CUWiP FAQs

About

What is CUWiP?

The APS Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) are three-day regional conferences for undergraduate physics majors.

The primary goal of the CUWiP conference is to help undergraduate women continue in physics by providing them with the opportunity to experience a professional conference, information about graduate school and professions in physics, and access to other women in physics of all ages with whom they can share experiences, advice, and ideas.

The typical CUWiP program includes research talks, panel discussions about graduate school and careers in physics, workshops and discussions about women in physics, student research talks and poster session, and laboratory tours. View programming for past CUWiP events.

Who is invited to attend CUWiP?

Any undergraduate student with an interest in physics may apply to attend a CUWiP. Undergraduate students are eligible to apply and register for the conference, and we encourage non-undergraduate students or interested faculty/mentors to email women@aps.org for details about attendance and participation.

How do you pronounce CUWiP?

Most people say "Cue-Wip."

Application & Registration

Who can attend? Do I need to be a physics major to apply?

Any undergraduate student attending a US college/university may apply. High school students are not permitted to apply. For more information, see our application page.

It is very important to complete all parts of the application and to write a thoughtful Applicant Statement. If conferences are oversubscribed, priority will be given to applicants who:

  1. Are undergraduate physics or engineering physics majors.
  2. Have never attended an APS CUWiP.

There is no formal application or registration process for non-undergraduate students and interested faculty and mentors. We encourage you to email the site you would like to attend directly for details about attendance and participation.

What’s the difference between "application" and "registration"?

You apply to attend a CUWiP conference, the CUWiP leadership directs you to a site, the site reviews your application and you are accepted, wait-listed, or declined according to the priorities listed above. The application is free! VIew deadline details on the CUWiP homepage.

After you have been accepted, you will register to your accepted site to confirm that you will actually be attending, and provide specifics, such as special accomodations and dietary restrictions. There is a one-time registration fee of $45, which helps offset some of the cost of the conference, including all lodging and meals. If necessary, the registration fee can be waived. To request a fee waiver, please contact women@aps.org.

Why can I not apply to a specific site?

As CUWiP is so popular, we need to carefully balance the loads across the sites to minimize travel costs and maximize the number of students who can attend CUWiP. We will aim to follow the distribution described by the APS CUWiP map, but we may need to deviate from that, so please do not book travel until you receive an acceptance email from, and complete registration for, a specific site.

Do I need to book my travel before registering?

No, but you should have an estimate of the cost. If you are traveling by air, or long distance train or bus, and your travel cost is not covered by your department, your travel agenda and cost must be approved by the conference organizers before you book your travel. Due to the limited nature of our travel funds, we ask that you find the most economical means of transportation to and from the conference. For example, reach out to others in your department and see if carpooling is an option.

What will increase my chances of being accepted to the conference?

First, make sure you submit your application by the deadline.

Second, make sure you put some thought into why you want to attend and what you want to get out of the conference. Please answer all questions on the application fully and honestly. Offering to present a poster, or indicating interest in travel support will not improve your chances of being selected to attend.

Cost & Funding Section

How much does the conference cost?

Students who are accepted to attend the conference must pay a one-time registration fee of $45, which helps offset some of the cost of the conference, including all lodging and meals. If you cannot afford the registration fee and your department/college is unable to help, you may request a fee waiver by submitting a statement attesting to your financial need and verifying that department or university funds are not available. Further details will be provided when you are invited to register for the conference. You must request a fee waiver at least two days in advance of registering. For more information on fee waivers, contact women@aps.org.

Lodging (for non-local students) and food will be covered by the conference; you do not need to pay for your hotel room or food at the conference. We expect that your travel expenses will be covered by your home department or college. However, if they are not able to cover these expenses, travel funding is available. Please see the site you are assigned to for further details.

How do I know the amount my department will contribute to my travel funding?

Please talk to your department chair, manager, or director of undergraduate studies before registering for CUWiP. You might ask an academic advisor, faculty member you know, or other mentor for guidance about who to ask if you are unsure. You can also contact us at women@aps.org if you would like guidance in asking your department for travel funds.

Eligibility Section

Do I need to have research to present in order to attend the conference?

No. While we encourage you to present a poster if you have been involved in research, you are welcome to attend the conference and participate in the activities.

I attended last year; can I come to this year’s conference, too?

The content of each year’s conference will not be exactly the same as the previous year’s, and you are welcome to apply to attend again. However, if more students apply than we can accommodate, preference will be given to students who have never attended a CUWiP.

I am a local student. Do I need to apply?

Yes, all attendees must apply by the deadline.

I'm a student from Canada. Can I apply to a US site?

Students from Canada are encouraged to apply to the Canadian site. Students from Canada may apply to closer US sites if desired. However, Canadian students accepted to US sites are not eligible for reimbursement of travel expenses from the conference or for waiver of the registration fee.

I am a student in a country other than the United States or Canada. Can I apply for CUWiP?

As APS CUWiP is funded by US federal funding agencies, APS is only able to fund students attending universities in the US. If you do not attend university in the US, we are not able to accept your application via the APS application system. We welcome students attending non-US institutions to email the site they are interested in attending. CUWiP sites will not be able to reimburse students attending non-US institutions for accommodations or travel.

I'm a community college student. Am I eligible to apply to CUWiP?

Yes, undergraduate students at any US college or university may apply.

I'm a high school student/grad student/postdoc/faculty member. Am I eligible to apply to CUWiP?

Only undergraduate students who will be over 18 at the time of the conference may apply to CUWiP.

I am transgender/gender-fluid/genderqueer/non-binary etc. Can I attend this conference?

Yes, students of all genders and gender identities are welcome to attend this conference. If you have questions or concerns about the housing for this conference, please contact us at women@aps.org.

Travel & Hotel

How do I arrange travel?

Students are responsible for arranging their own travel to the conference. We encourage students to coordinate with other attendees from their institution. Please contact your school’s department chair or faculty member if your department is reimbursing you for travel costs. If your department cannot fund your travel, please contact the site you have been assigned directly.

Can I come late? Can I leave early? Can I skip things that I’m not interested in?

Because your travel costs are reimbursable, it is expected that you will attend all of the conference events as scheduled. If you have special circumstances, please contact your site or women@aps.org to discuss them.

Where do I stay during the conference?

Check with your specific site for more information.

How can I get to and from the airport?

Check with your specific site for more information.

When will I get reimbursed for travel?

If you are being reimbursed by the conference (rather than by your department): after the conference, you can submit the reimbursement form that will be provided to you. Reimbursement will be mailed to you within the month. For more details please contact us at women@aps.org.

Misc.

What if I have dietary restrictions?

We request dietary restriction information on the registration form. If you believe your dietary needs are unusual, please contact your site.

What should I wear to the conference?

The conference has no dress code, and we encourage students to be comfortable. You may wish to look at photos of previous conferences to see what students typically wear. We ask that you prepare for rain and possible snow conditions.

Will there be resources available for attendees with disabilities?

We request information on disability status/accommodations on the registration form. Please contact your site before you register if you have any concerns.

What are the guidelines for posters?

Please check with your site for further details.

What if I need child care?

Please contact your site to discuss your needs.

What are gender pronouns?

A gender pronoun is the pronoun that a person chooses to use for themselves. For example, if Xena's pronouns are she, her, and hers, you could say "Xena ate her food because she was hungry." She, her, hers and he, him, his are common examples of pronouns. Some people call these "female/feminine" and "male/masculine" pronouns, but many avoid these labels because, for example, not everyone who uses he feels like a "male" or "masculine."

There are also lots of gender-neutral pronouns in use. Here are a few you might hear:

  • They, them, theirs (Xena ate their food because they were hungry): This is a pretty common gender-neutral pronoun.... And yes, it can in fact be used in the singular.
  • Ze, hir (Xena ate hir food because ze was hungry): Ze is pronounced like "zee" can also be spelled zie or xe, and replaces she/he/they. Hir is pronounced like "here" and replaces her/hers/him/his/they/theirs.
  • Just my name please! (Xena ate Xena's food because Xena was hungry): Some people prefer not to use pronouns at all, using their name as a pronoun instead.
  • Never, ever refer to a person as “it” or “he-she” (unless they specifically ask you to). These are often used as offensive slurs.

Why do we ask for my pronouns? Why should I consider putting them on my name badge?

CUWiP seeks to be a safe space for all participants. By asking for gender pronouns, we are ensuring that we don’t accidentally misgender any of our participants or make harmful assumptions based off of appearance. Even if you have never considered this in relation to yourself, we encourage you to include your pronouns on your name badge. At the same time, we understand that not everyone is comfortable stating their pronouns; not stating your pronouns is completely acceptable.