Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics

Kevin Pitts

Each year, on the weekend of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) is held simultaneously at multiple sites nationally.  Last year, Illinois hosted the Midwest conference (here and here).  This year, there are 8 sites around the country (Stony Brook, Penn State, Maryland, Louisiana State, Florida State, Chicago, Utah and Berkeley) are hosting more than 1000 female undergraduate physics majors.

These conferences are really amazing and empowering.  In a field that is about 15% female, it is a tremendous opportunity for young women to meet one another, hear about science and careers from great role models, and learn about the tremendous opportunities they face in STEM fields.  The sites this year have gone an extra mile to arrange tours of laboratories, including NIST, Brookhaven, Argonne, Fermilab, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.

I’m at the LSU conference this weekend.  The speakers are interesting and inspiring.  The panels are very educational. The energy and enthusiasm from the attendees is so high it’s difficult to describe.

The conferences keep growing, and support is keeping up.  The conferences are getting tremendous backing from the American Physical Society, the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation as well as many other university, corporate and private donors.  They all recognize that we’re doing something very special here, and it’s making a difference.

Links to the conference sites can be found here.  If you want to sample the enthusiasm, sample the hashtag #CUWIP on Twitter.

Attendees at the LSU conference hear an inspiring talk from Zelda Gills (Lockheed-Martin).
Attendees at the LSU conference hear an inspiring talk from Zelda Gills (Lockheed-Martin).