Keynote Speaker

Patricia Burchat, Stanford University

Professor Patricia Burchat, Stanford University

APS CUWiP Keynote Speaker

Patricia Burchat is the Gabilan Professor in the Physics Department at Stanford University. Her research focuses on studies of the Universe at both the smallest and the largest scales, to probe two questions: What is the Universe made of?  What are the laws of physics that govern the constituents of the Universe? She has held a number of leadership positions in experiments at accelerators that probe the elementary particles and the fundamental interactions.  She is now part of a large international team of scientists preparing for analysis of data from the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, which will provide the most extensive census of the Universe to date. She and her collaborators will use these data to investigate the nature of dark matter and dark energy, and the cosmological evolution of the Universe.

Patricia Burchat is a “first-gen” high school graduate. She received her Bachelors degree in Engineering Science at University of Toronto in 1981, and her PhD in Physics from Stanford in 1986. She was a postdoc and faculty member at UC Santa Cruz before returning to Stanford as a faculty member in 1995. At Stanford, she has served as Chair of the Physics Department and has been very active in introducing research-based pedagogy in the teaching of physics. She has received the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Walter J. Gores Award for excellence in teaching, and was elected as Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society. Patricia Burchat has played a leading role in the growth of the APS Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics. 

Plenary Speakers

Angela Olinto, University of Chicago

Angela V. Olinto, Albert A. Michelson Distinguished Service Professor is Chair of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and a member of KICP and EFI, at The University of Chicago.

Olinto is best known for her contributions to the study of the structure of neutron stars, primordial inflationary theory, cosmic magnetic fields, the nature of the dark matter, and the origin of the highest energy cosmic rays, gamma-rays, and neutrinos. She is the Principal Investigator of the POEMMA (Probe Of Extreme Multi-Messenger Astrophysics) space mission and the EUSO (Extreme Universe Space Observatory) on a super pressure balloon mission, and a member of the Pierre Auger Observatory, all designed to discover the origin of the highest energy cosmic particles, their sources, and their interactions.

Prof. Olinto received a B.S. in Physics from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1981, and Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1987. She is a fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, was a trustee of the Aspen Center for Physics, and has served on many advisory committees for the National Academy of Sciences, Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. She received the Chaire d’Excellence Award of the French Agence Nationale de Recherche in 2006, the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2011, and the Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching in 2015 at the University of Chicago. 

Julianne Pollard-Larkin, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center

Julianne Pollard-Larkin, is a clinical medical physicist.  Julianne Pollard, PhD is an assistant professor at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX and is also the interim Physics Service Chief for the Thoracic service of MD Anderson’s Division of Radiation Oncology.  Julianne is also the Vice-Chair of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee.  Her main clinical responsibilities include stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT), breath-hold gated treatments, 4DCT and image-guided radiotherapy.  Her main research interests are in assessing normal toxicity after patients receive multiple courses of radiotherapy and measuring radiation dose to pacemakers. 

She is originally from Miami, Florida.  She double majored in Physics and Mathematics at the University of Miami for her BS.  She received her PhD from UCLA in Biomedical Physics.  Her dissertation work was focused on assessing radiomodulatory agents in radiosensitive cell lines derived from patients with Ataxia-Telangiectasia.  Given her radiobiological background, she aims to apply her knowledge about DNA repair post-radiation and uncover new ways of delivering radiotherapy more safely and effectively.  In addition to her clinical duties, Julianne has an active role as an educator for the graduate students, medical residents and Medical Physics residents at her center.  Her main goal is to expand her teaching and mentoring to include physicists and students in the global community to help address the global cancer divide.  She has partnered with international physicists to teach Medical Physics to African graduate students via online resources. Ensuring that more underrepresented students and women follow in her footsteps is Julianne’s passion. In her role as the Project Lead for MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Women and Minority Faculty Inclusion program, she organizes STEM outreach events at her center to encourage the local Houston middle and high school students to study STEM.  Although, Julianne was the first African American woman at her PhD program and first African American woman Radiation Physics faculty member at MD Anderson, her goal is to make sure that she is not the last.

Eleanor Sayre, Kansas State University

Dr. Eleanor Sayre is the Research Director of PhysPort and an Associate Professor in Physics at Kansas State University. PhysPort, a website from the American Association of Physics Teachers, supports faculty in implementing research-based teaching and assessment in their classes. As the Research Director, Dr. Sayre oversees PhysPort's research on faculty needs and student performance, and coordinates human subjects and privacy concerns of users and researchers. At Kansas State University, she conducts research on how undergraduate physics students develop professional identity and technical expertise as scientists and how instructional context and student characteristics affect student learning. Dr. Sayre earned her MS in Teaching and PhD in Physics from the University of Maine with a research focus on physics education. She has over 50 peer-reviewed publications. When she's not knitting, Dr. Sayre runs professional development field schools all over the world for emerging and established education researchers (and sometimes when she is knitting).





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Physics & Astronomy Department
University of Kansas
1251 Wescoe Hall Drive
Malott Hall, Room 1082
Lawrence, KS 66045

(Central Standard Time)