2023 SPS National Council Candidates

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Biographies and mission statements are listed below. Use these links below to quickly jump to any zone:

President | Zone 1 | Zone 2 | Zone 3 | Zone 4 | Zone 5 | Zone 6 | Zone 7 | Zone 8 | Zone 9 | Zone 10 | Zone 11 | Zone 12 | Zone 13 | Zone 14 | Zone 15 | Zone 16 | Zone 17 | Zone 18

Society of Physics Students President

Kiril Streletzky
Cleveland State University

Biography: Dr. Streletzky (a.k.a. Dr. S) holds BS in Physics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and PhD in Physics from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He is a Professor of Physics and Affiliated Faculty of Chemical/Biomedical Eng at Cleveland State University (CSU). Dr. S runs an interdisciplinary light scattering lab studying structure and dynamics of soft-matter systems. He beliefs in the great educational value of undergraduate research, having mentored 60+ undergraduates - supported by $1.1M in funding, including NSF awards for the first ever Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site at CSU/Physics. His research with undergraduates has resulted in 14 publications and 78+ published abstracts with 40+ undergraduates. As a faculty advisor to the Choose Ohio First program and to the CSU chapter of SPS, Dr. S supports development of undergraduate researchers by offering a multitude of research opportunities and organizing student seminars/professional development events, and trips to conferences/research centers. Contributions of Dr. S to physics education were recognized by 2009 Jearl Walker Outstanding Teaching Award and by 2015 SPS Outstanding Chapter Advisor Award.

Candidate Statement: The SPS mission is “to help students transform themselves into contributing members of the professional community”. If elected, I will strive to strengthen the ability of SPS to fulfill its mission by:

1.Reinvigorating SPS in a post-pandemic world via virtual activities, face-to-face zone meetings, and centrally organized events (e.g. PhysCon!).

2.Encouraging undergraduate research both as a crucial engaged learning tool and pedagogical approach by aggressively promoting research opportunities, conference funding, and building the prestige of SPS undergraduate research publications.

3.Raising an alarm among SPS community about the current threat to the physics programs across the country and highlighting the importance of nurturing SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma communities for saving Physics programs.

4.Advocating for expanding the Sigma Pi Sigma inductions to physics and astronomy alumni in order to knit a close alumni network for our SPS members.

5.Broadening interdisciplinary appeal of SPS by attracting members outside of physics by expanding support for physics outreach.

6.Bolstering SPS diversity/inclusion efforts and encouraging underrepresented minorities in physics and astronomy.

SPS Presidential Candidate Local and Regional Involvement: Dr. Streletzky has served as CSU’s SPS faculty advisor since 2005, working closely with more than 30 student leaders to build an SPS-centered community. Together they have made CSU SPS a vibrant chapter that organizes bi-monthly seminars, hosts fun university-wide events (e.g. Physics Olympics, Physics Jeopardy, Catapult Contests), tours local research institutions of Northeastern Ohio, and maintains an active physics outreach on campus and at a public K-8 school (monthly Physics Fridays program). Dr. S has helped to connect CSU students to regional SPS chapters by chaperoning them to numerous Zone 7 meetings and by hosting two Zone 7 meetings at CSU (Fall 05, Fall 15).

Dr. S has promoted undergraduate research by: advising student research projects; hosting student research seminars; hosting and advertising summer research programs; establishing departmental research awards; fundraising for student travel; chaperoning students to conferences; coaching students to prepare award-winning posters; and presenting on the pedagogical role of undergraduate research.

In 2018 Dr. S helped to revive 46-years-dormant CSU chapter of the Sigma Pi Sigma and instituted annual Sigma Pi Sigma inductions.

SPS Presidential Candidate National Involvement: CSU’s SPS chapter under the leadership of Dr. Streletzky won 11 Marsh W. White, two Blake Lilly, and Future Faces of Physics Awards for its outreach. The chapter was recognized by two SPS Chapter Reporter Awards, three SPS student Reporter Awards, SPS Chapter Research Award, Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter Project Award, 40+ SPS Travel Awards, and 13 consecutive Outstanding SPS Chapter Awards.

Dr. S spearheaded the fundraising and led three CSU student delegations to Physics Congresses in 2016 (10 students), 2019 (7 students), and 2022 (6 students). He is a regular judge at the Undergraduate Research sessions at the annual APS March Meeting and Physics Congresses.

SPS Presidential Candidate Presidential Experience: Dr. Streletzky was elected twice to the SPS National Council as Zone 7 Councilor. In this role he oversaw the academic, research, and social achievements of ~80 SPS Zone 7 chapters and worked on increasing student participation in SPS by overseeing the organization of yearly Zone meetings and advocating for joint meetings of SPS and regional APS. Dr. S lobbied for support of undergraduate research through SPS and served on student-led committees on Governance, Awards, and Engagement. He volunteered at the PhysCon meetings and served on the Tours Committee for the 2022 PhysCon. 

As SPS president, Dr. S worked hard to promote: a) rebuilding of SPS community after a membership decline caused by the pandemic; b) promoting research opportunities for undergraduates via annual #HowToREU national webinars and proposed SPS Travel Awards to help fund student research at a national laboratory/observatory; c) raising an alarm among SPS community about the current threat to the physics programs across the country and highlighting the importance of nurturing SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma communities for saving Physics programs; d) advocating for expanding the Sigma Pi Sigma inductions to physics and astronomy alumni in order to knit a close alumni network for our SPS members; e) helping to promote SPS growth at the Canadian Universities.

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Zone 1

Zone Councilor (ZC)

Nicole Gugliucci
Saint Anselm College

Biography: Dr. Nicole Gugliucci is an associate physics professor, education researcher, radio astronomer, and science communicator. Her current research has focused on assessing interventions for recruiting STEM majors to secondary education and understanding the motivations of citizen scientists. They also mentor student work in radio astronomy instrumentation, double star imaging, and pulsar classification. Her passion for science education is the foundation for her many roles, and her primary focus is in using inquiry-based, student-centered teaching approaches in Astronomy 101 and all the way up to advanced courses in physics. Some nights, you can find them at the Izart Observatory, fostering an appreciation for amateur astronomy by guiding students through their own observations with small telescopes. She also supports the physics students at Saint Anselm College as the advisor for the Society of Physics Students. Dr. Gugliucci has a PhD and MS in Astronomy from the University of Virginia and a BA in Physics and Astronomy from Lycoming College.

Candidate Statement: I look forward to helping chapters continue to recover from the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, fostering greater communication across the Zone, and supporting physics students in building community despite great challenges facing physics programs across the region.

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC) 

Rachel Nere
University of Massachusetts Boston

Biography: I am Rachel Nere, an undergraduate student at the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston). I major in physics, minor in english, and have a certificate in quantum information. I come from a humble first-generation American family, and as a first-generation college student, I aim to be the first in my family to achieve a doctoral degree and make an impact on my community by being a successful researcher, educator, and mentor. Some of my experiences include, being an intern at the Boeing Company as an electromagnetic effects engineer. being an intern at the Harvard & Smithsonian | Center for Astrophysics to study RV Tauri Variable Stars and I worked with Dr. Rodolfo Montez Jr. to properly classify these stars. I have also done research at UMass Boston as a McNair Scholar, under Professor Mohamed Gharbi in his biophysics / soft matter lab to fabricate liquid crystal foam and simulate 3D geometrical structures. Lastly, I did research as a TAURUS Scholar at the University of Texas at Austin. I worked with Dr. Arianna Long and tested James Webb Space Telescope observations to differentiate quiescent galaxies in the early cosmos.

Candidate Statement: My experiences in leadership and teaching have made me become more passionate about wanting to become a better mentor. I was a learning assistant in a chemistry course that was developed to support early STEM students which opened my eyes as a teacher. As a firm believer in the importance of community in science, I continuously work to create a safe space for students to be supported, ask questions, and access opportunities. I will listen to the needs and wants of other chapters so students may benefit the most from their experiences with SPS. It is a place where students feel a sense of belonging and have others believe in them when things get hard. It provides students with opportunities to go down whatever path makes them happy and fulfilled. I will make sure to communicate and plan with other chapters so this can be fostered and implemented to see other students flourish and connect. Especially so students are aware of things like scholarships, conferences, and other opportunities, to push for more active student groups to stay connected. It is something I know I can help foster in others and their chapters, through their journeys as current and soon to be SPS members.

Sasha Toole
Mount Holyoke College

Biography: Sasha is very dedicated to her work. This includes academic and being the secretary of society of physics students (mhc). She showed up to every meeting, takes notes each meeting in a very organized manner and reminds me what we are going to talk about. She shows up to events and helps us set things up and clean up afterwards. She’s always helps are get more supplies if we run out of them. Her engagement is really good. She is also currently a TA for Intermediate Lab in physics. She’s very helpful and kind towards her peers. I am currently her TA for quantum mechanical phenomena and I can surely say she is a very hard worker.

Candidate Statement: helping sps chapeters come up with event ideas, plan events, support them in making their events happen, co-ordinating zone 1 meeting, helping and supporting the chapters with resources so that they can come to the meetings.

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Zone 2

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Henry Duggins
United States Military Academy

Biography: Henry Duggins is from Greensboro NC and is currently an undergraduate physics student at the United States Military Academy. He’s been a part of multiple research projects during my time here and am currently researching Classical Formalism. He is highly ambitious, personable, and excited to further contribute to the Society of Physics Students.

Candidate Statement: Henry’s Plans

-More recognition for outstanding work

-More interconnected chapters

-More involved members

Zahin Ritee

Adelphi University

Biography: I, Zahin Ritee am a junior, Physics major at Adelphi University. I am a teaching assistant at Adelphi University for Physics I and Physics II. I also do research in Optics.

Candidate Statement: I will try to give my best and fulfill all my tasks appropriately if I am elected as an Associate Zone Councilor. I will also try to bring in new ideas for events and meetings.

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Zone 3

Zone Councilor (ZC)

Jim Borgardt
Juniata College

Biography Jim Borgardt received his BS degrees in Physics, and Mathematics, from the University of California at Santa Barbara.  At UCSB he also completed a minor in Global Peace and Security, and was a member of the 1988 National Championship team in Ultimate Frisbee.  He received his MS and PhD degrees in Physics, with a minor in Philosophy, from the University of Arizona working in ion beam analysis.  He joined the Physics Department at Juniata College in 1998, and is currently a Professor of Physics, with a joint appointment in the Peace and Conflict Studies Department.  In 2002 he was named a Robert Jay Lifton Fellow by the Jay Jones Center for Terrorism in New York.  He was the 2002-2003 AIP Executive Branch Fellow and a Foreign Affairs Officer with the State Department.  He is currently a Guest Scientist in the radiochemistry division of Los Alamos National Laboratory organizing international virtual exercises on nuclear forensics. 

Candidate Statement: If elected, I would seek to get greater involvement in SPS programs from students, and faculty, in zone 3 institutions, which has been challenging coming out of the pandemic.  SPS has an effective national office established with numerous opportunities for students –  continuing and building on the groundwork laid by the previous Zone Councilor can help build momentum in reestablishing our sense of community.

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Shayna Sit
Saint Joseph's University

Biography: Besides being a physics major at Saint Joseph's University, Shayna is minoring in English and Chinese Language. She has picked up an interest in environmental science after her experience as an Aquatic Invasive Species Intern for Ashland County, Wisconsin's Land and Water Conservation Department. Shayna is involved in digital humanities research working on a website, Melville's Marginalia Online, and has recently joined physics research that studies non-Newtonian liquids. Shayna is a writing tutor and has also been a teaching assistant for a general physics lab. She is heavily involved in her university's SPS chapter and reestablished the Women in Physics club at Saint Joe's.

Candidate Statement: I plan to maintain a welcoming environment and encourage all communities to comfortably take their place in Society of Physics Students. I want to connect chapters to be more engaged with each other to share ideas, interests, and experiences. Ultimately, to inspire one another to do great things.

Kaitlyn Sheriff
Lycoming College

Biography: Kaitlyn Sheriff has been an active member of the Society of Physics Students for three years. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Astrophysics from Lycoming College. During her time as a student, Katie has been involved in various research projects, where she has honed her skills in programming and research methods. She has also served as a tutor and a teaching assistant for labs and recitations in the Physics and Astronomy Department, demonstrating her commitment to sharing her knowledge and supporting her peers. Katie is particularly passionate about creating a more inclusive space for women in the science community, and is committed to supporting the needs and concerns of members in our zone. She is excited about the opportunity to serve as an Associate Zone Councilor, and looks forward to working collaboratively with the Zone Councilor and other councilors to promote the interests of our zone.

Candidate Statement: If elected as an Associate Zone Councilor, I will work closely with the Zone Councilor to ensure that the needs and concerns of members are addressed effectively. I will strive to promote greater engagement and communication among members, and to support initiatives that benefit the zone and the organization. I will be a strong advocate for the interests of our zone, and will work tirelessly to ensure that our voices are heard and our needs are met.

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Zone 4

Zone Councilor (ZC)

Brendan Diamond
Howard Community College

Biography: Brendan Diamond completed his PhD at FSU in high energy physics for work with the CMS detector at CERN searching for physics beyond the standard model. His BS in physics was at CSU Chico, and he has taught physics and astronomy at Howard Community College (HCC) since 2016. He coordinates undergraduate STEM research at HCC and has been a faculty mentor on multiple astronomy research projects and the SPS advisor.

His physics career has been punctuated by two decades of interactions with SPS National, in addition to attending many regional Zone meetings. He attended the 2004 SPS/ΣΠΣ congress in Albuquerque as an undergrad, joined and led his local chapter and was elected twice as AZC for Zone 18 from 2006-2008 and was elected as ZC for Zone 4 in 2020. He was on the planning committee for the 2008 ΣΠΣ congress at FermiLab, and attended PhysCon 2012, 2016, 2019, and 2022. The most recent three were attended as an SPS advisor accompanied by 15 fully funded students from the new Howard Community College chapter.

Candidate Statement: It has been a pleasure, and a challenge, serving as Zone Councilor the past 3 years. I hope to continue our progress in highlighting the phenomenal chapters we have in Zone 4. I know many of you consistently receive annual chapter awards, have your own SPS culture, and are justifiably proud of the work you do in a busy year. As ZC, my job is to serve as a support link along with the AZC, to help with new chapter growth, share scholarship/internship opportunities with students, support Zone meeting hosts, and assist with SPS National initiatives such as Sigma Pi Sigma induction support (my current committee). My general approach is to let the students lead, offer gentle suggestions from my experience, and take on burdens if they become overwhelming. Keeping open, non-judgmental lines of communication open to all levels of SPS is is core to my philosophy.

Prabhakar Misra
Howard University

Biography: Prabhakar Misra is a Professor of Physics and Director of the Laser Spectroscopy Laboratory at Howard University. He has served as the SPS Chapter Advisor at his home institution for the past 8 years. The Howard University Chapter has been recognized by SPS and the American Institute of Physics as a Notable SPS Chapter for 2 years (2015-16); as a Distinguished SPS Chapter for three years (2017-19); and for the past two consecutive years (2020-21) as an Outstanding SPS Chapter, the highest recognition reserved for only the top 15% of 844 SPS Chapters nationwide. Prof. Misra has been recognized for his research and mentoring activities by being elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) in 2015 and cited "for sustained contributions to the spectroscopy of the condensed phases and commitment and exemplary mentoring of underrepresented students."

Candidate Statement: If elected, I plan to engage more underrepresented students in SPS activities and events, along with greater involvement in APS-sponsored conferences. It is very important for undergraduate physics majors to be part of the physics community as soon as their freshman year. It is my intention to broaden participation of minority students in as many activities and events sponsored by AIP and SPS by raising funds from a variety of private and public sources, so that lack of funds is not an impediment for their engagement.


Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Alejandro (Alec) Gamboa Fuentes
George Mason University

Biography: Alec graduated from George Mason University in 2021 with a degree in both Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience, and Cognitive Psychology. He has been a faculty researcher since early 2022 in two laboratories. He manages two NIH-funded studies in a clinical laboratory, and leads research in a cellular laboratory; particularly using physics and biology to investigate the role of Zinc and Copper in Traumatic Brain Injury, as well as neurodegeneration. He has been a member of SPS and the Society of Physics & Astronomy at GMU since 2021, and shares a passion for physics. He is currently writing an NSF grant that aims to investigate the chemical structure of Ayahuasca and its role on the proliferation stage of Neurogenesis; this study will utilize physics, bioengineering, and neuroscience. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Molecular Neuroscience at Georgetown University Medical Center.

Candidate Statement: Alec values interdisciplinary work and wishes to communicate the importance of collaboration in different fields. Too often we see PI's who only want to their laboratory to use specific disciplines to investigate the unknown and don't realize that exploring different methodologies and consulting with professionals in other fields is extremely important. Physics is everywhere and is one of the most important disciplines to truly understand most aspects of Biology and molecular work. His goal is to break this stigma and to encourage research professionals to get out of their comfort zone and collaborate.

Shauna Shephard
Randolph College

Biography: Shauna is a sophomore physics and mathematics major at Randolph College. She has a passion for knowledge and learning and loves to work on science outreach through programs including Upward Bound and the central Virginia science festival. She plans to pursue a PhD in astrophysics after undergrad to become a professor so she can share her love of science and learning with more people.

Candidate Statement: If I am elected, I plan to continue working through the plans I started enacting this year to create a more united zone with inter-chapter connections. I was thrilled to make so many connections with Zone 4 chapters at PhysCon 2022 and my goal is to facilitate better, more frequent communication between and SPS chapters and the national council. My goal is to create a strong, supportive community within SPS so that students can continue to grow as academics, leaders, and overall valuable members of society.

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Zone 5

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Sierra Focazio
Appalachian State University

Biography: Sierra is an honors college student at Appalachian State University studying Physics and Astronomy. She participated in an internship at Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill during her senior year in high school where she worked with visitors at the planetarium, assisted with shows in the dome, and helped with a research project to expand science communication programs for scientists to communicate their research. She's currently working under physics professors at Appalachian State University with their research in laser physics. She plans to pursue an accelerated master's degree at Appalachian State University and go on for a Ph.D. in Astrophysics. Sierra is passionate about exploring different fields of physics research.

Candidate Statement: Sierra is organized and is good at planning events. She's eager to assist in planning zone meetings and encouraging involvement in her physics community. She wants to create a space where students are as excited to be involved in SPS as she is. She loves to engage with her community and get others excited about science. She'd like to hear from different chapters throughout her zone and help to involve all voices in SPS. She's great at always responding quickly and staying in contact with others to ensure communication between officers. She enjoys working with a team to achieve common goals and will be actively involved in her zone if elected.

Aiden Keaveney
Appalachian State University

Biography: Aidan Keaveney has been the Zone 5 AZC since May 2022. He is pursuing degrees in physics and mathematics at Appalachian State University. He has been in the leadership of his SPS chapter since January 2020. His research background is in gravitational and astroparticle physics, including research experiences at UNC Chapel Hill, Louisiana State University, and Purdue University.

In addition to working as a physics teacher at Watauga High School, Keaveney regularly provides engaging scientific outreach programs to local students. Recently, a team of 8-12 year old students launched a scratch-built rocket under his mentorship.

Keaveney’s passion for science communication and inclusive excellence brought him to SPS National. In 2022, He was an AIP Mather Policy intern in Rep. Bill Foster's office through the SPS Summer Internship Program. He is a Jack Hehn & SPS Leadership Scholar for 2022-23. At PhysCon 2022, he was elected the sole student representative on the SPS Executive Committee, which oversees the entire SPS National organization.

After graduating, Keaveney plans to use his scientific acumen and leadership skills to make progress on issues people face all over the world.

Candidate Statement: I believe the chief success of my first term has been placing greater emphasis on the urgent need for scientists to engage with policymakers on the issues that most plague our generation, from climate change to nuclear non-proliferation. The most visible example of this was securing Congresswoman Deborah Ross, a member of the House Committee on Space, Science, and Technology, as a speaker at the SPS Zone 5 Meeting in February 2023. My priority during a second term would be to continue the work of my first term, as well as expand my efforts to highlight opportunities in science education and communication.

I am also keenly aware of the biggest challenge facing the physics community today: mental health. At PhysCon 2022, nearly 90% of attendees indicated mental health, burnout, or imposter syndrome as the biggest problem they face in their studies. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken an underestimated toll on students. I am still processing the impact it has had on me, as I know so many students like me are. I am deeply committed to SPS’s efforts to connect students to resources that will help us end the epidemics of depression and anxiety in our field.

Em Chittenden
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Biography: Hi, I’m Em and my pronouns are they/them! I’m currently a junior physics major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In the past, I’ve worked on astrophysics research involving searching for active black holes in dwarf galaxies. I’m currently working on physics education research. I have a passion for science outreach/education and want to be able to reach people and get them excited about physics. Promoting diversity and inclusion in physics is also incredibly important to me. I have leadership experience from serving as the president of my high school’s math honor society and engineering club, as well as from serving as the events coordinator for the Chapel Hill chapter of SPS. I am also a community outreach liaison for the SPS outreach committee at Chapel Hill. I am devoted to serving and would love to extend my leadership skills to a larger role by serving as the Associate Zone Councilor for Zone 5 of SPS.

Candidate Statement: My top priority is promoting diversity and inclusion in physics. If elected, I’d like to provide SPS chapters in Zone 5 with resources for reaching underrepresented minorities and making sure their voices are heard. I also wish to serve as the AZC for Zone 5 so I can be someone that people can look to for advice on navigating the physics major at their schools and for advocating for themselves. I also really look forward to being able to plan the Zone 5 meetup if I were elected. As the SPS events coordinator at Chapel Hill, I think I have the necessary skills to make it a success. I think serving as AZC would make it easier to meet people at the meetup, which is exciting as I love meeting new physics students.

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Zone 6

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC) 

Alexander Gage
Florida Polytechnic University

Biography: I was born in North Carolina, but moved to Florida in elementary school, in high school I took AP physics 1 and liked it enough to go into AP Physics C, passing both mechanics and E&M. I then attended Florida Polytechnic University, majoring in Engineering Physics. In order to lean more about other schools’ physics programs and students, I drove up 6 hours on my own to Atlanta to attend the zone 6 2022 meeting, and later went to Washington DC to attend the 2022 Physics congress.  I have also Worked with Dr. Sesha Srinivasan to establish the Florida poly chapter of Sigma Pi Sigma.

Candidate Statement: I am part of the organizing committee for the 2023 zone 6 meeting and have been working closely with the current zone 6 AZC to organize this event.  In this process, I learned about the responsibilities of the AZC and feel I can complete the job well. I am running for the associate zone councilor of zone 6 because I have a passion for organization and event running. I have worked with my university’s administration to organize club row, an event wherein all clubs present themselves.   I want to use my skills to help the zone better communicate and work together to spread a love for physics.

Jack Folwell
Florida State University

Biography: Jack Folwell is a second-year student at Florida State University who is double-majoring in Physics and Political Science. Interested in scientific policy, Jack is heavily involved in Student Government on his campus, serving as a legislatively-active Senator who has chaired several committees and overseen the allocation of more than $500,000. Jack also serves as a Resident Assistant, and is frequently seen liaising between students, faculty, and administration in order to better student life on campus

Candidate Statement: Jack intends to increase inter-chapter participation, especially between nearby chapters. Zone six has many chapters nearby one another, and by helping further communications between adjacent chapters, the comradery of Physics Students will increase, regardless of collegiate affiliation. Jack also intends to provide individual support for every chapter of SPS within zone six, to ensure that they are running as smoothly and effectively as possible.

Robert Laughlin
Florida State University

Biography: Robert Laughlin is an undergraduate physics student at Florida State University who will be a senior in Fall 2023. He has served as an SPS officer since his sophomore year and served as president of the Florida State University Chapter of SPS over his Junior Year. In the Fall of 2022, Robert worked with his fellow officers to make the Florida State University Chapter of SPS a Registered Student Organization on campus. In this process, Robert co-authored the constitution for the chapter for submission to become an RSO. Robert has also raised funds to ensure the financial stability of the Florida State University Chapter of SPS. Robert was also a featured writer for the Winter 2023 edition of the SPS Observer. He currently works as a Laboratory Assistant testing detectors for the High-Granularity Endcap Calorimeter for the HL-LHC and is also involved in high energy theory research. In his free time, Robert likes to read, stargaze, and hang out with friends. In the future, Robert hopes to study high energy theory in graduate school and eventually teach physics at a university level.

Candidate Statement: Robert Laughlin hopes to improve the connectivity between Zone 6 chapters by increasing communication between chapter heads. He also hopes to represent and connect Zone 6 chapters to the Zone Councilor, the SPS National Office, and the National Council. He would like to encourage more involvement between local chapters, Zone 6, and the SPS national community. Robert would like to support chapters in their activities throughout the year and connect them to resources that will help them succeed in their goals. He would like to encourage chapters to host zone meetings and increase the support for chapters attending zone meetings. He would also like to increase the frequency of smaller zone meetings throughout the academic year to increase the connection between local chapters.

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Zone 7

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Peter Cullen Burbery
Marshall University

Biography: Peter Burbery is working on completing a major in mathematics to graduate from Marshall University with a Bachelors of Science in mathematics in spring 2024. Peter Burbery has completed a minor for computer science and has experience with databases and Mathematica. Peter Burbery has completed a minor in physics. Peter Burbery is working on completing a minor in geography. Peter Burbery has been involved with the Society of Physics Students at Marshall University from fall 2021 to present. Peter Burbery was the president of the Marshall University chapter for the Society of Physics Students for the spring 2022 semester. Peter is currently the recruitment officer for the Marshall University chapter for the Society of Physics Students. Peter is also an advocate of the metric system and passionate about metrology and the International System of the Units. Peter has been a member of the United States Metric Association from 2022 to present. Peter has been a member of the Society of Physics students since 2022-04-07. Peter had the opportunity to work on building modules for the Great Lunar Expedition for Everyone at the University of Colorado Boulder through NASA's WV Space Grant.

Candidate Statement: I am passionate about applications of physics and technology. I am interested in the metric system and the International System of Units and the SI. I am passionate about metrication in the United States. I hope to encourage people working in physics to adopt the SI in the United States. I hope to use the resources provided by national metrology institutes such as NIST and the CIPM to make precision science better.

Tali Lansing
College of Wooster

Biography: Tali is a sophomore year student at the College of Wooster in Ohio. Currently, she is the president of Wooster’s physics club and the vice president of their astronomy club. The goal of her current research project is to make GALFIT run faster by using parallel processing within the code. She is a TA for the introductory physics course and loves interacting with the first-year physics students! She has received two awards from Wooster for her achievements in physics classes. The branches of physics that interest her the most are cosmology and nuclear physics.

Outside of physics, Tali is the president of a social sorority and the secretary for Wooster’s admissions office. Through these positions she has been able to improve her skills with planning engaging events, delegating tasks, and using effective communication to build communities.

Candidate Statement: As Associate Zone Councilor, I will help bridge the gap between the students and the national council. I hope to continue having important discussions about diversity, imposter syndrome, and burnout while also finding ways to remind us how much FUN physics is! Sometimes being surrounded by problem sets, lab reports, and exams makes us forget how much we love physics. By having engaging events, we can be reminded of that. Since many students will not get the opportunity to talk with the national council, I will amplify their voices. SPS is not completely run by students, but we are a main part of this organization.

In terms of specific plans, there are two main things I would like to see: better utilization of social media and a google form for suggestions. Instagram is an incredible tool to use since it is free and will reach almost all of the students. The current Instagram page often shows pictures of events after they have happened, rather than being used to promote awareness that an event is coming up. If the suggestion form is created, it would give the students a chance to be heard when they are nervous to speak up. I would take responsibility to check responses regularly.

Jacob Callebs
Wayne State University

Biography: Jacob Callebs is a junior at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Pursuing his undergraduate degree in Astrophysics, Jacob works hard towards building his professional profile, from working as the President of the WSU Chapter of the Society of Physics Students to giving shows at the WSU Planetarium. He has also conducted research in active galactic nuclei with the hope of pursuing a Ph.D. to continue his work in black holes and high-energy astrophysics. Outside of school and his busy schedule, Jacob enjoys hobbies such as bowling with friends, going on trips around Metro Detroit, biking around Lake St. Clair, listening to music and learning more about different cultures, especially his Polish heritage. With a charismatic personality and a love for teaching others, Jacob hopes to delve deeper into the world of astrophysics to not only contribute to our current understanding of the universe, but to teach others so they may one day continue the work.

Candidate Statement: As the Associate Zone Councilor for SPS Zone 7, my ultimate goal is to foster strong connections between each chapter within our zone, especially through inter-chapter communications and zone-wide events. When I became my chapter’s president in 2022, I realized the incredible benefits National SPS has to offer. I learned more about the various opportunities for travel, conferences, scholarships, professional development, networking, and much more. It has encouraged me to get our Department of Physics and Astronomy to approve funding to register all our students into National SPS this year.

Stepping up as AZC for Zone 7 would give me even more room to expand this to all chapters in our zone. I want to work towards creating more communication between the chapters in order to create a closer-knit network for students to connect and find new ideas for their chapters. I want to use this as a way of encouraging more events between chapters so people can create a stronger network and build up SPS outreach activities for communities all across the zone. It’s a large undertaking with the size of this zone, but I certainly believe as AZC, I can bring us a large step closer to this future.

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Zone 8

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Lissa Mpinganzima
Millikin University

Biography: Please see Lissa's resume and the recommendation letter from me.

Candidate Statement: Lissa has mentioned that she looks forward to working with other AZCs to coordinate meetings of multiple SPS chapters and various institutions within Zone 8, discuss major outreach activities pursued by the chapters of other AZCs within Zone 8, and determine how to bring as many of novel SPS activities/initiatives as possible to Millikin.

Thayne Dean
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

Biography: Thayne Dean is a Physics and Mathematics double major at Southern Illinois University. He is also the current president of SPS there. He is currently working with the Citizen CATE experiment to conduct solar research, as well as being involved in the community by hosting monthly public astronomy observations.

Candidate Statement: As Associate Zone Councilor, Thayne will reach out to various chapters in his zone. If they are inactive he will see what he can do get that chapter up and running again. If they are active he will invite them to a zone meeting where they can get a chance to meet peers of various other chapters in their zone. He will also see what he can do to help each chapter with their personal needs.

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Zone 9

Zone Councilor (ZC)

Heather Whitney
University of Chicago

Biography: Heather M. Whitney is a Research Assistant Professor of Radiology at the University of Chicago. She was previously a professor of physics for 12 years at a small liberal arts college, serving as advisor for the Society of Physics Students chapter for three years. She earned a BS in Physics and Performing & Visual Arts from King College and MS in Physics, MS in Medical Physics, and PhD in Physics from Vanderbilt University. She is interested in investigating the effects of the physical basis of medical imaging on computer-aided diagnosis (CADx), the repeatability and robustness of CADx, and harmonization of radiomic features. She also conducts research into the bias and diversity of medical imaging datasets and imaging data interoperability within MIDRC, the Medical Imaging and Data Resource Center.

Candidate Statement: I am an enthusiastic supporter of all the resources SPS provides to students and chapters, and hope to continue strong communication about the opportunities to our Zone 9 chapters.

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

William Murillo
Augustana College

Biography: My name is William Murillo. I am currently a junior at Augustana College, pursuing a double major in Engineering Physics. I have been a part of Augustana's SPS chapter: Augustana Physics and Engineering Society (APES) since my enrollment at the college. Additionally, since enrolling, I have maintained a personal membership with SPS. With APES, I am on the Exec board and work with the other members of Exec to facilitate club projects. My primary position on Exec is one of the heads of engineering. I lead a team of other club members to build and design a rocket. I have also designed posters for APES to advertise for different events such as our calculator drive, and soon to be our oloid object sale. My passion in engineering is in the field of robotics and rockets, and my passion in physics is quantum computing. I am interested in objects that have to go into space, and things that have to perform important tasks accurately. I look forward to doing my own research in future. In the future I would like to pursue a masters, and run my own lab. On my free time I enjoy illustrating, creating video games, and reading.

Candidate Statement: I currently sit on the APS committee for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance (IDEA) at my college, where I assist in identifying patterns and issues in undergraduate engineering/physics and brainstorm with faculty members and students on how to address issues of safe spaces.

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Zone 10

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Lauren Grace Boughter
Rhodes College

Biography: I am a physics major and computer science minor studying at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. The areas of physics that interests me most are particle showers and the applications of medical physics. I am currently serving as the assistant on campus programmer in the Rhodes College Chapter of SPS, helping to share the joys of physics with all of the students and faculty at Rhodes College.

Candidate Statement: SPS has become a central part of my college experience and I want to share the joy I know from it with other students in my community. As an AZC I want to bring as many opportunities as possible in physics to my college and the greater Memphis area by being a strong ambassador for SPS National. I want to learn from other chapters and SPS national in order to make my chapter the best it can be, as well as share my chapter's successes for others to learn from.

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Zone 11

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Noah Everett
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Biography: I am a third-year undergraduate physics and mathematics major at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, originally from Pipestone Minnesota. I love to keep myself very busy with classes, clubs, and research. I am currently working on three research projects. Two of these projects are with the Accelerator Neutrino Neutron Interaction Experiment (ANNIE) where I am developing a new event reconstruction method along with conducting a feasibility study of future studies/detector modifications. I also have research experience with radon background studies (for nEXO, LZ, and SuperCDMS), custom environmental monitoring detectors for cleanrooms, and projective planes, both at South Dakota Mines and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. I am currently the vice president of the South Dakota Mines SPS chapter, and I am also the founder and president of another student organization, the Health and Fitness Club. After earning my undergraduate degree, I plan to attend graduate school for a PhD in particle physics.

Candidate Statement: As Associate Zone Councilor I would like to provide more opportunities for Zone 11 chapters to more closely collaborate. This would provide students with amazing networking opportunities and diverse perspectives of other universities, both of which can be extremely useful for future education and employment. I would also like to work more closely with each chapter to ensure that everyone is fully able to maximize their member’s experience from SPS. I think it would be very useful to organize an effective form of communication between chapters where officers and/or members can discuss chapter problems, collaborative projects, zone meetings, etc.

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Zone 12

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Corbin Tinnon
Washington University in St. Louis

Biography: My name is Corbin, and I am a junior physics major currently attending Washington University. I have been the president of the Washington University in St. Louis SPS chapter for the past three years. During my time as president, I have dedicated myself to ensuring that our chapter is active in the SPS community and that our members are connected to the national organization.

I have organized and attended numerous events, such as SPS meetings and outreach activities, to foster involvement among our members and to encourage growth in our chapter. Additionally, I have organized and led several successful fundraising efforts to help our chapter be financially secure. I have also been active in the regional SPS community, attending zone meetings and connecting with chapters in our area.

My experience as president of my SPS chapter has taught me the importance of communication and collaboration in order to ensure the success of any organization. I am confident that my knowledge and experience make me the ideal candidate for the position of Associate Zone Councilor. I am excited to take on this role and I am eager to connect with my colleagues and professionals in the field.

Candidate Statement: If elected as Associate Zone Councilor for Zone 12, I intend to work diligently to ensure that our chapters are able to reach their full potential. You can depend on me for guidance and support, as well as encouragement to participate in SPS-sponsored events.

 My goal is to create meaningful connections between chapters, encouraging collaboration and resource sharing. I will also ensure that Zone 12 members are aware of the many opportunities available to them, both locally and nationally. In addition, I will attend zone meetings and ensure our chapters are properly represented. As a member of the board, I understand the importance of open dialogue and will strive to facilitate discussions.

Finally, I will encourage chapters to think and act with an eye toward the future. To create a strong and supportive network for our members, I plan to foster an environment where chapters are encouraged to innovate and take risks. As a chapter president, I have gained the knowledge and skills necessary to fulfill my duties as Associate Zone Councilor. I am confident that I can use this experience to serve Zone 12 and ensure that our voices are heard.

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Zone 13

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC) 

Keslyn Stonum
Texas Lutheran University

Biography: Keslyn Stonum is a sophomore in the Texas Lutheran University Department of Physics, studying physics and chemistry. Keslyn is currently serving as treasurer in the TLU Chapter of SPS. She works on obtaining allocations for the chapter to have weekly meetings and participate in community outreach. Keslyn has helped plan and present the TLU SPS annual community outreach program, Family Physics Night, which attracts over 300 visitors to campus to  learn about physics. She attended and presented original research on fabrication of organic solar cells at CUWiP 2023 and PhysCon2022 conferences. In addition to her constant involvement with SPS, Keslyn participates as a musician in the school ensemble during her weeks on campus. After completing her physics degree, Keslyn is determined to attend graduate school. She plans to study at a program that will allow her to utilize her physics background in an interdisciplinary setting as yet to be determined.

Candidate Statement: If elected as AZC for Zone 13, I plan to work toward better communication among the many active SPS chapters in Zone 13. Texas is fortunate to have a strong physics community, with SPS Zone 13 joining with Texas Sections of APS and AAPT each fall and spring for a joint conference. I hope to encourage more students to take advantage of this and work with the Zone 13 Councilor to increase student participation.. Many Zone13 SPS Chapters are doing really cool things, but we tend not to interact often. I plan to find ways to facilitate sharing what is working (and what is not) to keep our chapters strong and provide the support and professional development that we need as students in physics. I would also like to see more Texas SPS students take advantage of the multiple benefits of SPS membership. In addition, I would like to serve as Zone 13 AZC so that I can expand my advocacy for people who underrepresented and marginalized in the physics community. The message was clear from the physicists I interacted with at several conferences: It is critically important to build a strong support group within physics is to help manage impostor syndrome and find more opportunities.

Makayla Teer
Texas A&M University-Commerce

Biography: My name is Makayla Teer. I am currently a junior with a major in physics with a concentration in biophysics and a minor in chemistry.

In SPS, I have been drawn to our programs where I am able to work with students who are unsure about physics. Since being a part of the leadership team in Fall ‘21, my role in planning and hosting events shows the students and community members that physics is one of my favorite experiences.

Additionally, I work at the rec center as a trainer. My favorite aspect of my job is the opportunity I must teach and watch my clients grow as they continue to work on their fitness journey. One of my biggest goals as a trainer is that my clients learn that fitness and well-being look different for every body type.

I am interested in many different areas of physics. I have had the opportunity for the past year to work with Dr. Heungman Park in his organic semiconductor lab. We are looking at how the electrical properties of DNA thin films change as different nanoparticles are added.

After finishing my bachelor’s degree, I am hoping to pursue an MD/PhD. I am hoping to be able to work with patients and work in a lab to continue to grow our understanding of biology.

Candidate Statement: My plan as AZC is to work on improving communication between chapters to encourage more collaboration for chapters in the same area. I would like to be a person who serves as a bridge between local chapters in Zone 13, and I believe that being AZC is the perfect role for doing just that. Additionally, I would like to make sure that chapters around the zone feel supported in their efforts to do outreach in their communities, which is something very important to me.

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Zone 14

Zone Councilor (ZC)

Chuck Stone
Colorado School of Mines

Biography: My primary responsibilities at Colorado School of Mines involve teaching our large-enrollment, calculus-based physics courses for undergraduate engineering, computer science, and physical science majors using active-engagement teaching methods.  As Faculty Advisor to Mines’ SPS Chapter, I have watched our organization blossom under strong student leadership as it selflessly participates in numerous on-campus and off-campus science education outreach programs while earning the nationally coveted SPS Outstanding Chapter Award 15 years in a row (2008 – 2022), hosting four regional SPS Zone 14 Meetings (Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2014, and Spring 2017), and earning numerous Future Faces of Physics Awards and Marsh White Outreach Grants to promote outreach efforts to local K-6 schools.  I have served on Mines’ Campus Undergraduate Council, Ethics Across Campus Committee, and Faculty Senate, and am an active proponent in increasing the numbers of women, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities in Mines’ academic programs and undergraduate research enterprise.  On Earth Day (April 22, 2023) Mines' SPS Chapter will host another Zone 14 Meeting, so come join us!

Candidate Statement: I am currently a Faculty Fellow at Mines with the charge to take major steps to begin the process of transforming STEM education on campus.  The program aims to further integrate the practices of diversity, inclusion, and access into course content.  STEM programs continue to struggle to attract, retain, and graduate the so-called emerging “new majority” of undergraduates in higher education – women, students of color, and those from low socioeconomic backgrounds.  While much attention has been focused on supporting these students, there also needs to be a focus on STEM faculty and thinking about pedagogical reform as one of the most important places to redress systemic marginalization of these new majority students in STEM disciplines.  This work is exciting, challenging, and requires intentionality, maturity, and a willingness to examine the many perspectives on these topics.  My current contributions in this area will be featured in two workshops this April and can easily be shared with Zone 14 students, faculty, and staff as well as our larger SPS National membership.

Michael Rogers
University of Colorado Denver

Biography: I am currently the chair of the physics department at the University of Colorado Denver and the Zone Councilor for Zone 14. Along with being a physicist I am also a registered professional archaeologist. My most recent scholarly activity is using ground-based LiDAR to digitize castles in Ireland by taking positional readings every 5 mm. I also use instruments such as ground-penetrating radar, magnetometry, and earth resistance to "see" into the ground prior to archaeological excavations. I am also interested in preparing future middle and high school science teachers and understanding how students best learn physics. I earned my bachelors degree in physics from the State University of New York at Geneseo and my graduate degrees from Oregon State University. I was a professor for 16 years at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY before moving to Denver fall 2019.

Candidate Statement: Zone 14 had impressive attendance at PhysCon 2022 and I want to carry that enthusiasm and excitement into PhysCon 2025, which is scheduled to be held in Denver, Colorado. If elected to a second term as Zone Councilor for Zone 14 I’d like to work with at least one chapter per year that is inactive or looking to expand their activities to help them achieve their goals. I also planning on working with all chapters to identify better ways for us to communicate and collaborate. I’ll work with the associate zone councilor to ensure that we keep the long zone 14 tradition of having zone meetings. It will also be fantastic to be elected to a second term due to a portion of my first term occurring during the pandemic. I look forward to being able to visit the various chapters throughout the zone.


Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Stephanie Howell
University of Colorado-Denver

Biography: My name is Stephanie Howell, and I am a junior physics student at the University of Colorado Denver. My undergraduate career began at Red Rocks Community College where I was initially a computer science major. After my first semester, I decided I wanted to deal with more tactile things and changed to being a physics major. I worked part-time all throughout my associate degree and graduated in December of 2021 with an Associate of Science with a Physics Designation. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to transfer to finish my bachelor's degree until late 2021 when I decided on the University of Colorado Denver. I began working in the Superconducting QUantum Interference Device lab (SQUID) as a Research Assistant in March of 2022. My primary work there involves programming a graphical user interface for a data acquisition system. I am also the Vice President of CU Denver’s Physics Identity and Expression (PIE) club where we offer a space to underrepresented groups within the physics community and foster community outreach and engagement. My current path at CU Denver Physics has me graduating in spring of 2024 and I plan to pursue a PhD program in computer information science.

Candidate Statement: If elected to the SPS National Council, I hope to continue to encourage and facilitate efforts toward expanding Physics-related public outreach and engagement. Outreaching to younger groups of individuals presents the opportunity to provide them with the means to foster scientific learning early on. Here at the University of Colorado Denver, we are making great strides toward implementing outreach programs in our local communities through the Physics Identity and Expression Club. As the Vice President of the UCD PIE Club, I find that my passion and motivation toward making STEM more widely accessible is behind every step that we make, and I hope to bring this same drive to the national level. If elected to be part of the SPS National Council, I hope to be an advocate not just for current physics students, but also for future physics students. Additionally, I look forward to Zone 14’s long tradition of annual zone meetings. If elected, I hope to continue this tradition for Zone 14 chapters by orchestrating the community event in which undergraduate physics students can network, present, and attend informational workshops, seminars, and tours.

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Zone 15

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Sunny Joy Rasmussen
University of Utah

Biography: My name is Sunny Joy. My goal, since I was 11, is to become a NASA Astrophysicist and work at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC. I created my thirty year plan, at age 11, by combining my love of astrophysics and love of DC.

On my journey to NASA, I will earn a Bachelors of Physics from The University of Utah, earn an Astrophysics PhD, then get hired by NASA. I have since added to this goal by adding a major in Political Science so that I can become part of NASA’s Administration Team.

While I am majoring in Physics & Astronomy and Political Science, I also currently serve as my SPS chapter’s Outreach Chairman. I have also joined a physics research lab, using data from the Chandra Telescope to examine supermassive blackholes at the hearts of galaxies. I have enjoyed serving my SPS chapter, as well as in a research lab. These experiences help me become the Astrophysicist I need to be. Being a leader is important to me because it allows me to be personally involved in communities and with people and missions I care about.

Candidate Statement: As elected Associate Zone Councilor, I will use the communication skills I have gained from serving my SPS Chapter as Outreach Chairman to communicate with chapters and to encourage them to coordinate and host zone meetings. At these zone meetings, I would check in with each chapter’s projects, outreach efforts, and plans for the future. I would make sure each chapter in my zone is on track and fulfilling the mission of The Society of Physics Students: to support physics and astronomy students.

I acknowledge that many chapters in Zone 15 have taken a significant hit in student participation and leadership because of the pandemic. My main focus as I’ve served as my chapter’s current Outreach Chairman has been to rebuild student involvement. Through this opportunity, I have gained skills necessary to increase student involvement in SPS. These skills include communicating between officers and event hosts, in order to coordinate and host outreach events. I have also been able to reach out to staff and students, as I represent the SPS chapter at events and social media. I will build student involvement in Zone 15, using these skills that I have gained from serving my local chapter.

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Zone 16

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Charles Wszalek
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott

Biography: Hey! My name is Charles Wszalek, and I am a Sophomore majoring in Space Physics at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona. I’ve been a member of my chapter of SPS since the very first semester of my freshman year, the Secretary for a year now, and Vice President this upcoming year. I am currently conducting research with Dr. Michele Zanolin on gravitational wave directional reconstruction. More specifically, we are evaluating the phase separation between the gravitational wave polarizations of core-collapse supernovae to estimate the source direction.

Candidate Statement: If I am elected to be the Zone 16 Area Zone Coordinator, I will strive to bring Zone 16 back together. Zone 16 is currently one of the least active zones, but it does not need to stay that way. I believe that the upcoming Zone 16 meeting will create bonds between SPS members of different chapters that will strengthen the zone as a whole, but that more needs to be done to maintain those bonds. I would like to create more structure within the zone such that open communication between the different chapters is as simple as possible. I would also like to try to involve other chapters in weekly meetings so that the main interactions Zone 16 chapters have with each other isn’t just zone meetings. All in all, I know that Zone 16 is capable of being an amazingly active zone, but it just needs a bit of help.

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Zone 17

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Emma Hataway
Lewis & Clark College

Biography: Emma Hataway is a sophomore studying physics and math at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

Emma has had a lifelong love for the sciences. Throughout middle and high school, Emma explored different subjects, but particularly enjoyed physics and chemistry. After finding a passion for the mathematical side of physics, Emma decided to pursue her double major at Lewis & Clark.

In her first year of college, Emma was drawn to courses such as multivariable calculus and introductory physics. She became part of a supportive community of physics students, and she quickly joined the physics club on campus. Over the past two years, Emma has been a vital member of the college’s SPS chapter, and she looks forward to taking on a leadership role next year and continuing to create a welcoming environment for students in physics at Lewis & Clark.

While Emma is not yet exactly sure what she will be up to after college, she is interested in graduate school. With this possibility in mind, she ultimately would like a career that allows her to use her knowledge to help better the environment in some way. Her work with the Desert Research Institute has inspired her in this goal.

During an astronomy lesson in elementary school, my science teacher told me that she had a secret. She said that she could do “magic math” to learn all sorts of things about the stars in the night sky- how big they were, how far away they were, and even what they were made of. I didn’t understand how that could be possible at the time, but my science teacher promised me that if I kept learning, I would eventually encounter this “magic math” in a subject called physics. So, I kept learning, and I got my first taste of this magic in my high school physics class. I loved the subject so much that I decided to pursue physics in college.

In the past couple of years at Lewis & Clark, I have come to appreciate physics more with every class and have found new branches of physics that fascinate me. After finishing my degrees, I’m hoping to go to grad school- right now I’m most interested in pursuing astrophysics or nonlinear dynamics. I have loved being part of a physics community at my school and would be incredibly happy to take a more involved position in organizing events for students across the PNW.

Candidate Statement: If elected for AZC, I would love to host online and in person events for other schools in our zone. I believe that hosting events would tie our zone together and help to improve the quality of the various chapters of SPS at our schools. Brainstorming ideas for involvement between schools is important to create life-long bonds and networks, as well as to welcome and engage young physics students in the physics world. I will also continue the involvement at Lewis and Clark College through continuing events that have been hosted in previous years at our school, such as the annual pumpkin launch, observatory nights, and weekly hangout/study sessions. I am excited for the opportunity to take on a leadership position in SPS and would love to create more opportunities for involvement between schools and chapters.

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Zone 18

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Soumay Garg
Ohlone College

Biography: Hi, I am a second-year Physics student completing my last semester at Ohlone College before I transfer to a four-year university.

Within my college, I helped reinstate our SPS chapter, and currently serve as its President. Through my college's SPS chapter, I created and ran the Ohlone Rocketry Team as its team lead, and had us become 1 of 50 institutions (and 1 of 2 Community Colleges) to qualify for the NASA USLI competition.

I also have had research experience designing a UV sensor on a water chemistry project that was submitted to the CCIC competition organized by the NSF and AACC, for which my team and I were invited to the Library of Congress as finalists.

I currently work as a Physics tutor within my college under the brilliant Dr. Hazelton. I help assist students in his class with lab experiments, demonstrations and understanding lecture materials. I also offer 1-on-1 tutoring to students from all other Physics courses.

As the current (2022-23) AZC for Zone 18, I have had an incredible time connecting with the wonderful leaders, mentors, and peers in our zone and across the country. I look forward to many more experiences with this wonderful community down the line!

Candidate Statement: Having served as the Associate Zone Counselor over the last year has allowed me to connect with so many bright and inspiring peers in our zone. The fortitude and love for physics and astronomy that the chapters in our zone have shown are commendable. It helps bolster our community as we continue to recover from prior years of lockdown.

Having said that, if I continue serving as AZC, I need to help continue this trend and even further improve upon it. To do that, firstly, I intend to help urge colleges to start new SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma chapters if they haven't already, or if for some reason they have been inactive. This will help grow SPS as a whole and it will inspire more students to cultivate their interest in physics and astronomy.

I also plan on encouraging inter-chapter collaboration, as it will help new chapters get up on their feet and broaden the impact of any events a group of chapters wishes to hold. Through this, I want chapters to feel more connected to each other as part of our zone, and the national organization that is SPS.

Ultimately and above anything else, I want to serve the needs of my peers, my zone, and SPS to the very best of my ability.

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