Conference Schedule

(This schedule is subject to revision)


Note: All times are Eastern Standard Time:


All SPIN-UPx  talks and panels will be held at the UVa Rotunda.

Friday, January 12

  • 1:00PM -1:15PM Welcome Address: Prof. Simonetta Liuti and Rachel Spraker, University of Virginia
  • 1:15PM – 2:15PM Talk: Update on APS Statistics and Programs on Diversity in STEM, Prof. David Ernst, Vanderbilt
  • 2:15PM – 2:45 PM Coffee Break
  • 2:45PM – 5:00PM Open Discussion Tables with Presenters and Facilitators (Coordinator: Rachel Spraker, Equal Opportunity Office Compliance Director for Equity and Affirmative Action, UVa)
  • 5:00 PM Closing


Friday, January 12

  • 5:00 PM Sign in (Colonnade Club)
  • 6:00 PM Welcome, Dinner, Icebreaker event (Colonnade Club)
  • 7:00 PM Students move to UVa Rotunda
  • 7:30 PM Welcome Address: Dr. Thomas Katsouleas, UVa Executive Vice-President and Provost (Rotunda),
  •  1st Keynote Talk: Prof. Elizabeth H. Simmons,  Executive Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs) at UC San Diego (Rotunda) (Download PDF)


Saturday, January 13

7:30AM – 8:30AM Boxed Breakfast at hotel

8:30AM – 8:45AM Assemble just outside of of the hotel

8:45AM Students are picked up by Tour Guides

9:00AM – 11:00AM Lab Visits (Coordinator: Prof. Petra Reinke, Huangxing Li)

  • Materials Science (Coordinator: Prof. Petra Reinke)
  • Physics Labs (Coordinator: Stefan Baessler)
  • Physics Theory (Ruffner Hall, Room G008 Map, Coordinator: Abha Rajan) (Download PDF presentation by Roxanne Springer)
  • Radiation Oncology Center at the UVA Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center (Coordinator: Dr. Krishni Wijesooriya)
  • National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) (Coordinator: Lyndele von Schill) (Assemble for bus trip at 8:30 AM in hotel lobby)

Students get picked up at hotel at 8:45AM (8:30 for NRAO trip) and join the four different lab visit groups.

11:00AM -11:15AM Break with Hot Chocolate and Coffee (Bavaro Hall atrium: Map)

Group Picture (Bavaro Hall atrium: Map)

11:15AM-  Physics Forum (Ruffner Hall, Room G008: Map)

Short talks by panelists followed by Q&A session.

  • Prof. Gail Dodge, Dean of A&S, Old Dominion University (Download PDF)
  • Prof. Kelsey Johnson, Associate Professor Astronomy Department, UVa
  • Dr. Cynthia Keppel, Jefferson Lab Hall A and C Leader
  • Prof. Christine Nattrass, Assistant Professor Relativistic Heavy Ions Physics ,  U Tennessee (Download PDF)
  • Prof. Petra Reinke, Associate Professor Material Science Department, UVa (Download PDF)
  • Dr. Stefania Perrucci, Business Woman, Philadelphia (Download PDF)
  • Dr. Abha Rajan (UVa) and Anna Hall (UVa): Graduate Students Perspective (Download PDF)

1:15PM-2:00PM Boxed Lunch (Ruffner Hall, Ground floor lobby: Map)

2:00PM-3:30PM National Speaker (Ruffner Hall, Room G008: Map): Prof. Patricia Burchat, Stanford

3:30PM-5:30PM Recreation Activities/Interaction Time

  • Movies Screening (Ruffner Hall, Room G008: Map): Selected snippets from the following movies
    1. Hidden Figures (2016), Director: Theodor Melfi
    2. Ghostbusters 3 (2016), Director: Paul Feig
    3. Spy (2015), Director: Paul Feig
  • Introduction to Yoga with Dr. Sarah Mosley (Ruffner Hall, Room 302: Map)

5:30-7:00 PM Poster Session, Graduate School Fair, Job Fair (Bavaro Hall atrium: Map)

Refreshments will be available at several tables

7:00 PM Dinner (Alumni Hall: Map)

8:00 PM 2nd KeynoteTalk: Prof. Shohini Ghose, Wilfrid Laurier University (Alumni Hall) (Download PDF)

9:30 PM Visit: McCormick Observatory (optional)


Sunday, January 14

Breakout Sessions (Bavaro Hall and Ruffner Hall: Map)

  • 9:00 AM- 10:00 AM Breakout Sessions 1
  • 15 min Break
  • 10:15 AM -11:15 AM Breakout Sessions 2
  • 15 min Break
  • 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM Breakout Sessions 3

Breakout Sessions Organization                                                                                                 

Each student chooses 3 different sessions to participate in consecutively. The same topic sessions are held repeatedly three times in a row. Students move to a different session after each break and are not expected to move from session to session while the sessions are being held.    

Session Topics and Discussion Leaders

  1. Science Policy [Ruffner 127] (Coordinator: Grace Cummings)
    • Dr. Karla Hagan (AAAS/British Embassy)
    • Dr. Meredith Drosback
    • Dr. Allison Lung (Associate Director, Jefferson Lab 12 GeV Upgrade Project) (Download PDF)
    • Dr. Allena Opper (NSF, Nuclear Physics Program Manager)
  2. Undergraduate Research  [Ruffner 137] (Coordinator: Prof. Stefan Baessler)(Download PDF)
    • Prof. Shreyashi Chakdar (Colby College, ME)
    • Deborah Fergusson (Ga Tech)
    • Prof. Ioana Niculescu (JMU)
    • Brianna Hogan (Consulting)
    • Prof. Xiaochao Zheng (UVa)
  3. APS STEP-UP for women [Ruffner 179] (Coordinator: Dr. Cathy Mader, Physics Hope College, Step Up for Women APS Consultant) (STEP-UP 4 WOMEN is a new APS program to increase women physics majors via high school teachers.)
    • Rebecca Vieyra (K-12 Program Manager American Association of Physics Teachers)
    • Prof. Kate Scholberg (Physics, Duke University)
    • Dr. Jeff Steele (AAPT)
  4. Resilience/Work-Life Balance  [Ruffner 206] (Coordinator: Prof. Stephanie Moore)
    • Prof. Stephanie Moore (Curry School of Education)
    • Christianna Andrews (Curry School of  Education)
  5. What is graduate school like? [Bavaro Atrium] (Coordinator: Abha Rajan, Nuclear Theory)
    • Caryn Palatchi (Experimental Nuclear Physics, UVa)
    • Grace Cummings (Experimental HEP, UVa)
    • Sharmistha Sahoo (Theoretical Condensed Matter, UVa)
  6. Career Paths in Physics [Bavaro 116 (Holloway Hall)] (Coordinator: Cathy Dukes)
    • Cathie Bent (Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab)
    • Kirsten Fuoti (Albemarle High School)
    • Dr. Stefania Perrucci (Finance)
    • Dr. Sherri Stephan (CIA)
    • Scott Wolin (Northrop-Grumman)
    • Krishni Wijesooryia (Medical Physics)
  7. Work/Life Balance [NOW COMBINED WITH Resilience in Ruffner 206] (Coordinator:  Prof. Jennifer Chiu)
    • Dr. Joi Merritt (JMU)
  8. Mental Health [Ruffner 139] (Coordinator: Andrea Welsh) (Download Powerpoint File)
    • Prof. Elizabeth Young (Rhodes College)
    • Dr. Juliet Trail  (Contemplative Sciences Center, UVa)
  9. Professional skills/Communication/Negotiation [Bavaro 318a] (Coordinator: Dr. Caixia Bu)
    • Dr. Lauren Aycock (APS/AAAS Congressional Science Fellow)
  10. Solidarity/Mentorship/Sponsorship/Allies/APS Bridge [Ruffner 173] (Coordinator: Prof. Narbe Kalantarian, VUU and Jlab)
    • Prof. Chris Neu (APS Bridge Program Coordinator, UVa Physics)
    • Anna Hall
  11. Brilliance [Ruffner 175] (Coordinator: Prof. Simonetta Liuti)
    • Prof. Susan Gardner (Physics, U Kentucky)
    • TBA
  12. Impostor Syndrome [Ruffner 200] (Coordinator: Prof. Roxanne Springer, Duke U) (Download PDF)
    • Prof. Christine Nattrass (Physics, U Tennessee)
    • Kayla Craycraft (U Tennessee)
    • TBA


12:45 PM Lunch with Champions (Alumni Hall: Map)
2:00 PM Closing