BHSU to host Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics

Author: BHSU Communications/Monday, January 11, 2016/Categories: 2016

Black Hills State University will host the American Physical Society's Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics Jan. 15-17. The weekend-long conference includes research talks by faculty, panel discussions about careers in physics, and a visit to Sanford Underground Research Facility.  

Black Hills State University will welcome 80 undergraduate physics majors from throughout the Midwest to campus Jan. 15-17 for the American Physical Society's Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP). The conference is held in partnership with Sanford Underground Research Facility.

Kristin Rath, a secondary science education and physical science major from Canton who serves as the student chair of the conference's local organizing committee, said the conference is especially important for undergraduate women in science. Nationally, women are under-represented in the field of physics.

"While undergraduate women in science may be one of only two or three girls in their class at school, they are one of many women in science across the nation," said Rath. "This conference helps them to see that they are not alone in their love of science."

The three-day conference includes research talks by faculty, panel discussions about graduate school and careers in physics, presentations and discussions about women in physics, laboratory tours, and a student poster session.

Dr. Brianna Mount, research assistant professor in physics at BHSU, said the conference is one of nine held concurrently throughout the United States in different regions. BHSU, as the Midwest site, will welcome attendees from Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin.

"We're hosting a variety of workshops," said Mount. "It will also be great for the young women to interact socially, have a good time and build a support network for themselves."

Dr. Peggy Norris, deputy director of education and outreach at Sanford Underground Research Facility, has been involved with national efforts to get more K-12 girls into Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. She said pursuing a degree in physics provides many career options including research, education, and technical jobs.

"This conference is a great way to bring young women together who might not have a female faculty member as a role model," said Norris. "Bringing them together to meet other women physicists."  

For more information or to view the conference agenda, visit or contact Dr. Brianna Mount, 605-642-6094 or

This conference is supported in part by the National Science Foundation (PHY-1346627) and by the Department of Energy Office of Science (DE-SC0011076). Further details are available on the APS conference website. Other sponsors include Black Hills State University, American Astronomical Society, South Dakota Space Grant Consortium, GenPro Energy Solutions, SD EPSCoR, American Physical Society, South Dakota Board of Regents, University of South Dakota, South Dakota Science and Technology Authority, Dakota State University, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, and the University of Utah.

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