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Physics Professor Christine Aidala recently received the University of Michigan Willie Hobbs Moore: Aspire, Advance, Achieve Award for the mentorship she provides to student members of the University of Michigan Society of Women in Physics (SWIP).
The Willie Hobbs Moore Award is given by the U-M Women in Science and Engineering Program and the College of Engineering's Center for Engineering Diversity and Outreach.
The annual luncheon and award ceremony is organized to honor Dr. Moore (1934-1994), who became the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Physics at any institution and the first African-American woman to receive a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and M.S. in Electrical Engineering at Michigan.
Dr. Moore’s thesis research, completed at Michigan in 1972 under the direction of Physics Professor Emeritus Samuel Krimm, solved important problems in the vibrational analysis of macromolecules. After receiving her doctorate, she continued research on the spectral analysis of proteins.
An excerpt from the statement prepared for the ceremony by SWIP leadership consisting of Ph.D. students Kaitlin Moore (Applied Physics), Jenna Walrath, (Physics), Julia Bourg (Biophysics), and Anna Savage (Applied Physics) explains Professor Aidala’s endeavors:
"Christine has advanced SWIP by helping us to nearly double our membership in recent years. . . She has an endless passion to volunteer her time and talents to help the students in SWIP achieve their goals. For instance, she has volunteered for SWIP's annual middle school science day and in SWIP's annual Girl Scouts Day. Most importantly, Christine routinely provides informal mentorship to students both during and outside of SWIP meetings on issues ranging from personal matters such as family to professional matters such as the student-advisor relationship. Such informal interaction with a faculty member is key to giving students a realistic and encouraging picture of what it means to enter into the physics community."
The Society of Women in Physics, originally founded in 2002 by a group of undergraduate women in physics, represents an outstanding team effort, bringing together undergraduate and graduate women and men at U-M interested in the issues surrounding the underrepresentation of women in physics. The main goals of SWIP are networking, mentorship, outreach, education, and leadership.