Margaret-Ann and Hannah attended CUWIP (Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics) 25th-27th March 2021.

Margaret-Ann K Withington contribution:

CUWiP 2021 like many things this year, was held online instead of in person. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the spread of events.

Day One:

We began the day with a orientation on the motivating factors on why the conference needed to take place.
Shortly after this we dived straight in with a fantastic hour with Carole Mundell [1].

After this talk we had the opportunity to meet in Gather, which is a platform with small avatars which can share audio and video 1 to 1 when within a certain radius. Moving closer to the poster icons in Gather allowed you to access the document and ask questions to the students attending. It was an interesting spread of undergraduate work and great to see what other people have been working on.

The final activity of the day was a workshop of editing Wikipedia articles, we focused on looking at ways the digital narrative of STEM women is written and how much of an influence Wikipedia has on the way people are portrayed.

Day Two:

The morning began with a video tour of the Large Hadron Collider,  Clara Nellist lead us around the pathways while the attendees were able to ask live questions. One of the beautiful things about virtual tours is you don’t have to travel to the next one, as after exploring the Large Hadron Collider at the French-Switzerland border we were only a click away from being 1000+ meters deep exploring the Boulby mine [2].

Next, we moved to Super STEM and observed some of the images seen through an Electron Microscope.

The last activity of the morning was an incredible career journey described by Prof Penny Endersby, current CEO of the Met Office.

The afternoon was spent in two workshops, one focusing on Unconscious Bias, during this fascinating talk we were given chance to talk to other undergraduates about times we have felt bias in academic settings, discussion brough up things like inclusivity issues in the Physics Society, dealing with sexist comments from other students as well as more serious harassment issues. Then the workshop host June McCombie spoke surrounding the issue. She also shared  an interesting test which can help assess whether an individual has any bias towards certain categories [3].

Day Three:

Prof Rohini Godbole lead this talk surrounding her journey through academia and some of her reflections on time she has experienced being held back by sexist views. I particularly liked her attitude towards receiving remarks such as when another academic knew her of her papers and said, “I have seen your husbands work”. Her ability to not let other’s opinions or beliefs about her capabilities is something I will aspire for in my career. The next activity was listening to a panel surrounding the issue of Black women in physics. The panel’s speakers had worked to connect students of similar backgrounds despite them being spread across multiple graduation years. This allowed them to gather enough students to form a community.

Another panel spoke about alternative career options for Physics graduates such as in science journalism.

The next talk was given by Dr Izzy Jayasinghe, surrounding her journey through academia. She spoke about survivorship bias as well as talking about her experience as a transgender woman. 

The final talk was by Prof Dame Joes Bell-Burnell, talking through her impressive career and projects like Athena SWAN.

One thought on “Margaret-Ann and Hannah attended CUWIP (Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics) 25th-27th March 2021.

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