PhIS has been making an ongoing effort to make Weniger (the building that hosts the physics department) a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all. This summer we decorated many more of the display cases on the second and third floors of Weniger. The new display cases on the second floor feature profiles of scientists from a variety of backgrounds. The new display cases on the third floor provide information to connect students to campus resources. There is also now a board on the third floor that features “physics around the world” and includes a map to highlight representation within our own department, both across the country and internationally. Visit this display board to put your own pin on the map! Additionally, in collaboration with the OSU chapter of the Society for Physics Students (SPS), PhIS helped clean and paint the undergraduate study space, WNGR 304f. We are in the process of painting a mural in there as well.
Additionally, PhIS, SPS, and Astronomy Club are working on a new interclub room called the Event Horizon (WNGR 381.) This space can be used by any of the clubs in the department for meetings, events, and storing club supplies. We hope that having this communal space available will further build a sense of community within the department and invite more interaction between clubs.
PhIS participated in da Vinci Days this year, which is a local arts and science festival that showcases the creativity of community members, students and staff from LBCC and OSU. We had a table at this event to engage the community with fun physics demos and conversation about diversity and inclusion in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.) It was a great opportunity both for outreach and networking with other local groups and we hope to participate again next year. A big thanks to the members of SPS who volunteered at our table!
We think it is important to address how mentally and emotionally demanding working in STEM can be, so we have been hosting self-care activities to promote wellness and provide opportunities to bond and support each other. This summer PhIS went for our second local hike, this time on the Vineyard Mountain Loop in the McDonald State Forest. It was a great way to destress and enjoy some nature.
PhIS also participated in the College of Science engagement day with LSAMP Bridge. LSAMP is a program for undergraduates in STEM funded by the NSF to help traditionally underserved minorities in STEM fields by getting them involved with their community and integrating them into academic life here at OSU. We had a room full of demos for the students to interact with, including laser mazes, a gravity well, and the spinning chair demo. Then, we took them on lab tours around the department to expose them to research opportunities and to meet and ask questions to physics graduate students.
Finally, PhIS updated our website this summer! Check it out at http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/phis/. Also, make sure to follow us on Instagram (@osu_phis) and Facebook (OSU Physicists for Inclusion in Science.) We have a number of recruitment, mentoring, and social events planned for the fall and are very excited for the 2019-2020 school year!