Professor Priscilla Cushman was elected Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee of the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Particles and Fields (DPF). The DPF is one of fifteen divisions within the APS focused on specialized research areas and includes scientists who study fundamental particles and fields, the design and development of accelerators and instrumentation techniques to carry out this research. Cushman plans to use her term to start a campaign of public and political visibility, including the creation of a policy track to improve career options for graduate students.
Cushman says "while scientific results from our field continue to dazzle the public, success rates for well-received proposals, especially for young scientists, continue to plummet." She co-authored a study of this trend and plans to engage young physicists "by creating fellowships, awards, and DPF forums, as well as working with colleagues in physics departments to create majors and programs that encourage this new thrust."
Vice-Chair is a three-year appointment, in which Cushman will progress to Chair-Elect, and Chair, with the expectation that she will serve a fourth year as Past-Chair. The DPF Executive Committee works to arrange the meeting details and programs of the division and the APS, papers, fellowships and prizes. They determine bylaws, dues, and programs, such as outreach or visits to legislature. They also work with other organizations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on these issues.