Plenary Speakers

Nadya Mason

Keynote for all sites

Nadya Mason is the Rosalyn S. Yalow Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she specializes in experimental studies of materials. She received her B.S. from Harvard University and her PhD from Stanford University, both in physics. Dr. Mason’s research focuses on the electronic properties of small-scale materials, such as nano-scale wires and atomically thin membranes. Her research is relevant to applications involving nano-scale and quantum computing elements. She currently serves as founding Director of the Illinois Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (I-MRSEC), a $16.1 million multidisciplinary research and education center funded by the National Science Foundation, and was recently named Director of the Illinois Beckman Institute. In addition to maintaining a rigorous research program and teaching, Dr. Mason works to increase diversity in the physical sciences, particularly through mentoring, and is former chair of the American Physical Society (APS) Committee on Minorities. Dr. Mason can also be seen promoting science on local TV, at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, and in a TED talk on “Scientific Curiosity.” Dr. Mason has been recognized for her work with numerous awards, including the 2009 Denise Denton Emerging Leader Award, the 2012 APS Maria Goeppert Mayer Award, and the 2019 APS Bouchet Award. In 2021 she was elected to both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.

Chanda prescod-weinstein

Friday Plenary Talk

Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is an assistant professor of physics and astronomy and core faculty in women’s and gender studies at the University of New Hampshire. Originally from East L.A., Dr. Prescod-Weinstein is a graduate of Harvard College, University of California – Santa Cruz, and the University of Waterloo. One of under 100 Black American women to earn a PhD from a department of physics, she is a theoretical physicist with expertise in particle physics, cosmology, and astrophysics, with an emphasis on dark matter. In addition, Dr. Prescod-Weinstein is a theorist of Black feminist science, technology, and society studies, and a monthly columnist for New Scientist. Her research and advocacy for marginalized people in physics and astronomy have won multiple awards, and her first book, The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred, is now available from Bold Type Books.

Sarah Veatch

Saturday Plenary Talk

Sarah Veatch is a professor of biophysics and physics at the University of Michigan. Her lab investigates how physical properties of lipid bilayers contribute to cellular functions at the plasma membrane of mammalian cells. Her lab uses single molecule fluorescence localization microscopy methods to quantify membrane composition and dynamics and develops physically rigorous models to describe functional organization within signaling processes. Overall, her research program aims to understand how diverse cellular signaling processes exploit emergent behaviors of heterogeneous plasma membranes.

jessica esquivel

Sunday Plenary Talk

Dr. Jessica Esquivel has recently been promoted to an Associate Scientist at Fermilab where she works on the Muon g – 2 Experiment. She is one of ~100 Black women with a PhD in physics in the country, the 2nd black woman to graduate with a PhD in physics from Syracuse University, and the 3rd Black woman to hold an Associate Scientist position at Fermilab. She identifies as female, Black, mexican, lesbian, neurodivergent, a physicist, and texan. Dr. Esquivel is a recognized advocate for creating just and equitable spaces in physics and focuses on the intersections of race, gender and sexuality in her community engagement efforts. She is a member of APS-IDEA, co-founder of BlackInPhysics, part of the Change-Now collective, and is a AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador. Dr. Esquivel has also appeared on CBS’s Emmy nominated educational program Mission Unstoppable where she discusses the physics behind makeup, and on the Science Channel’s How the Universe Works discussing how neutrinos could be the key to the mysteries of our universe.

Workshop Speakers

Frances Kraus

Science Communication

Frances Kraus is a Staff Research Physicist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory where she studies plasmas that are so hot they emit x-rays. It turns out that as plasmas flow, heat up, cool down, or expand, their measurable x-ray signatures change — and Frances firmly believes that we can’t know much about reality without making measurements. Throughout her time in Colorado, Alabama, and New Jersey, Frances has done her best to share her enthusiasm for science with anyone who cares to listen. That’s why she gives public lab tours, hosts a science/music FM radio program on WPRB Princeton, and jumps at the chance to get CUWiP attendees excited about science communication.

Loki Lin


Loki is a recent graduate of Princeton University and is headed to the University of Michigan for his PhD in high-energy theory. He is a Peer Educator for the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center at Princeton. In this role, he has delivered workshops on LGBTQ+ and gender issues to students and faculty in the Physics Department. Loki is openly transgender, and he dedicates much of his time to improving life for trans/nonbinary students at Princeton both in and outside of physics. 

Callie pruett

Advocacy to Bring About Cultural Change

Callie is a seasoned advocacy manager, policy professional, and political strategist who has worked at the highest levels of campaigns throughout the American South. She is queer and disabled – two things that inform her passion for people and politics at its deepest level. She is the cohost of the top 1% podcast, Appodlachia, and the Executive Director of Appalachians for Appalachia. Callie is the former Senior Strategist for Grassroots Advocacy for the American Physical Society and the former lead strategist and manager of the Physicists Coalition for Nuclear Threat Reduction with Princeton University and the Carnegie Corporation. Callie has a degree in the sociology of social inequality from Appalachian State University, and her graduate work is in human rights from Southern Methodist University.

Allison Truhlar

Dr. Allison Truhlar is the Program Manager for Evaluation and Outreach in the DOE Office of Science’s Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists. She started with the office in 2019 as an American Association for the Advancement of Science policy fellow. Her background is in environmental engineering.

Brandi Toliver

Dr. Brandi Toliver (she|her|hers) serves as a Program Manager of the Community College Internships, Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships, and Visiting Faculty Program in the Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In this role, Dr. Toliver partners with the 17 DOE National Laboratories to coordinate research and professional development opportunities to prepare undergraduate students for careers in STEM and provide access to DOE resources (labs, user facilities, and expertise) for faculty members from institutions historically underrepresented in the research community. Prior to her appointment at the DOE, Dr. Toliver managed the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program and the Professional Research Experience Program (PREP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), served as a program analyst at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, and worked as research chemist at the U.S. Air Force.

Dr. Toliver lives by Nelson Mandela’s quote “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” As a first-generation college graduate, Dr. Toliver holds a B.S. in Chemistry from North Carolina State University, a M.S. in Chemistry from North Carolina Central University, and a Ph.D. in Fiber and Polymer Science from North Carolina State University.

Kelsey Hallinen

Kelsey is a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for the Physics of Biological Function at Princeton University where she researches bacterial communities and their properties under flow conditions. She received her BS in Physics from Carnegie Mellon and her PhD in Biophysics at the University of Michigan. During her undergrad, she was able to participate in CUWiP and during graduate school, helped organize the 2015 CUWiP at the University of Michigan. She is excited to be part of the LOC and welcome our CUWiP participants to Princeton!