Local Organizing Committee


University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst

Shubha Tewari
Chair, Local Organising Committee
Dr. Tewari is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. As a theoretical condensed matter physicist, she uses analytical techniques and computer simulation methods to study the collective behavior of soft matter systems such as granular materials and foams.  More…

Irene Dujovne
Vice Chair, Local Organising Committee
Dr. Dujovne is a Lecturer at UMass Amherst. Her background is in experimental condensed matter physics. She is working on developing a new experimental methods class for graduate students, and wants to explore… More…

Narayanan Menon
Professor Narayanan Menon is a condensed matter experimentalist who works on non-equilibrium systems made up of macroscopic pieces of matter. He co-organises an annual summer school, “Soft Solids and Complex Fluids” for graduate students. He currently serves as the Head of the Physics Department at UMass Amherst.  More…

Jenny Ross
Professor Jenny Ross’s lab at UMass Amherst is broadly interested in how cells autonomously sense, decide, and respond to produce motion, force, and work. Her research lab focuses on biological systems in order to learn fundamental physics principles of how they are able to act autono mously, specifically we have focused on the cytoskeleton. More…

Benjamin Brau
Associate Professor Brau is a particle physicist who studies high energy proton collisions to better understand the fundamental nature of matter. He currently has ongoing research at the Tevatron Collider at Fermilab near Chicago, Illinois, and on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.

Smith College

Courtney Lannert
Associate Professor Courtney Lannert is currently Chair of Physics at Smith College and holds a joint position at UMass Amherst. Her research is in the field of theoretical condensed matter physics, and she studies collective quantum-mechanical phenomena using both numerical and analytical tools. More…

Nalini Easwar
Professor Nalini Easwar’s researches complex fluids, and she’s interested in the study of dry dense granular flows. In her lab, students work on exploring flows of grains from 2D and 3D hoppers, studying aspects of stress propagation, velocity—force correlations, shear zones and jamming.  More…

Mount Holyoke College

Kerstin Nordstrom
Assistant Professor Kerstin Nordstrom is a Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Physics at Mount Holyoke College. Her research group uses experimental video-analysis and computational modeling to understand the behavior of a variety of non-Newtonian flows, from granular materials to the flow of polymer solutions in microfluidic channels. More…

Katherine Aidala
Professor Katherine Aidala is the chair of Physics and the chair of Engineering at Mount Holyoke College. She specializes in Condensed matter physics and nanoscience. She enjoys teaching at all levels of the curriculum, working to engage every student to promote fundamental understanding of the material and appreciation for the relevant applications.  More…

Amherst College

Ashley Carter
Assistant Professor Ashley Carter’s research interests lie in teaching a wide variety of students from different fields about physical principles. She enjoy topics in biophysics and optics. Her lab is interested in studying the mechanical properties of biological molecules or cells. To do this her lab uses techniques in laser optics, microscopy, and biochemistry. More…

Kannan (Jagu) Jagannathan
Professor Jagannathan has been at Amherst College since 1981. He had chaired the New England section of the American Physical Society and worked for six years as assistant editor of the American Journal of Physics. His research interests include theoretical particle physics, field theory and the foundations of quantum mechanics. More…

Staff Members

Brittany Bonenfant 

Brittany is an Administrative Assistant for the Physics Department at UMass Amherst. She supports both the Masscam and ACFI cost centers, as well as, contributes to the running of their scheduled events.



Graduate Students

Daria Atkinson
Navigating identity: LGBTQ+ Panelist
Daria Atkinson is a fourth year graduate student at UMass Amherst, who studies the geometry of soft filament self-assembly. She also serves as finance chair of Graduate Women in STEM, a student-run group to support and advocate for women in the sciences.

Michelle Berry
Michelle is a second year graduate student pursuing a PhD at UMass Amherst.



Mary Elizabeth Lee-Trimble
Mary Elizabeth is a first year graduate student pursuing a PhD at UMass Amherst.



Sam Krishnamurthy
Sam is a second year graduate student pursuing a PhD at UMass Amherst.



H. Doug Pinckney
Doug is a first year graduate student pursuing a PhD at UMass Amherst.  He is currently working with Professor Scott Hertel to build detectors for dark matter experiments.


Winnie Wang
Winnie is a first year graduate student at UMass Amherst and a Teaching Assistant at Amherst College. Inspired by her undergraduate research in physics and astronomy, she’s currently pursuing experimental particle physics and theoretical condensed matter research at UMass.


Sarah Zuraw-Weston
Sarah is a fourth-year graduate student pursuing her PhD at UMass Amherst. Her research interests are focused on topics within the field of soft matter physics. Her current work explores the roles of particle shape in the deformation and disruption of lipid membranes. The goal is to develop … More…

Undergraduate Students

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Sasha Bakker
Careers: getting REUs and summer internships in industry Panelist
Sasha is a sophomore undergraduate student at UMass Amherst who is majoring in Physics and minoring in Mathematics.


Emily Hansen
Emily is a junior physics undergraduate student at UMass Amherst with a physical chemistry minor and a concentration in renewable energy as part of the UMass Integrated Concentration in Science program. She is part of the Physics lecture prep team, is a member of the UMass Physics Education Research group… More…

Bridget Mack
Careers in Education Panelist

Bridget is a sophomore undergraduate physics major with a math minor at UMass Amherst. Her interests include particle and high energy physics. Bridget is currently conducting research on ATLAS muon detectors with Professor Outschoorn.

Mackenzie Naseery
Mackenzie is a sophomore physics major at UMass Amherst. She is interested in fluid mechanics and applied physics.



Amy Ralston
Careers: Graduate School Applications Panelist
Amy is a senior undergraduate at UMass Amherst studying Physics and Astronomy. She serves as the President of the UMass Society of Physics Students (SPS), and works at the Cryogenic Devices Laboratory in the UMass Astronomy department on the TolTEC project. More…

Anwesha Saha
Careers: getting REUs and summer internships in industry Panelist
Anwesha is a senior Physics and Mathematics major, concentrating in renewable energy and international studies at UMass Amherst. She is the Vice-President of the UMass Society of Physics Students and is working on her senior honors thesis in condensed matter physics. More…

Faizah Saddique
Faizah is a sophomore undergraduate physics major, and math minor at UMass Amherst. Faizah is currently working on an independent study project with Professor Outschoorn on ATLAS muon detectors.


Smith College

Cait Battle-Macdonald
Cait is a junior physics major with history minor at Smith College, where she is the co-president of the Smith chapter of the Society of Physics Students. She is currently involved in a cosmology lab, researching scalar fields in the early universe, and an optics lab, completing high-precision measurements of the optical properties of geological samples.

Yining (Ning) Hua
Ning is a junior year undergraduate student at Smith College. She is interested in physics engine development and alternative reality.


Mount Holyoke College

Gilligan Hagen
Gillian is a junior undergraduate student at Mount Holyoke College pursuing a Physics major and Chinese and Mathematics minors. She serves as the President of the Mount Holyoke Society of Physics Students. Gillian is interested in solid state physics research for sustainable energy. At Mount Holyoke, she performs research on organic cascade solar cells.

Barbara Marquez
Barbara is a senior physics major student at Mount Holyoke College. She is currently conducting research on the effects of ultrasound insonification on prostate cancer cells. She is passionate about working with cancer and autoimmune disease management via a medical physics perspective.


Sue Shi
Sue is a senior undergraduate student at Mount Holyoke College pursuing a major in Physics and a minor in Mathematics. She is interested in optoelectronics research and is currently conducting quantum dot tandem solar cell research in the Arango lab at Mount Holyoke College.


Jem Guhit