The ACCESS assembly like no other experience. I had never grown close to people that I have never met before so quick. The atmosphere was filled with good vibes and the people were very encouraging. Being an assembly fellow, I had the opportunity to meet many wonderful, positive, and motivated people involved in physics. After talking to many attendees from the assembly, we all were able to learn more about access network.
Towards the beginning of the assembly, we walked around the room we were in to learn more about each individual site. This activity was split in two because we wanted the conversations to go in depth. It was a very helpful experience because we learned certain recruitment and retainment techniques for our sites. The assembly truly was a wholesome experience. The people from ACCESS attending Boulder university were very welcoming into their beautiful campus. We learned about diversity and inclusion issues in physics and STEM in general within each workshop.
I truly appreciated that the assembly made use of the consensus cards, because everybody got a voice regardless if they were undergraduates, graduates, professors, or researchers. The consensus cards were a great idea because sometimes the power dynamics within the educational system do not allow for equal representation. This ACCESS assembly brought together people from different campuses, different sexualities, and different races. It was truly very an eye-opening experience.
One of the workshops that impacted me the most was the Women in STEM. This workshop started off by showing a picture of Marie Curie among other geniuses who were all male except her. We learned that the photo was taken at the fifth Solvay International Conference. The workshop then went on to show data from the statistics of women in science. We had a group discussion of how biology became a “weak” science when it became women mostly. People think biology is easier than the other sciences because more women major in it than men. Throughout the workshop, we also learned how black women in physics are the most underrepresented. This along with the low numbers of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is concerning and alarming. I appreciate being enlightened and further informed through this workshop. This was just one workshop, but all the workshops throughout the three days were truly eye opening. ACCESS is an amazing.