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Event Date and Time
Dr. Ben Zwickl, Rochester Institute of Technology
Physics graduate education is changing due to a variety of factors, including the interdisciplinary nature of research, a desire for greater diversity and inclusion within physics, and increasing concern for the mental health of students. In light of these influences, departments have an opportunity to reflect on and consider updating how admissions decisions are made and how students are mentored and supported throughout their experience. In this talk, I will describe a statistical analysis of 1955 physics graduate students from 19 degree programs. The results indicate that among commonly used quantitative admissions metrics, undergraduate GPA offers the most insight into graduate GPA and PhD completion, while posing fewer concerns for equitable admissions practices than the GRE Physics subject test. These statistical results will be positioned within a larger body of research on student retention, professional development, and preparation for advanced technical careers, such as quantum technology. The greatest opportunity for improving students’ overall success and research productivity will not come from a greater focus on admitting the best students, but through innovations in education, mentoring, and support once students are admitted.