Friday, January 17, 2014

Not BARREL but very cool

I was asked the other day why I got into physics and specifically space physics. I always knew I wanted to be a scientist, and physics seemed to open paths to pretty much anything I could ever want to study. However I fell into space physics. I didn't even know that something like that existed until I ended up on a tour at Augsburg for potential applicants. I wasn't even going to go to Augsburg except that I figure skated there and needed to go on a fourth tour so that I could get some fee waivers to apply to the college that "I was going to go to". I thought I had made up my mind that I would attend St. Olaf college.

On the tour I met Mark Engebretson who would eventually become my advisor. He was so excited to share his physics. I walked away more excited than ever to go to college and become a scientist, and that's saying something. It's been 10 years now since I was an undergrad. In my graduating class we had two women. For many years while I was there, there were only three of us in the whole department.

Times have changed though. Augsburg is currently sending 7 (my class had only 7 people in it) young women to a women in physics conference. They are all blogging about their experience and I can't wait to follow them. I know a few are interested in space physics and I hope that we'll be able to work together in the future!

There most definitely is a lack of women in physics. I have to say though that I am very proud of not just Augsburg, but also Dartmouth and BARREL. For the BARREL team at Dartmouth, we are currently mostly women. There's Leslie, Zan, Sappna, Mary, of course Robyn, and myself. That's not counting our undergraduates. Within the Dartmouth department of physics and Astronomy there are four women professors, three of whom are in space physics. This is amazing as many colleges have 1 or no women professors.

Things are changing slowly, and I have hope that they will get better. In the mean time... Go Auggies Go! Have fun at your conference and I can't wait to see what your future in physics holds!