Group of students walking

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion


Statement in Response to the Recent Supreme Court Ruling

We are deeply concerned about the impacts of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization and the resulting immediate ban on all non-medically necessary abortions in the state of Missouri with no exemptions for rape or incest. This ruling will have grave impacts on members of WashU and our department, who through this ruling have lost an essential civil liberty and are now exposed to severe risks. We strongly believe that bodily autonomy is a nonnegotiable human right and that the decision to end a pregnancy only lies with the involved individual and their medical professional.

We believe that as a university community, we have means to lessen the impact of this ruling, and we are thus working with the Association for Women Faculty and other organizations to better understand how to proceed. In the meantime, we would like to express our unconditional support for every member of WashU who finds themself in need of support given these circumstances. We encourage individuals in need to contact the Physics DEI committee and we will be glad to help in whatever way needed. 

Please also see the related message from Chancellor Martin.

WashU Planned Parent Generation Action Group


Our Goals

The Physics Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee is focused on furthering diversity and on creating a welcoming and inclusive climate where everyone can thrive and be academically successful.  We are especially invested in increasing the population of underrepresented groups in physics and in actively promoting a cultural change within our department and the larger field of stem.

The committee includes representatives from undergraduate students, graduate students, staff, and all levels of faculty. Everyone in the department is welcome to provide input through email, via in person/zoom meetings, as well as through the anonymous inclusion feedback form. The committee presents at departmental gatherings and organizes informational and training events. Meetings between the committee and similar committees in other departments are aimed at establishing best practices and coordinating across departments.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Action Plan

  • Improve recruitment and retention strategies for underrepresented graduate and undergraduate students in physics
  • Provide suggestions for inclusive online, hybrid, and hyflex teaching. Please check out the recommendations compiled by the Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Work with the department to include a track for physics majors with low or limited previous exposure to physics/calculus, and to develop a PairUP program aimed at increasing communication among first year undergraduates and the rest of the department 
  • Work on creating/finding summer research fellowships, scholarship possibilities for underrepresented students and scholars in physics
  • Prepare code of conducts and policies to help facilitate the cultural change and the development of an inclusive and anti-bias working and learning environment 
  • Organize community events for women and URMs in physics 
  • Support our international colleagues and create the best environment for all
  • Work with the campus wide diversity committee to make sure STEM departments achieve a diverse student, faculty, and staff body in which everybody can thrive and develop to their full potential
  • Support underrepresented groups in physics in all aspects of their academic pursuits
Valeria Villegas-Medina

Majoring in Physics

Why should you become a Physics major?

The DEI Committee is part of APS IDEA

The DEI Committee is part of APS IDEA

Committee Activities

Inviting diverse speakers

K. Renee Horton discussed the importance of inclusion, her work at NASA and her nontraditional educational path

Horton's Talk

"This is Physics" display outside Crow 201

Posters highlighting prominent and successful scientists from underrepresented and minoritized groups in physics

This Is Physics

Why Be a Physics Major?

Develop the skills to go further in physics, and other fields in graduate school and on the job market

Slides shared with Intro Physics Courses
Students walking on campus

Department Demographics

We are committed to increasing diversity in our department. The first step in our journey is to acknowledge and quantify the problem. Here you can find graphs displaying the demographics of all students and faculty in the Department of Physics.


Faculty Members Distance Themselves from Controversial Statements by Katz

A response from Department of Physics faculty members to the controversial 2017 op-ed by Professor Katz


Pfeiffer Physics Library

Closure of our Physics Library by the WU Library system.

Physics Library

Upcoming Opportunities

We've created an Opportunities page to highlight upcoming conferences and meetings that could be of interest to our students.

Explore Opportunities

Good News!

Summer 2022 DEI Fellowships

Aaron Fisher, Mario Jauregui, and Rosie Torrez were awarded summer fellowships this year. The DEI Committee created the summer research fellowship to support high school and undergraduate students from underrepresented and minoritized groups in Physics.


Alison Verbeck and Sarah Akin attended the February 25, 2022 APS IDEA workshop. The goals of the workshop were to reenergize the teams and decrease the sense of isolation, highlight examples of second order change through activism, and reinforce basic ideas of second order change. In addition, they created a driver diagram to help set a path for future work. 

Outstanding Achievements in Physics

On October 29, 2021, the DEI committee teamed up with the Women in Physics committee for a ceremony honoring several faculty members and students who won awards recently. Professors Sachiko Amari (Urey Award), Erik Henriksen (NSF CAREER award), Nan Liu (Nier Prize) and Maria Piarulli (DOE Early Career Award) and students Jackson Butler (Barry Goldwater Scholarship), Garrett King (DOE NNSA Stewardship), and Lindsey Lisalda (AWF Student Award) were honored.

More Good News from DEI

Committee Members

Help us to provide the best possible experience for all our undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, research staff, and administrative personnel by contacting the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee or one of the members below in case of concerns and/or if you have any suggestions for improving our program.


The Physics Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee welcomes input from all members of the community on ways the department can better foster an inclusive environment. Individuals are welcome to set up a one-on-one or group meeting with any of the committee members listed above for a private conversation. Alternatively, comments may be submitted anonymously to a chosen member of the committee or the entire committee using the form below.

Please Note: Federal and University policies may require us to forward your feedback to appropriate University administrators. With this important caveat, the recipient of your choice will handle the feedback as privately as possible, and will contact the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee, department, or University personnel to address the circumstances that led to the feedback. The committee is unable to investigate interpersonal conflicts or potential policy violations. For guidance on addressing interpersonal conflicts or potential policy violations, the Offices of the Ombuds serve as confidential, independent, and impartial resources. For filing a formal complaint, use the Bias Report and Support System or contact Human Resources. If you are unsure whether you wish to file a formal complaint, you can contact a member of the Physics Department's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee for guidance on addressing interpersonal conflicts or potential policy violations.

Inclusion Feedback

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