APS-IDEA Virtual Meeting


Date and Time

Friday, Feburary 26, 2021
Noon - 5:00 p.m. ET

Introduction and Overview

The APS Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance (APS-IDEA) is an APS Innovation Fund initiative with a mission of empowering the physics community to enact strategies for improving equity, diversity, and inclusion. The invite-only, half-day virtual meeting is limited to APS-IDEA network teams, and will serve as an information hub for network participants.
View APS-IDEA page

All APS-IDEA participants are expected to abide by the Code of Conduct for APS Meetings.


February 26, 2021, noon-5pm. All times Eastern US.

Noon-12:30pm Opening Plenary: Welcome, Brief Project Overview & plan for the day
12:30-12:50pm Meet your neighbors
12:50-1:00pm Brief break (10min)
1:00-2:00pm Parallel Sessions I
2:00-2:20pm Break (20min)
2:20-3:20pm Parallel Sessions II
3:20-3:30pm Brief break (10min)
3:30-4:00pm Plenary on creating a theory of change
4:00-5:00pm Affinity groups meetings


Parallel sessions will consist of mini-workshops focused on specific topics. Potential topics include:

  1. Recruitment and retention of underrepresented minoritized students
  2. Organizational culture and climate
  3. Climate surveys and other assessments
  4. Recruitment and retention of underrepresented minoritized faculty and staff
  5. Department-level Theories of Change
  6. Increasing buy-in and engagement

Steering Committee

Ed Bertschinger IDEA

Ed Bertschinger (he/him/his) is a professor of physics and affiliated faculty in the Program in Women’s and Gender Studies at MIT. He is a theoretical astrophysicist interested in gravitation, cosmology, and numerical methods, and he has recently begun working in the social sciences. He is active in EDI work with the American Astronomical Society and the American Institute of Physics. Dr. Bertschinger loves mentoring, birdwatching, and a good Italian wine.

Erika Brown IDEA

Erika Brown (she/her) is an Education and Diversity Program Manager at the American Physical Society. At APS, Dr. Brown manages a portfolio of diversity-focused programs, including the APS Bridge Program, APS-IDEA, the APS Forum on Diversity and Inclusion, and the Inclusive Graduate Education Network. Dr. Brown is a proud alumna of the all-women's HBCU, Spelman College, and loves to cook delicious food for her friends and family.

Jessica Esquivel photo

Jessica Esquivel (she/her) is a postdoctoral research associate at Fermilab working on the Muon g-2 Experiment. She is one of ~100 Black women with a PhD in physics in the country and the 2nd black woman to graduate with a PhD in physics from Syracuse University and has experience navigating spaces where she is “the first” or “the only”. Her graduate research focused on studying ghostly particles called neutrinos interacting in the MicroBooNE Experiment using innovative machine learning techniques like those used in facial recognition software. Dr. Esquivel has been named AAAS If/Then Ambassador and is an advocate for increasing equity, diversity, and inclusion in physics. She focuses on the intersections of race, gender and sexuality in her engagement efforts. Dr. Esquivel is a Texas transplant living in Illinois with her wife Emily Esquivel and their two furry rescue animals (Treadaway and Daisy Dukes Esquivel) and on her downtime you can catch her cosplaying, DIYing, or watching HGTV for project inspirations!

Michelle Lollie IDEA

Michelle Lollie (she/her) is a physics graduate student at Louisiana State University (Geaux Tigers!). Her research spans squeezed light experiments for quantum noise reduction in LIGO to high-dimensional quantum communication and its entanglement characterization. She is a proud alum of Clark Atlanta University (HBCU) where she earned a degree in finance, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology where she earned a degree in physics, and the APS Bridge Program wherein she earned an advanced degree in physics from Indiana University. Along her pathway to and through physics, she’s become an advocate for equity across the STEM fields - physics in particular. She enjoys reading historical fiction, watching historical documentaries, and sipping on a good single malt scotch.

Jesus Pando IDEA

Jesús Pando (he/him) chairs the Department of Physics and Astrophysics at DePaul University in Chicago, IL. Currently his research is focused on using the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) to characterize large scale structure in the universe. He is the current Past President of the National Society of Hispanic Physicists and serves as Chair of the new APS Forum on Diversity and Inclusion. Jesús is a film noir buff and when he’s not watching old movies he spends his time mercilessly teasing his 4 grandchildren.

Monica Plisch

Monica Plisch (she/her) is the Director of Programs at the American Physical Society. Her department leads initiatives in education, diversity, careers and outreach to benefit the physics community and society. In addition, Dr. Plisch serves on the Executive Committee of the Societies Consortium on Sexual Harassment in STEMM and co-authored the LGBT Climate in Physics report. She also enjoys spending time in the kitchen and is a big fan of Greek cuisine.

Geoff Potvin IDEA

Geoff Potvin (he/him) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and the STEM Transformation Institute at Florida International University. He is an education researcher focused on broadening participation in the physical sciences using an identity lens, with a particular focus on recruitment and retention across the secondary, post-secondary, and graduate boundaries. He is Chair of the Physics Education Research Leadership and Organizing Council, and has been a member of the AAPT Committee on Diversity, AAPT Committee on Graduate Education, and the APS Forum on Education. He has two kids and is a longtime fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Ed Price

Edward Price (he/his) is a professor of physics and Director of the Center for Research and Engagement in STEM Education at California State University San Marcos. His research areas include faculty professional development and educational change, informal science education, and how tools and social structures can support learning. He leads the NSF-funded Next Gen PET Faculty Online Learning Community project, which includes fifty faculty from around the country working together to improve their physics courses for future elementary teachers. He is an avid mountain biker.

William Ratcliff II

William Ratcliff II (pronoun “he”) is a physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. He is interested in multiferroics, quantum materials, topological materials, and applications of AI to neutron scattering. He is currently secretary of the APS topical group on Data Science. He is also a leader of the DC chapter of DataKind, a network of pro-bono data scientists.

Erin Scanlon IDEA photo

Erin Scanlon (she/her) is an assistant professor in residence at University of Connecticut in the physics department. She conducts physics education research focusing on moving the physics community toward being more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and socially just. She is the current vice-chair of the Physics Education Research Leadership and Organizing Council. Dr. Scanlon enjoys spending time at the beach.

LaNell Williams

LaNell A. Williams is a current PhD Candidate at Harvard University. Her research focuses on understanding the self-assembly of RNA viruses. She also serves as an APS Councilor for FGSA & FECS. In addition, she is the founder of the Women+ of Color Project an organization focused on improving the pipeline for BIPOC Women+ and gender minorities who want to pursue graduate education in STEM.