Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics
Conference Website: https://www.ou.edu/cuwip
What is CUWiP?
CUWiP is an annual conference series that has been running since 2006. Since its start, conference participation has been growing non-stop. In January 2020, twelve different sites across the US will be hosting CUWiP; the Department of Physics and Astronomy at OU’s Norman campus will serve as one of these host sites. A thirteenth conference will be hosted in Canada at the same time. Being coordinated under the umbrella of the American Physical Society, all host sites share the same goals and mission. During the three-day conference there will be one national keynote speaker that will be live streamed to all thirteen sites. The remainder of the conference program is being developed independently by each of the thirteen local organizing committees.
The local organizing committee at OU consists of undergraduate students, graduate students, staff, and faculty. The committee is in the process of putting together a diverse conference program, which includes research talks by internationally recognized scientists, panel discussions about graduate school and careers in physics, presentations and guided discussions about women in physics, laboratory tours, research talks by student participants, and a poster session. The goal of the 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 at various career stages with whom they can share experiences, advice, and ideas. Informal discussions during the coffee breaks and lunches/dinners will be actively facilitated. We, as well as the other sites, strive to create a welcoming environment not only during the conference but permanently and across all of physics and the STEM disciplines for all, including undergraduate women and gender minorities.
We are expecting 180 undergraduate woman participants from across the state of Oklahoma and neighboring states. The majority of these participants are enrolled in physics bachelor’s degree programs. Many of these women will be making decisions regarding the next step in their education and career in the near future. The primary goal of CUWiP is to highlight career paths within physics, either within academia or outside of academia. With relatively small enrollments in undergraduate physics programs, many undergraduate women in physics have only limited networking opportunities to connect with other women at their home campuses. Research has shown, however, that feeling part of a larger community can be a deciding factor in a woman’s decision to further pursue a career in physics, which would increase the diversity within STEM fields. The conference at OU in 2020 will provide one important avenue for building this community and for empowering women in physics.
Goals of this campaign and why we need your help
CUWiP is coordinated under the umbrella of the American Physical Society (APS). This not-for-profit Society provides significant financial support. However, the support provided is not sufficient to cover all the expenses associated with hosting the conference at OU. To enhance participation and maximize the conference’s impact, the local expenses of the participants have traditionally been full covered. We aim to follow suit by locally raising additional funds. With your help to raise these additional funds, the following will be possible:
- Cover the local expenses (lodging and meals) of all participants.
- Cover the local and travel expenses of internationally recognized speakers and panelists.
- Offer travel grants for student participants.
We already have the support of the American Physical Society, the National Science Foundation, The Department of Energy, OU Department of Physics and Astronomy, the OU College of Arts and Sciences, and a number of other OU entities. With the additional help of individuals like you, we will be able to reach our goals. We want to put together a highly rewarding, engaging, stimulating, and energizing conference
Anticipated benefits to the participants
We firmly believe that each and every of these women physicists will return to their home institutions enriched, with new knowledge, new impressions, new thoughts, new friends, and an enlarged network of equals. Specifically, the variety of formal sessions and informal discussions in the program of events aims at:
- Presenting high-quality research talks by international leaders.
- Showcasing female role models at all career stages, ranging from graduate student, to postdoc, to faculty, to scientist at a national laboratory, to industry employee.
- Highlighting resources available to undergraduate students with regards to career counseling, application to graduate school, equal opportunity office,…
- Critically investigating one’s own pre-conceptions with regards to working toward equal opportunities for all.
- Presenting a variety of viable and rewarding career paths within physics and the broadly defined STEM disciplines.
- Recognizing, through sharing of experiences, that all of us are part of a broader community.
- Building a support team through networking.
Anticipated benefits to OU
As the Norman campus is one of the host sites, CUWiP is a great advertisement opportunity for OU to the participants and invited speakers as they experience our campus and its hospitality. Since many of the undergraduate women will be pursuing graduate school, this is a unique recruiting tool for the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Moreover, participants will tour laboratories and facilities on campus, coming away with a much more concrete picture and understanding of what OU is about. The planning and hosting of the conference has already positively enhanced awareness within the Department of Physics and Astronomy from varied experiences that different fractions of the student, postdoc, and faculty body may have. It is expected that this enhanced awareness will, step by step, facilitate changes that make OU a place that everybody will happily call home.
Would your corporation like to become a sponsor?
If you are representing a company and if your company would like to contribute, we have some sponsorship packages available. Please email Amber Roepe at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.