Tuesday, May 30th: Cal-­Bridge and CAMPARE: Engaging Underrepresented Students in Physics and Astronomy

Event Date: 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - 4:00pm

Event Date Details: 

Refreshments served at 3:40 pm.

Event Location: 

  • Broida Hall
  • ROOM 1640
  • Physics Colloquium

The level of participation by underrepresented minority (URM) and female students in physics and astronomy PhD programs is shamefully low (2-4% for URM v. 30% in the general population; 20% for women v. 50% in the general population). I will begin by discussing research into factors, among them the physics and general GRE, that reduce participation of underrepresented groups in our field, while providing little to no benefit in helping predict long-term success. I will then describe some alternative, holistic methods of conducting graduate admissions that are having success in increasing diversity in graduate programs in physics and astronomy, while maintaining or even increasing the quality of the admitted students.

I will then describe two California-wide, multi-institutional programs, Cal-Bridge and CAMPARE, with the common mission of increasing participation of underrepresented minorities and women in astronomy and physics through summer research opportunities, in the case of CAMPARE, scholarships in the case of Cal-Bridge, and significant mentoring and professional development in both programs, leading to an increase in their numbers completing bachelor’s degrees, and successfully pursuing a PhD in these fields.

There are plans for an expansion of the Cal-Bridge program, which UC Santa Barbara already participates in, to include students interested in physics PhDs, as well as to make it statewide. I will be talking about how UC physics and astronomy faculty can get involved in the program and these expansion efforts.

Alexander L. Rudolph, Cal Poly University