Published: April 4, 2024 By

Group photo of 2017 Boulder CUWiP attendees oustide Duane Physics

Attendees from the 2017 Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics hosted at CU Boulder.

Building on efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in physics, CU Boulder’s Department of Physics and JILA will host a Conference for Undergraduate Women and Gender Minorities in Physics (CU*iP) in January 2025. The conference will bring approximately 150 students from the Midwest region to Boulder.

The three-day regional conferences are sponsored by the American Physical Society (APS) and held annually at select institutions around the country. They are designed to provide professional development opportunities for undergraduate women and gender minorities through networking, keynote speakers, career advice, and graduate school sessions.

“CU*iP conferences have been transformational for many women in STEM careers, and we are thrilled to be able to bring these experiences to our local undergraduate students,” said Bethany Wilcox, assistant professor of physics and chair of the local organizing committee. “In addition to supporting the next, diverse generation of physicists, this conference also provides community to the women and gender minorities already contributing to STEM fields and brings attention to the unique challenges these individuals face within the field while also providing practical tools and strategies for overcoming them.”

The conference in Boulder will be co-hosted by the Department of Physics and JILA, a joint institute between CU Boulder and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Highlighting CU Boulder’s close partnerships with national laboratories and local industry, the conference will connect attendees with all the area has to offer.

“It’s wonderful that CU Boulder has been selected by the American Physical Society to host the 2025 CU*iP conference, following a successful conference here in 2017,” said Tobin Munsat, professor and chair of physics. “This is a terrific opportunity for professional development and networking for undergraduate women and gender minorities. Members of the local organizing committee are putting in an extraordinary amount of work to make the conference an engaging and valuable experience, and the Department of Physics is proud to be a part of it.”

The local organizing committee includes a highly motivated and dedicated group of undergraduate students, graduate students, postdocs, staff, and faculty. The committee is planning a variety of activities including plenary talks, facilitated discussions, social gatherings, poster sessions, and tours of local research institutions.

Several members of the local organizing committee attended CU*iP as an undergraduate and found it to be a very impactful experience. After attending CU*iP as an undergrad, physics graduate student Iona Binnie was inspired to improve access for underrepresented students through departmental initiatives and outreach. Binnie is now serving as a member of the local organizing committee for the 2025 CU*iP in Boulder.

“CU*iP played a large role in my undergraduate career in physics and in my decision to attend grad school,” said Binnie. “As a first-year undergrad, CU*iP was an opportunity to connect with female role models in physics and see a path for myself through a challenging major. The conference gave me the confidence and inspiration to continue with physics and connected me with a larger world of research that would have been hard to access otherwise.”

CU*iP conferences began as a grassroots effort at the University of Southern California in 2006. Since 2012, the American Physical Society has provided organizational support and the conferences are now hosted at more than ten institutions each year, providing opportunities for students around the country to attend. CU Boulder previously hosted a CU*iP conference in January 2017 which was well-attended by approximately 150 students.

Applications for the 2025 Conference for Undergraduate Women and Gender Minorities in Physics will open in October 2024. 

Interested in supporting the 2025 Conference for Undergraduate Women and Gender Minorities in Physics? Contact Professor Bethany Wilcox