Outreach and Contributions to Diversity

Many of the greatest advances in science have come through approaching a problem from a completely different perspective. This notion highlights the vital importance of diversity as novel viewpoints and experiences facilitate innovative approaches. I am very passionate about being a leader in the quest to increase diversity in the STEM fields. Below are some awesome programs where I have had the opportunity to be involved.

Indian University of North America This summer I attended the CETUP* Workshop in South Dakota. As part of the workshop, five dark matter scientists (including me) visited Indian University of North America to meet with the students in their Summer Program. This summer program offers students the ability to earn transferrable college credits, paid internships and scholarship opportunities. Since its inception in 2010, 160 students from 26 tribes and 16 states have successfully completed the program and matriculated to a variety of public, private and tribal colleges and universities around the country.

Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) The CUWiP is a three-day professional conference aiming to help undergraduate women continue in physics by providing them with the opportunity to experience a professional conference and benefit from information about graduate school and professions in physics. The participants gain access to other women in physics of all ages with whom they can share experiences, advice, and ideas. I organized a trip with eight UNF physics majors to attend the CUWiP at Georgia Tech in 2016. I also helped to organize the Rocky Mountain CUWiP held at the University of Utah in 2014 while I was a postdoc there.

Colorado School of Mines At CSM, we actively recruited women and ethnically underrepresented students into teaching assistant positions. During my time at CSM, these recruiting activites resulted in these groups always composing more than 50% of the teaching assistants (an increase of more than a factor of three over previous years). This a very critical step in increasing the population of underrepresented groups in the STEM fields because seeing other members of the group acting as successful role models can be very potent inspiration.

University of Chicago The Space Explorers Program is designed to stimulate interest in science for under-served middle and high school students in South Chicago. The program involves over 100 contact hours per year and has proven extremely successful with 20-30 Chicago Public School students participating each year (100% African American and typically 60% female) resulting in graduates achieving at a rate more than five times better than their peers (100% attending college, 54% STEM majors).

Adler Planetarium Operation Airlift is an annual event with the Air Force Academy High School (87% of the students are low-income, 91% minority). This school-wide, all day activity features teams of 10 students tasked with a simulated NASA style project including design and construction, developing a media pitch, and even establishing a social media presence all within a fixed budget.