Advocating for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Central Florida

This APS Chapter is winning raises for graduate teaching and research assistants while volunteering nationally and locally.
APS Chapter at University of Central Florida
APS Chapter Officers and graduate students from the University of Central Florida at March Meeting 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada

From ensuring graduate student salaries increase with the cost of living to mentoring students from underrepresented groups in physics, the APS Chapter at the University of Central Florida (UCF) is fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive physics community. In 2022, Orlando, Florida, saw record high inflation, including an average change in rent of 25% year-over-year. The University of Central Florida (UCF) undertook efforts to assess inflation's impact on students. The the APS Chapter at UCF took the initiative and conducted a study to identify the financial, housing, and nutritional needs of graduate students. Results from the chapter's study spurred university leadership to decide to drive yearly salary increases for graduate teaching assistants (+12%) and graduate research assistants (+8%). The chapter is conducting a similar survey in 2023 to bolster ongoing discussions to bring both salaries in line with the cost of living in Orlando.

The APS Chapter at UCF has advanced additional DEI efforts by hosting meet-and-greets with professors from underrepresented groups in physics. Chapter members have also mentored and tutored APS Bridge Program students and volunteered in local and national issues, including APS Congressional Visits Day and APS March Meeting 2023. Building on these activities, the APS Chapter at UCF is planning bi-weekly brews events to facilitate open dialogue between new graduate students and mentors. The chapter will also bring onsite therapy dogs to campus for graduate exams.


APS chapter members at a physics movie night event

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