2018 APS Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP)

Organizing Committee

Allison Bratcher

Allison Bratcher (chair)
I was fortunate enough to not only attend a CUWiP conference but participate as a student member of the organizing committee. As an attendee, I learned valuable lessons that helped me to shape my career goals. One of my main concerns was being able to put down roots and eventually start a family. I was convinced that this would be a part of my life that I must sacrifice to be successful. I also found the workshops and panels to be incredibly helpful as I was preparing my graduate school applications. Now that I have made it to graduate school, I want to pay that experience forward to the next generation of students. The conference was a defining moment in my undergraduate career and I want to provide that same impactful experience to others.

Paula Johns

Paula Johns
I am currently a fifth year Ph.D. candidate student studying x-ray binaries in star-forming galaxies. I want to contribute to the understanding of the processes that facilitate the production of these highly energetic sources. As an undergraduate student in college, I couldn’t help but feel intimidated by the field I aspired to be a part of. In 2012, I attended the Western Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics at Stanford University. I felt inspired by the guest speakers who had professions in physics I didn’t even know existed, and above all, who were able to balance their home and professional lives. Unfortunately, a glass ceiling still exists in this field. Like the various women who helped and supported me throughout my career, I want to pay it forward to support the next generation of female scientists.

Nicole Karnath

Nicole Karnath
I am a 4th year graduate student working on the formation of stars in the Orion Molecular Cloud. I enjoy the time I can dedicate to the promotion of young women in science. Following the example of an influential previous female advisor I aim to continue promoting women in STEM throughout my career. My hope is to encourage confidence, understanding, trust, and relationship building to bring people together in or out of the STEM fields. When not working I enjoy being outside spending time with my dog and riding horses.

Jennifer Greco

Jennifer Greco
I am a fourth year PhD student in astronomy, studying brown dwarfs. The goal of my research is to better define their compositions and physical properties.

I am also a teaching assistant, currently teaching recitations for introductory physics courses. I love doing outreach events, introducing the field I love to others, and encouraging them to pursue science themselves one day. Unfortunately, things are still not easy for women in STEM fields. I had women at various stages in my career who supported me and helped me get this far, and, through events like CUWiP, I want to pay that forward to the next generation of female scientists. When I am not working, I love to dance, do martial arts, read fantasy novels, and play with my cat.

Karen Bjorkman

Dr. Karen Bjorkman, Dean of College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
I am a Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy and the Dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. My research interests are in using observational techniques to explore the physical characteristics of circumstellar disks and variable stars. I am a co-founder of the Northwestern Ohio chapter of the Association for Women in Science (NWO-AWIS) and was recognized as a UT Diversity Champion. As the quote goes, “Women hold up half the sky” - if we are to continue our advances into understanding physics and the universe, we will need all of our available brain power to do it; we can’t afford to dismiss half of it. Many wonderful mentors and role models helped and encouraged me along the way in my career. My hope is that through the CUWiP program, undergraduate women interested in physics will learn that there are many paths to success, and that their contributions are not only valuable but also critical to all our futures.

Jillian Bornak

Dr. Jillian Bornak, Associate Lecturer (webmaster)
My graduate research focused on modeling dust formation in classical novae using more realistic 3D distributions, but my true vocation is teaching. At UToledo I have focused my efforts on improving the general education astronomy course. My driving philosophy is "be the person you needed when you were young." Outside of work I enjoy rock hounding, video games, and having my bird fall asleep on my head.

Rupali Chandar

Dr. Rupali Chandar, Professor
I am a Professor of Astronomy, and my research focuses on understanding the birth and death of stars and stellar clusters in nearby galaxies like our own Milky Way. I teach courses from the introductory undergraduate through the graduate level and help students learn how to do research. I’ve also developed a ‘Girls in Science’ program, a workshop that aims to support and foster the love of science in middle school girls. Women make up half of the general population, yet we remain significantly under-represented in Physics and Astronomy. This means that the career that I love so much is missing out on a lot of talent. CUWiP conferences play an important role in supporting women at a critical stage in their careers.

Kathy Shan

Dr. Kathy Shan, Associate Lecturer
I started graduate school with the intention to pursue a PhD in Astrophysics and did a MS thesis on seasonal variation of water ice clouds in the Tharsis region of Mars. However, as a TA I discovered that I truly enjoyed teaching and decided to make that the focus of my career. I finished my MS in Physics in the spring of 2001 and began teaching physics and astronomy at the University of Toledo. I decided to finish my PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on physics education. Currently, I am an Associate Lecturer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, teaching mainly introductory level physics for science majors. I am interested in improving instruction in introductory physics courses and curriculum design, both as a teacher and as a researcher.

Sanjay Khare

Dr. Sanjay V. Khare, Department Chair and Professor
I am a condensed matter theorist and Chair of my department. My interests are in computational materials research, the global energy systems and physics education. I am interested in this conference to give opportunity to a new generation of female scientists and educators to network, explore our wonderful department, and receive mentoring.

Last Updated: 8/28/19