CUWiP Conference Frequently Asked Questions

What is CUWiP?

The APS Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) are three-day regional conferences for undergraduate physics majors. The 2022 conferences will be held January 21-23, 2022.  

The goal of APS CUWiP 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 national and local organizing committees of APS CUWiP strive to create a welcoming environment for all, including undergraduate women and gender minorities.

The 2022 program at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will include 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.

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 cuwip-2022@physics.illinois.edu for details about attendance and participation. 

How do you pronounce CUWiP?

Most people say "Cue-Wip". 

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

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/mentors. We encourage you to email cuwip-2022@physics.illinois.edu for details about attendance and participation.

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

You apply to attend CUWiP, 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. Application is free, and the deadline is Monday, October 4th, 2021 at 5p.m. ET. 

After you have been accepted, you will register  for your accepted site  to confirm that you will actually be attending, and provide specifics, such as special accommodations and dietary restrictions. There is a one-time registration fee of $45, which helps offset some of the cost of the conference. The conference provides 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.  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 site organizers before you book your travel. Email us at cuwip-2022@physics.illinois.edu for approval.  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, Monday, October 4th, 2021 at 5pm ET.

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 talk or a poster, or indicating interest in travel support, will not affect your chances of being selected to attend.

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 seven days before the registration deadline. 

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, be sure to check out the travel funding page.

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 if you would like guidance in asking your department for travel funds.

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

No. While we encourage you to present a talk or 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 this year’s conference will not be exactly the same as last 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 register?

Yes, all attendees must register by the deadline, Monday, October 4th, 2021 at 5pm ET.

I am not vaccinated / I do not wish to disclose my vaccination status / The site I am assigned to requires me to be vaccinated, how can I attend CUWiP?

You are welcome to apply to our virtual component. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has partnered with APS CUWiP and will host webinars featuring both IAEA and CUWiP talks on careers for women in nuclear, plasma and accelerator physics, including highlights from the IAEA Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme. Please click here to register for the Virtual CUWiP. (https://iaea.webex.com/iaea/onstage/g.php?PRID=32413636a10d665457b66d792b1da241)

I'm a student from Canada.  Can I apply to a U.S. CUWiP?

Students from Canada are encouraged to apply to the Canadian site at the University of Toronto. Students from Canada may apply to U.S. CUWiP if desired. However, Canadian students accepted to U.S. sites are not eligible for reimbursement of travel expenses from the conference or for waiver of the registration fee.

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

Students from countries other than the United States and Canada are welcome to apply to our virtual component. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has partnered with APS CUWiP and will host webinars featuring both IAEA and CUWiP talks on careers for women in nuclear, plasma and accelerator physics, including highlights from the IAEA Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme. Please click here to register for the Virtual CUWiP. (https://iaea.webex.com/iaea/onstage/g.php?PRID=32413636a10d665457b66d792b1da241). 

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

Yes, undergraduate students at any U.S. 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 are welcome to attend this conference. If you have questions, or concerns about the housing for this conference, please contact us at cuwip-2022@physics.illinois.edu.

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 department chair or faculty member if your department is reimbursing you for travel costs.  If your department cannot fund your travel, please communicate with cuwip-2022@physics.illinois.edu for plane and train ticket approval before purchase.

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 us to discuss them.

Where do I stay during the conference?

Please visit our Travel & Accommodation page for more information. If you are driving to the conference, you may park in the Loomis parking lot. Do not make your own hotel reservations. 

How can I get to and from the airport?

We will help you with travel between airports and Illinois Physics, by organizing shuttles, or pointing you to commercial services. If you plan to fly, please contact us before making your reservation.

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.

 What if I have dietary restrictions?

We will request dietary restriction information on the registration form. If you believe your dietary needs are unusual, please contact us and we will work to accommodate you.

What should I wear to the conference?

The conference has no dress code, and we encourage students to be comfortable. There will be a plated banquet on Saturday evening <substitute site details>, and many students enjoy dressing up for this event.  You may wish to look at photos of previous conferences to see what students typically wear. January in Illinois can be messy - consider bringing boots!

Will there be resources available for attendees with disabilities?

We will request information on disability status on the registration form.  Please contact us  at cuwip-2022@physics.illinois.edu in advance if you have unusual requirements, and we will work to accommodate you.  

What are the guidelines for posters and talks?

Please see our Presentation Guidelines for more information. 

I have anxiety, depression, etc, and I am worried about attending this conference. What should I do?

Please contact us if you are comfortable so we are aware cuwip-2022@physics.illinois.edu. We will encourage you to try your best during the networking opportunities, but if you need to be paired up with someone you know (either in rooming or meals), please let us know so we can try to accommodate you. We hope that you will be able to comfortably attend the conference and get something from it, but we understand that everyone needs to go at their own pace.

What if I need child care?

Please contact us to discuss your needs  at cuwip-2022@physics.illinois.edu.

What are pronouns?

The pronoun that a person chooses to use for themselves. For example: If Xena's preferred 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 does CUWiP ask for my preferred pronouns? Why should I consider putting them on my name badge?

CUWiP seeks to be a safe space for all participants.  By asking for preferred pronouns, we are ensuring that we don’t accidentally misgender any of our participants or make harmful assumptions based on appearance. Even if you have never considered this in relation to yourself, by including your preferred pronouns on your name badge you can help to make other CUWiP participants comfortable. We hope you will consider this.