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2004 SPS Leadership Scholarship Recipients
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Outstanding Leadership Scholarships
Award amount: $2,000 | Award Information

Herbert Levy Memorial Scholarship
Award amount: $2,000 | Award Information

Future Teacher Scholarships
Award amount: $2,000 | Award Information

Peggy Dixon Two-Year College Scholarship
Award amount: $1,000 | Award Information

Leadership Scholarships
Award amount: $1,000 | Award Information

Scholarship Recipient Profiles
Desirae L. Leipply - Coe College
Outstanding Leadership Scholarship -- $2,000 Award

Desirae L. Leipply Howdy! My name is Desirae Leipply and I’m a senior physics major at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I’m a military kid with a wonderful family settled in Colorado Springs. This fall, I’m bound for graduate school at Johns Hopkins University to pursue my doctorate in biophysics.

My experience with our SPS chapter and the Coe Physics Club has been a very positive and influencing one. I entered Coe with the intent of getting a biology major and going pre-med, but awesome physics profs and classes, as well as participation and later involvement in SPS events, helped convince me that physics was my true course. I’ve done research here at Coe on glass transition temperature trends in alkali borosilicates.

Last summer I participated in an international REU program with Schott Glas Company in Mainz, Germany. My project was a theoretical analysis of multiple light scattering in opaque glass ceramics. This summer I plan on working on a project in biophysics, looking into glasses with anti-microbial properties.

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Justin L. Horacek – University of Wisconsin, Platteville
Outstanding Leadership Scholarship -- $2,000 Award

Justin L. Horacek Hello! My name is Justin Horacek and I am currently majoring in engineering physics with an emphasis in electrical engineering and a minor in biology at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. I have been a member of the UWP SPS since I arrived at Platteville and have been involved with many of our chapter’s activities including a canoe building project. One of the canoes is going to be being built for future SPS canoe trips and the other was already built to fund our chapter’s annual leadership scholarship. This last year I held the position as the Zone 9 Associated Zone Councilor and was admitted into the Sigma Pi Sigma. I was a math tutor and I have been involved in charity work that includes bell ringing for the Salvation Army, fundraising for the FFA (Future Farmers of America) Alumni, and helping with scholarship fund raisers ((SPS, EATS (Educational Assistance Through Scholarships)). I will be a senior this next fall and plan to attend graduate school in the area of medical physics upon completion of my bachelor’s degree.

This summer I am interning with a small electronics company in Middleton, Wisconsin. My employment involves engineering and designing piezoelectric monolithic quartz crystal filters for commercial and military applications. I also plan to work on a research project at UW-Madison later this summer in the area of medical physics. If I have extra time this summer I would like to acquire the training to become a certified nurse’s aid (CNA). The training and experience of being a CNA would allow me to acquire clinical experience and would fit well with my plans of studying medical physics.

I had originally grown up on a family dairy farm in Abbotsford, Wisconsin, a small town located in North Central Wisconsin. After graduating from high school I attended the University of Wisconsin-Platteville because of their rigorous physics program and their reputation as an exceptional engineering school. After acquiring an MS degree in medical physics I would like to practice medicine at a medical institution

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Colin A. Shepherd – University of Florida
Outstanding Leadership Scholarship -- $2,000 Award

Colin A. ShepherdI received my undergraduate degree in physics at the University of Florida, where I graduated summa cum laude. I have been very involved in SPS for the past two years. This year I was president of our chapter, concentrating my efforts on community outreach and improving undergraduate research opportunities for chapter members.

As an undergraduate, I worked in the lab of Professor Arthur Hebard on a variety of projects. This fall I will begin graduate studies in physics at the University of California - Santa Barbara. At UCSB I plan to continue to do work in experimental condensed matter physics, but on new topics within the field.

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David W. Byrd – Northwestern State University
Herbert Levy Memorial Scholarship -- $2,000 Award

David W. ByrdI was raised in north Louisiana and attended the Louisiana Scholars' College at Northwestern State University where will graduate with dual degrees in Physics and Liberal Arts. Due to military obligations, I've been in school for 6 years! So, obviously, I am ecstatic about graduating soon and preparing for graduate school.

I've been active in SPS since I came to college and president for the past two years. It has given me the opportunity to travel to meetings, present research, and most importantly to conduct outreach to local grade school and high school students.

Outside of school, I am a First Lieutenant in the Army National Guard. Although my college experience has been postponed due to the Army, I've gained valuable leadership skills and experiences in places like Honduras, Afghanistan, and Belize. I am in my third year of marriage to the love of my life, April, who is expecting our first child in October. My hobbies include hiking, canoeing, and riding motorcycles.

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Tim B. Claxton – East Central University
Vivian Hehn Future Teacher Scholarship -- $2,000 Award

Tim Claxton is a senior at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. I am seeking teacher certification in secondary science with my concentration in Physics. I should graduate in May 2005 with a bachelor in Physics Education. I am a member of Sigma Pi Sigma and have held off in ECU’s SPS chapter for two years. I have also been selected to serve as a representative for Zone 12.

I am a non-traditional student that is 39 years old. I worked in agriculture, in the oil fields of southern Oklahoma for 18 years and then 2 years for the local gas company. I am married with a 15-year-old son who thinks dad is the extreme example of the crazed physics teacher. He grows weary of my insistent explanations on everyday physics. My wife is a secondary math teacher who returned to school to obtain her master in Education Technology. She is now pursuing her doctorate in the same area. They both have been very supportive of my goal. I have a wide range of interests that range from computers to horse shoe pitching. I plan to teach physics in a rural school setting and improve my understanding of the world around us. My future is somewhat simplified in that I want to do what I enjoy which is teach physics

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Peter K. Koo – Cypress College
Two-Year College Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

Peter K. KooI have currently finished my sophomore year at Cypress College and have applied to transfer to numerous Universities by the fall 2004. I first came across SPS through a link on my College’s Physics department website in 2003. I joined instantly. The following summer I established an SPS chapter at Cypress College with some help from my Physics Instructor, Dr. Armale. Unsure what to particularly do when the club was up and running, we managed to have a fantastic year with frequent visits to Caltech to see Stephen Hawking, AAPT Conference, String Theory Talks, tours of LIGO, etc. We even received a Sigma Pi Sigma Research grant to build and experiment with a cosmic ray detector, which we are currently involved in. My other research experience includes the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program in the previous summer (2003) at Loyola Marymount University.

My future endeavors includes pursuing a PhD in Physics; however, trying to determine which concentration is a perpetual struggle, for every field is exceptionally interesting from Bose-Einstein condensates to gravitational waves to Quantum Computers. It will take additional courses and further investigation before I can resolve my ambivalence. However, it is unequivocally clear that my major is the most abstract, enjoyable, challenging, yet rewarding major, Physics.

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Sara E. Campbell – Coe College
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

Sara E. CampbellMy name is Sara Campbell and I'm a junior majoring in Physics, Math, and Computer Science at Coe College, IA. I have been a very active member of Coe's physics department for my entire college career. I'm currently the president of our chapter of SPS and the zone 11 Associate Councilor. I have also done research on glass here at Coe. I started research my freshman year and have continued since then.

Last summer I stayed at Coe and studied various bismuth glasses using Time of Flight Mass Spectroscopy. I have also been selected to travel to China this May to do research on non-linear optics at Fudan University in Shanghai. After China, I will attend William and Mary's REU program this summer. I also work in Coe's writing center and T.A. for math and computer science. On the non-academic side of things I'm a member of Alpha Omicron Pi, Coe's swim team and ultimate team. I plan to continue on to grad school in engineering once I graduate. I hope to work in either aerospace or mechanical engineering after grad school.

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Dmitri Gurkins – Lewis & Clark College
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

Dimitri GurkinsMy name is Dmitri Gurkins, I will be s senior this fall at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR. I was born in Latvia, and came to the United States in 1999. I graduated from Newberg High School in Oregon. I was involved in Robotics program in high school and acquired a strong interest in the field of engineering. However, as one of my professors once said, every engineer must be an excellent physicist, and every physicist must be a mathematician. Graduating from high school, I had a choice of either going to an engineering school or applying to a liberal arts college to study physics and mathematics. In high school I enjoyed studying science for its own sake, and always avoided learning "shortcuts." I was more interested in learning how those shortcuts were derived from fundamental laws. I was concerned that if I went to an engineering school, my understanding of the basis of physical phenomena may be compromised. Therefore, I chose Lewis &Clark College to build a strong foundation of physics and mathematics before I go on to an engineering school.

Studying physics at Lewis & Clark, I became increasingly interested in continuing my education in that field. My interest in engineering, however, is still very strong. In order to find out what I like best, I took an engineering class in Washington University in St. Louis in January 2004. Fortunately while there, I discovered that there are engineering disciplines that combine pure physics with practical applications. I have made contacts with several physicists who now work on research projects in material sciences and robotics. This kind of work fascinates me the most, and I am going to apply for a graduate program that will allow me to learn more theoretical physics while applying it to real world problems.

I can see myself either teaching or working as an engineer when I finish graduate school. My dedication to academics makes the former highly appealing, but I think I will want to work in industry for some time to get the necessary experience.

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Alexander M. Stolyarov – University of Texas—Dallas
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

Alexander M. StolyarovI am currently a senior physics major at the University of Texas at Dallas. My research interests include materials science and condensed matter physics. This summer I will be conducting research at Harvard University on optical and electrical properties of single wall carbon nanotubes. After completion of undergraduate studies, I plan to attend graduate school and continue my path to the ultimate goal of becoming a university professor. On leisure time I enjoy traveling, listening to Russian bard music, and good conversation accompanied by a shot of espresso.

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Brian A. Glover – University of Central Florida
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

Brian A. GloverBrian recently graduated Summa Cum Laude with University Honors from the University of Central Florida with a degree in physics and a minor in mathematics. In the fall he will attend the College of William and Mary to pursue a doctorate in theoretical physics with an emphasis in particle physics.

As an undergraduate, Brian researched numerical modeling of the free electron laser at the Thomas Jefferson National Laboratory during both his sophomore and junior year summer semesters. In 2003 Brian was awarded the prestigious Astronaut Scholarship for his research and academic success. In addition to his academic studies, Brian started and served as president of the UCF chapter of the SPS for the last two years.

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Nicole E. Gugliucci – Lycoming College
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

Nicole E. GugliucciNicole Gugliucci is a senior physics and astronomy major at Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. A native New Yorker, her passion for research led her to a successful REU at the MIT Haystack Observatory in Westford, Massachusetts, in 2003. A member of SPS since freshman year, she was inducted into Sigma Pi Sigma in her sophomore year and Phi Kappa Phi, a national interdisciplinary honor society, in her junior year. She contributes to the physics and math departments as a tutor, lab assistant, and grader and was the public relations officer of Lycoming’s chapter of SPS during her sophomore and junior years.

Nicole will be participating in another REU in 2004, this time at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Socorro, New Mexico. Upon her return to Lycoming, she will commence a year-long honors project in conjunction with the Haystack Observatory and their 37-foot radio telescope. As the next president of her SPS chapter, she is looking forward to getting involved in the World Year of Physics activities and introducing more students and the public to the college’s Small Radio Telescope. She will graduate in May of 2005 and is looking to enter a PhD program in astrophysics the following fall. Long term plans include becoming a successful researcher and introducing future college students to the excitement of astrophysical research as her mentors at Haystack have done.

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Joshua J. Miller – Eastern Michigan University
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

Joshua J. MillerJoshua is a senior-level student at Eastern Michigan University pursuing a degree in physics research with a minor in mathematics. His research interests include high energy physics, experimental plasma physics, and atmospheric science. This summer he is participating in the REU program at the University of Michigan.

Joshua is the President of his local chapter of SPS, his favorite thing to do with the chapter is playing floor hockey with other students alongside physics faculty every semester. He has recently been inducted into Sigma Pi Sigma. After graduation he will attend graduate school in physics to pursue a PhD.

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Justin T. Stimatze – California State University—Chico
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

Justin Stimatze is currently pursuing triple undergraduate degrees in Physics, Computer Science, and Mathematics at California State University, Chico. He has served as his SPS chapter's V.P. of Technology, and was elected President for the Fall 2003-Spring 2004 semesters. He is also active in his local chapter of Upsilon Pi Epsilon, an honor society for the computing and information sciences, and has been elected President of that chapter for the Fall 2003 semester.

Justin was born and raised in Chico, California. After being home-schooled, grades five to eight, he began attending a local community college at age twelve. At the age of thirteen, he began working part time to pay for his own tuition and books. He transferred to CSU, Chico at age sixteen, intensely focused on Computer Science. He quickly discovered his love of physics and mathematics, and now at age twenty, plans to graduate in Spring of 2006. Thereafter, he intends to earn dual doctorates in Physics and Computer Science.

Justin enjoys reading, programming, ballroom dance, and underwater hockey, when he can find the time.

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Jason P. Smolinski – Central Michigan University
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

Jason P. Smolinski Jason Smolinski is a student at Central Michigan University pursuing a degree in physics with an astronomy concentration. His current research is in double star measurement techniques and neglected double star measurement.

Jason has been a member of the Society of Physics Students for two years and is currently serving as President of the CMU chapter. He was inducted into Sigma Pi Sigma this year. Jason will be doing another astronomy research project in the near future as well as one in solid- state physics. His future education plans include grad school, eventually culminating in earning a Ph.D. in astronomy or astrophysics.

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Scooter Johnson – Lewis & Clark College
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

Scooter JohnsonAfter working for five years as a carpenter I decided to take some classes at Portland Community College. I soon became fascinated with mathematics and physics and made the commitment to apply to a four-year school and study physics. I began attending Lewis & Clark in 2002 as a sophomore. I was elected president of the Lewis & Clark College chapter of SPS in spring of 2003 and I have been the physics department representative to the Student Activity Affairs Board since Spring 2003. I began my term by collaborating with other officers to submit a formal proposal to the physics department chair, which resulted in allocating our chapter its own room for meetings and study. I designed and hand painted a sign to direct people to our meeting room and I designed and installed a bulletin board in the main hallway of the physics building to inform people of SPS events. I have lead the organization of numerous events for students, such as the ‘Paper Airplane Contest’, ‘Take Things Apart Day’, ‘Halloween Pumpkin Launch’, as well as, documentaries and physics related movies; such as Nikola Tesla Master of Lighting and Pi. Our chapter has brought the LC physics department closer together by organizing a department bowling trip for students and staff. I was awarded the Mary Stuart Rogers Scholarship in 2003 for my grades and commitment to community service. During the summer of 2003 I participated in the John S. Rogers research program with Dr. Scalettar doing biophysical research on hippocampal neurons with my colleague Dmitri Gurkins. I gave a talk on our research at the Murdock conference in November 2003 and I look forward to doing research with Dr. Scalettar and Dmitri again this summer. During the summer I enjoy hiking, biking and camping. I also put my carpentry skills to good use recreating internment camp furniture for a non-profit group named the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center who is committed to preserving Japanese culture before, during, and after World War II. I attended the most recent Pacific Northwest Association for College Physics Conference and SPS zone meeting in Pasco, WA in April where I presented a poster about our research done with over the previous summer on hippocampal neurons.

I am in the process of writing a formal budget proposal to the chair of the physics department to ensure funding to the physics club for future events. I am also looking into ways to improve our clubroom, such as updating our computers, installing a small sink and laying carpet. Next year we hope to continue realizing our goal of hosting at least one event a month. Some ideas include a Mathematic seminar instructed by Dr. Olsen, lobbying to get new picnic tables on the Olin patio, creating a physics journal club, and starting a physics ‘zine. If elected as the zone 17 representative I will work with our chapter and the other chapters to develop a dialogue between schools in the area and hold events to bring chapters together.

After I graduate from Lewis & Clark College I plan on continuing my education in physics at the graduate level. I would like to continue research after graduate school and possibly teach at the college level.

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Levica M. Chapman – East Central University
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

Levica M. ChapmanI am a senior at East Central University majoring in physics, with a minor in mathematics. I am a member of Society of Physics Students, Sigma Pi Sigma, Math Club, Student Senate (Sr. Rep.), Alpha Chi National Honor Society, Alpha Gamma Delta, Order of Omega National Greek Honor Society. I have been very active in the ECU SPS chapter and was elected as President for the coming year. I am currently VP Scholarship of the Alpha Gamma Delta chapter at ECU.

This past summer I was selected to participate in a REU at the University of North Texas in Denton, TX. This summer I've been accepted to a REU at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. I will be working in the Physics department on a project involving Electrochromic Polymers. This past school year I have presented posters over the research I did at UNT. These presentations were at Oklahoma State University for LS-OK-SMET Research Symposium, Research Day for Regional Universities held at the University of Central Oklahoma, SPS Zone 12 Regional Meeting at Southern Nazarene University, AAPT 2004 Winter Meeting at Miami, FL, and Research Day at the Oklahoma State Capitol. My future plans after graduating from ECU, are to attend Graduate School and pursue a Master's degree in Physics and possibly a Doctorate as well. I then plan to pursue a career in the research area of physics.

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Kara M. Chapman – East Central University
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

Kara M. ChapmanI am a senior at East Central University majoring in physics, with a minor in mathematics. I am a member of Society of Physics Students, Sigma Pi Sigma, Math Club, Student Senate (Sr. Rep.), Alpha Chi National Honor Society, Alpha Gamma Delta, Order of Omega National Greek Honor Society. I have held the position of Secretary of ECU SPS chapter from Spring 2002-Present.

I am currently President of the Alpha Gamma Delta chapter at ECU. This past summer I was selected to participate in a REU at the University of North Texas in Denton, TX. This summer I've been accepted to a REU at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. I will be working in the Physics department on a project involving PIXE (particle induced x-ray emission) analysis. This past school year I have presented posters over the research I did at UNT. These presentations were at Oklahoma State University for LS-OK-SMET Research Symposium, Research Day for Regional Universities held at the University of Central Oklahoma, SPS Zone 12 Regional Meeting at Southern Nazarene University, AAPT 2004 Winter Meeting at Miami, FL, and Research Day at the Oklahoma State Capitol. My future plans after graduating from ECU, are to attend Graduate School and pursue a Master's degree in Physics and possibly a Doctorate as well. I then plan to pursue a career! in the research area of physics.

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Eric R. Hemesath – Coe College
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

Eric R. HemesathHi! My name is Eric Hemesath, and I just completed my junior year at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA. I am a physics and computer science double major with a minor in Spanish. I was born and raised in Dubuque, IA, where I lived with my parents, Ross & Julie, and younger brother Brad. On campus, I am involved in Student Senate, Residence Life, Physics Club, Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, and varsity baseball. In my first summer of physics research, I studied glass composition and structure with the Coe Research Group. Last summer I worked at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, WA where I performed molecular dynamics simulations. For this coming summer, I will be going to the Max Planck Institute of Polymer Science in Mainz, Germany. I plan to go to graduate school to get my doctorate degree in either physics or materials science engineering.

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Richard L. Sandberg – Brigham Young University
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

Richard L. SandbergRichard L. Sandberg will graduate with University Honors from Brigham Young University (BYU) with a degree in physics and minors in mathematics and business management in August, 2004. For his graduate studies he plans to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder in the Optical Science and Engineering Program pursuing a PhD in Physics.

Richard’s membership in SPS has been a valuable experience as he has had the opportunity to learn about careers in physics, meet other physics students, and serve by helping others get excited about physics. He has enjoyed serving as one of the BYU SPS Chapter Officers as they have planned activities such as physics Christmas caroling, talent shows, and physics Outreaches to local elementary and secondary schools. He especially enjoyed the Outreaches, where he was able to interact with young children and get them excited about the importance of physical sciences. His participation in SPS lead him to study groups and GRE Preparation groups which helped him deal with the rigors of preparing for graduate schools in physics. Additionally, his involvement in SPS helped him maintain a high GPA so that he qualified for membership in the physics honor society, Sigma Pi Sigma.

Richard is excited to continue his research in soft x-ray and extreme ultraviolet optics at the UC-Boulder where he hopes to be involved in the optical applications of nanotechnology. After graduating from UC-Boulder, Richard hopes to be involved in governmental or industrial research in optics and nanotechnology. After working in a research capacity for a number of years, Richard hopes to return to academia where he will be actively involved in the University’s SPS chapter.

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Christopher J. Bosco – Seton Hall University
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

Christopher J. BoscoI am a junior at Seton Hall University majoring in physics with a minor in Asian studies. I have been president of our local SPS chapter for two years and have been assisting Professor Frank G. Curti with research in his new surface physics lab. This past year I have also began working as a tutor in our on-campus residence halls. During the summer I will be at a research experience for undergraduates at Columbia University’s Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center. Upon graduation I plan to continue my study of physics or a closely related field at the graduate level, and to hopefully build a career related to my research interests.

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Heather L. Lunn – University of Wisconsin—River Falls
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

Heather L. LunnMy name is Heather Lunn and I am a double physics and math major at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Currently I am a junior and am taking as many physics and math courses as I possibly can. This coming fall, I will be the vice president of the SPS chapter in River Falls and I am very excited to hold this position. I am also looking forward to Science Day at our University so I can lead tours and experiments. I will spend a total of 5 1/2 years at UWRF because of my double major, my 4.0 GPA (so far), and having to work 30-35 hours per week.

After I graduate from UW-River Falls, I plan to go to grad school, maybe at University of Minnesota or MIT. My very ambitious plan is to obtain a Ph.D in physics, but I do have to get through undergraduate school first! In my meager spare time, I like to knit, play with my 11 1/2 year-old dog, help my boyfriend fix his cars, and go rollerblading and swimming. I eventually want an exciting job in physics with a medical or engineering emphasis.

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