The University of Central Florida recently hosted a three-day conference designed to promote, encourage, and empower undergraduate women in the most male-dominated field among the sciences: physics.

The university was this year’s host of the Southeast Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (SCUWP), a conference designed to bring together women from across the southeast interested in physics to network and discuss research and career opportunities.

UCF’s Office of Research and Commercialization co-sponsored the event, along with UCF Physics, Department of Mathematics, College of Graduate Studies, College of Sciences, College of Optics and Photonics, and NanoScience Technology Center. Additional sponsors included: the Florida Space Institute and Florida Space Grant Consortium.

UCF joined the ranks of Cornell University, California Institute of Technology, the University of Illinois, the University of Texas and the Colorado School of Mines as regional hosts for the 2013 conference, marking the first time that the conference has ever been held at a university in Florida.

“Women are historically underrepresented in the physics field,” said Talat Rahman, Pegasus Professor and Chair of Physics at UCF. Our goal is to help undergraduate women by providing them with an opportunity to network and hear from distinguished women in the field with the hope that they can become better prepared for the common hurdles that occur that often cause many talented women to leave the physics path.”

Around 100 undergraduates attended the conference, which featured research talks by faculty, panel discussions about graduate schools and careers in physics, laboratory tours, student research talks, a student poster session, and valuable networking opportunities. SCUWP, held January 18th-20th, featured presentations from key speaker Margaret Murnane, JILA Fellow and Distinguished Professor at the University of Colorado, and Ellen Williams, Chief Scientist of British/Beyond Petroleum (BP).

Click here for more information about SCUWP.