About the Conference

The Northeast Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (NCUWiP) is a three-day conference in the northeastern US intended for undergraduate students in the physical sciences and engineering. This conference is held simultaneously with other CUWP programs across the country. Information about previous conferences can be found here.

The goal of NCUWiP is to help young women continue in physics by providing them with the opportunity to experience a professional conference, information about graduate school and professions in physics, and access to other women in physics of all ages with whom they can share experiences, advice, and ideas. Our program includes research talks by faculty, panel discussions about graduate school and careers in physics, presentations and discussions about women in physics, laboratory tours, student research presentations, and several meals during which presenters and students interact.

The overall goals of the conference are:

  • To help female undergraduate physics majors transition successfully from undergraduate to graduate studies in physics.
  • To foster an undergraduate culture in the Northeast and specifically at Yale University in which women are encouraged and supported to pursue and succeed in higher education in physics.
  • To strengthen the network of women in physics in the Northeast and nationally.

In order to meet these goals, the specific objectives for the conference are that the participants leave with:

  • Increased awareness of current research and career options in physics.
  • Greater familiarity with the graduate school experience.
  • Resources for applying to and being successful in graduate school, as well as general resources for women in physics.
  • Access to a network of women in physics.

Statement of Need

The low representation of women in physics is an issue of international concern and has been highlighted by events such as the recent 2nd IUPAP International Conference on Women in Physics [1]. This disparity points to an untapped resource of talented women who could contribute to the scientific community and future developments in science. The percentage of degrees awarded to women in physics in the USA is much lower than in some other countries.

In the AIP report, Women in Physics and Astronomy, 2005, the US ranked 12 out of 19 countries for percentage of PhDs awarded to women and 11th out of 20 countries for percentage of Bachelor's Degrees awarded to women in these fields [2]. The representation of women in physics is progressively lower at each rung higher in the academic ladder. One of the key transitions is from undergraduate to graduate school. Nationally 22% of Physics Bachelor's degrees were awarded to women. In contrast only 18% of Physics PhDs were awarded to women. Perhaps even more strikingly, only 13% of the US citizens receiving PhDs were women.

Recognizing the need for increased efforts focused on the undergraduate-to-graduate transition, two graduate students at USC conceived of and organized a Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics, held at USC on January 14-15, 2006 [3]. The success of this conference paved the way for future CUWP programs, which have now spread to institutions across the country.

  1. Second IUPAP International Conference on Women in Physics: http://www.cbpf.br/~women-physics/
  2. Ivie, Rachel, and Kim Nies Ray, (2005) Women in Physics and Astronomy, 2005 College Park MD: American Institute of Physics
  3. Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics homepage: http://physics.usc.edu/~wiphys/conference.html