Campus and Community

WiP Student Club wins American Physical Society grant

This is the first time this grant has been awarded to a student group in Europe.

The Women in Physics (WiP) Student Club at Técnico won a Women in Physics Group Grant, awarded by the American Physical Society (APS). The APS grants were established in 2015, and aim to support and diffuse working groups that promote contact between women in the field of Physics, and gender equality in Science. This is the first time this grant has been awarded to a student group in Europe.

The WiP Student Club was created in November 2020, and aims to increase the number of women in Physics, encouraging and involving secondary, undergraduate and graduate students in the debate and mitigation of this significant imbalance. “Our three main goals are: to create a community that offers networking opportunities, mutual support and exchange of ideas; to attract and retain women (and gender minorities) in Physics; and to disseminate topics and best practices related to gender equality to the Técnico community”, explains Mariana Moreira, leader of the WiP Student Club.

“We are very proud to receive this grant, not only because now we have the means to put into practice some of our ideas, but also because we have invested a lot of effort in the elaboration of our grant proposal”, says the WiP leader. “And, as we knew that this grant had never been awarded to a student group in Europe, we had cautious expectations about the results, and we were positively surprised”.

“We heard about the APS grant for the first time in November 2019, and that motivated us to create the Women in Physics student club at Técnico”, recalls Mariana Moreira.

At the moment, the WiP Student Club has 6 members, but many more members are expected to join the team. “Anyone at Técnico interested in gender inequality, regardless of their field of study, gender and position, is welcome”, highlights Mariana Moreira.

“Some of the APS grant money, which is over €800, will be spent on WiP seminars, namely coffee breaks that we want to offer the audience, in order to create opportunities for networking and to promote community cohesion”, says Mariana Moreira. The WiP Seminars, which are starting this month, will provide participants with the opportunity to learn about the research work carried out by internationally renowned physicists, and to participate in an informal conversation with the invited speakers. The 1st WiP Seminar will take place on January 19, with professor Caterina Riconda.

In addition to the WiP Seminars, the team aims to “organise a networking lunch, which includes a screening of the “Picture A Scientist” documentary followed by a discussion”.