Illinois Guidance for Physics Students
Since 2015 I have worked with Illinois Guidance for Physics Students (GPS), a one-on-one mentoring program pairing graduate and undergraduate students in physics. I have been a member of the group's leadership since 2017. As a member of the Events Planning Committee, I started events such as Day in the Life of a Graduate Student panel, given short talks introducing modern physics topics at the popular science level, and facilitated discussions of representation, inclusion and diversity issues in the physics community. As a leader, I participated in the mentor-mentee matching process which involves a careful consideration of dozens of applications for both roles each semester. One of the most popular Illinois GPS events is a yearly three-day retreat for mentors and mentees at an off-campus location and I have taken part in its planning since 2017. These retreats continue to be incredibly effective in combining community building and academic excellence that are key values of the group. Having done everything from cooking for all the attendees to running workshops on bias and prejudice, I have learned a terrific amount from these experiences. I am proud of organizing skills I have gained by working with Illinois GPS and hope to continue engaging in similar work in the future - science can only become better if we invest in conscious community building of this sort.
Concurrent with being an Illinois GPS organizer, I mentored four undergraduate students and three first year graduate students. Through regular yet casual one-on-one meetings I have had a chance to extend emotional support and provide practical advice (such as with applying to graduate school or choosing courses).