The Physics and Astronomy Opportunity Award will support students in their first and second year who have taken a non-traditional path to graduate school. Rather unusually for a PhD-granting department, the UC Davis Department of Physics and Astronomy also admits students directly for Masters degrees. The Masters program gives students a chance to fill in gaps in their background, and many students then transfer to the PhD program. This financial award will reduce or eliminate students' teaching responsibilities early in their Masters or PhD program so they can instead focus on studying and on adjusting to the culture of the graduate program.
It is a priority of the Physics and Astronomy Department to support students who are from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in physics and astronomy. It is our hope that this Award will reduce the barriers faced by these students, potentially leading to increased participation and success in these fields. We fully expect that the award will be a life-changing opportunity for its recipients.