COSAM News Articles 2023 January Future physicists build experiences impacting their future careers at Auburn University during Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics
Future physicists build experiences impacting their future careers at Auburn University during Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics
Welcome and War Eagle - Welcoming attendees to the conference - Back row: Vini Nathan and Luke Bryant. Front row left to right: Jennifer Morris and Sharon Godbee.
The opening session of the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics, or CUWiP, welcomed several speakers, including Vini Nathan, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
“Throughout my career, I have worked to foster a work environment that uplifts others and helps them to realize their own capacity for success. By participating in conferences like this, you are doing the same for yourselves and one another,” said Nathan.
More than 140 undergraduate students interested in physics attended the conference, where they learned more about academic and co-curricular opportunities on campus. “You are the next generation of problem solvers, and the sheer brilliance you all represent here tonight is impressive,” Nathan continued. “I encourage you to take advantage of Auburn’s resources and engage with our COSAM faculty through coursework, research, outreach and other programs.”
“What you will gain here at CUWiP, you will not get from other conferences,” said Yu Lin, professor of physics in the Department of Physics at Auburn University. “You will learn from leading physicists, hear about cutting-edge research and find out about an array of potential career paths.”
And on the first night of the conference, the students seized the opportunity to do exactly that.
After the opening session, the students enjoyed dinner in an exciting speed dating-like setting where the guests at each table heard from a rotation of role models in physics at The Hotel at Auburn University and Conference Center.
“I like that in physics there are always more questions to ask,” said Sarah Dalessi, a doctoral student at the University of Alabama at Huntsville.
Students were able to learn about her experiences in graduate school and gain insight tailored to their future goals.
Anjali Filinovich, a senior at Southern Adventist University, shared her excitement about teaching physics and was looking forward to the physics education panel.
“I was inspired by my high school teacher who made a difference and inspired me to teach others,” Filinovich said.
She spoke with the physicist at her table about exactly what she needed to do to prepare to become an educator and what courses can help her be the most successful. By being able to talk about her career paths, she found out that she has multiple tracks from high schools to community colleges to universities.
Melissa Halford, a lecturer in the Department of Physics at Auburn University, encouraged the students at to talk to other women at the conference.
“Being at this conference, you have the chance to interact and learn from top physicists,” said Halford. “Take the time to network with them and ask them questions throughout all of the events.”
Sarah Bass, a mechanical engineering major in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, spoke about attending previous CUWiP conferences.
“I took what I learned at CUWiP back with me each time to my department,” Bass said. “This conference is where you find people that will make a difference in your future.”
The conference included panels, research talks, poster sessions, networking opportunities and much more. More than 40 speakers including Shelia Nash-Stevenson, a NASA scientist, spoke during the event.
“You are going to find out that there are exceptional opportunities to you in academia, industry and beyond,” said Kai Wright of American Physical Society or APS.
Student Panel Discussion, "How to get the Most of CUWiP" with Kai Wright, Sarah Bass and Tyler Milkeris-Zellar.
This event is co-hosted by Auburn University and the University of Alabama at Huntsville, and the local organizing committee also includes Alabama State University.
The conference is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (including the NSF EPSCoR fund CPU2AL), Department of Energy, APS, Auburn University’s College of Sciences and Mathematics, Auburn University’s Department of Physics, University of Alabama at Huntsville’s Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research.
The conference helped these undergraduate students to continue to build their love for science, and to pursue rewarding and impactful careers in the field of physics.
Throughout the conference, the students heard directly from role models and were encouraged to further explore their lifelong passion for science.
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