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University of Wisconsin–Madison
A group for the support and promotion of women and gender minorities in physics at the University of Wisconsin - Madison

Elections Information

The elections for the 2019-2020 GMaWiP Board will take place via online ballot from

4/18/2019 – 5/1/2019

As per our constitution, anyone who has attended at least one meeting or event over the past year is eligible to vote. However, to determine who is eligible, you need to respond to our email asking if you’ve attended any meetings.

Here are the speeches for this year’s candidates.

2019-2020 Candidates


Name: Joelle Baer

Year: 3rd year graduate student


Since going to my first CUWiP Junior year of undergrad, I have been very passionate about supporting women and minorities in physics and helping them thrive in this environment. When I first got to UW Madison GMaWiP was such a helpful place to connect with and learn from others. I loved my role as fellowship coordinator, and as professional development coordinator I have successfully received a WISELI speaker grant. Between driving undergraduates to CUWiP’s these last two Januaries and speaking with invited speaker Dr. Rellen Hardtke, I have had continual reminders of how important this topic is to me.

My hope as president would be to provide organization for the group as a whole and touching base routinely with coordinators via email or in person meetings, act as a vocal liaison between the group and the department (though I plan on not sitting on the PGSC in order to have all my free time available for GMaWiP, something I realized I could not do as well this year), work on increasing undergraduate involvement and sponsor increased coordination between GMaWiP and WOWSA.

Director of Information

Name: Sarah Mancina

Year: 4th Year Graduate Student


As a founding member of GMaWiP, I would like to continue to grow and support our community. As director of information, I would like to focus efforts on re-analyzing data on women and gender minorities in the department.

Director of Mentorship

Name: Leah Tom

Year: 2nd Year Graduate Student


I am running for the position of Mentorship Coordinator because I want to build on the previous work I have done in this role. With the progress made in increasing the number of women and gender minorities in the department, I want to work towards ensuring that we provide the much needed support to incoming first years in navigating the transition to graduate school and overcoming the hurdles that first year presents. Towards this end, I will be working towards setting up one-on-one mentoring for the incoming first years. In addition to that, I will be working to improve the current group mentoring system that we have in place. I believe that a way for the current system to work better is to improve participation amongst members through joint fellowship-mentoring events.

In addition, I want to continue and improve on the Qualifying Exam Preparation sessions that I had conducted last summer. I put a lot of effort into preparing worksheets for each qual topic, and I want to ensure that the material is up-to-date. I hope it will reach even more people in the coming year and that incoming students receive the support they need before the qual and are freer to focus on classes, teaching and research during the semester.

I hope to be part of the effort in increasing GMaWiP’s presence in the department and in improving the support we provide our members.

Name: Leslie Taylor

Year: 3rd year graduate student


I want GMAWIP mentorship to provide support for members at all stages of their grad school career. As a third year grad student and a dissertator I would usually be considered a mentor rather than a mentee but I have still benefited greatly from the advice of my mentorship group. I want to make sure that all GMAWIP members have the opportunity to benefit in a similar way. In order to achieve this I want to strengthen existing mentorship groups, encourage them to meet more often, and provide resources that help make their meetings more fruitful. However, there is no denying that mentorship can make a greater impact on younger grad students. The incoming class is 45% women and I want to make sure that those women can easily join the GMAWIP community. To achieve this, I want to add incoming women to mentorship groups starting now, allowing them to seek out advice from other members even before they move and giving them a sense of community as soon as they arrive.

Director of Outreach

Name: Kayla Leonard

Year: 2nd year Graduate Student


I have enjoyed being a member of Gmawip for the past two years, and would like to contribute as an officer. Through my research group, I have participated in many outreach events in Madison like the Wisconsin Science Festival and smaller events like a local girl scout fair at a middle school, and I am interested in getting gmawip more involved in these events as well!

Director of Fellowship

Name: Abigail Shearrow

Year: Graduate student


Below here are the speeches from last year’s candidates.

2018-2019 Candidates:


Name: Sarah Mancina

Year: Graduate Student (3rd Year)

Speech: As a founding member of GMaWiP, I have seen our organization grow in the action oriented group we are today. As president of GMaWiP, I would like to continue our momentum by: collaborating with the new Physics Graduate Student Council and the Climate and Diversity Committee, working with our members to update our action plans to improve the department, and supporting our directors in their pursuits.


Director of Outreach:

Name: Megan Tabbutt

Year: Undergraduate (Senior, Rising 1st Year Graduate Student)

Speech: I am running for the Director of Outreach of the Gender, Minority, and Women in Physics group. I think that I would be a great fit for this position as I have an immense passion for outreach and have done many such activities through out the years. I find reaching out and sharing physics and STEM with the community and especially to the underrepresented demographic groups in physics incredibly important. Going through high school, I loved physics but never really understood that I could major in it at college or even do physics as my career, and ended up taking a long path to where I am today. I hope through our outreach activities we can get people excited about physics and can show them that anyone, even an underrepresented person can do physics and can follow their dreams and passions. I have done many other outreach activities, and was the Community Events Coordinator and Events Director for 5 years at Gymfinity Gymnastics before I started my undergraduate studies. I loved setting up events for the community and bringing our gymnastics out into other parts of the city. It was an amazing job that I loved tremendously! I know that if I am elected to this position I will work extremely hard to carry on the outreach efforts that have already been going on as well as try to start a few new ones. I already have a couple ideas for new events, such as a meet the labs day once a month, where we could bring in STEM clubs from local schools and have a research group present on their research and tour their labs. I am very excited for the opportunity to bring our love and passion for physics as well as perseverance to the community and hope to be able to do so with all of the wonderful people at GMaWIP.


Director of Professional Development:

Name: Joelle Baer

Year: Graduate Student (2nd Year)

Speech: I want to make the idea of “Professional Development” accessible to all members, and take advantage of the amazing resources offered by the University already. To me, this position looks like; Linked-in coffee dates where we gather in a coffee shop or in a room in Chamberlin with refreshments to work on our linked-in page/resume/CV/applications; Practice Prelim sessions for those looking to prelim, or preparing to present for a conference or poster session; scoping out different events held by the Delta program or the university and informing the group about attending. I hope to make professional development a fun thing, where we can all hang out but also feel like we are being productive (because aren’t we all the over-achiever types already?)


Director of Mentorship:

Name: Leah Tom

Year: Graduate Student (1st Year)

Speech: With the past year seeing major changes in the format of the qualifying exam, I think it is important to increase the level of support given to incoming graduate students who are women and gender minorities. If elected as GMaWiP’s Director of Mentorship, I will work towards easing the transition to graduate school for the incoming graduate class by implementing a Qual Preparation Program that targets women and gender minorities. I believe that such a program will reduce the level of anxiety first-years experience with regards to navigating copious amounts of preparatory material and also provide a support group as they begin graduate school. In addition to this, I will also work towards organizing mentorship groups that span all the years in order to increase the guidance provided to newer GMaWiP members and to promote increased interaction between GMaWiP members.


Director of Fellowship:

Name: Leslie Taylor

Year: Graduate Student (2ndYear)

Speech: Fellowship is the foundation of a strong community and our community is growing. Next year 9 new women are joining the department! For this reason, if elected, my primary goal is to plan events which attract new members and provide opportunities for GMaWiP members to get to know one another. I plan to accomplish this with events we know and love (like cookies and movie nights), as well as adding new events (like a hot cocoa bar, board game nights, and pumpkin carving).

My secondary goal is to let members unwind and help each other to stay resilient in the face of grad school’s challenges. In addition to hosting “de-stress events” (like coloring, and paint nights at the union), I also plan to keep members motivated by sending out monthly feel-good emails. They will be filled with cute animal gifs and will highlight the accomplishments of members in the previous month.

I have several years of fellowship experience from my time in undergrad. As a member of the greek sorority Kappa Alpha Theta, I served on both the recruitment and social committees. I was responsible for planning and hosting events for 120+ women including study nights (with food and cookies provided), cupcake decorating, holiday house decorating, t-shirt making, and bracelet making.

GMaWiP has helped me to find a community here at UW Madison and I love contributing to GMaWiP’s community activities and fellowship events. I plan to make our atmosphere even more inviting for members!



Director of Information:

Name: Lauren Laufman

Year: Undergraduate (Junior)

Speech: The Director of Information is a position that I believe I have the experience and knowledge to confidently hold. For the past two years I was the Director of Fellowship, so I am familiar with the leadership experience of being an officer, and specifically an officer in Gender Minorities and Women in Physics. I organized many events and provided lots of cookies, which are an essential part of this group. While I’m not entirely familiar with data analysis, I can learn quickly, and managing the website will be a piece of cake. I hope to be able to continue the projects started by last year’s committee, and start new ones as well.