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Our Culture

The University of Utah's Department of Physics & Astronomy is committed to pursuing key science questions within an inclusive academic community; to training and diversifying the next generation of researchers, educators, and technology workforce leaders; and to inspiring an appreciation for knowledge in students and the wider community.

To this end, the department is committed to improving equity and inclusiveness among our students, staff, and faculty by:

    • Providing an environment for all individuals, including those from underrepresented groups, to excel in their academic and professional development.
    • Providing a community in which all members (students, staff, and faculty) are expected to interact respectfully with each other and the public.
    • Increasing the diversity of our faculty, staff, and students by recruiting and retaining members of underrepresented groups, particularly those underrepresented in the department and in the physics and astronomy community nationwide.

A departmental Committee for Diversity and Inclusion oversees many of our efforts and reviews policies and procedures for inclusivity. The department sponsors two student groups that focus on education and action related to gender issues in science. They also support our minority students in a variety of ways. The department awards a Diversity Scholarship each year for "students demonstrating exceptional commitment to the advancement of women and underrepresented groups in the fields of physics and astronomy." The department also sponsors a number of scholarships of $10,000 each to students from underrepresented groups to supplement their stipend in the first academic year of their graduate study. Many of our departmental outreach events concern the pipeline from K-12 to college with the goal of improving access for potential first-generation college students and students from resource-challenged schools.

Resources for Undergraduate Students

University of Utah Society of Physics Students (SPS)
The Society of Physics students is a national organization devoted to bringing together people who strive to understand the world around us. Our local SPS has events for students to meet and have fun.
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Undergraduate Student Advisory Committee (USAC)
USAC advises the Department of Physics & Astronomy in matters concerning undergraduate students.
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Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP)
Annual American Physical Society conferences are held in January all over the country, hosting approximately 2,000 undergraduate physics majors to discuss science, career paths for physicists, and social issues that can affect the experiences of scientists from underrepresented groups.
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Refugees Exploring the Foundations of Undergraduate Education in Science (REFUGES)
REFUGES is a robust STEM-focused refugee- and minority-student support program with two components, an after-school program for 7-12 and a bridge program for incoming University students.
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Resources for Graduate Students & Postdocs


Physics and Astronomy Graduate Student Advisory Committee (GSAC)
GSAC is a volunteer group of grad students who advocate on behalf of other graduate students. The committee organizes monthly research seminars where graduate students can present their research. Each semester, the organization sponsors a few graduate socials.
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Women in Physics and Astronomy (WomPA)
WomPA fosters a sense of community among women in the Department of Physics & Astronomy. WomPA events provide opportunities for informal mentoring and sharing of resources. The organization also serves as a forum for the exchange of information and advice. WomPA is open to any student, faculty, or staff member of the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the U.
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African American Doctoral Scholars Initiative
The African American Doctoral Scholars Initiative provides a scholarly community and educational services for African American doctoral students at the university.
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Resources for Faculty/Staff

The Faculty Handbook
The Faculty Handbook provides basic information for faculty members on policies and procedures that apply to faculty appointments, information about the U, the campus, and other sources of information.
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The Faculty Mentoring Program
The Faculty Mentoring Program supports the professional development and success of our faculty members, especially those in the early stages of their career.
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Faculty Parental Benefits
Faculty Parental Benefits give eligible faculty members a parental leave of absence with modified duties (e.g., teaching, service, and/or research) for one semester.
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Black Faculty and Staff Association
The Black Faculty and Staff Association (BFSA) is dedicated to promoting the full inclusion of Black faculty, staff, and students at the University of Utah.
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Get Involved

University of Utah Groups and Resources 

ACCESS Program for Women in Science & Mathematics
The ACCESS Program for Women in Science & Mathematics, a College of Science program, provides aspiring women from a wide variety of backgrounds with a supportive path into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) majors and careers through a scholarship award, first-year learning experience, and an extensive network that fosters academic success through their undergraduate education.
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Womens Enrollment Initiative
The Women's Enrollment Initiative, a university-wide program, is designed to recruit, retain, and graduate women through a network of support that provides opportunities and creates innovative partnerships that positively impact the full range of experiences for women as they pursue their educational and professional goals.
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SACNASSociety for Advancing Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
SACNAS is a national organization dedicated to fostering the success of underrepresented undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdocs on campus to pursue advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in science. It has an active University of Utah chapter.
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Women's Resource Center (WRC)
The Women's Resource Center at the University of Utah serves as the central resource for educational and support services for women.
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American Indian Resource Center (AIRC)
The American Indian Resource Center at the University of Utah advocates for American Indian and Alaska Native students through recruitment and retention projects that lead to graduation.
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Black Cultural Center (BCC)
The Black Cultural Center at the University of Utah seeks to counteract persistent campus-wide and global anti-blackness. It works to holistically enrich, educate, and advocate for students, faculty, and staff through Black-centered programming, culturally affirming educational initiatives, and retention strategies.
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Center for Ethnic Student Affairs (CESA)
The University of Utah Center for Ethnic Student Affairs supports first-year students and beyond through a personalized campus orientation, regular interactions with faculty and staff of color, academic advising, multiple mentoring relationships, and off-campus community engagement opportunities.
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LGBTQ+ Resource Center
The LGBTQ+ Resource Center at the U acts in accountability with the campus community by identifying the needs of people with a queer range of (a) gender and (a) sexual experiences and responding with university-wide services.
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out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (oSTEM)
oSTEM at the University of Utah is committed to helping LGBTQ+ students in STEM fields.
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Office for Equity and Diversity
The University of Utah Office for Equity and Diversity leads the U's efforts in creating a safe and welcoming campus climate.
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Graduate and Advanced Lady Scientists (GALS)
GALS is an organization for graduate and post-graduate women in science at the U.
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National Committees and Organizations 

APS Committee on the Status of Women
The American Physical Society (APS) Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP) was founded in 1972 to address the encouragement and career development of women physicists.
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APS Committee on Minorities
The committee addresses the production, retention, and career development of minority physicists and gathers and maintains data on minorities in physics in support of these objectives.
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National Society of Black Physicists
Founded in 1977 at Morgan State University, the mission of the National Society of Black Physicists is to promote the professional well-being of African-American physicists and physics students within the international scientific community and within society at large.
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National Society of Hispanic Physicists
The purpose of the society is to promote the professional well-being and recognize the accomplishments of Hispanic physicists within the scientific community of the U.S. and within society at large.
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APS LGBTQ+ Physicists
This ad hoc committee of the American Physical Society advises the APS on the current status of LGBTQ+ issues in physics and provides recommendations for greater inclusion and engages physicists in laying the foundation for a more inclusive physics community.
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AAS Committee on the Status of Minorities
The mission of the American Astronomical Society's Committee on the Status of Minorities is to enhance the participation of underrepresented minorities on astronomy at all levels of experience.
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AAS Committee for Sexual Orientation and Gender Minorities
This American Astronomical Society committee works to promote equality for sexual orientation and gender minorities (SGMs) within the field of physics, including those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, questioning or queer, or asexual.
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Community Outreach

The Department of Physics & Astronomy supports an extensive community outreach program to recruit prospective Physics & Astronomy majors from among all groups, including and especially, underrepresented groups.


U Physics & Astronomy Diversity and Inclusion Committee 

Please contact us with ideas, suggestions, and concerns.

Dan Wik
assistant professor and chair of the Committee

Ramon Barthelemy
assistant professor

Claudia De Grandi
assistant professor

Tino Nyawelo
assistant professor and chair of the Committee