Upcoming Events


Past Events…


November 15 – Tea break

Announcement of upcoming tea break on November 15th:
Dear PAW members,
This organization was founded as a network of support for women and minorities in physics and astronomy. We want all of our members to feel comfortable and included in our University. Given recent political events, the goal of maintaining a culture where everyone feels safe is at the forefront of our minds. I know many of you are perhaps scared or frustrated.
Our next tea break, at noon on Tuesday, November 15th in 339 Davey, will be focused on creating a space where we can come together and be supportive as a community. Feel free to bring a lunch, as well as any questions or concerns you may have. Just know you are still valued by this department.
As always, we are here for you!
The PAW leadership

November 2 – Annual coins for caring cookie fundraiser

October 28 – Social: Halloween pumpkin carving

September 6 – Social: Board game day

Thursday, April 7 – Social:  Fondue Night!

We had a great social night with both cheese and chocolate fondue!

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Thursday, March 3 – “Science and Art Expo” at Ferguson Elementary School

PAW had a booth at the annual “Arts and Science Expo” held at Ferguson Township Elementary School at the beginning of March.  We built a tower out of popsicle sticks and all the students had a lot of fun learning how structurally sound buildings are created.

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Tuesday, February 23 – Tea Break at noon.

Come join PAW for a lovely tea break!  Bring your lunch or stop by for some delicious cookies and warm beverages.  It will be from noon to 1 p.m., the location is still TBA.  Check the Facebook page for an update on the location.  We will also be discussing what types of social events members would be interested in as well as whether members would be interested in converting some of our tea breaks into diversity journal clubs.

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Jan 2016 – Expanding Your Horizons Science Day at Penn State

PAW participated in the EYH Science Day where middle school aged girls are given a chance to ponder their future in STEM disciplines through a mini career fair, break out sessions with hands-on activities, speakers, and a chance to work with Penn State students, graduate students, and faculty.  In our hands-on activity, we did “Build-Up! Building Bridges in STEM” where students were introduced to the notions of force, compression, and tension.  Then, the girls broke up into groups and were tasked with building a truss bridge that could hold the most weight!  It was a huge success, everyone enjoyed themselves.

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January 15, 2016 – Climate & Diversity Awards Ceremony and Reception

PAW was honored to be selected for the 2016 Eberly College of Science Student Climate & Diversity Award!  We attended a ceremony and reception at the Gateway to the Life Sciences where Prof. Robinett did the honor of describing the reasons he nominated us for the award!  We want to thank all of our members involved in mentoring and outreach, we couldn’t have done it without you!



Tuesday, November 10 – Exploration-U:  Bellefonte Science Night

From their webpage:   Bellefonte Family Science Night is a community based program with the goal of promoting community and family support of STEM education in local schools. Penn State graduate students, undergraduates, faculty, and the office of Outreach and Science bring hands-on activities to a local school for an evening presentation to the general public. Teachers and students from the school also participate and contribute activities. Family Science Night, sponsored in part by the office of Outreach and Science Engagement, has been held for the Bellefonte Area School district since 2009. This annual event has reached hundreds of elementary. middle school, and high school students and their families. This is a specific target audience for the National Science Foundation’s broader impacts section.Response has been overwhelmingly positive to this program, with parent surveys stating nearly 100% would attend the event again, and over 90% would encourage their child to choose a career in science.

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Sunday, October 25 – Haunted-U Halloween Science Event

This year PAW sent volunteers for help with Haunted-U:  Halloween Science Event on Sunday, October 25.  From their description:  “This year’s there is ‘Super Villain Science:  Calling all Science Superheroes’ and will feature lots of ‘Superhero-themed’ science!  There are super villains trying to take over our labs, and we need YOU to help guide young scientists to be the science superheroes that save the day!”

They are seeking students from all STEM disciplines to volunteer as mentors for groups of 5 children, grades K-5.  They provided the storytelling and the curriculum, we provided the passion for science and desire to share it with kids!

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For last years event video, see here

Wednesday, October 7 – Tea Break

Our October tea break was held on October 7 at 1 p.m in Osmond 318 where we enjoyed the usual tea and cookies.

Wednesday, August 5 – Higher Achievement Summer Program Outreach Opportunity

This year,  PAW will be doing the squishy circuits demonstration with Higher Achievement scholars who will be at Penn State for a summer program.  See the details below…

“Higher Achievement’s rigorous afterschool and summer academic program closes the opportunity gap for middle school youth in at-risk communities.  The program’s proven model provides a rigorous year-round learning environment, caring role models, and a culture of high expectations, resulting in college-bound scholars with the character, confidence, and skills to succeed.  On average, 95% of scholars who complete Higher Achievement advance to top academic high school programs and 93% advance to college.  Scholars are from at-risk, underserved communities in Washington DC who are completing rigorous after school and 6 week Summer Academy with this culminating overnight university trip to introduce them to college options to which they may not ordinarily have access (80% of the scholars will be first generation college students and students come from schools with at least a 75% free and reduced lunch rate).  To learn more about the highly successful Higher Achievement Program, see the Website.  Approximately 80 7th and 8th grade students will be making the trip to PSU.  The students are divided into small groups who visit many labs and facilities on campus.”

We believe that our squishy circuits demonstration will be wonderfully engaging and informative for the students attending the college visit.  If you would like to participate, let the outreach officer know!  The event is scheduled from 3-4 p.m.

Saturday, August 22 – Graduate Women in Science Picnic

PAW will be attending the GWIS (Graduate Women in Science) end of the summer picnic and encourage you all to join us! GWIS, with some assistance from PAW, will be providing the main dishes but side dishes, desserts, etc. would be appreciated. Come socialize with other scientists!  It will be from 12 – 3 p.m. at Sunset Park, Pavillion #1.  For more information and to RSVP, see the Facebook Event.

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Wednesday, July 8 – KidsFest at Centre County Arts Festival

It’s been a PAW tradition to host a science booth at the KidsFest day during Arts Fest and this year was no different!   With a combination of PAW graduate students, REU students, and high school students from the Upward Bounds program, we had lots of fun educating the general public about Squishy circuits.  Check out some of the photos below and find more on the Outreach Page!

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Wednesday, May 7 –  PAW Elections!

Congratulations to our new PAW 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

 Sunday, April 26 – Girl Scouts Workshop

This year, PAW will participating in a Girl Scouts Workshop to get the girls interested in science.  It will take place in the Life Sciences building on campus from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Email Anne-Sylvie if you are interested in participating!

Wednesday, April 22 – Special Tea Break with Kelly Holley-Bockelmann

PAW  had a special tea break with Kelly Holley-Bockelmann, who is a professor of physics and astronomy at Vanderbilt; there was an informal chat about being a women in science and a discussion about the program used at Vanderbilt to promote minorities in excelling in STEM fields.

Wednesday, April 15 – Park Forest Middle School STEM Fair

This year, PAW had a booth at the Park Forest Middle School STEM Fair where many different groups from the scientific community did science demonstrations for the middle school students to show them how fun and interesting science can be.  We did our Squishy Cirucits demonstration in which we taught the students about electricity and circuits while having fun with play-doh!  The students (and us!) really seemed to enjoy it.

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Thursday, April 2 – Wine & Cheese Night!

Our next social event will be on Thursday, April 2nd from 7-9:30pm – a wine and cheese night!  Bring your own wine/beverages, we will provide cheese and bread.  See the Facebook event for more information and to RSVP so we know how much cheese to buy.  The event will be at Beatrice’s house, email Kelly Malone ( if you need directions.



Tuesday, March 24 – Exploration U Science Night

On March 24, 2015, PAW, among 40 other groups, participated to the Exploration U Science Night which attracted about 700 persons. With our squishy circuits activity, we attracted numerous children and families eager to learn more about electrical circuits.  Check out this AWESOME VIDEO about the night!

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Thursday, Feb. 26 – EXPO Fair at Ferguson School

PAW was able to take part in the Arts and Sciences Fair at the Ferguson School where, by using various challenges, we were able to guide the children through some of the concepts of electricity using our “Squishy Circuits” setup.  It was a lot of fun!

Thursday, Feb. 19 – Getting Into Research With the Astro Club

Similar to the panel/presentation that PAW did for the SPS about how to get into grad school, this semester PAW did another panel/presentation about how to get research opportunities as an undergraduate, which took place during the Astronomy Club meeting.  We showed a presentation that had links to many helpful blog posts about writing personal statements for summer research programs, along with some tips for undergrads hoping to get into physics and astronomy research here at Penn State.  The presentation can be found below, as well as on our Resources page.

Presentation on Getting Into Research as an Undergraduate

February 10 – Tea Break

You know the drill:  tea, cookies, and good company =)  And even hot chocolate this time!

 January 31, 2015 – Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) STEM Career Day

This year, PAW hosted a session at the EYH STEM Career Day, 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.

PAW did a workshop 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.  For more info on Squishy Circuits, see here.

PAW’s involvement in EYH was a huge success.  First, we got to show a whole bunch of middle school girls how awesome physics is by showing off our beautiful glittery poster on different career paths that an education in physics can take you.  Then, we were able to teach them about electrical circuits by playing with insulating and conducting Play-Doh.  It was a great day!  Check out the VIDEO that captures the excitement that was present throughout the day. More pictures can also be found here. Kelly Malone was even in the Collegian’s report on EYH!

For more information about this event, see our post!

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January 24 – Indian Food!

For our January social event, PAW went to India Pavilion to eat delicious Indian food and enjoy a Saturday night out with great company!

January 14, 2015 – Tea Break

We had our first tea break of the new year, enjoying good company and stories about everyone’s break.


December 9 – Tea Break with “Stress Less” Program!

For the last tea break of the semester, we had a special treat!  HealthWorks came by and taught us various ways to cope with stress (and how not to).  After blowing off some steam by venting our stress, we did three stress relief exercises:  one in which we all looked ridiculous and two mindfulness like ones.  All of us were totally zen afterwards (and that was the week before finals)!  Thank you HealthWorks!  All the while, we enjoyed a delicious pasta lunch and festive holiday cookies for desert (and of course there was tea!)

Also, did you know that UHS offers free yoga classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 – 5 p.m.?  And that there is a De-Stress Zone in the Student Health Center where you can practice relaxation techniques using biofeedback programs?   See HealthWorks website for more info!

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December 8 – PAW Mentoring Dinner

On Monday, December 8 (6 p.m., location TBD), PAW had its mentoring dinner and evaluation session for all of those in the PAW mentoring program, i.e. mentors and mentees =) to show appreciation for their hard work this semester as well as get feedback about what was successful about the program and what could be improved.

 December 4 – Screening of Empowerment Project

On Thursday, December 4 @ 6 p.m., there was a special screening of “Empowerment Project,” a new documentary film about ordinary women doing extraordinary things.  It took place in 114 McAllister and was organized by the Math department.  More info can be found at here


November 19 – Tea Break

The usual coffee, tea, and cookie break in 301 Whitmore at 4pm to unwind.

November 12 – How to Get Into Grad School:  SPS Meeting

PAW gave an informal presentation at the Society of Physics Students (SPS) meeting 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.

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The powerpoint presentation that we showed can be found here. If you have an individual question for one of the panelists, their names are on the last slide and their emails can be found on the PSU Physics Department’s website.  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!

November 2 & 3 – Cookie fund raiser for United Way

PAW was able to help the physics department raise $137 for United Way State College by baking cookies and giving them out for donations at the Osmond-Davey overpass.  We also spent a relaxing Sunday afternoon together (Nov 2) baking the cookies at Susan’s place while watching movies.  We were happy to raise money for a great cause such as United Way, which is a non-profit organization focused on providing funds and support for improving communities.


October 24 – Women’s Soccer Game

For our social event this month we went to watch a Penn State’s women’s soccer game. Hurah, we won with 3 goals to 1! With the third goal by Penn State made in the last minute. Beforehand we had dinner at our Creamery (nicely located between Osmond and the soccer field =)).

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 October 15 – Tea Break

We got together for our monthly tea break during which we relaxed with soothing tea, cookies, and good company!

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 October 10 – Session about the International Conference on Women in Physics and CUWiP

Kathryne Sparks-Woodle (previous president of PAW) share her experiences about the International Conference on Women in Physics that she attended this year and also provide an overview of data gathered from all the recent Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics.  During this discussion, Kathryne presented the results of two surveys done by students before and after the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics. About 20% of female undergraduate students in Physics in the United States attended the conference ! Even though the students felt more respected, met a lot of people and enjoyed the numerous discussions on the side (in particular with senior and graduate students), there is still work to do, especially concerning the impostor syndrome. Also, during the International Conference for Women in Physics, many issues encountered by women in different countries were discussed, and a video has been released: check it out here !

October 8 – Lunch with Marker lecturers

PAW organized together with PGSA (Physics Graduate Student Association) a lunch with the two professors who gave the Marker lectures, Margaret Marnane and Henry Kapteyn, a stellar husband-wife team who have worked collaboratively for much of their careers to develop many amazing new ideas in laser physics. Not only are they Physics professors, they also have a company in lasers (with 32 employees!). It was a wonderful lunch during which science, grad life and various aspects of a career in physics and industry were discussed.


October 5 – Women’s Networking Breakfast during the Inaugural Mid-Atlantic APS Meeting

During the APS-MAS meeting, held at Penn State from 3-5 October, many of our members attended the Women’s Networking Breakfast. Thank you organizers of this successful conference and wonderful networking opportunity!

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September 20 – Tailgate for PSU vs. UMASS Game


PAW tailgated the Penn State versus UMASS game on Sept 20 at Beaver Stadium, which was made even more exciting since one of own officers (Kelly Malone) attended UMASS for undergrad!  We had cornhole, burgers, snacks, and great company.  Everyone joined in the fun – women, men, non-physicists, grad students, and undergrads!

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September 18 – PAW General Meeting @ 6 p.m., 339 Davey

PAW had a general meeting on Sept. 18 at 6 p.m. in 339 Davey.  Why?  For lots of reasons:

(1) Because we love to have new members get involved and explain what PAW is

(2) We are curious for suggestions by “old” and new PAW members for events to be organized/speakers you would like to hear/workshops you are interested in/etc.

(3) We have an open position:  Outreach officer.  Are you really excited about science and conveying that to kids and adults?  You may want to apply to be an outreach officer together with Anne-Sylvie.  More info to be given.

(4) We have PAW t-shirts =)  They are really awesome, in my humble opinion.  You can see Susan smiling in her PAW t-shirt here.  We are selling them for the cost price ($15).  So if you want one: come to our meeting!

September 12 – Tea Break

Our monthly tea break for September was onFriday, September 12 at noon in 301 Whitmore.  We enjoyed tea, cookies, and great conversation =)

Summer 2014

August 26 – Fall Involvement Fair

This fair is held at the beginning of every semester and features over one hundred different clubs and organizations that undergraduate and graduate students can join.  This year PAW had a booth for the first time to show how people can get involved!  We played with balloons in liquid nitrogen.

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August 8 – Dinner and Movie Night

We went to Cozy Thai at 8 p.m. then walked over to campus after dinner to see the free late night movie in the HUB (The Other Woman)


August 18 – Tea Break

Our monthly tea break was on August 18at noon in 301 Whitmore where we enjoyed tea and lots of cookies =)


Sunday, July 20 – Minigolf

PAW got together to enjoy the gorgeous weather and play some minigolf.  It turns out that 88 points still does not make you the worst player if you play with a bunch of physicists 😉

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Monday, July 14 – Tea Break

Tea, cookies, and good company.  Do we need to say more?

Wednesday, July 9 – KidsFest

A day of lots of kids and explaining the mixing of light to kids.  Great success! For more info, see the Outreach page

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Sunday, July 6 – Color Wheel Preparation

This afternoon, we had a color whell preparation marathon of over five hours in which we made more than 500 color wheels for KidsFest!  This of course included chatting, eating cookies, and watching two movies!


Thursday, June 19 – GWIS Gradschool 101 Panel

Four members of PAW served on a panel about “Gradschool 101” for 35-40 undergraduate students.  The main purpose of this panel was to expose undergraduates in the STEM fields to the possibility of graduate studies, both the process of applying and what is expected when in grad school.

Friday, June 13 – Tea Break

A whole bunch of brave souls dared to come to the university on Friday the 13th and enjoy a tea break with PAW over lunch

Spring 2014

Thursday, March 20 – Women in STEM Mixer

The Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Mixer is a 2-hour professional networking program which strives to connect women with others in a variety of STEM disciplines at multiple levels along the post-secondary career path.  PAW co-organized this event.  the even was centered around the theme:  “Mentors and Mentees, creating a win-win relationship.”  Attendees ranged from undergraduate students to post-docs and research faculty.  All eighty spots filled within days after registration opened!  Esteemed faculty and industry representatives are hosting small group discussions.  For more information, see

Friday, February 28 – Workshop on Career Planning for Women

This workshop covered issues and concerns faced by women in today’s workforce, including handling illegal questions, dual career families, the “glass ceiling,” and more.  This professional development event was led by Erin Mullen from Career services.  See the resources tab for the presentation.

Friday, February 21 – Movie Night

We went to see the movie “Gravity” together during LateNight in the HUB.


 Saturday, February 8 – Wine and Cheese

PAW got together for an evening of wine & cheese (and sweets, too!) to celebrate the success of CUWiP, the conference for undergraduate women in physics we organized

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Saturday, February 1 – Expand Your Horizon EXPO

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Friday-Sunday January 17-19 – CUWiP

The Northeast Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) at Penn State is a three-day regional conference for undergraduates interested in physics and was organized by yours truly!  It was an amazing three days with nearly 150 undergraduates learning more about physics and possible careers in physics.  For more information and pictures, visit the CUWiP site

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Fall 2013

Thursday, November 21 – Trip to Juniata College

Attending a Nobel Laureate’s talk at Juniata and social dinner with their undergraduate physics majors

Saturday, October 26 – Dinner and Volleyball Night

Sunday, October 6 – Dress-up Social Dinner at the Tavern


Saturday, September 7 – Tailgate Brunch

PAW met up at the Osmond parking lot to walk to the stadium for food and games before the first home football game.

Previous Years Activities


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Pumpkin Carving Party

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Social Dinners

Career workshop on writing up your resume