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[an error occurred while processing this directive] 2007 SPS National Council Meeting Report

Ann DemlBy Ann Deml, University of Wisconsin River Falls
Zone 9 Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)
AZC Representative to the SPS Executive Committee

SPS Council Homepage


Several SPS Associate Zone Councilors pose with the Einstein sculpture in Washington, DC.



Left to Right: Christine Ploen, Mark Madland, Steve Shropshire, and David Donnelly give a presentation on their committee work regarding The Nucleus digital library.



The 2007 SPS National Council of representatives from around the United States met September 27-30, 2007 in the Washington, D.C. area.  As the elected Associate Zone Councilor for Zone 9 (a region including Wisconsin, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, northern Indiana, and northern Illinois), I was able to participate in this annual meeting.  Together with the SPS Executive Committee, I was one of the 18 student and 18 faculty representatives that discussed and made decisions on the objectives for the society in the upcoming year including the integration of our theme, The Future Faces of Physics.  The meeting was an energizing realization of our significance as AZC’s and a wonderful opportunity to become engaged in the greater physics community. 

The general meeting structure involved a welcome reception on Thursday evening at our hotel in Crystal City where each member of the council was introduced and got to share something about him or herself.  Friday we spent the entire day at the American Center for Physics in College Park, MD discussing the society’s status and working in committees to provide recommendations for the council as a whole.  Saturday morning we met at the hotel again, elected an AZC representative for the Executive Committee, and discussed zone meetings and responsibilities before being granted the afternoon as our own.  Many of the AZC’s spent that time on the National Mall, and a group of us returned in the evening to view the national monuments in the reflective sentiment of darkness. 

After spending that time in Washington D.C., Jenna Smith, an AZC from Rhodes College in Tennessee, said “The entire trip was a great experience. Whether I was exploring DC with the other AZC’s or sitting in committee meetings with physics leaders from around the nation, I was learning and having fun.”  We also reunited one last time as a council for dinner at a wonderful Spanish restaurant right beside Chinatown--which I find humorous.  Having been elected as the AZC representative for the Executive Committee, I met with the Executive Committee Sunday morning and shortly afterward departed for the airport back to Minneapolis, MN. 

The most exciting and rewarding part for me was getting to meet an entire group of student leaders in physics.  One of them, Curtis McCully who is an AZC from Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma, also enjoyed meeting these new people and later said that “This was a great opportunity to reach beyond the doors of our own institutions and to interact with people from all over the country who share a common interest.  It was a chance to interact with the physics community on a large scale.”   Everyone was enthusiastic to talk about the activities at their local SPS chapters, and I felt like I was continuously taking notes of all the great ideas that were being shared.  Even after only knowing those students for a few days, it was hard to say good-bye to everyone knowing that I may not see them for quite a while.  I have realized the closeness of the physics community as a whole, however, and can reasonably believe that I will meet some of these upcoming physics leaders at future conferences and events.  That is certainly something I am looking forward to. 


Left to Right: Associate Zone Councilors Jonathan Hughes, Lucas Willis, Krystyna Dillard-Crawford, and Jenna Smith wait for the METRO train in Washington, DC.



SPS Council members enjoyed dinner Friday evening at the American Center for Physics in College Park, MD.

It was evident that this year’s council members made good connections with one another at the meeting and had meaningful experiences.  We thank those who helped create this opportunity, and as a group, I think we would all agree with this comment made by AZC Jon Hughes from Virginia Tech.  Jon said,
“I was amazed at the ease of getting involved on the national level and the odds of actually receiving scholarships and awards offered nationally.  Everybody at the national office was so friendly and eager to actually get involved on the chapter level.  It is clear that they are genuinely interested in each individual chapter.  I was initially a little intimidating by attending a "National Council Meeting," but my qualms disappeared the instant we began, due to the informal yet productive atmosphere.”

That sense of significance that I have also felt within SPS is one of the most important messages I would like to pass on to other students.  The Society of Physics Students really is an organization made up of students and truly has its objectives designed for our benefit.  Even involvement on a national level is personal and available to us.  Not only that, but involvement on any level is rewarding and naturally leads to comfortable networking opportunities, participation in larger events like regional and national conferences, and a renewed excitement in physics!

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