About Us

The Climate and Diversity Committee is committed to providing a welcoming climate within the School with special emphasis on inclusion, diversity and community building. Our mission is to establish structures to support communication, and prevent bullying, discrimination, and sexual harassment. Our members are drawn from the School’s faculty, postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, and staff. We work closely with other organized forums whose goals overlap with ours, such as SPS, GradPhi, and WIPA.

priscilla cushman imageProfessor Priscilla Cushman (committee chair) -- I have had lots of experience working in large collaborations in high energy physics. In the past, this included work at CERN, but then I got interested in direct detection of dark matter using cryogenic solid state techniques. The new SuperCDMS experiment is being built at SNOLAB, a deep underground laboratory in Canada and is composed of 20 institutions from the US, Canada, UK, and India. Large research groups can be both daunting and exciting. I can share my experience and give you some pointers. Whether you join a large or a small research group, you should be able to have a fulfilling research experience and trust that your contributions are valued.


Tony Gherghetta ImageProfessor Tony Gherghetta -- I am a theoretical particle physicist studying the elementary constituents and forces of the Universe. My research has further developed exotic ideas such as supersymmetry and extra dimensions, which are currently being searched for at the CERN Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. I have always had an innate curiosity about Nature, and my academic path has led me to collaborate with researchers from all over the world. By becoming part of this diverse community that shares a passion for the pursuit of knowledge, you can make an important contribution and achieve your research ambition.


Lindsay Glesener ImageAssistant Professor Lindsay Glesener -- I am an astrophysicist who mainly studies the Sun. I collaborate on building new X-ray instruments as well as analyzing solar data from past and current spacecraft. Although I find this line of work very fulfilling, my academic path to get here wasn't a straight line. I had another career and tried other majors before I found physics as my calling. Not everyone knows what they want to do from the very beginning, and there are many paths by which you can accomplish your goals.


Jennifer Kroschel ImageJennifer Kroschel -- I manage the student programs office for the School of Physics.  I've been working in higher education student services for about 15 years and love helping students reach their goals.  Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my two boys (one human, one shih-poo) and co-zookeeper/husband.


Karlen Shahinyan ImageKarlen Shahinyan (outgoing) -- I am a 6th-year graduate student, working with Professor Lucy Fortson and the VERITAS collaboration on gamma-ray emission mechanisms in AGN. I am very familiar with the struggles and joys of graduate school and am dedicated to making it a better place for those who follow.


Evan Tyler ImageEvan Tyler -- I am a PhD student at the Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics.  My current research is in Space Plasma Physics, but my true passion is Physics/Astronomy education and public outreach. I currently serve as the Outreach Coordinator for the Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics where I work with the community to organize free events to educate and engage the public in the field of Astrophysics. In my spare time, I enjoy volunteering as a patient escort at a local womens' healthcare clinic, cooking delicious dinners, and spending time with my wife Chelsey and my cat Yell Machine.


Brett Heischmidt photoBrett Heischmidt (incoming) -- I am a first-year graduate student pursuing experimental condensed matter.  My early work has centered around two-dimensional materials, with a recent focus on novel physics with potential device applications.  As my classmates and I start out, I hope to help foster a supportive environment as we pursue ambitious goals together.


Photo of Matt Fritts smiling at the cameraMatt Fritts -- I did my graduate work here at UMN with the SuperCDMS dark matter experiment, and now I'm back as a postdoc running a dilution refrigerator lab to test detectors for SuperCDMS SNOLAB. As a grad student I tried a few different groups while looking for an advisor, and got a taste of what it's like to work as a theorist where it's just you and your advisor, or with a small experimental group, or with a larger group with a lot more collaborators. Each working situation has its own rewards and challenges, and I hope that everyone here has as comfortable and productive an experience as I did.

Contact us

Priscilla Cushman:
PAN 327

Tony Gherghetta:
TATE 375-14

Lindsay Glesener:
TATE 262

Jennifer Kroschel:
TATE 130-05

Karlen Shahinyan:
TATE 201-08

Evan Tyler:
TATE 201-15

Matt Fritts
PAN 43