Two NMU physics majors, Cassy Hastings and Kylee Branning, traveled to the Midwest Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics held in January at the University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign.
Cassy Hastings (pictured left, with Kylee Branning) wrote the following account of her experiences at this year's conference.
"When I first arrived, I wasn't sure what to expect from the conference. I wasn't sure if it would entail research presentations about projects that students and faculty were undergoing, or if it would be a purely motivational conference. What I came to find out was that it was a wonderful combination of both. There were presentations on research being done by top women physicists and panels showing us how to make ourselves marketable to graduate schools. The first day the conference opened up with a liquid nitrogen ice-cream ice breaker (how cool is that!?). From there on, the conference took off and become a wonderful way to meet new friends as well as those influential in the physics world. While there were many physics majors at the event, there were also secondary education majors, pre-medical students, chemists, etc. It was definitely a diversifying experience. One of the highlights of my experience was the banquet on Saturday night where I was given the opportunity to speak with two phenomenal women, each of whom had good advice when it comes to applying to summer research internships. As a junior physics major, the most beneficial parts of the conference, for me, were the undergraduate research and graduate school panels, where I was given the opportunity to ask questions about what graduate schools look for in undergraduate applicants. It was an amazing experience and I hope that more female physics students get the opportunity to take part in such a great conference."
Pictured (left to right) are Cassy Hastings; Arlene Modeste Knowles, Career and Diversity Program Administrator - American Physical Society; Catherine Mader, REU Coordinator from Hope College; and Kylee Branning