• Bethany Broekhoven, Research Associate
    Louisiana State University

    Bethany Broekhoven graduated in May 2013 from Louisiana State University and completed her Bachelor’s degree in Physics with a concentration in Astronomy and a minor in Mathematics.  While achieving her undergrad, she worked with Dr. T. G. Guzik on two experiments, SMITH and CALET.  On the Sampling Microbes In The High atmosphere (SMITH) experiment, she developed and coded all the software components for the payload.  For the Calorimeter Electron Telescope (CALET) experiment, she focused on producing and timing simulations as well as coding for the analysis of data produced by the simulations.  After Bethany completed her Bachelor’s degree, she was hired by Louisiana State University as a Research Associate for the CALET experiment.  Now in addition to her previous tasks, she also focuses on developing the CALET ground data system, developing tools for analysis and processing of the CALET data received from the International Space Station when CALET is in orbit and developing “Data Quality Checks” for CALET. 

  • Marco Cavaglia, Associate Professor
    University of Mississippi

    Marco Cavaglia is Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Mississippi. A native of Italy, he earned a Ph.D. in Astrophysics at the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste. Before joining the faculty at the University of Mississippi in 2004, he held positions as research scientist at Tufts University, the Albert Einstein Institut in Germany, the University of Beira Interior in Portugal and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, UK. During his career, Dr. Cavaglia authored over 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals and was the recipient of several research awards. His scientific interests are in gravitational physics, astrophysics, theoretical physics, and education and public outreach. Dr. Cavaglia has been a member of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory Scientific Collaboration (LSC) since 2007. He currently serves as LSC Assistant Spokesperson and LSC co-chair of the joint LSC-Virgo Diversity working group.

  • Premala Chandra, Professor
    Rutgers University

    Professor Premala ("Premi") Chandra of Rutgers University in New Jersey is a theoretical physicist. Premi does "blue sky" research on problems inspired by experimental puzzles observed in materials. In her applied work, she has designed and patented a novel computer memory suitable for high-density information storage and is working on artificial nanostructures to harvest solar energy. Premi is keenly interested in encouraging women in physics. At Rutgers she runs regular women's lunches for physics faculty, postdoctoral fellows and students. Also, she has also served on the Committee of the Status of Women in Physics for the APS. Premi's scientific research is funded by the National Science Foundation and her work has appeared in high-profile journals including Nature and Physical Review Letters. Premi is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and will be a Visiting Fellow at Trinity College (Cambridge University, UK) in Spring 2014. When not doing her physics, Premi tries to keep in good shape and enjoys reading, hiking, concerts and plays. She lives in Highland Park, New Jersey with her (physicist) husband and their two sons, now grown up, live nearby.

  • Theda Daniels-Race, Associate Professor
    Louisiana State University

    Dr. Theda Daniels-Race is an Associate Professor in the Division of Electrical and Computer Engineering, with joint appointment to the Center for Computation and Technology, at Louisiana State University. Her expertise in electronic materials ranges from growth, via molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), to materials characterization and device fabrication. Currently, as founder and PI of the Applied Hybrid Electronic Materials & Structures (AHEMS) Laboratory, she conducts research on nanoscale electronic phenomena exhibited by hybrid (organic-inorganic) electronic materials. Dr. Daniels-Race received her BS, MS, and PhD in EE from Rice, Stanford, and Cornell universities, respectively, with a doctoral concentration in electrophysics. During her training, she worked in industry with corporations as Union Carbide, Exxon Research & Engineering Company, General Electric, and AT&T Bell Laboratories. She began her academic career at Duke University where she established that institution’s first MBE laboratory and program in compound semiconductor (III-V) materials. Since that time Dr. Daniels-Race has been recognized locally, nationally, and internationally for her accomplishments in research, education, and mentorship, inclusive of honors such as the LSU Clayton Mentorship Award, appointments to the National Science Foundation’s Committee of Visitors and the American Physical Society’s Committee on Minorities, and as a U.S. representative to the 2nd IUPAP (International Union of Pure and Applied Physics) Conference on Women in Physics, to name a few. She is an active member of several professional societies such as the IEEE, the APS, and the National Society of Black Physicists and is a strong advocate for minorities and women in science and engineering.

  • Catherine Deibel, Assistant Professor
    Louisiana State University

    Dr. Deibel received her undergraduate degree from Amherst College in 2002 in Physics and Philosophy. After graduating from Amherst, she completed her PhD in physics at Yale University under the advisement of Professor Peter Parker, focusing on the production of 26Al in classical novae. Upon receiving her doctorate in 2008 she was a Research Fellow at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics in residence at Argonne National Laboratory outside of Chicago for just over three years before joining the faculty at Louisiana State University in August 2011 where she is currently an Assistant Professor of Physics.

  • Colleen Fava, LaSPACE Coordinator
    Louisiana State University

    Colleen H. Fava is a strategic communications professional; she has worked as a writer, editor, college instructor, program manager, and business development professional. Ms. Fava established a communications program for the sciences at LSU, where she worked with scientists at all levels across disciplines to improve their communication skills in a variety of mediums, from oral presentations and scientific posters to curriculum development and grading rubrics to dissertation defenses and grant proposals. Ms. Fava is currently the program manager for the Louisiana Space Grant Consortium, which represents Louisiana in the NASA National Space Grant College & Fellowship Program network. As the program manager, she oversees general operations and assists the directors in development and implementation of existing and new programs. Ms. Fava will participate in two sessions during the 2014 South Central Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics. She will discuss the National Space Grant Programs available across the country and she will conduct a seminar on communications.

  • Mia Ferriss, Teacher
    Dutchtown High School, Geismar, LA

    Mia Ferriss is a 2013 graduate of Louisiana State University. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Physics with a concentration in Secondary Education and a minor in Mathematics. She is certified to teach physics, general science, and mathematics and is currently teaching geometry at Dutchtown High School in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. Aside from her teaching duties, Mia co-sponsors Mu Alpha Theta, an honors society for Mathematics.

  • Mette Gaarde, Professor
    Louisiana State University

    Mette Gaarde is a Professor of Physics at Louisiana State University (LSU). Her research program is centered on ultrafast and strong field AMO theory, investigating matter at attosecond time scales and with angstrom resolution, often in close collaboration with experimental groups in her field. Dr. Gaarde grew up in Denmark and received her PhD in 1997 from Copenhagen University, and joined the Physics Department at LSU in 2002. Dr. Gaarde is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and has been serving on the Editorial Board for Physical Review A since 2010. She is a long-time member and past chair of the graduate admissions committee at LSU, and she enjoys teaching and mentoring undergraduate physics majors.

  • Hannah Gardiner, Undergraduate Physics Major
    Louisiana State University

    Hannah Gardiner is a native of Baton Rouge and is a senior undergraduate physics major at LSU. She has worked with Dr. Jeff Blackmon studying the nuclear processes that play an important role in astrophysical environments for three years. Additionally, she has been a part of three REUs; two at LSU and one at Indiana University. She is also the president of the LSU Society of Physics Students and enjoys science outreach. Her future plans include going to graduate school in nuclear engineering and working as a research scientist in the field of nuclear security.

  • Zelda Gills
    Lockheed-Martin Aeronautics Company

    Dr. Zelda Gills is a physicist working in the aerospace and defense industry as a technical project manager at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. Dr. Gills’ career at Lockheed began with engineering, prototyping and testing solutions for airborne communications, radar and defensive systems. She currently leverages expertise in systems engineering and avionics to conceptualize and mature solutions for mission system modification contracts valued at over $100 million each and aircraft recapitalization programs valued at over $1.5 billion long term. Over the course of her career, she has led multisite/ multidisciplinary technical teams in a variety of industries including optics/photonics, telecommunications, electronics and avionics. She is a proud graduate of Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where she received her undergraduate degree in Physics, supported in part by an American Physical Society (APS) scholarship. With the support of a Bell Labs Fellowship, she completed her Ph.D. in Optics and Laser Physics at Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Gills credits hunger for continuous improvement and support from strong mentors for her success. Consequently, she values opportunities to tutor and mentor students and intentionally looks for people in whom she can sow and cause to grow. She is blissfully married to her college sweetheart and husband of over 23 years and is the mother of three children (two in college and one in high school).

  • Gabriela González, Professor
    Louisiana State University

    Prof. González research interest is the detection of gravitational waves with the LIGO interferometric detectors. Her group is very involved in the instrumental characterization and calibration of the data collected with the LIGO instruments, as well as in the search for the gravitational waves themselves. She is the current spokesperson of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC). She was born in Argentina, and received her PhD from Syracuse University in 1995. She is active on promoting under-represented minorities in science.

  • Paul Gueye, Assistant Professor
    National Society of Black Physicists, President
    Hampton University

    Dr.Paul Gueye is a Physics Professor at Hampton University, Hampton, VA and a native of Senegal, a Western country of Africa. He obtained his PhD in nuclear physics from the University of Clermont-Ferrand (France) in 1994. He joined the Physics Department at Hampton University in 1995 and participated in the first sets of experiments of the Department of Energy funded Jefferson laboratory (Newport News, VA). Dr. Gueye’s research group encompasses multi-disciplinary areas such as accelerator physics (to study the production, transport and applications of charged particle beams), nuclear/high energy physics (for a better understanding of the nucleon and quark distributions within nuclei) and medical physics (to improve present therapy and imaging techniques utilized in cancer related health care centers). His group is presently building a low energy linear electron accelerator on the campus of Hampton University (the first ever at a Historically Black College). Dr. Gueye is the current President of the National Society of Black Physicists, a member and committee chair in various professional organizations such as the American Institute of Physics, the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, the American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Physical Society, and the International Organization of Medical Physicists to name a few. He is strongly engaged in minority issues pertaining to science and heavily involved in K-12 STEM education. He also held a 3rd degree black belt in Vovinam VietVoDao (Vietnamese martial art), a brown belt in Judo and a purple belt in TaeKwonDo.

  • Rebecca Guidry, Medical Physicist
    Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center

    Rebecca Guidry works as a Clinical Medical Physicist at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. She got her Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences at Louisiana Tech University, and her Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering with a Medical Radiation Physics option at LSU. She has worked as a radiologic technologist at Cabrini Hospital, and has more than 27 years of experience praciticing clinical medical physics. She is involved in all aspects of clinical medical physics, radiation safety, HDR and LDR brachytherapy, stereotactic radiation, radioactive pharmaceuticals, CT/PET imaging, and she works as a clinical instructor.

  • Amber Lauer, Graduate Student
    Louisiana State University

    Amber Lauer is a Research Assistant under Catherine Deibel in the field of Nuclear Astrophysics at LSU. She is a third year PhD student. She previously obtained a B.S in Mathematics from Portland State University in Oregon, as well as an M.S. in Physics. Her undergrad research was focused on math education, specifically on modernizing the teaching of advanced mathematical topics. For her Masters, she worked on non optical microscopy methods, such as magneto optic and electron microscopy. Her primary work was on meaningful colorization of scanning electron micrographs. She presently is focused on experimental and computational methods of modeling stellar nucleosynthesis. She is a member of the American Physical Society and the Physics Honor Society. In addition to studying physics, she enjoys mentoring and promoting opportunities for young women physicists.

  • Amy LeBleu, Undergraduate Student
    Louisiana State University

    Amy LeBleu is a sophomore at LSU, is a double major in Physics, with consternation in astronomy, and Biochemistry, and is also pursuing a minor in psychology. Recently, she has begun work with Dr. Geoffrey Clayton, assisting with his work on the sn2007oc supernova, and its dust production. She is the Outreach and recruitment officer for SPS, and a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. Amy hopes to work for NASA as an astronaut, although she would also enjoy working at a research job.

  • Kenneth Matthews, Associate Professor
    Louisiana State University

    Dr. Matthews is a medical imaging physicist, specializing in nuclear medical imaging. His research interests include the development, improvement and assessment of medical imaging systems; the use of synchrotron x-rays for radiobiological, medical imaging, and radiation therapy research; and the application of radiological imaging as a research tool outside of medicine. Dr. Matthews currently serves as the deputy director and applicant liaison of the LSU-MBPCC Medical Physics & Health Physics Graduate Program; he is also the co-director of the LSU Physics & Astronomy REU Program.

  • Arlene Modesto-Knowles, Diversity Coordinator
    American Physical Society

    Arlene Modeste Knowles is the Career and Diversity Administrator at the American Physical Society. She serves as the manager of the APS Scholarships for Minority Undergraduate Physics Majors, is in the Program Management Group of the APS Bridge Program, and manages most other diversity programs for the APS. In her capacity as the career administrator at APS, Knowles has organized and moderated career panels and tutorials at APS meetings, managed the APS job fairs and online career center, and worked on other career specific programs. Before coming to APS, Knowles received her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development from Cornell University, on a pre-medical track. While at APS, Knowles first focused on programs aimed at recruiting and retaining minorities in physics, and later began working on programs to build awareness of career opportunities for all members of the physics community. Today, she works more exclusively on diversity initiatives, which include programs and activities that address the recruitment, retention, mentoring and careers of underrepresented groups.

  • Ashley Pagnotta, Postdoctoral Researcher
    American Museum of Natural History

    Dr. Ashley Pagnotta is a Kathryn W. Davis Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. She is an observational astrophysicist who studies two types of exploding stars, novae and supernovae, and how they are connected to each other. She is interested in the long-term behavior of novae after their eruptions as well as the identity of the stars that become thermonuclear supernovae. A clear night at a mountain-top observatory is one of her favorite things in the world. Additionally, Ashley serves on the faculty of the Museum's innovative Master of Arts in Teaching program, which trains new middle and high school Earth Science teachers for New York State. Her responsibilities include the development and implementation of the astrophysics section of the summer science research portion of the program. Ashley is interested in many facets of education and public outreach, ranging from how we can help primary and secondary school educators teach students to think about science to how social media and Web 2.0 can reach populations who wouldn't otherwise be exposed to any obvious science in their daily lives. In her elusive spare time, Ashley knits compulsively, reads too much, and watches an excessive amount of geeky television, although usually not all at once.

  • Ward Plummer, Professor
    Louisiana State University

    Dr. Plummer has been a professor at Louisiana State University and a special assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Research since 2009. His research interests are experimental materials science. In particular, he investigates the phenomena associated with the unique environment at a surface or interface: due to broken symmetry and reduced dimensionality, the electronic, magnetic, and structural properties (static and dynamic) at a surface or interface are different from that in bulk. Dr. Plummer received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lewis and Clark College in 1962 and completed his Ph.D. degree in physics at Cornell University in 1967, working with Prof. Thor Rhodin. Before joining LSU, he has been a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Tennesse, and at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Amarican Physical Society (APS), and a recipient of numerous awards, among them the Davisson-Germer Award from the APS.

  • Phillip Sprunger, Professor
    Louisiana State University

    Prof. Phil Sprunger is an experimental condensed matter physicist (Univ. of Penn, 1993). His research focuses on understanding and probing atomic and electronic properties of materials at the nanoscale, primarily in the area of surface physics/chemistry of supported metal and metal-oxide nanoclusters. In addition, he enjoys mentoring and teaching undergraduates in both classroom and laboratory settings. He has worked with numerous REU students in the past and is currently the co-director of the LSU Physics & Astronomy REU program.

  • Linda Young, Division Director
    Argonne National Laboratory

    Linda Young is currently the Director of the X-ray Science Division of the Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory. The APS is the nation’s brightest synchrotron-based source of x-rays, and the X-ray Science Division operates more than half of the 66 beamlines for multidisciplinary research in materials and chemical sciences, condensed matter physics, geophysics, and biological sciences. Her personal research interests are to explore fundamental interactions with novel light sources, e.g. free-electron lasers, to understand and control atomic and molecular dynamics, and was privileged in 2009 to lead the first experiment on the world’s first hard x-ray free electron laser, the LCLS at Stanford. She obtained her undergraduate degree at MIT, doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley and, after a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago, went to Argonne as an Assistant Physicist – where she has since remained. She serves on the Scientific Advisory Committees (SACs) of a number of premier synchrotron/free-electron laser facilities, DESY, Hamburg, Germany, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, and the European XFEL. She also currently serves as the Chair of the American Physical Society’s Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (DAMOP) and as a Distinguished Travelling Lecturer for the Division of Laser Science (DLS).