- What is CUWiP?
The American Physical Society (APS) Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) are three-day regional conferences held simultaneously throughout the United States and Canada for undergraduate women and underrepresented minorities interested in physics and astronomy. The 2019 conferences, which will be held from Friday, January 18 to Sunday, January 20, 2018, will include talks, panel discussions on grad school, careers in physics and industry, workshops, and discussions about important issues and questions in physics.
The goal of APS CUWiP is to help undergraduate women and underrepresented minorities continue in physics by providing them with the opportunity to experience a professional conference through which to explore opportunities in graduate schools, careers, research, and community-building in physics. CUWiP is a unique networking opportunity for students to share meaningful experiences and have important conversations about the space we navigate as physicists.
- Who is invited to attend CUWiP?
Any undergraduate student with an interest in physics may apply to attend a CUWiP. For the last decade, Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) has helped undergraduate women thrive in physics by providing them with a unique opportunity to engage with and learn from other women in physics at all stages of their physics careers. At CUWiP, budding physicists will experience a professional conference, learn about graduate school and professions in physics, and share invaluable experiences, advice, and ideas with other underrepresented students. See the next section for more information on who can apply.
- How do you pronounce CUWiP?
Most people say "Cue-Wip".
Who can Apply
- Who can attend? Do I need to be a physics major to apply?
Any undergraduate student attending a US college/university may apply. It is very important to complete all parts of the application and to write a thoughtful Applicant Statement. If conferences are oversubscribed, priority will be given to applicants who:
1. Are undergraduate physics or engineering physics majors
2. Are community college students considering/planning to transfer to a physics program at a four year institution
3. Have never attended an APS CUWiP
4. Are applying to attend the conference that is geographically closest to their expected location January 18-20, 2019.
There is no formal application or registration process for non-undergraduate students and interested faculty/mentors. We encourage you to email firstname.lastname@example.org for details about attendance and participation.
- Do I need to have research to present in order to attend the conference?
No. While we encourage you to present a poster if you have been involved in research, you are welcome just to attend the conference and participate in the activities. If you are interested in presenting research, the option to present a poster will be available when you register.
- I attended last year; can I come to this year’s conference, too?
The content of this year’s conference will not be exactly the same as last year’s, and you are welcome to apply to attend again. However, if more students apply than we can accommodate, preference will be given to students who have never attended a CUWiP.
- I am a local student. Do I still need to apply and register?
Yes, all attendees must register by the deadline.
- I'm a student from Canada or a country other than the United States. Can I apply to this CUWiP?
Students from Canada are encouraged to apply to the Canadian site at the University of Ottawa, Ontario. We welcome students attending non-US or non-Canadian institutions to contact us or another CUWiP site to ask if you can apply. CUWiP sites will not be able to reimburse students attending non-US institutions for travel expenses from the conference or for waiver of the registration fee.
- I'm a community college student. Am I eligible to apply to CUWiP?
Yes, undergraduate students at any US college or university may apply.
- I'm a high school student, graduate student, postdoc, or faculty member. Am I eligible to apply to CUWiP?
Only undergraduate students who will be over 18 at the time of the conference may apply to CUWiP. There is no formal application or registration process for non-undergraduate students and interested faculty/mentors. We encourage you to contact us for details about attendance and participation.
- I am transgender, gender-fluid, genderqueer, non-binary, and/or do not identify as a woman. Can I still attend this conference?
Yes, students of all genders are welcome to attend this conference, and participants are expected treat one another with respect and common courtesy. If you have questions or concerns about housing or any other part of the conference, please contact us.
How to Apply
- Are "application" and "registration" the same thing?
No. You apply to attend a CUWiP conference (the one closest to you), and you are accepted, wait-listed or declined according to the priorities listed above. The application is free and will open on September 3, 2018. The application deadline is Friday, October 12, 2018 at midnight ET. After you have been accepted, you then you register to attend the conference to which you have been accepted (you may be assigned to a different conference depending on the number of applications) to confirm that you will actually be attending. There is a one-time registration fee of $45, which helps offset some of the cost of the conference, including all lodging and meals.
- How do I know which CUWiP regional site to apply to?
Please see the APS CUWiP map. If you do not apply to the site that you will be geographically closest to at the time of the conference, your application may be denied.
- Do I need to book my travel before registering?
No, but you should have an estimate of the cost. If you are traveling by air and your travel cost is not covered by your department, your airfare must be approved by the conference organizers before you book your travel. Due to the limited nature of our travel funds, we ask that you find the most economical means of transportation to and from the conference. For example, reach out to others in your department and see if carpooling is an option.
- When will I know if my application is accepted?
First, make sure you submit your application by the deadline. Second, make sure you put some thought into why you want to attend and what you want to get out of the conference. Please answer all questions on the application fully and honestly. Offering to present a talk or a poster will not affect your chances of being selected to attend.
Cost and Funding
- How much does the conference cost?
Students who are accepted to attend the conference must pay a one-time registration fee of $45, which helps offset some of the cost of the conference, including all lodging and meals. If you cannot afford the registration fee and your department/college is unable to help, you may request a fee waiver by submitting a statement attesting to your financial need and verifying that department or university funds are not available. Further details will be provided when you are invited to register for the conference. Please be sure to request a fee waiver at least two days in advance of registering.
Lodging and food will be covered by the conference; you do not need to pay for your hotel room or food at the conference. We expect that your travel expenses will be covered by your home department or college. However, if they are not able to cover these expenses, limited travel funding will be available. Please contact us as soon as possible in the event that you need to request reimbursement for travel to or from CUWiP.
- How do I ask my institution for funding?
We ask applicants to talk to their department chair, manager, or director of undergraduate studies about funding before registering for CUWiP. You might also ask an academic advisor, faculty member, or other mentor for guidance about who to ask if you are unsure. You will have more success with requesting funds if you are able to organize yourself with others from your department or school who are also attending CUWiP 2018.
Below is a template you may use when contacting your home institution. Included in the template is a request to cover the $45 registration fee. The template also speaks collectively for other students from your institution who plan on attending. Please adapt the template as necessary. You can also contact us if you are experiencing trouble asking your institution for funds.
- How do I request travel reimbursement from CUWiP? When will I get reimbursed?
If your home institution is unable to cover the funds necessary for you to travel to or from the conference, limited additional travel grants are available. Please contact us as soon as possible. If you are approved for travel funding, please keep track of your travel expenses. The travel reimbursement form will become available after the conference. Reimbursement will be mailed to you within the month.
Travel and Accommodation
Please visit our travel page for helpful information on getting to the conference and what to expect when you get there.
- How do I arrange travel?
Students are responsible for arranging their own travel to the conference. We have attempted to assemble resources and information for your convenience on public transportation as well as parking. We encourage students to coordinate with other attendees from their institution to reduce costs. Please be in communication with your local chair or faculty member if your department is reimbursing you for travel costs. If your department cannot fund your travel, please contact us for plane and train ticket approval before purchase.
- Can I come late? Can I leave early? Can I skip things that I’m not interested in?
Because your travel costs are reimbursable, it is expected that you will attend all of the conference events as scheduled. If you have special circumstances, please contact us to discuss them.
- When and where do I check in?
The conference officially begins at 5 PM Central, but we encourage attendees to arrive earlier in order to check in. Attendees may check in between 2 and 5 PM at the Hotel Capstone. If you are unable to check in between 2 and 5 PM, please let us know ahead of time, and we will make alternative meeting arrangements with you individually.
- Where will I stay during the conference?
Students and speakers will be staying at Hotel Capstone, which is on the campus of the University of Alabama. The hotel is a short walk to the event venue. If you are driving to the conference, you will be able to park your car at the hotel parking lot for the duration of the conference at no additional charge. Please do not make your own hotel reservations without first consulting us.
- What will hotel accommodations be like?
Attendees will be housed 2 or 3 to a room with two double-sized beds. We welcome roommate and housing requests during registration and will do our best to honor them. If requests or preferences are not specified, we will group students by school where possible. Upon arrival at Hotel Capstone, please have your photo ID available to check in at the front desk. No additional purchases may be charged to the room; a personal credit card must be used for any additional purchases.
Preparing for the Conference
- What should I wear to the conference?
The conference has no dress code, and we encourage students to dress comfortably. You may wish to look at photos of previous conferences to see what students typically wear. Alabama in January is typically very mild, though scattered showers are not unusual. We recommend bringing a pair of good walking shoes at least. The Capstone Hotel is a 15-20 minute walk from conference venue, and students may choose to walk, weather permitting. Shuttles will also be available to transport participants between select conference events, and students with cars are encouraged to drive when possible.
- Will I have the opportunity to present my research?
Yes, there will be an undergraduate research poster session. Details will become available through the registration process. If you would like to present a research poster at the conference, please prepare and be ready to submit a poster title and abstract (250 words) during registration between November 5th and November 16th. You can also check out our poster advice.
- Can I connect with those going to the conference before arriving?
CUWiP 2019 is active on Facebook and Twitter, and there is also an APS CUWiP LinkedIn through which we invite you to connect with other attendees! For those interested, we will provide a list of volunteered participant contact information after registration closes to help facilitate the procees of arranging carpool.
- What if I have dietary restrictions?
We will request dietary restriction information on the registration form. If you believe your dietary needs are unusual or complex, please contact us at that time and we will work to accommodate you.
- Will there be resources available for attendees with disabilities?
We will request information on disability status on the registration form. Please contact us in advance if you have unusual or complex requirements, and we will gladly work to accommodate you.
- What if I have a mental health condition and/or learning differences and am worried about attending this conference?
Please contact us if you are feeling uncomfortable about attending, and we can discuss options to help make you more comfortable. We hope that every participant can feel comfortable and confident at CUWiP, but we understand that everyone needs to go at their own pace.
- What if I need childcare support?
Please contact us to discuss possible financial assistance for traveling with children and a list of daycare providers.