Physics students win national recognition for chapter

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

This is the third year in a row – and the tenth in the last 13 years – that the Grove City College chapter has been recognized for its excellence as a top-tier student-led physical sciences organization, a designation given to fewer than 15 percent of all SPS chapters at colleges and universities in the United States and internationally. Physics Professor DJ Wagner is the chapter’s advisor.

“Although many activities had to be adapted – ‘Pizza with the Profs’ became ‘Pizza-less with the Profs – and our outreach activity bringing children onto campus had to be canceled due to COVID, we still had many excellent activities,” Wagner said.

“Several students presented research at virtual professional conferences, our vice president Grant Mathias ’21 represented our Zone on the National Council, and our historian Alden MacKenzie ’22 was awarded an SPS Leadership Scholarship. On campus, in addition to regular meetings, such as the one in which we blow up pumpkins on the Quad, and social activities, we hosted retired professor Richard A. Leo giving a presentation about the Manhattan Project over Homecoming weekend. The event was livestreamed to alumni. Alden MacKenzie ’22 and chapter President Keith Dabroski ’22 compiled descriptions and photographs of those activities into a quality chapter report, resulting in our tenth Outstanding Chapter award since 2008,” she said.

The College’s SPS chapter is very active in the community. In addition to holding an annual Physics Day that traditionally brings local schoolchildren to campus for fun and informative activities demonstrating physics, the group helps local residents with yard work and other tasks through its 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.”

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 amazing resources to physics students in a plethora of contexts:  career preparation and job search assistance, financial support, professional development, and networking opportunities with professionals and peers.  These 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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