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.
Professor 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.
Professor 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.
Assistant 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 -- 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.
Richie Diurba (he/him) -- I am a first year graduate student working on DUNE, a neutrino experiment that is being built in South Dakota. I applied to college thinking I would go into politics, but switched to physics because of its ability to use bureaucracy and teamwork to achieve something tangible. I still majored in political science and have decided to use my background in the social sciences to make physics more equitable and accessible to all scientists. Outside of the lab, I like to spend time with my cats and convince myself that, because science is a team sport nowadays, that playing soccer management video games is considered working.
Jessie Duncan (she/her) -- I am a graduate student working in solar physics, focusing on both data analysis and detector development for high energy x-ray instruments. I am in my second year of graduate school and my second year of working in this area; previously, I worked for the LIGO collaboration. I believe that the lack of diversity in physics causes us to miss out on a great deal of talent and perspective. I hope that this committee can work to make physics at Minnesota as welcoming as possible for everyone, especially those from underrepresented groups.
Brett Heischmidt (he/him/his) -- I am a second-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 a member of this committee, I hope to help foster a supportive and productive environment for students at all stages of our educational journeys.
Matt 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.
Tanmay Agarwal -- I'm an international undergraduate student currently researching with the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search Experiment in developing a Neutron Veto for the SuperCDMS Experiment. I love asking questions and working with people to find solutions to the challenges around us. I'm also minoring in Leadership and foster a passion for public service and diversity engagement. Hoping to make a better, inclusive and supportive environment on campus for everyone. I'm here to support you as your peer, and you can ask me about student groups, volunteering and research at the University. Cheers!
Kat Couteaux -- I am a third year undergraduate student studying physics and math. Currently, I'm doing research with Professor Wang in condensed matter focusing on quantum phenomena of gate-defined nanostructures. Coming from a diverse background, I am motivated to help other students overcome barriers and find solutions to challenges that will create a constructive environment for everyone. I am excited to be a supportive resource, reach out to me to get more involved in the department!