Professional Experiences for Students in Plasma Science: Student Travel Support to Attend-the 2019 Gaseous Electronics Conference
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This award will support student participation at the 72nd Annual Gaseous Electronics Conference (GEC) is to be held October 28 - Nov 1st, 2019, in College Station, TX. The GEC has a long and venerable history in pursuit of the foundational physical and chemical processes occurring in partially ionized, collisional plasmas, encompassing the interactions between atoms, molecules, charged particles, photons, waves, and fields. The GEC has a strong tradition of encouraging and promoting student participation. Attending research conferences is an important educational experience for students that cannot be replicated at their home institutions. The GEC provides opportunities for students to expand their networks, to learn about cutting edge research, and to develop and hone their professional communication skills. The GEC is a place to welcome students into a global professional community where they can envision themselves spending their careers. The GEC program is organized with coffee breaks mid-morning and mid-afternoon, as a way of facilitating conversation among participants. At the 2019 GEC, intentional steps are being taken to create a more inclusive conference atmosphere for those from groups not well represented at the conference. These steps include a reconsideration of the GEC experience to add a commitment to diversity and inclusivity to its reputation as a premier venue for gaseous electronics research. Although demographic changes in research communities have slower time constants than might be desirable, the student participation enabled by this award has the potential for long term impact on the diversity of future GEC community. This approach includes introduction of several tested professional development and social events intended to appeal to early career attendees, including students and those from underrepresented groups. Questions added to the post-conference survey will help to assess need for, interest in and effectiveness of the added events, and responses will be used to guide planning for subsequent years. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.