Students Attend Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics

CUWiP 2023

Adapted from Students Attend Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics, The Hoya, January 27, 2023.

Four physics students and Prof. Amy Liu participated in the 2023 Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP). Sponsored by the American Physical Society, CUWiP is designed to encourage undergraduate women to continue in physics. Programming typically includes advice about graduate studies and careers, discussions about creating an inclusive physics environment, poster sessions highlighting undergraduate research, and chances to network with fellow female physicists. The 2023 conference was held Jan. 20–22 at 15 different sites in the US and Canada, and the Georgetown group attended at the Penn State site.

Harper Cartwright (C’24) said the conference felt personal and impactful, helping her begin her physics career. She especially appreciated the smaller panel sessions where students had lots of opportunities to ask questions. 

For Allie Stevens (C’26) the highlight of the conference was the inspiring plenary presentation by astrophysicist Dr. Katie Mack, who holds the position of Hawking Chair in Cosmology and Science Communication at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Dr. Mack discussed her research on dark matter as well as her career journey. 

In addition to learning about exciting science in the field of particle astrophysics, Eda Toprak (C’26) enjoyed hearing the personal stories that women physicists shared throughout the conference. She said the conference also gave her a clearer picture of possible physics careers and the steps needed to pursue them.

In the poster session, Cecilia Ochoa (C’24) presented research she is conducting with Prof. Leanne Doughty on student fluency with quantum concepts in the context of interaction-free measurements. 

Prof. Liu, who contributed to a panel discussion about applying to graduate school, reflected on how CUWiP fosters the passion students have for physics and encourages them to persist. “I wish CUWiP had existed back when I was an undergraduate!” Liu said. “I hope that it was an empowering experience that left students excited and confident about doing physics.”