Event Information



Debra Fischer (Dept. of Astronomy, Yale)

Debra Fischer is a Professor of Astronomy at Yale University who obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa (1975), her master’s degree in Physics from the San Francisco State University (1992) and her Ph. D. in Astrophysics from the University of California, Santa Cruz (1998). Her research is focused on exoplanets. She began her hunt for exoplanets in 1997 by measuring tiny periodic shifts in the radial velocities of other stars. She was the first to discover a multiple planet system in 1999 and contributed to the understanding of planet formation with her analysis that quantified the impact of chemical composition on the formation of planets. In her lab at Yale, Fischer’s team is developing next generation instrument designs that aim to break current records for the detection of Earth analogues. These newly discovered planets will be targets of the search for extraterrestrial life.

Janica Cheney (ATK Launch Systems)

Janica Cheney is the Director of Safety and Mission Assurance for ATK Aerospace Defense and Commercial Division. Before becoming a Director she was the Senior Manager of System Safety, Reliability, and Maintainability for NASA programs. She has been with ATK since May 1, 2006. Her focus is on the safe exploration of the solar system and beyond. Prior to working for ATK, Janica was a National Academies fellow at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. The major research interests of Janica Cheney included the lifetime of individual excitons and trions in heterostructures self assembled quantum dots embedded in Schottky diodes. The carriers in semi- conductor quantum dots can be addressed as qubits and manipulated through optical excitation to provide components for quantum computers. Janica has a Doctorate of Philosophy in Physics from the University of Utah. Her Bachelor of Science degree, earned at Weber State University, is also in Physics.

Marié Lopez del Puerto (Dept. of Physics, Univ. of St. Thomas)

Marie Lopez del Puerto completed her B.S. in Physics at Universidad de las Americas - Puebla, in Puebla, Mexico, and her Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Physics Department at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her research interests include the structural, optical and electronic properties of nanoscale systems, computational physics, issues related to women and minorities in physics, and physics and engineering education.

Miriah Meyer (SCI Institute, Univ. of Utah)

Miriah is an assistant professor in the School of Computing at the University of Utah. Her research focuses on the design of visualization systems for helping scientists make sense of complex data. She obtained her bachelors degree in astronomy at Penn State University, and earned a PhD in computer science from the University of Utah. Prior to joining the faculty at Utah Miriah was a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University. Miriah was named a TED Fellow and a PopTech Science Fellow for 2013, as well as awarded a Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship in 2012. She has also been included on MIT Technology Review's TR35 list of the top young innovators, and awarded an AAAS Mass Media Fellowship that landed her a stint as a science writer for the Chicago Tribune.

Image: Jim Gipe (Pivot Media)

Jennifer Ross (Dept. of Physics, UMass Amherst)

Jennifer “Jenny” Ross is an Associate Professor of Physics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She received her BA from Wellesley College in Physics and Mathematics, her PhD in Physics from University of California, Santa Barbara, and then worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. She has won a number of prestigious early career awards including the Basil O’Connor Award from the March of Dimes, a Cottrell Scholars Award from Research Corporation for Science Advancement, and the 2013 Margaret Oakley Dayhoff Award from the Biophysical Society. Jenny has a special interest in mentoring women and has recently started a new blog to help women navigate their path in academic science: http://womanofscience.wordpress.com

Sally Seidel (Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, Univ. of New Mexico)

Sally Seidel received her Ph.D. in experimental particle physics from the University of Michigan on a search for nucleon decay using the IMB detector. After a postdoc at the University of Toronto on ARGUS, Sally joined the University of New Mexico faculty in 1991. She is a member of the CDF experiment and the ATLAS experiment, and contributes to the development of the International Linear Collider. She has held fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the Vietnam Educational Foundation, and the European Commission. Her research has been recognized through Major Research Instrumentation, Career Advancement, and Advanced Detector Research awards. Sally has been a member of the APS Committee on International Freedom of Scientists and the Fermilab Users Executive Committee. She has served on HEPAP and held the positions of Secretary-Treasurer of the APS Topical Group on Hadronic Physics and Chair of the APS Four Corners Section. She is currently Member-at-Large of the Executive Committee of the APS Division of Particles and Fields and a member of the Fermilab Board of Directors. She was for 10 years co-director of the Los Alamos Summer School in Physics, an NSF REU site. She has received three awards for undergraduate teaching or mentorship. Through the New Mexico Visiting Scientist Program she has given talks statewide in K-12 classrooms. She has also given invited presentations in forums on women in science. She enjoys judging the poster session at the UNM symposium on undergraduate research and has hosted a Workshop for High School Physics Teachers at UNM through QuarkNet.

Other Events

Career Expo

Gather information and chat with representatives from graduate schools, non-academic STEM employers, and professional societies.

Poster Session

Students will have an opportunity to present their own research at a poster session on Saturday afternoon. You can sign up to present a poster when you register for the conference (after you are accepted). Awards for the best posters will be given at the Saturday Evening Banquet!

Optional Friday Tours

Utah Nanofabrication Lab
(a.k.a. The Machine Shop of the Future!)


Electron Microscopy Lab:
Exploring the Nanoworld in 2D and 3D


University of Utah TRIGA Nuclear Reactor

Useful Information


University of Utah
201 Presidents Cir. Salt Lake City