Speaker: Dr. Micha Kilburn

Director of Outreach & Education
Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics
University of Notre Dame




Barriers in the Physics Pipeline from K-12 to Staff Scientist




The lack of diversity in physics is a known problem, and yet efforts to change our demographics have only had minor effects during the last decade. Analysis of JINA-CEE* outreach programs can provide insight into how gender and race affect the likelihood of K-12 students to pursue physics. Examples include analysis of teacher recommendations for our high school summer program, as well as surveys of students’ attitudes towards science. Current research across STEM fields will be presented as we explore reasons for the lack of diversity at all academic levels. Data will be viewed through the sociology framework, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, to uncover hidden barriers that dissuade underrepresented minorities from becoming physicists, and reveal techniques to minimize these barriers for a more innovative research environment.