Other events for the club have included poster-making workshops for the symposium, a presentation workshop learning how to present the posters, guest speakers and social events including dinners as a club.
First-years and sophomores especially are the focus for the club because Liu and Sakano want to increase the ratio of women in the physics major and increase retention rates for those women. Starting early helps give students foundational support.
The club's director of outreach, junior Samantha Pagan, said Women in Physics has been key for her involvement with physics at UNC.
“The Women in Physics was really instrumental to me staying in physics," Pagan said. "I just found a lot of support from them as a first-year and second-year."
Her involvement with Women in Physics has since led to her involvement with the physics community through other organizations, like the Society of Physics Students.
Pagan will present her research poster at the symposium, which is based on research she completed for the first part of her honors thesis in nuclear physics.
Beyond her research, Pagan is excited for a photo project that will be displayed at the symposium that includes images of all the club members.
“What I wanted to accomplish with that photo project was just celebrate some of the diversity and some of the awesome members and women that we have in physics,” Pagan said. “I'm just glad those will be on display because I think they add a lot and give some soul to our club and our vision too."
Pagan is also eager to see the first- and second-years' posters at the symposium such as Kate Richardson.
Richardson’s poster includes work from an experiment she expanded beyond the classroom about the properties of a Helmholtz Coil. Richardson presented a research poster in high school and said she loved talking about her work and getting feedback.
“It’s a really collaborative environment and I really enjoyed that, so I’m looking forward to being able to be in the environment again,” Richardson said.
In addition to student work, the symposium includes speakers Carissa Lada, manager of the Cisco Services Academy at Research Triangle Park and Sheila Kannappan, a faculty member of UNC’s Physics Department.
Co-president Liu hopes the symposium will be the first step to encourage collaboration with other women in STEM clubs and further undergraduate interest in STEM at UNC.