Physics students win national recognition for chapter

The Grove City College chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) has won an Outstanding Chapter Award from the SPS National Office – again.

The Grove City College chapter has been repeatedly recognized for its excellence as a top-tier student-led physical sciences organization, a designation given to fewer than 10 percent of all SPS chapters at colleges and universities in the United States and internationally. Physics Professor DJ Wagner is the chapter’s advisor.

“Our officers do a fantastic job of organizing a mix of professional development, outreach and social activities, imbuing our Physics Club with positive energy and a welcoming atmosphere. Our historian Marc Ebiri ’21 and president Keith Dabroski ’22 compiled descriptions and photographs of those activities into a quality chapter report, continuing our decades-long tradition of being honored as an Outstanding Chapter,” says Wagner.

The College’s SPS chapter is very active in the community. While COVID-19 prevented them from hosting their annual Physics Day for local school children, the Physics Club did put together some supplies and an activity packet for children in Uganda, partnering with the locally-run S.H.O.W. ministry. They also help out local residents with yard work and other tasks in the annual Rent-a-Student fundraiser.

Chapters are evaluated on their level of interaction with the campus community, the professional physics community, the public and with SPS national programs. The Outstanding Chapter Award recognizes high levels of outreach as well as unique approaches to fulfilling the mission of SPS to “help students transform themselves into contributing members of the professional community.”

Last fall, the Grove City College Physics Club took 20 students to “PhysCon 2019,” a national meeting of about 1200 physics students. They were one of the largest groups to attend. Three students won SPS Reporter Awards and wrote an article about the experience for SPS Publications. Brian Ross ’23 won Best in Show at the Physics Phine Art Contest, and 15 of the students presented posters about their research. Through student fundraising, alumni donations, and support from the college’s Swezey Fund for Scientific Research and Instrumentation, the Physics Club was able to fully fund the trip for all attendees, making sure that any interested student could attend, regardless of personal finances.

The Society of Physics Students is a professional association designed for students and membership is open to anyone interested in physics and related fields. SPS operates within the American Institute of Physics, an umbrella organization for professional physical science societies.

“SPS is an incredible institution that provides excellent opportunities for students to learn to network with both peers and with established members of the professional scientific community. The connections students make, through events such as PhysCon and through the other SPS opportunities, can have a profound influence on students’ goals, motivation and future career development,” Wagner said.

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Physics students win national recognition for chapter

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