2018 APS Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP)

Presentation Guidelines

Dr. Chandar and students in astronomy classWe look forward to welcoming you and more than 100  physics majors in January. Our goal for the conference is that it provides both education about opportunities in physics (such as graduate school or REUs), career development opportunities (CV building, negotiating techniques), and networking opportunities among the student and mentor participants.

Speakers
The talk you will be giving at our conference will probably be different from what you are used to giving, so here is some advice and some ideas for what to include or not to include:

  • The student attendees are all undergraduates. This means that the level of the science and technical content should be kept relatively low
  • Please plan to leave approximately a third of your allotted time for questions from the audience. It is the interaction between the mentors and the mentees that really “make” these conferences.
  • Please spend some time - and some slides - discussing your career path. The participants would like to know how to got to where you are, and not just what you do now. Most career paths are not exactly straight - did you change fields, or start out as a teacher of Italian, did you have kids in graduate school, did you overcome challenges or disappointments or biases? It might be good to mention some mentors that have been important to you in getting you where you are.
  • Conference surveys from previous CUWiPs have shown that attendees often come away from conferences thinking that they have to be really “lucky” to be successful in a physics career. In part, they hear this from speakers who often mention that they themselves feel very lucky to be where they are. We would like to convey to students that they can play a more active role in their careers by creating and being prepared for opportunities that arise at any stage of their professional lives - that luck, although it of course plays some role in success, is only useful when you are ready to take advantage of it. So we ask you (gently) to choose your words carefully and emphasize actively creating and taking advantage of opportunities rather than passively being “lucky” or “the one that was selected”.
  • CUWiP strives to be inclusive to all attendees, including LGBT+ attendees. Please consider using gender-neutral pronouns and phrasing such as “Bring your partner” instead of “Bring your husband” and do not assume that all attendees have a heterosexual orientation.

Panelists
Here are some ideas for what to do and not to do as a panelist:

  • At the beginning of the panel, the moderator will ask each panelist to introduce themselves. We are asking that you keep this introduction to 2-3 minutes, to not take too much time from the panel-audience interactions. You should give a brief introduction to who you are, where you work/go to school, and convey a sense of what you can bring to this panel (for instance, if you are on the graduate school panel: are you a current graduate student, or have you been on a graduate admissions committee, or …)
  • Most of the time during the panel session should be taken up with questions from the audience (and the answers from the panelists). Most questions should be answered by only a few of the panelists - it takes too long if all of the panelists answer all of the questions. Obviously, some questions are so important that several or all panelists want to answer, but this should be the exception rather than the norm.
  • We want to be able to answer as many student questions as possible, so please try to keep your answers concise and appropriate to the question.
  • Conference surveys from previous CUWiPs have shown that attendees often come away from conferences thinking that they have to be really “lucky” to be successful in a physics career. In part, they hear this from speakers and panelists who often mention that they themselves feel very lucky to be where they are. We would like to convey to students that they can play a more active role in their careers by creating and being prepared for opportunities that arise at any stage of their professional lives - that luck, although it of course plays some role in success, is only useful when you are ready to take advantage of it. So we ask you (gently) to choose your words carefully and emphasize actively creating and taking advantage of opportunities rather than passively being “lucky” or “the one that was selected”
Last Updated: 10/4/17