Six regional conferences will take place January 13-15, 2012, simultaneously at Stanford University, the University of Washington, Texas A&M University, Yale University, the University of Tennessee, and Case Western Reserve University. The conferences provide a series of inspiring talks by female physicists, panel discussions on graduate school and physics careers, student presentation sessions, and ample opportunity for networking and informal mentoring.
The keynote speaker for 2012 will be Persis Drell, Director and Professor in the Department of Physics and Astrophysics at SLAC. She will speak live at Stanford and will be simulcast to the other locations.
The Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics has been held annually since 2006, with the number of locations growing from one, to three, to four, and this year, to six. Recognizing the importance of encouraging undergraduate women, two graduate students at USC conceived and organized a Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics, held January 14-15, 2006, at USC. The conference was attended by 29 undergraduate women from a diverse group of institutions across California. This initial conference was supported enthusiastically at all levels of the university and was funded entirely by USC. With funding from the NSF and continued support from USC, a Second Annual Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics was held January 13-14, 2007, at USC. This conference was attended by 71 undergraduate women, including seed groups from the University of Michigan and Yale (students and faculty who attended the conference with the goal of learning from past organizers in order to host a conference at their home institutions in the following year). As a result, a Third Annual Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics was held simultaneously January 19-20, 2008, at USC, the University of Michigan, and Yale, now with participants from the Midwest and Northeast through the Michigan and Yale conferences.
Past keynotes speakers were Mildred Dresselhaus in 2008, Meg Urry in 2009, Young-Kee Kim in 2010, and France Cordova in 2011. In addition to the undergraduate women, each year a small number of graduate women, faculty, and male student supporters of undergraduate women in physics have attended the conferences.