Department News

Jan 24, 2020 - Department holds successful Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics

The Department of Physics and Astronomy hosted the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP2020 @ OU) on January 17-19, 2020. The conference was attended by about 130 undergraduate students, mostly women, from Oklahoma, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Following a formal application to the American Physical Society (APS), which coordinates the conference series, OU was selected as one of 12 sites across the US to host CUWiP over the MLK weekend.

OU’s CUWiP was organized under the leadership of third-year physics graduate student Amber Roepe, who spear-headed bringing CUWiP to OU and served as Chair of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC). Doerte Blume served as the Faculty Chair of the conference. The majority of the LOC was made up of undergraduate and graduate students from the Department of Physics and Astronomy. In addition, several staff and faculty members generously donated their time. The feedback from the student participants and presenters was overwhelmingly positive. One student participant wrote after the conference “Thank you so much for such a great weekend. I learned so much.” MacArthur Fellow Prof. Margaret Murnane from the University of Colorado, Boulder/JILA, who gave the after-dinner talk on Friday, said “Terrific conference! I think everyone benefitted from the wonderful exchanges---and it will motivate us to keep pushing for better environments for members from underrepresented groups!"

The conference program touched on all aspects of undergraduate students’ lives, including the challenges and isolation frequently felt by members from underrepresented minorities. The undergraduate student attendees had the opportunity to visit experimental facilities in Nielsen and Lin Halls, to learn about graduate programs and internships, to enjoy talks by internationally renowned speakers, to interact with OU alumni who are now pursuing highly successful careers in academia, to hear about how to cope with mental health challenges, to learn about unique challenges encountered by underrepresented minorities and the LGBTQ+ community, and to engage in networking.

The conference organizers would like to acknowledge the financial support of the conference by the APS, through their NSF and DOE grants; nine OU Departments, Colleges, and Offices; EPSCOR Mississippi; as well as individual donors who donated through OU’s Thousand Strong crowdfunding efforts. 

Congratulations to all!

See also our full news listing



CMP Journal Club

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Astronomy Journal Club

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Nielsen Hall 103 - Renae Wall