Yale Physics recruits graduate students at 2023 SACNAS and NSBP meetings

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November 30, 2023

Late October and early November was a time for Yale Physics graduate recruiting efforts. Students and faculty represented Yale Physics at the 2023 SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference (October 26-28 in Portland, Oregon) and the National Society of Black Physicists 2023 Conference: Frontiers in Physics: From Quantum to Materials to the  Cosmos (November 9-12 in Knoxville, Tennessee).

2023 SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference (NDiSTEM)

According to the SACNAS website, NDiSTEM is the largest multidisciplinary and multicultural STEM diversity event in the country.  The conference includes STEM research presentations, professional development sessions, motivational keynote speakers, and the Graduate School & Career Expo Hall, as well as multicultural celebrations and traditions, and an inclusive and welcoming community of peers, mentors, and role models. 

Graduate students Jackie Baeza-Rubio and Charles Lomba represented Yale Physics at the conference. Baeza-Rubio was also one of the organizers for this years Día de la Física, which was held on the last day  of SACNAS.

Lomba said, “Hats off to the organizers for creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for members of the SACNAS community. This year I spent much time going around to posters and talking to the undergraduate attendees. It was fantastic hearing about the incredible work they are doing as undergraduates. Some students shared a bit of their background and the challenges they have faced going into very intense university programs and courses of study. I was very proud to see that they have been able to succeed.”

Lomba continued, “I was truly taken aback by a student who had learned about the Yale PEB REU [at  last year’s SACNAS conference, which Lomba also attended], attended this past summer, and now was attending [this year’s] conference and presenting their summer work, and applying this cycle to Yale [graduate school]. I think it emphasizes the importance of recruiting at events like SACNAS and how it advances the diversity aims of Yale’s GSAS programs and departments.  It is personally very motivating to keep paying it forward at events like this.”

2023 National Society for Hispanic Physicists Día De la Física

person standing in front of banners.Baeza-Rubio also represented Yale Physics at the “Dia De la Física” (Day of Physics in Spanish), which is held on the last day of the SACNAS conference. Baeza-Rubio helped organize and execuate the Dia De la Física, held at Portland State University (PSU) this year.

Baeza-Rubio said, “This event is organized by the National Society of Hispanic Physicists (NSHP), for which I am the undergraduate board representative. My term ends soon, as I am now a graduate student, but we are trying to put together a student council much like NSBP [has] and I will try to continue serving NSHP.”

Baeza-Rubio continued, “I’ve been on the NSHP board for 3 years now, but this was my first time attending SACNAS & Día De la Física [made possible by funding from Yale Physics]. I talked to many Hispanic students while serving on the “Meet the board” as well as “Preparing for grad school” panels. I met a lot of students that were shocked to find that physics Ph.D.s are fully funded! I was glad to be the bearer of good news.”

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National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) 2023 Conference

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According to the NSBP website,  the NSBP is the largest and most recognizable organization devoted to the growth, development, and advancement of the African-American physics community.

Yale attendees representing Yale Physics at the 2023 conference were: Charles Brown, assistant professor of physics;  Paolo Coppi professor of astronomy; Yale Physics graduate services coordinator Rona Ramos; postdoctoral associate Cedric Wilson; and graduate students Eunice Beato, Morgan Cole, Chitres Guria,  Eric Regis, Carlton Smith, and Harrison Souchereau.

Brown said, “I’ve been attending this conference since 2015, and it’s always refreshing and empowering to see rooms full of scientists that look like me who are doing such interesting and impactful work.”

In reflecting on her first ever NSBP experience, Beato said “I was shocked… As a black and hispanic woman in physics it is very rare that I am surrounded by peers and professors that look like me and share similar cultural backgrounds.” She continued, “I instantly felt at home and loved talking about physics with other peers and giving advice to undergraduate students that were thinking of pursuing graduate degrees in physics.” 
Beato also commented on how enjoyable her experience was participating in outreach at the Yale Physics & Astronomy information booth and connecting peers from all over the country at event dinners.  Beato stated, “I was truly surrounded by a group of sisters, and that was the first time I had felt like that in a while.”
Beato credits Brown and Cole for encouraging her to attend the NSBP.

Wilson added, “it was energizing to be in a setting where it’s both normal to be Black and normal to be a physicist at the same time.”

Wilson continued, “It was inspiring to be in the room while Charles [Brown] was officially recognized for his scientific and community building efforts with the Joseph A. Johnson award. That gave me a lot of hope for the future of the wider physics community.”