PAW Officers

President – Susan Kempinger


IMG_2177_crop1Susan is a fourth year grad student at Penn State doing experimental condensed matter research.  She currently does research studying nanoscale magnetic systems using optical imaging techniques.  She graduated from her undergraduate program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2013 with degrees in Math and Physics.  When she’s not doing physics, Susan enjoys dancing West Coast Swing, writing poetry, and doing crochet.


Treasurer – Feifei Huang



Feifei is a fifth year physics graduate student working in particle astrophysics. She graduated from Wuhan University in China in 2012 with a physics B.S. degree. She is working in the IceCube research group in Penn State. IceCube is a neutrino detector located in the South Pole, aiming at searching for neutrinos, exploring the properties of neutrinos, and other interesting areas. ( In case you’re interested, here is a link to a paper in Science) She likes watching movies, eating chocolate, etc.


Outreach Chair – Victoria Lumsargis


LumsargisVictoria is a current junior studying physics and chemistry at Penn State.  She is examining how polymers can be modified and used as dielectrics.  Growing up in the Philadelphia area, she has an intense love for the Philadelphia Museum of Art as well as the Franklin Institute.  In addition, she absolutely loves ice cream and coffee, which makes the Berkey Creamery one of her favorite places on Earth!  In her free time, Victoria enjoys playing the piano, sketching, baking, and goofing off with her cat, Penny.


Outreach Chair – Parul Maheshwari


parulDCParul is a second year graduate student working on bio networks. She did her undergraduate in Engineering Physics from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. She is currently doing research on analysis and reduction of networks applicable in biology and other fields. Other than Physics, she likes to sketch and paint. She loves stargazing and always up for a sky watching trip. Being one of the two outreach chairs for PAW, she enjoys organizing activities for students. Feel free to email her about any outreach events or ideas!


Social Events Chair – Mónica Rincón Ramirez


MonicaMónica is a third year Physics graduate student. Before joining the Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos at Penn State, she obtained her BSc from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and a MSc from the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. She works under the supervision of Prof. Eugenio Bianchi on the areas of Quantum Gravity, specifically Loop Quantum Gravity (LQG), and General Relativity. LQG is a theory of the quantum properties of spacetime, which are needed to better understand black holes and the very beginning of the universe. In her spare time, Mónica enjoys dancing latin american music, drawing and playing the electric guitar.


Webmaster – Kelly Malone


profileKelly is a fourth year graduate student doing research in particle astrophysics. She works on the High Altitude Water Cherenkov Observatory (HAWC), which consists of an array of 300 water Cherenkov detectors on a mountain in Puebla, Mexico and is used to observe gamma and cosmic rays. In 2013, she earned two Bachelor of Science degrees (in Physics and Astronomy) from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In her spare time, Kelly enjoys drinking coffee and pretending that she knows how to cook delicious vegetarian meals from scratch.


Faculty Advisor – Doug Cowen



Doug is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy & Astrophysics and who works in the field of experimental particle astrophysics.  He has taught all of the Physics 21x introductory courses at one time or another, and relishes the challenge of making those large lecture classes effective and enjoyable for the students who take them.  For most of his professional career Doug has studied neutrinos.  During the past 15 years or so he has been working on the IceCube Neutrino Observatory and its predecessor AMANDA, both located under the icecap at the South Pole.  He is leading the US effort to build an IceCube in-fill array called PINGU that will enable us to measure, for the first time, a fundamental property of neutrinos known as the “neutrino mass hierarchy.”  He also works on AMON, a virtual observatory project at Penn State that we hope will open up the field of multimessenger astronomy.  Doug also loves tea (second flush Darjeeling from Boston Tea Campaign!), is a vegetarian, and doesn’t get to go swimming as often as he’d like.