a physicist, and I am also a dog lover. My pug is my best friend. We do everything together including napping and hiking. I also enjoy cooking and playing video games!"

Terri Poxon-Pearson
Terri Poxon-Pearson

Terri Poxon-Pearson is a fifth-year physics graduate student at Michigan State University.

She is a nuclear theorist who studies nuclear reactions that are important in stellar explosions and neutron stars. She attended CUWiP as an undergraduate and found it to be very empowering (and helped me get a great research opportunity!) She's very excited to help facilitate this awesome conference experience for more female physicist!

"I'm a physicist, and I also love spending time outside. I love to camp and hike and run (very slowly) outdoors. I have also been exploring Michigan on summer days on the back of my motorcycle! I might even try snowshoeing this winter!"

Brean Prefontaine
Brean Prefontaine

Brean Prefontaine is a second year graduate student at MSU getting a PhD in physics.

She works in the Physics Education Research Lab (PERL) focusing on informal spaces and how people interact with physics outside of a classroom with her advisor Dr. Kathleen Hinko. She loves helping encourage anyone to be a part of the physics community and is excited to be working with all of the other organizers to make this conference happen.

"I am a physicist, and I am also a figure skating coach. I have been skating since I was seven years old and I now love coaching and sharing my passion with younger skaters. If I am not at school, I can usually be found at the rink!"

Daniel Puentes
Daniel Puentes

Daniel Puentes is a second-year graduate student at Michigan State University pursuing a Doctorate of Philosophy in Physics.

He works at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) with the Low Energy Beam and Ion Trap (LEBIT) Group under advisor Dr. Georg Bollen. The group focuses on performing high precision mass measurements of radioactive nuclei that are important for nuclear structure and nuclear astrophysics theory. Daniel has enjoyed having the opportunity to help with the advertising subcommittee establish and reach out to a variety of different universities in the area about this impactful conference.

"I am a physicist, and I participate in activities to engage the general audience in science! One of the ways I do this is by regularly giving tours of the NSCL to different groups about what we do at this lab. Over the past years, I also have traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with the staffers of different congressional representatives and senators to advocate for continued support in science research as well."

Taryn Stefanski
Taryn Stefanski

Taryn Stefanski is a fourth year undergraduate student graduating in May 2019.

She currently works with Professor Johannes Pollanen in the Laboratory for Hybrid Quantum Systems conducting research on superconducting circuit qubits. She is really excited to attend and help organize this year’s CUWiP after having attended her first last January.

"I’m a physicist, and I also love to express my creative side through painting, dance, and singing (mostly just for my friends before they tell me to be quiet). I also really love memes and One Direction."

Erin White
Erin White

Erin White is an incoming first year graduate student from Cincinnati at MSU pursuing her PhD in Physics.

She is currently a part of Dr. Jaideep Singh's research group working on the EDM^3 project and the two photon project. Having participated in and enjoyed the experience of the CUWiP conference last year in Toledo, she is excited to be helping organize it this year.

"I'm a physicist, and I also love dogs a pathetic amount, enjoy hiking, going to concerts, and sarcasm. I also really like doing DIY projects with friends and making art in general."

Laura Wood
Laura Wood

Laura Wood is a second-year graduate student at MSU, doing physics education research (PER) with Dr. Vashti Sawtelle.

She is most interested in PER because of the opportunities to expand the physics community to be more diverse and equitable. Having participated in CUWiP twice before, she's very excited to help others have just as great of an experience!

"I'm a physicist, and I also love music, even though I didn't care about it until eighth grade when I first heard and sang Hysteria by Muse on Guitar Hero. I sing, play saxophone, dabble in ukulele, and basically make Spotify playlists like it's my hobby. My favorite thing is finding a new musical obsession."

Website Design

Abhilash Nair
Abhilash Nair

Abhilash is a Physics PhD Candidate here at MSU and has designed this website.

When the APS CUWiP LOC at MSU approached me to build a website, I was excited to be able to put my abilities toward such a great cause. I'm glad to support the team here, if you see something broken feel free to send me an email nairabhi -at- msu.edu.

"I'm a physicist, and I also love telling stories of resilience and growth through my research. I really enjoy all things related to computers including web-development, data science, and have a fondness for technology that is broken or old."

National Support for APS CUWiP
These conferences are supported in part by the National Science Foundation (PHY-1346627) and by the Department of Energy Office of Science (DE-SC0011076). Further details are available on the APS conference website.
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