Diversity & Inclusion

Comments, Suggestions, and Concerns

The Department of Physics welcomes your insights regarding diversity and inclusion in our department.  If you have thoughts you would like to convey feel free to contact any or all of the following people:

Linda Young (Chair), Stephan Meyer, David Miller, Kaeli Hughes, and Young-Kee Kim

The Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Committee

Young-Kee Kim

Chair, Department of Physics

Excerpt from the Student Manual

"The University of Chicago is a community of scholars dedicated to research, academic excellence, and the pursuit and cultivation of learning in an environment where the free and open expression of ideas and critical questions are paramount. Every member of the University - student, faculty, and staff - makes a commitment to strive for personal and academic integrity; to treat others with dignity and respect; to honor the rights and property of others; to take responsibility for individual and group behavior; and to act as a responsible citizen in a free academic community and in the larger society. Any student conduct, on or off campus, of individuals or groups, that threatens or violates this commitment may become a matter for action within the University's system of student discipline..."

The University of Chicago is located in a richly diverse city and the Department of Physics values the benefits that diversity brings to life and science. Whether an undergraduate student, graduate student, post-doctoral researcher, staff, or faculty member, in our Department you'll have a meeting of the minds with people from all over the world and from all walks of American life. Our diversity grows greater year by year. 

Below you'll find a sampling of some of the things we do. The best way to know even more is to come and see us sometime.

The University of Chicago physics department values supporting incoming students as they transition into graduate life. The Grad Influences program is a new initiative aimed at fostering inclusivity within the department, by pairing incoming students with upper year students who are experienced in navigating academic and personal issues. Incoming students are paired with a compatible upper-year student (via a short survey) and then encouraged to meet throughout the year for coffee, which is paid for by the department. Through this program, each student will get access to the resources and network of their mentor, as well as have easy access to a mentor that can answer questions about the department or campus life.

Each mentor will receive training from the Health Promotion and Wellness office at UChicago, in order to learn best practices for helping their mentee with any personal issues they may face. The mentors and mentees will receive support from the program leaders as well, in order to ensure quality mentorship. Expectations for the mentors:

  • Eligibility: have completed at least 2 years in the UChicago physics program (rising 3rd year).
  • Required Training: 1 hour during the fall semester.
  • Time Commitment with mentee: 3 coffee dates / year (reimbursed by phys dept), but you're encouraged to meet more often.
  • Be available over email or Skype or messenger for advice.
  • Be open to sharing your network of resources and others around you.

If you have comments, questions, or concerns please fill free to contact: Zoheyr Doctor (zdoctor@uchicago.edu), Gautam Satishchandran (gautamsatish@uchicago.edu), Andrea Bryant (asbryant@uchicago.edu), or Lipi Gupta (lipigupta@uchicago.edu).

The mission of the UChicago Society of Women in Physics (SWiP) is to create a supportive environment for all undergraduate students in the physics department through mentorship programs, weekly homework nights, and quarterly activities that allows students to engage with each other, graduate students, post docs, and faculty members in both academic and social settings. For more information please visit our website or join our listhost for weekly updates. Our main quarterly events are listed below:

  • Autumn: Graduate/Undergraduate Student Mixer
  • Winter: Hot Chocolate Night
  • Spring: Pizza with Professors (and Post-docs!)

University of Chicago Women and Gender Minorities in Physics is an active part of the Physics department that strives to include and empower undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral scholars. We host and participate in a variety of professional development events including our biweekly Women in Physics Research talks involving speakers from various fields of research and many Universities, and annual visits to Argonne and Fermilab.

The group actively participates in events promoting inclusiveness in academia and spreads awareness of key issues relevant to women and minorities pursuing scientific careers. There is a strong relationship between this group and the undergraduate SWiP program, including one-on-one mentorships and combined events.

During the summer our members are strongly involved in the REU program, offering help and guidance for women considering scientific pursuits and applying for graduate school. Along with supporting members' academic ambitions, they also foster an open community by hosting social events, such as monthly dinners and socials, that bring together students, postdocs, and faculty at the University of Chicago.

Peter and PaulWe have forged a partnership with the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS). This partnership "...encourages UChicago faculty to collaborate with AIMS faculty in the development of new curriculum and experimental program content, and to explore joint research projects and future academic collaborations." We also anticipate that this partnership will help bring students into our programs. The UChicago-AIMS faculty working group is co-chaired by two physics faculty members: Peter Littlewood (left) and Paul Wiegmann (right).

The Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) and the Department of Physics jointly run REU programs that bring a diverse group of undergraduate students to Chicago to experience an environment of research, academic development, and social and professional networking.

The Department of Physics participates in a small Bridge to PhD program which provides an opportunity for students to build and/or enhance their background in physics and to gain key research mentoring in preparation for PhD level work. We work in collaboration with the Bridge Program run by the American Physical Society. Women and under-represented minority students are especially encouraged to apply.

Our department and university is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for sexual and gender minorities. The Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Student Life (https://lgbtq.uchicago.edu/) at U. Chicago provides local resources and community for students and postdocs. Margaret Gardel is faculty mentor for any students with questions or concerns on LGBTQ issues.

The American Physical Society also provides resources, including a 2015 climate report for LGBTQ Physicists (https://www.aps.org/programs/lgbt/) and resulted in the creation of a networking resource for LGBT+ Physicists (http://lgbtphysicists.org).

The Women in Graduate Science come together at least once per quarter and span several departments in the Physical Sciences and Molecular Engineering.