UCF Shines at National Physics Conference

NMCBP Conference 4 - 3UCF was well represented by a number of faculty and students at the American Physical Society (APS) National Mentoring Community & Bridge Program Conference on October 9-11, 2015. Held in Miami, Florida at Florida International University, this conference focused on mentor/mentee relationships, gave guidance on how to build successful bridge programs and let attendees hear from students, faculty, and administrators who lead and support these programs. The American Physical Society Bridge Program (APS-BP) is a program who’s purpose is to increase the number of physics Ph.D.’s awarded to underrepresented minority students (URM).

UCF’s Physics Department became a bridge site in 2015 with a goal to recruit and prepare URM students for admissions to a physics Ph.D. program of their choice.

Mentors in the APS-BP program are called to mentor the “whole” student. Ted Hoddapp, Director of Education and Diversity at the American Physics Society, emphasized that “happy physicists do good physics”, one should never work themselves until they are miserable in what they do.

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Mary James, Dean for Institutional Diversity and the A. A. Knowlton Professor of Physics at Reed College, mentioned that mentors should make certain their mentees know that they are available to help with anything that may interfere with their academic progress. “While we may not be able to solve the problem ourselves,” James stated that, “we can likely point them to resources in the university to help out.”

The following faculty and staff represented UCF’s bridge program at the APS National Mentoring Community & Bridge Program Conference:NMCBP Conference 1 - resized

Esperanza Soto Arcino, Graduate Program Assistant

Ahlam Al Rawi, Ph.D., Lecturer

Elena Flitsiyan, Ph.D., Associate Lecturer/Undergraduate Program Director

Jackie Chini, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Along with the faculty, 5 UCF BP Fellows also attended the conference along with their advisors:

Tommy Boykin, physics Ph.D. student, also joined UCF at the bridge program Conference.

Physics graduate student and president of the Graduate Society of Physics Student, Zahra Hooshmand, Pegasus Professor Talat Rahman and professor Eduardo Mucciolo were speakers at the event.

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“This [was] the first joint meeting of the two units and several action items [were] discussed to make mentoring more extensive and inclusive” says Rahman, “a small step with broad implications.”

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