Author Archives: adm273

Spring 2016 PAW Travel Award is Announced!

PAW wants to recognize the recipients of the Travel fund for Spring 2016:  Beatrice Bonga and Foteini Oikonomou!  Both of them will be using their awards to give invited talks.  Beatrice will use the funds to attend the “Peyresq Physics 21” conference in France.  She was selected as one of a handful of students to give an invited talk.  Foteini is going to attend “Next Generation Techniques in Astroparticle Physics at KICP in Chicago.  She will give an invited theoretical overview of ultra-high energy cosmic rays (UHECRs) and neutrinos.  Congrats to both of you!

beatrice foteini

PAW Receives the 2016 Student Climate and Diversity Award!

Great news, PAW members!  PAW has been selected to receive the 2016 Student Climate and Diversity Award from the Eberly College of Science!  We want to thank all of our members for their involvement in outreach and mentoring that allowed us to receive this honor!  The will be a ceremony and reception on January 15, 2016 at 3 p.m. in the gateway between the chemistry and life sciences building and all members are encouraged to attend.


See the email from Edie Rudy (ECOS Climate and Diversity Committee) below:

Good Morning colleagues!

Each year the Climate & Diversity Committee awards  individuals and programs that have displayed extraordinary commitment to enhancing our environment of mutual respect and diversity.  The awards are intended to highlight all members of the college community; undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, staff members, faculty members, as well as programs within the college that are supportive and welcoming of all individuals within our college community.  These awards allow us to share the success stories and celebrate the leadership and vision of individuals and programs.

This year we had 13 nominations, which made the task of selecting only 3 recipients extremely difficult. After careful consideration we are excited to announce the following winners:

Faculty – Steve Schaeffer (Biol)
Student – PAW – Physics and Astronomy For Women (student organization)
Staff – Starlette Sharp (Dean’s Office)

We invite everyone to join us at the Climate & Diversity Awards ceremony and reception to recognize these individuals.  The ceremony and reception will be Friday, January 15, 2016 at 3:00 PM at the Gateway to the Life Sciences.(The bridge between the Chemistry Building and the Huck Life Sciences building.)

Have a great evening!
Edie Rudy
Eberly College of Science Climate & Diversity Committee

United Way Coins for Caring Fundraiser, Baking Cookies!

PAW helped out again this year for the United Way Coins for Caring Fundraiser by baking cookies for the “Physics Cookie and Coffee Fundraiser!”  The physics staff of 104 Davey and members from PAW baked many delicious cookies that were given out for donations, both large and small.



The Centre County United Way is a non-profit organization focused on providing funds and support for improving communities.  Some of the programs that they fund include the American Red Cross, Boy and Girl Scouts of PA, the Food Bank, and the YMCA of Centre County.  To find out more about United Way and the programs they help support, see their website.

Elections were held; say hello to your new officers!

On May 7, we held elections for the 2015-2016 PAW officers. I’m pleased to announce the new officers:

President: Kelly Malone

Vice President: Melissa Quinnan

Treasurer: Feifei Huang

Outreach Chair: Anne-Sylvie Deutsch

Outreach Chair: Victoria Lumsargis

Social Events/Mentoring Chair: Susan Kempinger

Webmaster: Amber McCreary

Congratulations everyone! We are also still looking for another social events/mentoring chair so feel free to email Kelly Malone if you are interested in helping!

Kelly Malone awarded the Spring 2015 PAW Travel Fund!


Kelly Malone was the second recipient of the PAW Travel fund in which she was awarded $500.  Kelly will be using the money to attend the Fermi Summer School in Lewes, Delaware for two weeks in early summer where she learn theory and techniques relevant to the analysis of gamma ray astrophysics projects, with an emphasis on data from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.  Congratulations Kelly, we hope you have a great experience!



PAW Helps Out with the Expanding Your Horizons STEM Career Day

This year, PAW had to opportunity to participate in the Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) STEM Career Day on Jan 31, 2015, which was a full day of science enrichment that includes a mini career fair, break out sessions, speakers, and a chance to for 6-8th grade girls to work with Penn State students, graduate students, and faculty.  Young women had the chance to ponder their future in STEM disciplines.  See the website for more information about the event.

First, the event started off with a Career Fair where young women and their parents could go around to different booths and find out about different opportunities for careers in the STEM fields. PAW made a very glittery poster outlining all of the different career path that studying physics could lead you, which was based off of a site (which is pretty cool, you should check it out!).  Below are pictures of Beatrice, Melissa, and Anne-Sylvie with our lovely poster at the Career Fair…

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Then, PAW hosted one of the workshop sessions called “Squishy Circuits” which was inspired by the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St. Thomas and allowed the girls to create their very own electrical circuits using Play Doh.  Using Play-Doh, batteries, LEDs, and buzzers, the girls were able to use these materials to determine which Play-Doh was conductive and to try to get their LEDs to light up!

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Afterwards, the girls were given their creation (LEDs plus the Play-Doh) to take home, as well as a handout describing how to make the insulating and conducting Play-Doh and where to buy the batteries.

You can find the slides and the handout from this workshop below.  Give the experiment a try, it’s a lot of fun!

Squishy Circuits Handout

EYH 31 Jan 2015 Slides

PAW gives presentation on getting into grad school for SPS members

PAW gave an informal presentation at the Society of Physics Students (SPS) meeting on November 12, 2014 about how to get into grad school followed by a panel of graduate students (both male and female) who answered questions and give tips about their experience with grad school applications/life/research or whatever the members of SPS had a question about.

First, Kelly and Amber gave a presentation with information on what to consider when applying to schools for your graduate career, what’s involved in the application process, how to boost your application, and what to look for during the visiting weekend to know if that graduate program is a good fit for you.  The powerpoint presentation that we showed can be found here.

spsmeeting1 spsmeeting2

The panelists included:

Kelly Malone (2nd year, particle astrophysics experiment, email:

Amber McCreary (4th year, condensed matter experiment,email:

Beatrice Bonga (3rd year, gravitational physics & cosmology theory, email:

Cody Messick (2nd year, gravitational physics & cosmology experiment, email:

If you have an individual question for one of the panelists, feel free to shoot any of them an email and they would be happy to help out.  PAW and the AstroClub will be teaming up to give a presentation on “getting into research” in undergrad in the spring semester, so stay tuned!

PAW raises $137 for United Way in Cookie Fundraiser!

PAW was able to help the physics department raise $137 for United Way State College, a non-profit organization focused on providing funds and support for improving communities.  First, it started with a relaxing Sunday baking cookies at Susan’s on November 2…


Followed by giving out cookies for donations at the Davey-Osmond overpass on November 3…

cookies7 cookies6 cookies3 cookies5

PAW was proud to help such a great organization as well as share delicious cookies!

Anne-Sylvie Deutsch and Sumithra Surendralal first recipients of PAW Travel Fund!

PAW is delighted to announce that Anne-Sylvie Deutsch and Sumithra Surendralal will be the first recipients of the PAW Travel Fund Award!  Anne-Sylvie will give a poster presentation at “The Primordial Universe after Plack” conference in Paris from December 15-19.  Sumithra will attend the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting in Washington, DC from November 14-19, where she will also present a poster about her work.  Congratulations to them both!


Sumithra Surendralal



Anne-Sylvie Deutsch