URSA – Testimonials

<Under Construction, testimonials specifically about URSA from participants, facilitators, department figures>

“URSA has helped me to have confidence in the field that I am going into. Before when I would tell people my major, they would say “good luck” or “whew”, and that would have an effect on my confidence. Now, it doesn’t as much because I learned what physics and astronomy is like. While it will still be challenging, I feel more prepared and up for it. I enjoyed getting to know the departments as well, as I feel like I can ask questions to people I know will give me an answer I am confident in. I loved the facilitator talks, the guest speakers, and the projects. I wouldn’t change a thing, even the rainy Cedar Point trip.”

– O’Brien C., URSA 2023 participant

“When I first showed up I was scared. I was scared of everyone. Campus just felt like a place. I met some really nice people here they were the best people I’ve ever met. And within just a few days they made Ohio State my home.”

– Juniper R., URSA 2023 participant

“URSA personally impacted me on a very deep level because of the connection we all shared before the program even began. We had all experienced struggles with being underrepresented in some way, and while we hadn’t had the exact same experiences, we related to each other in a way that others might not. I felt a sense of community that first scavenger hunt simply because of that connection. The facilitators were fantastic in getting everyone to share their feelings and further a connection between everyone. I have not experienced another time where people mixed up groups in order to sit with new people as willingly as they did in URSA and that alone was such an eye opening experience. I loved the project as well. I had such a great time with my group and especially my group leader [Facilitator]. She did a wonderful job making sure everyone understood the content we were learning, and she explained things clearly and without judgement. [Facilitator]’s support in our learning and presenting made the entire experience of URSA so much better and I could not thank her enough. I would recommend URSA to other underrepresented physics students a thousand times over because of the impact it can and did have on me.”

– Sabrina F., URSA 2023 participant

“I really loved URSA. I was a bit nervous about doing it: moving in 2 weeks early, 2 and a half hours away, and knowing basically nobody in such a huge campus. But the atmosphere there, from the facilitators to my classmates, was simply so positive and inclusive that all of my nervousness quickly went away, and I was soon looking forward to going to URSA every day. I also really liked all of the social events. They let me both make friends and bond more with the ones I already made, and were also just simply fun. The whole overall experience was amazing, and I love all of the facilitators for putting together the entire thing.”

– Caleb R., URSA 2023 participant

“URSA had been my first experience with curriculum design and teaching, wherein I realized that putting together interactive lessons as well as teaching itself are incredibly rewarding and fun. The 14 students I had a hand in teaching were curious, excited to learn, and helped me feel confident in my abilities as an educator… During week 2 of URSA, I led a group of four undergraduate students on a mini-project based on my own research. This was my first ever experience being an “advisor” to students working on a research project, and I quickly learned that it was incredibly rewarding to see my students learn and guide them on a project.

URSA was incredibly rewarding for me as a graduate student as it challenged me to design interactive and scaffolded astrophysics content. Not only that, but my own science communication skills blossomed as I found ways to cover advanced topics like particle dark matter and multi-messenger astronomy in an accessible fashion to students just entering college who may not have had a physics course before. URSA helped me realize that not only do I have a passion for teaching and mentoring, but that I have the confidence to strive for excellence as an educator.”

– Melanie Z., URSA 2023 Graduate Student Facilitator


“The URSA program is spectacular. The program is making a significant and direct impact on retention and experience of underrepresented groups in our Physics undergraduate majors. This is important work, and it is wonderful that it is led and run by graduate students from Physics and Astronomy.”

– Michael Porier, Professor and Chair of the Department of Physics