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




Luis Miguel de Jesús Astacio (Assembly Fellow 2018, 2019)

Jamie Milota (Network Fellow 2019)

Mayisha Nakib (she/her/hers), or (Network Fellow 2020, 2021, 2022)

Mayisha is a Ph.D. student in soft condensed matter physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She completed her B.S. in physics and math and B.A. in biology at Southern Methodist University. She is currently working on energetics of epithelial cells along with information theory of biological computing Her research interests are in soft condensed matter applied to biological problems and applying information theory to biological computing. In her free time, she enjoys painting, piano, and hiking.  Her future goals include living with her cats and owning a farm while maintaining a physics research-based career. She wants to help make physics and STEM a more inclusive and safe environment for everyone. I enjoy painting, piano, and hiking.

Karmela Padavić-Callaghan (Assembly Fellow 2019, 2020)

Damerrick Perry (Assembly Fellow 2019, Network Fellow 2018)

Jake Rangel (Network Fellow 2017)

Marisa Romanelli (Assembly Fellow 2022)

Devyn Shafer (she/her/hers), (Assembly Fellow 2021, Network Fellow 2020)

Devyn is a Ph.D. student in physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign doing physics education research. She completed her B.A. in physics at the University of Pennsylvania, her M.S. in materials science and engineering at UC San Diego, and her M.S. in physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion in engineering as well as the transition from high school to college engineering programs. She works to better understand the struggles students face and look for solutions to help students succeed and increase equity in undergraduate engineering. She is working toward a career in academia.  She is passionate about teaching and mentoring to help students grow as scientists and engineers and as people. In her free time, She enjoys hiking and spending time with her dog and chickens.

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