CONWAY, Ark. (January 22, 2014) – Six Hendrix students recently
attended the 2014 Conference for
Undergraduate Women in Physics at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La.
Student participants included:
Cook, a junior from Conway, Ark.
Hosman, a senior from Coalinga, Calif.
Lamb, a freshman from Greenwood, Ark.
Nichols, a junior from Fort Worth, Texas
Pittman, a junior from Jonesboro, Ark.
Reine, a senior from Harahan, La.
The students were accompanied by Hendrix physics professor
Dr. Ann Wright.
The students were actively involved in panel discussions,
poster sessions of undergraduate research, and professional development
opportunities, Wright said. They also made contacts for future research
opportunities and graduate school and experienced different points of view from
women with a physics degree who have found careers in academia, in the business
world, and in the government.
Currently, only about 20 percent of the students who earn a
bachelor degree in physics in the United States are female, Wright said. While
this number is distressingly low, it does represent a marked increase in the
number of female physics graduates from 20 years ago. Research shows that
gatherings such as this conference play a positive role in the retention of
women in physics. For this reason, the National Science Foundation and the
American Physical Society have arranged and sponsored a series of these
conferences around the country.
This year was Ashley Hosman’s second time at the program .
She helped to write the proposal for Odyssey funding to pay for travel to the
“Last year I
attended the Women in Physics Conference and found it to be very beneficial experience
for multiple reasons. The experience that I gained by attending the conference
was very influential to my education. It allowed me to bond with the
female members of my department and be aware of the opportunities that can come
from my major along with some insight to the hardships of being in a male
dominated field,” she said.
“We, as women in physics, are
going into a field dominated by male stereotypes that can be intimidating and
are causing us to loss valuable female members in our field,” she continued. “The
conference allowed me to better understand the hardships of the career paths
before me and helped me realize that, though difficult, it is not impossible to
earn and high standing career, have a family and kids, and still have a place
in a work environment that isn’t accustom to a women’s touch.”
“It is a clear fact of life that
women in the physics field are in short supply, but just by attending the
conference and recognizing that a few does not mean nonexistence will provide
strength to my pursuit of future physics endeavors as I continue to pursue my
education even after I leave Hendrix,” she added. “Though I gained a lot
from my experience last year, I know that by attending this conference again it
will only present me with further insight to my possible future career and
strengthen the bond between the female members in my field. We will all
eventually have to stand alone in our career choices, which is why exposing
ourselves to females in our fields will only help support us and remind us that
we are not alone. Being an outsider in a field can be hard and
disconcerting, but this conference reminds us that though we may not work with
other women, other women are working in the same field as you, proving that you
do indeed have a place in would otherwise seem to demand a male presence.”
Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in
engaged liberal arts and sciences education. For the sixth consecutive year,
Hendrix was named one of the country’s “Up and Coming” liberal arts colleges by
U.S. News and World Report. Hendrix is featured in the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change
the Way You Think about Colleges,
as well as the 2014 Princeton Review’s The Best 378 Colleges, Forbes magazine's list of America's Top Colleges, and
the 2014 Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United
Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu.