The weekend before our semester began, I attended CUWiP, Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics, hosted by the American Physical Society at Harvard. This was my first conference and I wasn't quite sure what to expect. The program for the conference was provided online, and man it was packed with talks, from professors, professionals, and fellow undergraduates, as well as fun activities, like an Arduino workshop and a liquid nitrogen ice cream party.
A good chunk of the women at the conference were astrophysics or astronomy majors, just like me! The astrophysics community at Tufts is pretty evenly split, male, female. I attended this conference with the main purpose of learning about career paths outside of graduate school and to meet and learn what research fellow undergraduates are working on. What I actually learned is, not every body has it as lucky as I do here.
This semester, I'm enrolled in 3 physics courses and 1 astronomy. Coming into this semester after having just been to CUWiP definitely made me more aware of gender balances in my courses. These are, approximately, the percent of students in my classes identifying as female:
PHY16 - Computational Physics - 21% (19 students)
PHY32 - Intermediate Mechanics - 14% (37 students)
PHY64 - Advanced Experimental Physics - 32% (19 students)
AST16 - Planetary Systems - 14% (28 students)
These percentages might seem, not too bad, but when you think about it, I'm in classes where I'm one of 3-6 women in a class, that, by the way, is taught by a man (we only have one female full time physics professor).