The Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) at Auburn University was a resounding success. Thanks in part to the sponsorship of NSF EPSCoR CPU2AL and the participation of both CPU2AL members and CSPAR staff who served on the Local Organizing Committee (LOC). With over 140 undergraduate students in attendance, the conference provided a unique opportunity for students to learn more about academic and co-curricular opportunities in the field of physics.


The conference was attended by a diverse range of students, including underrepresented groups in physics, who were eager to learn more about the opportunities available to them. The conference was designed to be both informative and engaging, with a range of activities including panels, research talks, poster sessions, and networking opportunities.


One of the highlights of the conference was the keynote speaker, Dr. Sheila Nash-Stevenson, engineer with the Science and Technology Office at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Marshall Space Flight Center. Dr. Nash-Stevenson made history in 1994 when she became the first African American female in Alabama to earn a Ph.D. degree in physics. She was a trailblazer in the field, and her talk inspired the students in attendance to pursue their own passions and make their mark in the world of physics.

2More than 40 speakers took part in the conference, including CPU2AL EOD Coordinator, Laura Provenzani, Dr. Haihong Che, Professor in the Department of Space Science, Dr. Debnandini Mukherjee, Postdoctoral Research Assistant at CSPAR, Katherine Davidson and Rebecca Harvey, Graduate Research Assistants at CSPAR, sharing their knowledge and experience with the students. CSPAR and CPU2AL members were involved with the planning of CUWiP with Auburn University. Dr. Gabe Xu, UAH Engineering Associate Professor and CPU2AL lead, showcased some scientific plasma demos during the event, where attendees got to learn about plasma physics and the research programs at UAH.


Veronica Belser, Research Associate at CSPAR and CUWiP Committee member says, “It was a pleasure partnering with Auburn University by serving on LOC in an administrative capacity to ensure the conference was executed successfully”.


The conference was an excellent opportunity for students to hear from experts in the field and learn about the different paths available to them as they pursue careers in physics. The poster sessions and networking opportunities were especially valuable, providing students with the chance to connect with other students and professionals to learn more about the research being conducted in their field.


Overall, the CUWiP at Auburn was a tremendous success. The conference provided students with a unique opportunity to learn more about the field of physics and the opportunities available to them, and it was a testament to the dedication and hard work of the CPU2AL and CSPAR team who helped make the event possible under Auburn University’s lead. The conference was an inspiring experience for all involved, and it set a new standard for the future of undergraduate physics events.