Skip to main
Gravitational wave

Rosenberg, Dreyfus and Holincheck to receive funding for project aimed at cultivating physics identity and belonging for women in physics


Kathryn Fernandez
Kathryn Fernandez, PhD student in Physics

Jessica L. Rosenberg, Associate Professor, Physics and Astronomy, Ben Dreyfus, Term Associate Professor, STEM Accelerator, and Nancy M. Holincheck, Assistant Professor, College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), are set to receive funding from the National Science Foundation for a project in which they will examine the ways in which mentorship, leadership development, and understanding of the career opportunities beyond academia contribute to the development of physics identity and belonging for women in physics. This effort builds on extensive literature that has shown the importance of students' sense of physics identity to persistence in STEM. 

"This project is the dissertation project for Kathryn Fernandez, a third year PhD student in Physics and builds on professional development materials that she created as an undergraduate at Florida International University. Kathryn has worked with the American Institute for Physics to distribute the materials to Society of Physics Students and its associated honors society, Sigma Pi Sigma, chapters throughout the US. Through this project, she and the rest of the team will examine how these kinds of professional development materials can help women in physics. Women often struggle to feel like physicists and find their place within the field, which can cause them to alter their career paths. The hope is that this work can help identify ways to keep more women in physics and make a difference in the number of women in a field that has remained male dominated, despite years of effort," Rosenberg said.  

 The results of this effort will expand on a well-established model of physics students' identity to better understand two key aspects of identity: (1) how the ability to conceptualize physics careers beyond the academy affects women's physics identity and belonging, particularly for students who do not intend to follow an academic career trajectory, and (2) how physics leadership contributes to a student's identity and sense of belonging.  

 Funding for this project will begin in October 2021 and will end in late September 2024.