Illinois GPS (Guidance for Physics Students) is a community of undergraduate and graduate students in the physics department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  The program is student-initiated and run, and was created to connect our two physics communities so we can be resources for one another, via one-on-one graduate-undergraduate mentoring and community-wide social and academic events, including an annual summer retreat.  Its intention is to create an inclusive, cohesive, and welcoming community to voice concerns or ask questions.  We particularly hope to act as an anchor for students who may have a hard time connecting or feeling confident in their place within physics, such as transfer students, first generation students, and traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM.

GPS offers several services to students, including:

  • One on one mentoring between grads and undergrads
  • Social activities: bake-offs, movie nights, laser tag, pumpkin carving, etc.
  • Academic/information events:  diversity panel, experimental physicist panel, lab tours, stress workshop, “how to apply to grad school” workshop, etc.
  • Summer retreat: two-day camping trip with games/ice-breakers/competitions, etc



Assembly Fellow: Luis Miguel de Jesus Astacio (institutional) (non-institutional)

My name is Luis Miguel de Jesús Astacio and I’m a 1st year PhD student in Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). My current research interests focus mainly around theoretical and experimental biophysics but I also do a bit of sociophysics on the side. As you can probably tell from my name, I’m not from the USA. I’m actually from Puerto Rico (an island in the Caribbean) and I lived there all my life, up until moving to Illinois for the PhD. Thus, my native language, as for all Puerto Ricans, is Spanish. So if anyone else speaks Spanish, let me know. 🙂
Besides research/studies, I also make sure to indulge in other hobbies. I enjoy sports and the outdoors (right now I’m doing triathlon training and skeet & trap), watching movies, reading, videogames.  I also enjoy having new culinary experiences, either by food or drinks, and I think that cooking is pretty enjoyable, so I do that as much as often. Getting to eat your own “experiments” at the end is definitely another substantial reason. :p Lastly, one of my other passions is to travel and immerse myself in the culture of other people.

Network Fellow: Damerrick Perry