2018 APS Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP)

Keynote and Plenary Speakers


Sheila Bailey

Sheila Gayle Bailey, Ph. D.
Senior Physicist at NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC)

Sheila Bailey has been a senior physicist working in space photovoltaics at NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) for 32 years. Her focus has been on advanced concepts in space solar cells and alpha/beta voltaics including nanomaterials and nanostructures for space photovoltaics, quantum wire III-V solar cells and quantum dot alpha-voltaics. She has authored or co-authored over 170 journal and conference publications, 16 book chapters and two patents.

She is on the Editorial Board of “Progress in Photovoltaics”. She is a member of the American Physical Society and a speaker for the American Institute of Physics Visiting Scientist Program. She is a member of AIAA Aerospace Power Systems technical committee and past member of the IEE Electron Devices Society Photovoltaic Devices Committee. She was the chair of the 4th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion in 2006. She is president of the Lewis Engineers and Scientists Association representing over 1300 employees of NASA GRC. She was an adjunct professor at Baldwin Wallace College for 27 years.

She has a B.S. from Duke University in physics, a M.S. in physics from the Univ. of N.C. at Chapel Hill, and a Ph.D. in condensed matter physics from the University of Manchester in England. She spent a post-doctoral year at the Royal Military College (part of the Univ. of New South Wales) in Canberra, Australia. She is the recipient of the faculty excellence award from Baldwin Wallace College and the Federal Women's Program award. She is an Ohio Academy of Science "Exemplar". She was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for her work in space photovoltaics. She has completed the Office of Personnel Management's Executive Potential Program. She was inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame in 2003 by Gov. Taft.


Dr. Karen Bjorkman

Karen S. Bjorkman, Ph.D.
Dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Distinguished University Professor
Helen Luedtke Brooks Professor of Astronomy

Karen Bjorkman is an astronomer and astrophysicist who became fascinated with science, and particularly astronomy, as a child watching the Apollo moon landings in real time on grainy black and white TV images. She obtained her B.S. in Physics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, worked for several years at an aerospace company as a systems engineer, and then returned to graduate school for her M.S. and Ph.D. in Astrophysics at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

After graduate school, she was a staff scientist at the Space Astronomy Laboratory of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was co-Investigator for the Wisconsin Ultraviolet Photo-Polarimeter Experiment (WUPPE for short), a telescope that was flown twice on the NASA Space Shuttle. During the shuttle missions, she worked on the operations team at the NASA Payload Operations Control Center. In 1996, she came to the University of Toledo (UT) as an Assistant Professor, rising through the ranks to become a Full Professor in 2003. For several years she was the director of the Ritter Observatory. In 2009 she was selected as a Distinguished University Professor. She was chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy from 2008-2010, and in December 2010 she was named Dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at UT. In 2015, she was named as the inaugural holder of the Helen Luedtke Brooks Endowed Professorship in Astronomy.

Dr. Bjorkman’s research focuses on disks around stars and (for some of these disks) their possible connections with planetary systems around other stars. She uses observational data from both space-based and ground-based telescopes around the world to study these objects. She has been awarded significant amounts of grant funding and observing time at major observatories to support her research. She has been an invited speaker at national and international astronomy meetings.

Dr. Bjorkman has provided significant service to the international astronomical community, and has been heavily involved in education and public outreach. She regularly gives public talks on astronomy, space, and science, and she was the original founder of the long‐running Universe in the Parks program at the University of Wisconsin. She is a co-founder of the Northwestern Ohio chapter of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) at UT. Her awards include a Cottrell Scholar Award, the Sigma Xi/Dion D. Raftopolous Award for Outstanding Research, a UT Outstanding Teaching Award, three NASA Group Achievement Awards, and an Ohio Excellence in Education award.


Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich

Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich
Dean of the College of Graduate Studies
Director of the Shimadzu Laboratory for Pharmaceutical Research Excellence

Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich is an Associate Professor of Medicinal and Biological Chemistry and Chemistry at the University of Toledo and presently Dean of the College of Graduate Studies. She was born and raised in northeastern North Carolina. Her early training was in organic chemistry with Dr. John Myers at North Carolina Central University (B.S. 1990) and Professor Richard Polniaszek at Duke University (M.S. 1992). She obtained her doctorate in Pharmaceutical Chemistry (Dr. rer. nat. 1997) at the Ruprecht-Karls Universität Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany with Professor Richard Neidlein followed by postdoctoral training at the Universität Basel, Basel, Switzerland (1997-1999) with Professor Bernd Giese. From 2000-2007 she held the positions of assistant and associate professor at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan before moving to the University of Toledo.

Dr. Bryant-Friedrich is an active member of several professional and civic organizations including the American Chemical Society, where she is a member of the executive committee of the Multidisciplinary Program Planning Group and the Large Range Planning Committee for the division of Medicinal Chemistry as well as a former program chair and counselor for the division of Chemical Toxicology. She is an advocate supporter of the inclusion of diverse groups in the global scientific enterprise and works towards this objective through her involvement in the Association for Women in Science and the Society of STEM Women of Color. She is married to Dr. Klaus Friedrich and has two children, Klaus Bryant and Cornelia.


Patricia Burchat

Patricia Burchat, Ph. D.
Gabilan Professorat Stanford University
APS CUWiP Keynote Speaker

Patricia Burchat is the Gabilan Professor in the Physics Department at Stanford University. Her research focuses on studies of the Universe at both the smallest and the largest scales, to probe two questions: What is the Universe made of? What are the laws of physics that govern the constituents of the Universe? She has held a number of leadership positions in experiments at accelerators that probe the elementary particles and the fundamental interactions. She is now part of a large international team of scientists preparing for analysis of data from the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, which will provide the most extensive census of the Universe to date. She and her collaborators will use these data to investigate the nature of dark matter and dark energy, and the cosmological evolution of the Universe.

Patricia Burchat is a “first-gen” high school graduate. She received her Bachelors degree in Engineering Science at University of Toronto in 1981, and her PhD in Physics from Stanford in 1986. She was a postdoc and faculty member at UC Santa Cruz before returning to Stanford as a faculty member in 1995. At Stanford, she has served as Chair of the Physics Department and has been very active in introducing research-based pedagogy in the teaching of physics. She has received the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Walter J. Gores Award for excellence in teaching, and was elected as Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society. Patricia Burchat has played a leading role in the growth of the APS Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics.

Last Updated: 8/28/19