Department of Physics Committees

Contribute to the department by joining a committee

Open Department Committees

BBQ: Committee members host or solicit volunteers to host weekly the BBQs on Fridays when the weather is nice. Hosting involves polling the department in advance for attendance, buying food (when needed), grilling, and cleaning up. 3 members

Colloquia: Committee members suggest speaker ideas and help decide the list of invitees. Graduate students are encouraged to invite and host a speaker once or twice an academic year.  2 or 3 members

Computer: Committee members help manage and improve the physics department's use of various computer systems. This includes setting use policies, establishing documentation, and giving input on the acquisition of new hardware. The committee is also highly involved with acting as a liaison between our department and A&S computing as a whole, as well as with the WashU Research Infrastructure Services "compute" and "data" platforms. 1 or 2 members

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee: Committee members attend meetings to represent graduate students in issues relating to diversity and inclusion. Meetings occur about once a month, and discuss various events or initiatives that the department can host or engage in to raise awareness about the importance of diversity and how scholars from varied backgrounds and experiences can help our department and field to further flourish. 4-6 members

Faculty Meeting Observers: Observers attend meetings to represent graduate students during the faculty meetings, send a recap email to the graduate students letting them know what is discussed, and communicate issues/concerns from graduate students to the faculty at the next meeting. This is a democratically elected position. 3 members, with at least 1 international student

Faculty Search: Committee members sit in on the faculty search  as graduate student representatives. They give input on candidates' applications, attend colloquia, and take candidates out to lunch when candidates visit The faculty chair of the search committee may invite students to review written applications, attend video interviews, attend research meetings, etc. Committee members must have availability for many meetings if a search occurs, but searches may not occur in some semesters. 3-4 spots on each potential search

Graduate Seminar : Committee members co-host everything related to the Graduate Student Seminar series ("Grad Sem"). Hosts organize the list of speakers, collect the abstracts, send out emails, purchase the food and drinks, and introduce the speakers. Hosts will have a budget set by the department and will be responsible for staying within that budget for the year. Hosts are especially encouraged to invite a non-graduate student speaker once or twice a semester; this may include alumni of the department, specialists working in related fields in industry, etc. 2 or 3 members

Graduate Student Senator (GSS): Attend regular Graduate Student Senate meetings and represent our interests as graduate students and vote on issues as they appear. The Senate primarily discusses issues and topics related to being a PhD student. The voting representative is required to inform the department of the various GSS meetings, agendas, and events, as well as serve on at least 1 GSS committee. Additionally, if the voting member is unable to attend a meeting they are required to find a back-up to go in their place. The official representative of record is only allowed to miss three meetings in an academic year before they are removed from the Senate. Since each department is allocated one vote, if multiple people are interested in this role, there must be an election to decide the official voting member of record for the department. GSS by-laws allow for voting members to serve up to 2 consecutive years. 1 voting member

Graduate Studies Committee: Committee members meet monthly in the fall semester, and at least once in the spring semester. They survey graduate students on various key topics pertaining to our physics graduate program (course offerings, AI experience, research mentorship, etc), report findings at meetings, and work with faculty to make progress on graduate student concerns. ~4 members

Mentors: This group of graduate students is responsible for planning and hosting orientation week, prospective students' weekend, and various other meetings throughout both semesters to help guide graduate students in meeting academic requirements, as well as create welcoming spaces for them to build a community. Additionally, they write an annual report of graduate student involvement. ~12-15 members

Outreach: Committee members organize and host events that are meant to engage the general public in science. The committee hosts Physics Family Fun Days each semester, as well as the St. Louis Area Physics Teachers (SLAPT) exam. Additionally, the committee is requested by local schools and science festivals to present science demos, as well as to assist in events hosted by those organizations (such as science fairs, astronomy nights, etc.). Some of these requests occur during the summer. The committee is also involved with and occasionally requested to aid with the University’s Young Scientist Program. Unlimited members

Picnic: Committee members plan the fall and spring picnics. This traditionally requires the members to choose the location, and sometimes help with obtaining food and drink. Previous picnics have used parks or faculty homes as a venue. ~3 members

PIB (“Physicists in Bars”): Committee members organize monthly group outings to bars of their choice around St. Louis. They help coordinate rides to the bars and encourage everyone to attend. ~3 members

Physics Research Symposium (WUPRS): Committee members plan and host a poster symposium of the research conducted within/by the physics department in the fall semester to highlight undergraduate and graduate student research. Duties include advertising the event, calling for abstracts, planning the logistics of poster placements, scheduling, potential catering, writing the programs/pamphlets, etc. Unlimited members

Professional Development ("Placement") Committee: Committee members connect our graduate students and postdocs with existing resources and create relevant new resources to help them best prepare for their next career steps. (For example, having talks from alumni from our department who have gone into various lines of work; having an up-to-date, dedicated page on our website with an overall timeline and links, setting up a system for people to practice job talks within our department, etc.) 2 graduate students members; 1-2 postdocs

Shop/Cryogenics: Committee members attend shop user meetings, representing graduate student interests in those meetings. ~2 members

Space and Facilities Committee: Committee members discuss office and lab space assignments/availability, as well as graduate student concerns about renovations and equipment/furniture. 2-4 members

Undergraduate Studies Awards: Committee members assist in decision of awards given to undergraduates at the commencement reception. This is typically done via email at the end of the semester. ~3 members

Current Committee Members

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Current Committee Members