UCF, Cornell, Partner to Promote Women in Physics with First Conference in Florida

The University of Central Florida joins Cornell University, the California Institute of Technology and three other institutions to host the Women in Physics Conference at UCF beginning Friday, Jan. 18, in the Pegasus Ballroom of the Student Union.

The three-day event will feature a diverse array of female speakers including Ellen Williams, chief scientist at BP; Karen Thompson, chief technologist at Kennedy Space Center; and Deborah Aruguete, associate program director at the National Science Foundation, among many others.

The conference is being held simultaneously at UCF, Cornell, Cal Tech, University of Illinois, University of Texas and the University of Colorado School of Mines. It is the first time a Florida university is hosting the event. Williams, Thompson and Aruguete will speak here and be broadcast to all conference sites.

“The purpose of the conference is to promote and encourage women studying physics as undergraduates to continue their career in physics, and to provide a network of successful women and future colleagues for these students,” said Tracy Becker, a doctoral student studying physics at UCF who is helping organize the event. “They will experience a professional conference and learn about different career options, graduate school, and how to get involved in research as an undergraduate student.”

Student organizers worked with faculty and staff at UCF with several colleges and departments offering support. The group expects about 100 students at UCF with another 700 combined at the other locations.

Panel discussions on the status of women in physics, careers, graduate schools, minorities in physics, and undergraduate research are scheduled as well as several workshops ranging from applying to graduate school,writing a resume,  research opportunities for undergraduates, and transitioning from a two-year to a four-year university.

Williams  will talk to the general public at 11 a.m. Friday as part of the Distinguished Speakers Series, which is hosted by the College of Sciences. Williams will talk about the importance of scientific research in finding new solutions and providing data to underpin informed decisions about energy, water, land and minerals.

For a complete look at the program click here.