What is CUWiP?

The APS Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) are three-day regional conferences for undergraduate physics majors. The 2020 conferences will be held January 17-19, 2020.  

The primary goal of the CUWiP conference 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 2020 program in Pittsburgh will include research talks, panel discussions about graduate school and non-academic career paths in physics, workshops and discussions about women in physics, student research talks and poster session, and laboratory tours… and much more!


Who is invited to attend CUWiP?

Any undergraduate student with an interest in physics may apply to attend a CUWiP.  For the last decade, Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) has helped undergraduate women thrive in physics by providing them a with a unique opportunity to engage with and learn from other women in physics at all stages of their physics careers. At CUWiP, budding physicists will experience a professional conference, learn about graduate school and professions in physics, and share invaluable experiences, advice, and ideas with other women. Applications have now closed for this year’s conferences. Non-undergraduate students or interested faculty/mentors wishing to accompany their registered students should contact us for details about attendance and participation. 


How do you pronounce CUWiP?

Most people say “Cue-Wip”.




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 just 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, Friday, November 15, 2019.


Can I attend the 2020 CUWiP in Pittsburgh even though it is not my closest location? For example, I am considering a university in Pittsburgh for grad school and would like to visit the school?

All applications will go through the central APS registration, during which you will be assigned to a local APS CUWiP site. Because of the high demand of students and travel costs of those who are not in our region, we will only be able to accept students who will be in the region at the time of the conference. This conference is not intended to be a graduate school visit.


I’m a student from Canada.  Can I apply to a U.S. site?

Students from Canada are encouraged to apply to the Canadian site. Students from Canada may apply to closer U.S. sites 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? 

As APS CUWiP is funded by US federal funding agencies, APS is only able to fund students attending universities in the U.S. If you do not attend university in the US, we are not able to accept your application via the APS application system. We welcome students attending non-U.S. institutions to contact us or another CUWiP site to ask if you can apply to attend. CUWiP sites will not be able to reimburse students attending non-U.S. institutions for accommodations or travel. 


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

Yes, please! 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. Others should contact us to see if we can include you.


I don’t identify as a cisgender woman. Can I attend this conference?

Yes, students of all genders and gender identities are welcome to attend this conference. If you have questions or concerns about the housing for this conference, please contact us.




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

Applications for undergraduate students closed on Monday, October 7, 2019, and the registration forms were emailed out on Monday, October 28, 2019. Undergraduates who missed this deadline should contact us to be placed on a waitlist. Non-undergraduates wishing to accompany registered students should contact us 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 was Monday, October 7th, 2019.

If you’ve been accepted to the conference, you must register using the instructions emailed out on October 28, 2019 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.  We will aim to follow the distribution described by the APS CUWiP map, but we may need to deviate from that, so 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. Contact us 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 7, 2019.

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 will not affect your chances of being selected to attend.


I missed the application deadline, what do I do?

Use the contact form to reach out to our organizers, and we will add you to our waitlist. We will inform you of our final decision after November 18, 2019.


Why does CUWiP in Pittsburgh 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 off of 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.


What are pronouns?

The pronoun that a person chooses to use for themself. 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 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.
Based on the information here and resources linked therein.



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 two days in advance of registering. 

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 may be availableContact us for details.


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. 



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 be in communication with your local chair or faculty member if your department is reimbursing you for travel costs.  If your department cannot fund your travel, please contact us 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?

Students will be accommodated at the Wyndham Pittsburgh University Center. Please visit our Accommodation page for more information. If you are driving to the conference, you may park at the hotel. Do not make your own hotel reservations.


How can I get to and from the airport?

Please see our Travel page. 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 banquet on Saturday evening, 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. Please pack good walking shoes and clothes appropriate for a Pennsylvania winter.


Will there be resources available for attendees with disabilities?

Absolutely. We will request information on disability status on the registration form.  Please contact us in advance with any specific requirements, and we will work to accommodate you.  


What are the guidelines for posters and talks?

Please see our Presentation Guidelines when they are available for more information. 


Can I connect with those going to the conference before arriving?

 Yes! Connect via social media using the icons at the top of this page.


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

If you are comfortable contacting us to discuss your concerns, please do during or after the registration process. 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. At any time, please feel free to contact the organizers if you need support.


What if I need child care?

Please contact us to discuss your needs.


Presentation Guidelines


What should I know about posters?

Printed posters should be no larger than 36″x48″, can be portrait or landscape. We’ll have everything to hang the posters,
just bring it with you. We won’t print on site. There’s a Fedex nearby if you forget to print, but it is very expensive.

What should I know about talks?

Talks should be prepared in pdf format pre-conference, ready to load onto the appropriate computers. Please bring your talk on a thumb drive, and keep a copy in your email as a back-up. Talks are 12 minutes + 3 minutes of questions.