Professional Advice at Physics Conference

0
Left to right: Jaskiran Behl, Angelique Noles, Brooke Adams, Sakhee Bhure, and Amoree Hodges at the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Physical Acoustics.

We started out the new semester with a bang, a group of us attending the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP). This is an annual conference put on by the American Physical Society (APS) at multiple locations across the nation.

Thanks to Florida Tech’s Student Activities, we were able to get funding for plane tickets and travel to the University of Mississippi for one of the conference sessions! The conference itself takes care of hotel, transportation from the airport and food for the weekend, so it was a fantastic deal for us. Each location has their own events, and then all connect via webcam for the keynote speaker, who we were lucky enough to have at our location rather than watching over the internet.

The keynote speaker, Gabriella Gonzalez, is introduced for her presentation.

The keynote speaker, Gabriella Gonzalez, is introduced for her presentation.

CUWiP is a great way to meet other women aspiring to be physicists and to see what kind of research women in physics are doing. There were a number of professional research presentations, panels for Q&A, presentations by some graduate students, and an undergraduate poster session. Quite a bit of the research was on gravitational waves because of our vicinity to the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) facility in Louisiana, but there were some on black holes, materials, and industry jobs, as well. That last one in particular was from Zelda Gills, Ph.D., a woman working with Lockheed Martin, who Jaskiran and I were able to give our information to for future contact. I have been talking with her and she even looked over my resume and made some suggestions, so on a personal note, I consider the conference to be quite a success (see my previous blog about last year’s CUWiP conference, “How to Network in a Professional Setting”).

Dr. Zelda Gills from Lockheed Martin giving her talk “Competencies for Success as a Physicist in Industry”

Dr. Zelda Gills from Lockheed Martin giving her talk “Competencies for Success as a Physicist in Industry”

 

Quite a bit of good advice was given from various speakers, and I will end with some
of my favorites.

“Continue to do your best and have no regrets”

—Dr. Claudia Hillenbrand

 

                “There’s nothing wrong with saying ‘I don’t know’.”

—Dr. Denise Caldwell

 

                “Physics teaches us how to learn.” Yes, we forget equations and concepts, but we know where to look them up!

—Dr. Claudia Hillenbrand

 

                “Try for ‘work-life integration’ instead of work-life balance. There doesn’t always have to be a clear defining line between the two.”

—Dr. Veerle Keppens

 

“Don’t be scared to take advisors who have drastically different experiences than you.”

—Dr. Zelda Gills.

 

“Be yourself and don’t compare with others!”

—Dr. Claudia Hillenbrand

 

                “Try to know what you want to be doing in five years. You probably won’t be doing it, but going toward that goal will get you somewhere better.”

—Dr. Gabriella Gonzalez

The conference was a good experience. It is always uplifting to hear about successes people have had in their careers in physics. If you are feeling a bit bogged down by undergraduate work, you are not alone! Don’t worry, it will get better. Everyone has to go through some grueling years of classes, exams, and projects before heading on to pure research, but once you get there, it will be worth it. The experiences you have now will help shape you into who you want to become, so make the most of it!

Official conference photo of all CUWiP attendees at the University of Mississippi’s Lyceum.

Official conference photo of all CUWiP attendees at the University of Mississippi’s Lyceum.

 

 

Share.

About Author

Leave A Reply