Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Report from SCUWP

As I finished writing this blog I noticed a nicely written one just posted by Ed Bertschinger on a similar topic.  So here is a report on the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics, but from the Southeast conference as compared to Ed's Northeast conference:

My wife, Ellen Williams, attended an interesting conference last week to help undergraduate women in physics and related fields get started in their careers.  It was part of a program called Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics cosponsored by AAS CSWA and APS CSWP, which has simultaneous regional conferences in six regions of the United States.  She attended the one in Florida in the southeast sector, hence SCUWP.

The conference goal from their web site 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."  They have talks by professionals, student talks and panel discussions on various topics.

Ellen gave a talk on her experiences as a physics professor at U Maryland and Chief Scientist at BP.  She then participated in panels on the Status of Women in Physics and Careers in Physics.  These conferences are held on the same dates in all the regions, and all the conferences participate in a plenary talk broadcast to all the sites at the same time.  This year the talk was by Margaret Murnane from U. Colorado JILA on "Why Diverse Teams will Meet the Science and Engineering Challenges of the 21st Century".

The energy level of a room filled with over a hundred aspiring young women scientists was multiplied times six in the plenary session as the audiences all saw each other and participated in a rousing cross-continental cheer of enthusiasm at the end.