Student Application

Are you a student looking to create a positive impact in the physics community?

STEP UP Physics is launching just the program for you! Our Student Agent Program will give leadership roles to students who want to be more involved in the STEP UP Physics movement. Student Agents will spread the STEP UP message in their communities and network with professionals in the STEP UP program. Learn more about STEP UP Physics here.

Student Agent Benefits

  • Impact: You will create a lasting, positive impact on the physics community by inspiring others to pursue their dreams in physics
  • Networking: You will meet other physics-oriented students and working professionals
  • Community: You will be a part of a national community of people who are driven to change the face of physics for the better
  • Stipend: You will receive a one-time stipend of $250
  • T-Shirt: You will receive a free STEP UP T-shirt!

Program Timeline

This application cycle is for the pilot program of the STEP UP Student Agent Program. Since it is a pilot, it will only last one semester (Spring 2021), and we will only accept up to 12 students. 

  1. The application is due Jan 4th, 2021 at 11:59pm EST
  2. Recommendation letters are due Jan 4th, 2021 at 11:59pm EST
  3. Applicants will be notified of their status by Jan 8th, 2020
  4. Pilot program begins with the Student Agent training on Jan 15th, 2021
  5. Pilot program concludes with a virtual ceremony in early May 2021

Student Agent Responsibilities

If you are selected to be a Student Agent, you will be expected to fulfill the requirements below during the Spring 2021 semester. Student Agents who exceed these requirements will be considered for end-of-semester awards in May 2021. 

  1. Training: Attend the one-hour online training webinar on Friday, January 15th, 2021 (time TBD).
  2. Outreach Events: Host at least one STEP UP outreach event, which must be pre-approved by the leadership team. These events must be online; in-person events will not be approved for the duration of the pandemic. Here are a few ideas for acceptable outreach events: 
    • Inviting and hosting a speaker for your school, such as a physics professor from a nearby university, a high school physics teacher, a physics graduate student, a physics undergraduate student (for high school Agents), etc. The Agent should introduce the speaker before their talk and explain how the talk will relate to the STEP UP message. 
    • Giving a talk to your class using STEP UP slides, which can be found here.
    • Creating and presenting a talk related to the goals of STEP UP
    • Organizing a “Women in Physics” awareness event, such as hosting a panel of women physicists or working with a teacher to create an in-class activity or homework assignment about women in physics.
  3. Social Engagement: Agents must engage with the STEP UP community in each of the following ways:
    • Attend at least one STEP UP event, which are listed here and announced via email
    • Post at least two meaningful threads or replies in the STEP UP discussion board, which requires joining the STEP UP online community
    • Join the STEP UP Student Discord, which has a closed channel for Agent communication. You can join the Discord here.
  4. Code of Conduct: Follow the code of conduct in all interactions in which you represent the organization

Other Activities

The following activities will be encouraged and available to Student Agents, but not required. They will help Agents get the most out of the program. 

  • Connect with STEP UP Ambassadors: Connect with nearby STEP UP Ambassadors. The leadership team will provide the Student Agents with the contact information of nearby Ambassadors, and the Agents will be encouraged to reach out to them via email. 
  • General Outreach: Invite peers to STEP UP events, email teachers, write letters/postcards to teachers, visit classrooms (virtually), call a teacher, etc.
  • Social Media Engagement: Agents are encouraged to be active in the STEP UP Student Discord, which can be joined here. We would also love for them to post or share things about STEP UP on social media.

How to Apply

The application deadline is January 4th at 11:59pm EST. The application form will include the following:

  • Age Requirement: Indicate your age
    • Minimum: 14
    • Maximum: None specified (see maximum education level)
  • Education Requirement: Indicate your education level and current place of study (and field of study, if applicable)
    • Minimum education level: Must have started high school at the time of application
    • Maximum education: Currently enrolled as a postdoctoral researcher during the program
    • Working professionals (especially teachers) are encouraged to apply to be a STEP UP Ambassador
  • Interest in Physics: Describe what are you most passionate about in physics (50 words or less)
  • Recommendation Letter: We request one (1) recommendation letter from someone (such as a teacher or boss) who can vouch for your work ethic and passion. It is your responsibility to let them know how to submit their letter. Here are the details
    • Your recommender must submit their letter using this form, which can be found below.
    • The deadline for letter submission is January 4th at 11:59pm EST
      In the application, you will be asked to provide their name and email address so that we can match your application to a letter we receive.
    • Additional recommendation letters will not be considered, and they will not increase your chances of selection.
    • Tip: Give your recommender at least two weeks to write their letter. Do not ask them the night before the deadline.
  • 2 Essays: 
    • Explain why you want to be a STEP UP Agent and how you would spread the STEP UP message in your community (200-500 words).
    • Write about your favorite female or gender non-conforming scientist (200-500 words). Check out the STEP UP Curriculum for ideas. Here are some questions to consider: Why are they your favorite? How have they inspired you and others?

Apply now!

(Applications close January 4th at 11:59pm EST) 

Information for Recommenders

We are requesting one letter of recommendation per STEP UP Student Agent application. Although there is no required format, we ask that you limit your letter to two pages or less. We are looking for insight into the applicant’s leadership abilities, communication skills, and dependability.

Please upload your recommendation letter using the form below. The form will ask for your name, the applicant’s name, your relationship to the applicant, and the letter itself (any file format, but we recommend PDF so that formatting will be preserved).

Submit Recommendation Letter

(Letters must be submitted by January 4th at 11:59pm EST)

Questions or Comments?

Email Victoria Catlett: victoria.w.catlett at

Explore all student outreach opportunities at our Student Outreach page.