Lauren Alexandra Tompkins (Stanford University (US)) Yongsheng Gao (California State University (US))
Professional physicists are a largely homogeneous group. According to the American Institute of Physics's Statistical Research Center, only 17% of bachelor's degrees and 12% of PhDs in the US go to women; 8% of bachelors and 1% PhDs go to Hispanic, African American and Native American students. In contrast, the college age US population is 50% women and 28% Hispanic, African American and Native American, which indicates that a large fraction of potential physics talent is untapped. Myriad factors, from institutionalized racism to lack of exposure about STEM careers, contribute to this gap in participation. Closing this gap requires concerted effort on many fronts. This abstract focuses on one such front: providing access to quality research opportunities for students from under represented groups through a summer research program through the Nuclear and Particle Physics Consortium at the California State University (CSU) system. With 23 campuses serving over 450,000 students from a diverse range of backgrounds, the CSU system is the largest public university system in the United states. It is also a minority serving institution. In 2013, the student body was 41% Latino (32% Mexican American) and 5% African American. At least 35% are the first person in their family to attend college. However, the campuses have limited research opportunities for students. We will discuss a program started by Professor Yongsheng Gao of CSU Fresno, and supported by the NSF International Research Experiences for Students and several CSU campuses, to provide CSU students with summer research experiences at CERN with mentors from a variety of institutions. Students are prepared for the program by taking an online course on particle physics taught by Professor Gao, and doing several months of practical tutorials with CSU Fresno and Stanford University students and postdocs. Our talk will focus on the preparation and experiences of both the student and mentors.
Lauren Alexandra Tompkins (Stanford University (US))
Yongsheng Gao (California State University (US))