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Speakers and Panelists

Speakers

Dr. Susan Coppersmith is the Robert E. Fassnacht and a Vilas Professor of Physics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is a theoretical condensed matter physicist who has worked on a broad range of problems in the area of complex systems, and has made substantial contributions to the understanding of subjects including glasses, granular materials, the nonlinear dynamics of magnetic flux lattices in type-II superconductors, and quantum computing.

Dr. Coppersmith has served as Chair of the UW-Madison physics department, as a member of the NORDITA advisory board, as a member of the Mathematical and Physical Science Advisory Committee of the National Science Foundation, and as a Trustee at the Aspen Center for Physics. She has served as Chair of the Division of Condensed Matter Physics of the American Physical Society, as Chair of the Section on Physics of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Gordon Research Conferences, and as Chair of the External Advisory Board of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Coppersmith is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.


Ginger Kerrick, as a child, dreamed of growing up to be either a basketball player or an astronaut. When neither dream came to fruition, Ms. Kerrick developed a fresh perspective – best summed up by the phrase “It just wasn’t meant to be” – and is today part of NASA, serving in the Mission Control Center at the NASA Johnson Space Center as a Flight Director who has, to date, supported 13 International Space Station and five joint shuttle missions. It was there that Ms. Kerrick, a few years earlier, became the first non-astronaut Capsule Communicator (CapCom), the Flight Control position that relays information from Mission Control to an astronaut crew. Through her service in Mission Control, Ms. Kerrick shares in the experience of space travel; and while she may not be an astronaut, because of her support “each astronaut [is] taking a little piece of [her] with them.” But, it was only through hard work and perseverance that Ms. Kerrick arrived at this place, because to earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in physics she first had to win academic scholarships. For Ms. Kerrick, life is an adventure and a fulfillment of her childhood dreams best summed up in her own words: “I have no idea what is next for me, but I trust I will find myself exactly where I am supposed to be!”


Dr. Elise Rumpf earned her Bachelor's in Physics and Geology at the State University of New York at Buffalo. During her time as an undergraduate, she spent her summers studying impact craters and volcanoes on Venus. In 2015, she earned her Ph.D in Geology and Geophysics at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa where she lava-substrate heat transfer through numerical modeling, laboratory experiments, field work, and remote sensing techniques. Elise is currently an NSF Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory(LDEO) at Columbia University. She currently investigates the mechanical interactions between lava flows and the underlying substrate at the new Fluid Mechanics Laboratory at LDEO and in the field, most recently in Iceland.


Dr. Barbara Szczerbinska is an Associate Professor of Physics in the College of Arts and Science at Dakota State University in Madison, SD. Dr. Szczerbinska received her PhD in Physics with an emphasis on theoretical nuclear physics from the University of South Carolina (USC) in Columbia, SC in 2006. Prior to that, she spent 18 months working at the Institute of Nuclear Physics (present Polish Academy of Science) in Krakow, Poland. She also holds a MS in theoretical physics from University of Wroclaw (UW) in Wroclaw, Poland.

Since joining DSU in fall of 2006, Dr. Szczerbinska is actively involved in teaching, research and service to the college, university and community at large. She teaches multiple undergraduate and graduate level physics courses and supervises students in a Physical Science program (research, internships). For over eight years she mentors students in Women in Science and Technology – a DSU student organization.

Dr. Szczerbinska’s research focus on theoretical aspects of Neutrino Physics and Dark Matter and her intensive collaborations with scientists from around the world lead to her establishing, in 2011 The Center for Theoretical Underground Physics and Related Fields known internationally as CETUP*. The mission of CETUP* is to promote organized research in physics, astrophysics, geoscience, geomicrobiology and other fields related to the underground science via individual and collaborative research in a dynamic atmosphere of intense scientific interactions. Each year CETUP* brings to South Dakota scientists from around the world, promotes the underground science and provides a stimulating environment for creative thinking and open communication between researches what results in numerous scientific papers published each year.

As part of her multiple education outreach initiatives she established in 2012 ‘It’s all about Science’ science festival hosted annually in Sioux Falls. She is heavily involved in promoting STEM to people of all ages. In addition, for over six years Dr. Szczerbinska served on the Board of Directors for the Kirby Science Discovery Center and Community Learning Committee at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls. Currently she serves on the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Leadership Council in addition to multiple university committees.


Lakeisha Walker has 13 years in the process engineering field. Originally in BWXT Y-12’s Enriched Uranium Operations and now as a Scientific Associate within the Neutron Scattering Sciences Directorate of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Her knowledge includes technical understanding of mechanical equipment, motion control and analysis software, and technical writing. Her most recent position also includes an aspect of customer service in scheduling, training, and hosting experimental users. She was nominated for “Outstanding Female in Research” in 2007 (ORNL). Her position as a member of the Neutron Imaging Team at the HFIR placed her in direct contact with users from the automotive industry as well as geological, archeological, and forensic science fields. Within the last year she has transitioned to both the BioSANS and IMAGINE instruments which have introduced her to the world pharmaceutical and bio fuels research.

Mrs. Walker is involved in education outreach. She was an invited ORNL Black Executive Exchange Program (BEEP) participant 2008-2010, as well as, a mentor to multiple students (summer, spring, and fall) from the SULI and HERE programs. This resulted in an “Outstanding Mentor Award” in 2008 (ORNL). She has also participated in recruiting trips, local elementary middle and high school outreach, as well as college panel discussions; all facilitated by ORNL.

Mrs. Walker is a wife of 16 years, mother of three, and a follower of Yeshua. Her hobbies are reading, jigsaw puzzles, crafting, and dancing.


Organizers

Dr. Brianna Mount is the co-chair of the Local Organizing Committee. She graduated from the University of Idaho with bachelor degrees in Physics and Mathematics and obtained her PhD in Physics from Florida State University. She is currently a Research Assistant Professor of Phyics at Black Hills State University (BHSU). Dr. Mount is the Laboratory Director of the BHSU Underground Campus, a multi-disciplinary facility at the 4850’ level of the Sanford Lab. Her current research interests include radiopurity measurements via high purity germanium detectors and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry for underground, rare-event physics experiments.


Dr. Peggy Norris received her B.A. in physics and chemistry from Rice University and her PhD in chemical physics from Columbia University. Her current role is Deputy Director for Education and Outreach for the Sanford Underground Research Facility. For many years, she was a Research Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where she worked most recently as Research Coordinator at the 88” Cyclotron, where her team established a facility for testing electronic components to be used in space applications. Seven years ago, she jumped at the opportunity to move to South Dakota and transition full time into science education, as part of the team that has converted the former Homestake Gold Mine into an underground science laboratory.


Dr. Katrina Jensen is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Black Hills State University. She earned her PhD in Organic Chemistry at the University of Utah and was a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She earned her BS in Chemistry from Black Hills State University, and was excited to be able to return to her alma mater in 2011 as a professor.

Dr. Jensen is a physical organic chemist with research interests in photocatalysis. She runs an active undergraduate research group at BHSU and works to promote gender equity in science. She founded and is the faculty advisor for the Women in Science Technology Engineering and Math (WISTEM) student organization at BHSU and is on the board of directors for Youth in Science Rapid City, which organizes an annual Women in Science Conference for middle and high school girls in the Black Hills.


Dr. Abigail Domagall, originally from the U.K., moved to the U.S. to pursue her Master’s and Ph.D. at the University at Buffalo in New York, focusing on Volcanology. Since 2008, Dr. Domagall has been the sole geology faculty at Black Hills State University and is responsible for the Environmental Physical Science program. She enjoys teaching a wide range of Geology courses including Volcanology, Hydrology, and Field Methods. Her research interests are primarily focused on the physical emplacement of volcanic deposits based on field data, and she has done field work in the Canary Islands, Cyprus, Mexico, and all over the U.K. and the U.S.


Dr. Kara Keeter came to Black Hills State University in 2008 to pursue underground physics research at Sanford Lab in nearby Lead, SD. She earned her BS from Tennessee Technological University and her Master’s and PhD from Duke University/Triangle Universities Nuclear Lab, and served as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Virginia and the University of Saskatchewan working on medium energy nuclear physics experiments at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland, and the Saskatchewan Accelerator Laboratory in Canada before switching to neutrino physics by joining the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) Collaboration. An Associate Professor in Physics, she has built a program of research in neutrinos and dark matter at BHSU and is a member of the Majorana and DarkSide Collaborations.


Student Organizers

Kristin Rath is the Student Chair of the Local Organizing Committee. She a senior double majoring in Physical Science and Science Education. She has done physics research on campus for three years and is currently in her last semester of school student teaching in a high school physics and chemistry classroom. She is also on the BHSU Track and Field Team.


Madison Jilek is in her second year at Black Hills State University, majoring in both Physical Science and Chemistry. She has previously been a QuarkNet Summer Intern, a Davis-Bahcall Scholar, a SD BRIN Fellow, and has worked in the laser spectroscopy lab at BHSU. She has also worked at the Black Hills Airport since 2010.


Rachel Williams is a California transplant. I’m a third year Physics and Chemistry major with a Psychology minor at BHSU. This is my third year being a part of CUWiP, so if you have any questions don’t hesitate to pull me aside!


Stereotype Threat, Imposter Syndrome, etc. Panel

10:00-11:00 am | Meier Hall Auditorium

Griffiths Dr. José-Marie Griffiths is President of Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota. She has previously served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island, as the Dean of the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chief Information Officer at the University of Michigan, Vice Chancellor at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and Vice President for King Research, Inc. She has a B.Sc. with honors in Physics, a Ph.D. in Information Science and a Post Doctorate in Computer Science and Statistics, all from University College London, London, England.

Dr. Griffiths has spent over 30 years in research, teaching, public service, corporate leadership and higher education administration. She has been awarded presidential appointments from two United States Presidents, including The National Science Board, the U.S. President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee, and the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information. She has had appointments to multiple projects as lead or key personnel for over 28 United States federal agencies, departments and offices. Dr. Griffiths has carried out projects and/or advisory roles with over 20 major corporations on projects in science and technology, as well as seven major international organizations, including NATO and the United Nations. She is the recipient of over 20 significant awards in science, technology, teaching and the advancement of women in these fields, and has made presentations, done accreditation reviews and/or been a participant in projects in over 35 countries.


Ted Hodapp is the Director of Education and Diversity at APS. He directs the Bridge Program, a new NSF-funded effort by APS to increase the number of underrepresented minorities who receive doctoral degrees in physics. Before coming to the APS, he served as Program Director in the National Science Foundation’s Division of Undergraduate Education, working with programs in curriculum development and implementation, teacher preparation, scholarships, and the National Science Digital Library. Prior to coming to the NSF, Ted was professor and chair of the Hamline University Physics Department in St. Paul, Minnesota.





Dr. Barbara Billington has been in academia since her pre-K days. Although she never thought she would be a teacher as a child, she found her passion for education while killing countless millions of bacteria and yeast at the University of Chicago and working with scientists of all ages and levels of experience. After a detour in a fruit fly lab, she earned her life science teaching licensure and taught for seven years as a high school biology teacher in Minnesota. It was during this time that gender disparities in school science classrooms became evident. Subsequently, after a few years of supervising student teachers and organizing the Minnesota State Science Bowl competitions, she returned to graduate school to study gender equity in science education. Now as a faculty member at the University of Minnesota's College of Education and Human Development she currently teaches new and beginning science teachers and elementary teachers about science teaching... with a focus on student-centered, culturally relevant, gender-equitable, inquiry-based instruction with a critical feminist pedagogical lens. In addition to her teaching, Barbara is currently working with Twin Cities Public Television's SciGirls team on a grant to teach Gender-Equitable Teaching Strategies (GETS) with in-service teachers and school counselors.



Careers Panel

4:30-5:30 pm | Meier Hall Auditorium

Lakeisha Walker has 13 years in the process engineering field. Originally in BWXT Y-12’s Enriched Uranium Operations and now as a Scientific Associate within the Neutron Scattering Sciences Directorate of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Her knowledge includes technical understanding of mechanical equipment, motion control and analysis software, and technical writing. Her most recent position also includes an aspect of customer service in scheduling, training, and hosting experimental users. She was nominated for “Outstanding Female in Research” in 2007 (ORNL). Her position as a member of the Neutron Imaging Team at the HFIR placed her in direct contact with users from the automotive industry as well as geological, archeological, and forensic science fields. Within the last year she has transitioned to both the BioSANS and IMAGINE instruments which have introduced her to the world pharmaceutical and bio fuels research.

Mrs. Walker is involved in education outreach. She was an invited ORNL Black Executive Exchange Program (BEEP) participant 2008-2010, as well as, a mentor to multiple students (summer, spring, and fall) from the SULI and HERE programs. This resulted in an “Outstanding Mentor Award” in 2008 (ORNL). She has also participated in recruiting trips, local elementary middle and high school outreach, as well as college panel discussions; all facilitated by ORNL.

Mrs. Walker is a wife of 16 years, mother of three, and a follower of Yeshua. Her hobbies are reading, jigsaw puzzles, crafting, and dancing.


Dr. Susan Coppersmith is the Robert E. Fassnacht and a Vilas Professor of Physics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is a theoretical condensed matter physicist who has worked on a broad range of problems in the area of complex systems, and has made substantial contributions to the understanding of subjects including glasses, granular materials, the nonlinear dynamics of magnetic flux lattices in type-II superconductors, and quantum computing.

Dr. Coppersmith has served as Chair of the UW-Madison physics department, as a member of the NORDITA advisory board, as a member of the Mathematical and Physical Science Advisory Committee of the National Science Foundation, and as a Trustee at the Aspen Center for Physics. She has served as Chair of the Division of Condensed Matter Physics of the American Physical Society, as Chair of the Section on Physics of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Gordon Research Conferences, and as Chair of the External Advisory Board of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Coppersmith is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.


Dr. Hannah Jang-Condell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Wyoming. She received her PhD in Astronomy from Harvard University in 2004, studying the role of radiative transfer in planet-forming disks around young stars. Her research addresses questions about the origins of planetary systems. She carried out postdoctoral work at the Carnegie Institution for Science, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, the University of Maryland, and the Space Telescope Science Institute before joining the faculty at the University of Wyoming in 2011. Dr. Jang-Condell is a passionate advocate for women in STEM, having served on the American Astronomical Society’s Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy from 2006-2011, during which time she founded the Women in Astronomy Blog (http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com).


Amanda Towry attended, and achieved her BS in Physics at, New Mexico State University as a Crimson Scholar. Amanda was a professional physics and math tutor and taught undergraduate physics lab courses at NMSU-A for 3 years before attending graduate school. She completed graduate courses in space physics at Baylor University and at the University of Texas at San Antonio before getting into the teaching field. Now, after realizing that teaching is her super power, Amanda is completing her masters in physics education at University of Nebraska Kearney, with plans to achieve an EdD. Amanda has completed all of this in spite of being a single mother who admits that she only ever got interested in Physics as a career path because it was the only subject she struggled with and had to work judiciously at to reach her high achievements. Amanda taught high school in Texas for 3 years before moving to South Dakota with her 10 year old daughter who recently admitted she also MIGHT want to be a physicist one day (fingers crossed). Amanda maintains membership in many professional physics and teaching organizations, has received multiple NASA REU grants for summer research in previous years with multiple published articles and conference reads, and is a lifelong inductee of Sigma Pi Sigma, the National Physics Honor Society.

Amanda’s favorite piece of advice to give to anyone interested in teaching as a career is “They often say that those who can’t do, teach; well, I say that those who can’t teach WELL, do. Because you HAVE to be able to DO in order to TEACH.” In her spare time, Amanda enjoys long and compelling mathematics/physics problems, intense anime marathons, and the occasional astronomy/physics documentary and liquid nitrogen.


Grad Student/Post-Bachelor Panel

12:15-1:30 pm | EO Building

Elizabeth Boulton is in her fourth year of graduate student at Yale University. After her first physics class in high school, she was hooked. She went on to be a physics major at Smith College in Western Massachusetts. After college, she embarked on a journey to Germany, where she completed a Fulbright Research Fellowship project in atomic physics. Upon returning to the US, Elizabeth started a PhD program in physics. Her PhD thesis work focuses on two experiments that both utilize two-phase xenon detectors.

One experiment is the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) Experiment, based at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SRUF) in Lead, SD. This is a dark matter direct detection experiment. Dark Matter makes up ~27% of the Universe, but it only slightly interacts with normal matter. LUX uses a high-tech tank filled with 300 kg of liquid xenon. When a particle (DM or other) enters the detector, light is produced from the interaction with a xenon atom. The tank of xenon has PMTs (photomultiplier tubes) surrounding it that can detect that small amount of light. By analyzing the resulting light signals, one can tell if the incoming particle is DM. The other experiment that Elizabeth is involved with is the Compton-imaging Detector in Xenon (CoDeX). This experiment utilizes the same type of detector to look for special nuclear material.


Meg Millhouse is currently a graduate student at Montana State University. She graduated from Reed College in Portland, Oregon where she spent her senior year doing research for her thesis on neutrino tomography. After having spent a summer at Montana State University doing solar physics, she returned to pursue her doctorate. Her work now focuses on gravitational wave data analysis, and she has spent the last few months analyzing data from the first observational run of advanced LIGO— the recently upgraded ground-based interferometric gravitational wave detector.


Emily Dvorak, third year graduate student at SDSM&T working towards a PhD in particle physics. Currently her research focuses on the IceCube Neutrino Experiment located at the South Pole, where she is trying to study the charmed component of cosmic rays. Along with her research she focuses on outreach for the IceCube experiment as well as the physics program at SDSM&T. Advice for future female students: never turn down an opportunity!


Megan Stark currently serve as a LUX-Zeplin (LZ) Lab Technician for the physics department at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, SD. I work on the cleanliness and screening of materials for the LZ dark matter detector that will be housed at Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, SD. I graduated from Gordon College in Wenham, MA in 2013 with a bachelors degree in physics and am currently applying to graduate schools.


REU Workshop

Dr. Katrina Jensen is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Black Hills State University. She earned her PhD in Organic Chemistry at the University of Utah and was a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She earned her BS in Chemistry from Black Hills State University, and was excited to be able to return to her alma mater in 2011 as a professor. Dr. Jensen is a physical organic chemist with research interests in photocatalysis. She runs an active undergraduate research group at BHSU and works to promote gender equity in science. She founded and is the faculty advisor for the Women in Science Technology Engineering and Math (WISTEM) student organization at BHSU and is on the board of directors for Youth in Science Rapid City, which organizes an annual Women in Science Conference for middle and high school girls in the Black Hills.


Graduate School Workshop

Dr. Doug Wells completed his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1990, where he investigated photon scattering from light nuclei as a probe of bound-nucleon electromagnetic properties. Since then he has served in public health (radiation protection) and in academia as a professor of physics, Chair of the physics department (Idaho State University) and Director of a large nuclear laboratory (the Idaho Accelerator Center). He is currently professor of physics and Dean of Graduate Education at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. For the last 20 years his research has been focused on applications of photo-nuclear physics to homeland security, nuclear non-proliferation, medical applications (especially radio-isotope production) and materials science.


Leadership Workshop

For more than 30 years, “building” best describes Annie Bachand-Loyd’s occupation. Annie’s ability to build communities through her unique public involvement process has brought people of diverse back- grounds together through the work of her foundation, The Fusion Foundation. Annie’s other endeavors include: running for Congress, Voices for Civil Dialogue, “Healing Trees” a memorial started after US Representative Gabby Giffords and 18 others were shot in Tucson, and publishing the innovative magazine “One Planet”. Annie is also committed to assisting other organizations like the Phoenix Allies of Commu- nity Health (PACH), Restore Arts, HEAL International and most recently Buffalo Gals.

As a construction owner, Annie’s ability to work through challenges and create innovative solutions helped her clients build the home of their dreams. Annie is a visionary who builds coalitions and finds solutions even in communities with a long history of conflict. Most importantly, she works with people matching needs with resources. Through her experiences of working in public policy, being a serial entrepreneur and effecting social change through public and private philanthropy, Annie has acquired a vast understanding of best practices for meeting community, state, national and global challenges. Annie’s problem solving leadership creates environments for effective collaboration and development.

Annie forges teamwork through building new relationships and strengthening existing ones. She believes in the power of diverse ideas. Annie understands the fundamental role that engineers have in every aspect of our society. Annie views her current role of “Champion” with Sequoia Engineering & Environmental as a conduit to direct the talents and skills of others to build a company where people thrive which unleashes the full potential of engineers to enhance how we live. Sequoia is committed to creating a fertile environment for highly skilled engineers, championing motivated professionals and developing long-term, exciting business partnerships built with integrity to last a lifetime.