Physics Graduate Student Council
I am serving a third term as a member of the Physics Graduate Student Council (PGSC). The PGSC is a self-governing, elected body whose purpose is to advocate to the department on behalf of the student body and to increase the quality of graduate student life. As a member of the council, I help facilitate programming that aids in student growth and the creation of community.
- Graduate Summer Seminar Series: In summer 2015, I facilitated the Graduate Summer Seminar Series which gave graduate students a chance to present their research to an audience of peers; this gives students valuable presentation experience, and creates a space where graduate students can engage in vigorous scientific discussion without external pressure. Nine students presented on a variety of topics, from introductory string theory to gender issues in STEM.
- First Year Mentor Program: I work with other council members to facilitate the First Year Mentoring Program, which pairs incoming first year students with an older graduate student. This person serves an initial contact at the department, connecting students to mentorship and support systems outside of formal advising avenues. In a seven year study by the National Council of Graduate Schools, it was found that strong peer mentorship and support can increase the quality of life for graduate students and minimize student attrition, especially amongst minorities. The PGSC First Year Mentor program seeks to address this need for greater peer mentorship directly.
- Other Roles: My various other roles in the PGSC have included working with students to bring new programs to the department (like the Physics LAN Party), and conducting quantitative assessment on first year homework and teaching commitments to aid the graduate studies office in better calibrating workload.
I work frequently with the Office of Academic Initiatives to engage with Ohio State students in a residential setting. With the intent of bridging the classroom-residential life disconnect, I am partnered with a number of residential halls throughout the year with the purpose of interacting with students outside of an academic realm. The interactions are intended to show students that faculty and graduate students have passions outside the classroom, and want to share knowledge and experiences with students in ways that are not purely academic. I have attended symphony shows and judged a costume contest for Baker-West Hall, talked with students about my experience in physics over board games at Lane Avenue Residence Hall, gave a brief presentation on making the most of TAs while eating tacos with residents of Morrill Hall, discussed the physics of lasers while playing laser tag with Jones Tower, and recently made liquid nitrogen ice-cream with students in Morill Hall.
Along with Oindree Banerjee, I co-administrate the “Queenbee” program for the integration of new students in the particle astrophysics research group here at OSU. You can find more information here.
As a member of Professor Amy Connolly’s lab, I help coordinate the ASPIRE program. ASPIRE stands for Achieving in Science through Physics Instrumentation, Research, and Exploration. The program is open to high school girls entering 10th and 11th grade with a passion for learning more about STEM. In the summers of 2015 and 2016, I coordinated the Mathematica workshop, which introduces participants to the basics of physics data analysis through the use of various Mathematica applets. It also helps them apply fundamental trigonometry and geometry concepts to solve unconventional physics problems, reinforcing the importance of math mastery by giving them real world examples.
I volunteer with the department’s outreach to middle school girls, the GRASP program. GRASP stands for Girls Reaching to Achieve in Sports and Physics. Girls travel to campus and learn about physics in a unique, sports centered lens. The program focuses on introducing campers to how physics governs everyday phenomena, and then allowing them to experience that first hand by participating in a variety of sports–friction is explored via ice-skating, wind resistance in badminton, harmonic motion through jump rope, and much more. I volunteered and helped the girls build a microcontrolled robot.