Tagged: Women in Physics Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 5:21 pm on January 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Women in Physics,   

    From Princeton: Women in STEM – “Conference gives undergraduate women skills, inspiration to pursue physics careers” 

    Princeton University
    Princeton University

    January 23, 2017
    Jeanne Jackson DeVoe, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    Meg Urry was the first tenured physics professor at Yale University and was often the only woman in her physics classes, including her graduate class at MIT, but she still heard a fellow student complain that women were unfairly given advantages over their male colleagues. “That’s when I realized there was something fishy going on,” she said.

    Urry spoke at the 2017 APS Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference at Princeton University the weekend of Jan. 13-15. She told students that she is still often the only woman in the room even though her department now has six out of 52 female faculty members — the highest number of the top 50 physics departments in the United States. “That’s crazy, right?” Urry said. “If we were offered the same opportunities and had the same treatment, women would be half the faculty in every subject.”

    Urry, a professor of astrophysics at Yale whose research focuses on active galaxies that host supermassive black holes in their centers, was one of the plenary speakers at the conference, which focused on giving young women the tools to stay in physics and other STEM fields. More than 200 women attended the event.

    1
    A career panel was one of the many events at the 2017 APS Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics held at Princeton Jan. 13-15. It was one of 10 regional conferences held simultaneoulsy across the country.(Photos by Elle Starkman, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory)

    Addressing unconscious bias

    Urry noted that the percentage of women in the United States graduating from college with physics degrees has remained flat at 20 percent for the past decade. Women in physics and other fields are affected by unconscious bias, Urry said. She cited one study that found participants who were given the resumes of equally qualified men and women were more likely to pick resumes with men’s names.

    The Princeton CUWiP Conference was one of nine conferences nationwide and one in Canada that took place simultaneously. Other host institutions included Harvard University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and the University of California-Davis. The Princeton conference was offered free aside from a $45 registration fee and travel expenses. It was funded by the the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science and the National Science Foundation through grants to the American Physical Society.

    Shannon Swilley Greco, a Science Education program leader at the DOE’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), organized the conference with Lyman Page, chair of the University’s physics department, and graduate student Laura Chang. Greco told the young physicists that she hopes the conference will inspire them to stay in a physics or STEM field. “I don’t ever want anyone to leave the field they loved because they felt ill-prepared,” she said, “or because they just had so much doubt that they were afraid they weren’t where they were supposed to be, or that they were made to feel unwelcome or uncomfortable.”

    The conference kicked off with a tour of University research laboratories, including the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, the Department of Geosciences and PPPL. More than 60 people attended the PPPL tour, which visited the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade test cell and control room. “I love it!” said Bernadette Haig, a student at Fordham University. “This is new stuff for me, so it’s really cool!”

    3
    Josee Vedrine-Pauléus, a professor in the Department of Physics and Electronics at the University of Puerto Rico-Humacao campus, gives a workshop on negotiation.

    ‘Don’t get discouraged’

    A career panel made up of women at Google, Solvay, and Princeton and Rowan universities, advised the attendees to be persistent. “The golden rule is don’t get discouraged,” said Katerina Visnjic, a senior lecturer in the Princeton physics department, who is redesigning the introductory physics curriculum. “When you see scientific results presented, that is the last 1 percent of the work that went into that. It doesn’t reflect the 99 percent that didn’t work.”

    The conference offered a variety of workshops, including “mental health,” “out in STEM,” and “negotiation and other professional skills.” In the workshop on “combatting imposter syndrome and bias and developing a growth mindset,” David Yaeger, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Texas-Austin, said: “Intelligence itself is malleable especially in your developing stage. Every time you do a hard mathematical proof, your brain actually changes.”

    One workshop focused on how to be an ally to under-represented groups. “If you have privilege, use that privilege,” said Geraldine Cochran, dean of the Douglass Project for Rutgers Women in STEM.

    Rutgers smaller
    Always need to state my allegiance, especially the opportunity to display our beautiful original seal that the University stole from us.

    “If you are only looking at job candidates who have graduate degrees from Harvard and Princeton, why not look at people who did really well but have not gone to undergraduate institutions like that?”

    5
    Undergraduates present their research at a poster session at Frick Chemistry Laboratory.

    Developing a work-life plan

    Students attending a workshop on work-life balance were encouraged to think about developing a plan that builds in time for outside activities and having fun. “How are you going to find ways to motivate yourself that help you feel fulfilled?” asked Amada Sandoval, director of the Princeton’s Women’s Center. “And what is a full life apart from what you imagined a successful life is?”

    Nergis Mavalvala, a physics professor known for her work in the confirmation of gravitational waves at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, broadcast her keynote speech from Harvard, with all 10 conferences broadcasting video greetings from their audiences.

    Fatima Ebrahimi, a PPPL physicist, discussed her research studying a phenomenon in magnetic reconnection that could be used to start fusion devices called tokamaks and might also yield insights into magnetic reconnection, the process that triggers solar flames, the Northern Lights and other astrophysical phenomena. “If you know plasma physics, there’s no boundary,” Ebrahimi said. “You can do detailed analysis in the lab but then you can move on and answer fundamental questions in astrophysics.”

    Several students presented their research in a poster session at the end of the day on Jan. 14. On Jan. 15, Katja Nowack, an experimental condensed matter physicist at Cornell University, discussed her research. The conference concluded with a career and research expo at the Frick Chemistry Laboratory Building.

    CUWiP Plus at PPPL

    A small group of about 20 students attended a CUWiP Plus session at PPPL, where they spent Sunday afternoon and Monday morning learning about plasma physics led by physicist Arturo Dominguez, a Science Education program leader. A second group learned about astrophysics through a giant radio antenna and a trip on Sunday to the Princeton University Imaging and Analysis Center.

    Participants in the conference said they enjoyed meeting other female physicists. “I wanted to come to the conference because there are only eight women in my year in physics,” said Katherine Guido, a student at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. “I thought it would be really cool to talk to other women physicists.”

    “I think it’s amazing,” said Jessica Irving, an associate professor in geosciences at Princeton. “I’ve never been to a meeting like this before — a meeting full of women who are excited about science.”

    PPPL, on Princeton University’s Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J., is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. The laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the largest single supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    Princeton University Campus

    About Princeton: Overview

    Princeton University is a vibrant community of scholarship and learning that stands in the nation’s service and in the service of all nations. Chartered in 1746, Princeton is the fourth-oldest college in the United States. Princeton is an independent, coeducational, nondenominational institution that provides undergraduate and graduate instruction in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and engineering.

    As a world-renowned research university, Princeton seeks to achieve the highest levels of distinction in the discovery and transmission of knowledge and understanding. At the same time, Princeton is distinctive among research universities in its commitment to undergraduate teaching.

    Today, more than 1,100 faculty members instruct approximately 5,200 undergraduate students and 2,600 graduate students. The University’s generous financial aid program ensures that talented students from all economic backgrounds can afford a Princeton education.

    Princeton Shield

     
  • richardmitnick 1:31 pm on January 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Women in Physics,   

    From Harvard: Women in STEM – “Strengthening ties among women in physics” 

    Harvard University

    Harvard University

    January 18, 2017
    Alvin Powell

    1
    An attendee at the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics examines equipment in the lab of Michael J. Aziz, the Gene and Tracy Sykes Professor of Materials and Energy Technologies. Photo by Silvia Mazzocchin

    When Margaret Morris looks around her physics class, sometimes she is the only woman there.

    Morris, a senior at Brandeis University, is living the reality for physics in the United States. At a time when women make up the majority of the country’s college students, their numbers still trail male peers in certain fields. And in some disciplines, like physics, women remain a small minority.

    Last weekend, 250 physics majors gathered at Harvard to take a collective step toward a new reality.

    The Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics included lab tours, lectures, personal stories, and practical discussions about research, graduate school applications, how to deal with discrimination and implicit bias, and finding mentors.

    2
    Margaret Morris, a senior at Brandeis University, listens to a presentation at the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics. Morris was one of 250 physics majors in attendance. Photo by Silvia Mazzocchin

    Organizer Anne Hebert, a Harvard grad student, said the conference was designed to connect participants with a support network that will help them move ahead in the field.

    “As an undergraduate, obviously I noticed there weren’t many girls around,” Hebert said. “Every girl in physics has a moment when they turn their head and realize they’re the only girl in the room.”

    One of her fellow organizers, Ellen Klein, a Harvard doctoral student, said that as an undergrad at Yale University, she felt supported by faculty members and never experienced blatant gender discrimination. But she has noticed that there have been fewer women as she’s advanced through different academic levels.

    3
    Ellen Klein (not pictured), a Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences doctoral student, said she’s noticed fewer women as she’s advanced through different academic levels. Photo by Silvia Mazzocchin

    Delilah Gates, also an organizing committee member and Harvard doctoral student, agreed with Klein and Hebert that bias, though often subtle, is still a problem. All three have heard male classmates joke about women and understood in a visceral way that, though real progress has been made, plenty of work remains.

    Gates added that as a black woman, she felt a lot of pressure in college to show that her opportunities weren’t handed to her because of race, leaving her temporarily conflicted about applying to graduate school.

    “In college, I kind of didn’t anticipate it. I was struck by the pressure I felt because of being an African-American woman and [proving] that no one was handing it to me because I check off a diversity box,” Gates said.

    The campus conference, organized through the American Physical Society, was one of 10 that took place across the United States and Canada and the first to be hosted by Harvard.

    4
    Suela Restelica, a sophomore at Orange County Community College in New York state, joined her fellow physics majors. Photo by Silvia Mazzocchin

    Some 1,500 women attended a session somewhere, Hebert said. A workshop titled SPIN UP, for Supporting Inclusion for Underrepresented Peoples, preceded the Harvard conference. The event was aimed at other underrepresented groups in the field, including minorities, students with disabilities, and students from low-income families.

    Physics helps solve problems facing humanity, said Masahiro Morii, chair of Harvard’s Physics Department, which provided logistical support for the student-run conference. And, though women make up half the population, they still make up less than 25 percent of physics graduate students.

    “Until it’s 50 percent, we’re still wasting a lot of talent that’s out there,” Morii said.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Harvard University campus

    Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named after the College’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown, who upon his death in 1638 left his library and half his estate to the institution. A statue of John Harvard stands today in front of University Hall in Harvard Yard, and is perhaps the University’s best known landmark.

    Harvard University has 12 degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 20,000 degree candidates including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. There are more than 360,000 living alumni in the U.S. and over 190 other countries.

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel
%d bloggers like this: