2022 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

Sigma Pi Sigma President

Blane Baker
William Jewell College

Biography: Blane Baker is Professor of Physics at his alma mater William Jewell College where he returned to teach in 1999. He teaches courses in general physics, electronics, and quantum mechanics, along with a popular sport science course for non-science majors. He received his BA in Physics from William Jewell College and his PhD in Physics from Washington University. Baker is an active contributor to the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) and serves as co-chair of the 2022 Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Congress. His areas of interest include electronics, sustainable energy, and materials science. He is a member of the American Physical Society APS, American Association of Physics Teachers AAPT, Society of Physics Students SPS, and Sigma Pi Sigma. He also holds the Wallace A. Hilton Endowed Chair in Physics at William Jewell College. Baker published the book Science in the Arena in 2019. A second book Critical Thinking in the Physics Curriculum is slated for publication in 2022.

Candidate Statement: I have participated in SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma since my undergraduate days at William Jewell College. Upon returning to teach at William Jewell College in 1999, I helped our Chapter Advisor organize student events and our induction ceremonies, and, in 2004, I assumed the role of Chapter Advisor. Our department is relatively small but very active. Students and faculty get together once a week to discuss physics topics, and we host 3-5 talks each year. We travel to local schools to perform demonstration shows and provide other science activities for students. I am very committed to helping all SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma chapters to thrive through outreach, fellowship, and scholarly engagement. If elected, I will seek to engage even more chapters in Sigma Pi Sigma. I will actively participate in all the duties of Sigma Pi Sigma President and work closely with the National Office to provide outstanding programming. My main goals will be to encourage chapters, raise awareness of Sigma Pi Sigma initiatives, and promote Sigma Pi Sigma as broadly as possible.

Sigma Pi Sigma President Nominee Local/Regional Involvement:

SPS Chapter Advisor (William Jewell College) 2004-present
SPS Zone Councilor 2013-2019
Participated in planning ten Zone Meetings for Zone 12
2016 Outstanding SPS Chapter Advisor Award

Sigma Pi Sigma Presidential National Involvement

SPS National Council 2013-19
Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Congress 2019 Planning Committee
Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Congress 2021 (2022) Executive Program Committee

Sigma Pi Sigma Presidential Experience

SPS National Council 2013-19
AAPT National Secretary 2019-present
AAPT Board of Directors 2019-present

 

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Zone 1

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC) 

Taylor A Knapp
Brown University

Biography: Hello! My name is Taylor Knapp and I’m a junior at Brown University from Charlotte, North Carolina. I’m currently concentrating in Astrophysics and Pure Mathematics. I am currently doing research at Brown on the light and mass distribution of galaxies within galaxy clusters with the LSST project, which is a project I have been dedicated to for my time so far at Brown. Outside of coursework and research, I am a coordinator for Brown’s Physics Departmental Undergraduate Group and the Brown Class of 2023 President. My focus as a member of student leadership within my physics department is to encourage diversity and inclusion initiatives and provide support workshops for students. For the last year, I’ve served as the AZC for Zone 1 and have had a blast getting to know the incredible leadership and members of my SPS Zone. As an aspiring research professor, I value any of the frames I can develop for growing as a member of academia, including being a student, researcher, leader, and instructor. I am also a member of the Brown Club Running Team and like to balance my time outside of physics so I can bring my whole self to the table when engaging with the physics community both at Brown and beyond. I’m planning to pursue graduate school after my last year at Brown.

Candidate Statement:  In the coming year as Associate Zone Councilor for Zone 1, I hope to continue the work I’ve begun this past year as Zone 1 AZC. Over the last few years due to the pandemic, our Zone meetings have been held virtually. I would like to continue to have virtual components of our events to maintain accessibility for the various Zone 1 chapters. Additionally, I’ve kept a Padlet, or online bulletin board, updated with SPS and regional resources for chapters. This ensures accessibility to links and timelines long after the emails have been sent or lost in the inbox. I’d like to continue pushing other chapters in my Zone to publicize their events on the Padlet to bring together our network of impressive and inspiring undergraduates. This being said, I’d like to continue updating our contact information for chapters in Zone 1, including reaching out to schools not represented in our records. On an internal note, I’m excited to continue my work on the Governance Committee on the National Council. The work we’ve done this past year on inclusive constitutional language and communication on inter-chapter collaboration is very near and dear to my heart and I’m looking forward to working more with the committee team. As a rising senior, I’m excited to see the continuation of my time on the National Council to build a supportive and collaborative network for future physicists. I am excited to stay involved as an Associate Zone Councilor and keep growing as a physicist and leader.

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Zone 2

Zone Councilor (ZC)

Matt Wright
Adelphi University

Biography

I am the chair of the physics department at Adelphi University. I am also the co-adviser to our physics club. My background is in atomic, molecular, and optical physics. I have also spent time as a management consultant in the transportation industry. I am currently on the both the 2022 and 2025 PhysCon planning meeting and I occasionally write for SPS Radiations magazine.

I support a unique brand of student-centered higher education focused on learning by doing. Check out my article in Inside Higher Education https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2017/10/31/importance-showing-empathy-students-classroom-essay and my blog https://wrightresearchlab.wordpress.com/.

Candidate Statement: My goal is to listen to other chapter advisers and students in Zone 2, hear what they need/want, and then work with SPS National to make positive change. In addition to the Zone 2 meetings in and around Rochester.  It might be nice to have some additional meetings near NYC. 

 

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Andrew McGee
Ithaca College

Biography: Andrew (Drew) McGee is currently a third year student at Ithaca College. He is pursuing a dual-degree, a Bachelor of Science in Physics, and a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics. He is particularly interested in Astrophysics, and more specifically gravitational waves originating from black holes. Drew has served on the E-Board for Ithaca College's Society of Physics Students Chapter for 2 years, serving the positions of Secretary, Treasurer, and most recently Vice President. In the 2022-23 academic year, Drew will be going on to serve as President of Ithaca College's Chapter. In the Fall of 2019, as a freshman, Drew received a grant from the Society of Physics for his project "Rockets v. Kinematics". Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this project could not be completed. More recently, Drew participated in Ithaca College's Summer Scholar Program, in which he worked a project entitled "Determining Properties of Planet-Forming Stars with a new Computer Model." Drew learned how to use the program RADMC-3D, a radiative transfer simulation that allows planet-forming regions to be modelled.

Candidate Statement: If elected as Associate Zone Councilor, Drew plans to make increasing involvement from the Ithaca College Chapter in both regional and national events a core part of his focus. Drew wants to see a significant increase in the activity of Zone 2 and will strive to do that by encouraging Ithaca College students to become activity in the Society of Physics Students. A bi-weekly newsletter will be created and sent out to the members of the Ithaca College Society of Physics Students Chapter. This newsletter will detail regional and national SPS events and encourage students to attend them. Drew also plans to be a strong advocate for the members of Zone 2 at the National level and will be extremely proactive in making sure that both Ithaca College and all of Zone 2's voices are heard. Since Drew has a strong relationship with the members of SPS at Ithaca College, he believes that he will be the best candidate for actively engaging the officers of Ithaca College in SPS National.

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Zone 3

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Kirk Kleinsasser
Lycoming College

Biography: I am a junior student majoring in Computational Physics with a minor in Chemistry. I have served the current Associate Zone Councilor for Zone 3 and I would love to continue representing Zone 3 on the National Council this coming academic year.

Since my first year at Lycoming College, I have been heavily involved with my SPS chapter. After my first event with our community, I knew I had found my family on campus. Amazingly, my chapter managed to fund myself and nine other students to attend PhysCon2019, which further inspired my involvement in our chapter. When our Public Relations chair had to step down for personal issues that spring, I quickly nominated myself for the position. I managed our social media for the remainder of the semester. Ever since, I have served on in various leadership positions in our chapter. I have served on my chapter’s executive board for almost three years as President, Secretary, and Public Relations Officer. I will be our chapter’s webmaster for 2022-23.

Like most chapters, Lycoming is working to rebuild traditions after several years of restrictions limiting our options. This year, we have finally been able to reestablish regular in-person event and execute off-campus events. I would love to discuss our approach to these events with interested chapters or provide advice on planning effective virtual events.
Outside of our chapter, I am a resident assistant on campus and a mathematics, writing, chemistry, and physics tutor. These positions allow me to represent our chapter and campus in many ways.

Honors & Awards:
SPS National - SSAI Academic Student Scholarship (2021),
Lycoming College – Stiber Endowed Scholarship (2020, 2021),
SPS National - Herbert Levy Memorial Scholarship (2020),
Lycoming College - Ed Gabriel Writing and Research Award (2020),
Lycoming College – NSF S-STEM Scholarship (2019),
Lycoming College – Wertz Scholar Award (2019)

Candidate Statement: This academic year, SPS National has focused on building back some of the community that we have lost over the past few years. Many chapters have been struggling to maintain traditional and institutional memory through virtual meetings and pandemic restrictions. Dr. Ramos and I focused on these goals, hoping to rekindle activity in struggling chapters. I hope that my efforts to offer my support and advice to our Zone provided encouragement to our Zone.

If reelected to represent our Zone, I want to push for maintained momentum as a Zone. I feel that we have made progress and that recent chapter reports showed significant resilience and dedication to the SPS mission, despite the challenges of our time. I would love to expand our Zone by establishing new chapters and to nurture growth in existing chapters.

I wish to work towards these goals by making more immediate contact with institutions in our Zone. Primarily, I plan to contact physics departments to facilitate establishment of new SPS chapters. I am also planning to provide more collaboration opportunities between chapters. Our Zone meetings are awesome, but I think we should try to establish more regular, informal meetings to meet great folks from other universities. Perhaps I could begin by inviting chapters to a stargazing event—I know this is a favorite event at my chapter.

In conclusion, I would like to reiterate my commitment to the SPS mission. I intend to dedicate time every week to work on Zone initiatives in addition to regularly scheduled meetings. Regardless of the results of this election, I would love to meet with any SPS folks to share my experience and ideas—I’d love to chat about leading a chapter, applications for research, or to give out book recommendations to physics folks! Beyond that, I am very passionate about representation and inclusivity in physics. I’d love to discuss ways to welcome and represent minorities in our chapters and Zone at large, or to individually support Zone members with these issues. If you have any concerns or wish to provide feedback to SPS national, I would be more than happy to send that on upwards!

 

Amber Elinsky
Lycoming College

Biography: My name is Amber Elinsky, and I am a Physics-Religion double major with an Astronomy minor at Lycoming College. I am currently completing the physics major (with the exception of General Chemistry) and the astronomy minor (with the exception of Relativity and Cosmology) as a second semester junior. I plan to attend graduate school for radio astronomy and have been building my network over the past 2 years by attending various conferences and trips to observatories. I am the president of the Lycoming College Society of Physics Students this year and have previously held the position of Public Relations Officer. As president, I have navigated COVID-19 to plan and direct department picnics, various workshops, a multi-day trip to Green Bank Observatory, a holiday party, APS Nuclear Physics Conference virtual attendance, Conference for Undergraduate Women virtual attendance, Zone 3 Meeting registration, Sigma Pi Sigma Induction celebration, and the 2022 Physics Congress registration. For the 2022-2023 academic year I am the elected Vice President where I will be meeting with the Lycoming College administration to talk about improvements for the Department of Astronomy and Physics as well as our Society of Physics Students chapter.

Candidate Statement: The position of Zone 3 Associate Zone Counselor has been one that I have had my eye on for two years. I am as involved as possible in my Society of Physics Students chapter and would love to work with SPS National! I believe that the planning, communication, and creativity skills that I have gained throughout my presidency will allow me to perform the requirements of the AZC position well. I am planning to create opportunities for the chapters in the zone collaborate, whether that is simply stargazing trips or going on a retreat, as well as holding joint-outreach programs for high schools in the area of the host location! I believe that the collaboration of various chapters will be extremely beneficial to all parties involved. I would also like to improve the marketing of SPS chapters to expose middle/high school students to this field showing them that it is not as scary as it seems to be. Being a part of the Society of Physics Students has honestly taught me so much and changed my life for the better. I would love to help bring those same opportunities and experiences to more students.

 

Annika Stare
Juniata College

Biography: My name is Annika Stare, and I am a rising senior in Juniata College's Physics Department. Since the beginning of my undergraduate studies, I have been extremely involved with SPS. I am currently serving as the Treasurer of Juniata College's SPS Chapter. I had the amazing opportunity to attend PhysCon 2019 as a freshman with many of my fellow Juniata classmates. PhysCon opened my eyes to the importance and impact of SPS on undergraduate physics students. Attending PhysCon inspired me to be more involved within Juniata's Physics Department. Over the past two years since PhysCon 2019, I have served as treasurer and vice president for Juniata College's Women in Physics club and treasurer for Juniata College's astronomy club. In addition to being actively involved in various physics clubs, I also work as a physics tutor and physics lab teaching assistant on campus and participate in Juniata College's Dance Ensemble. I will extend my passion for physics beyond Juniata College's Chapter as SPS Zone 3 Associate Zone Councilor.

Candidate Statement: My main priority as an Associate Zone Councilor will be ensuring communication and inclusion throughout Zone 3. Personally, I know my department is very close-knit and I would like to place an emphasis on creating a similar close-knit community between the chapters of Zone 3. I intend to make sure there is an open line of communication between myself and all Zone 3 chapters to ensure every chapter stays up to date with upcoming events and important information. As Associate Zone Councilor I will take my role extremely seriously and will serve as a voice for Zone 3. I will continue to provide meaningful opportunities for the chapters of Zone 3 such as Zone meetings, community events, and trips to museums and labs. I am excited for the opportunity to serve as your SPS Zone 3 Associate Zone Councilor! I ask that you elect me, Annika Stare, to the position of Associate Zone Councilor for Zone 3 so I can follow through with these plans and make our SPS experiences the best they could possibly be.

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Zone 4

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Shauna Shephard
Randolph College

Biography: Shauna Shepard is a rising sophomore double physics and math major and music minor at Randolph College. She is an officer of the College's very active Society of Physics Students. Randolph's SPS has won Outstanding Chapter awards in 12 of the last 14 years. Shauna is currently serving in an internship for the Central Virginia Science Festival hosted by Randolph College. The Science Festival is a four-day event with speakers and activities that brings thousands to campus, and it is entirely run by the interns. Shauna is also a member of the SUPER Program, Randolph's STEM honors program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Shauna's passion is astronomy, and she aspires to become a theoretical physicist with a specialty in astrophysicist.

Candidate Statement: My ultimate goal if elected as Associate Zone Councilor is to strengthen and extend outreach and communication within SPS. I specifically want to improve communication within my chapter and zone along with better connection with other zones and chapters in SPS. I will personally be involved in planning the location and time of the Zone 4 meeting to ensure it happens and runs as successfully as possible. My goal is to significantly increase involvement in SPS across Zone 4 by actively communicating with current leaders like SPS chapter presidents and encouraging other members of SPS to take on leadership roles and expand involvement to the communities around their respective chapters. I will be as personally involved as possible to ensure my goals are achieved and I make the Zone 4 community even stronger so that we may help other Zones achieve similar growth.

I look forward to involvement with the national office and national council and making an impact at a national level. I will make sure our SPS chapter attends PhysCon and will help other chapters reach that goal.

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Zone 5

Zone Councilor (ZC)

Anthony Kuchera
Davidson College

Biography: Anthony Kuchera is currently an Assistant Professor at Davidson College. He has been the SPS Zone 5 Councilor since 2019 and has also served as SPS advisor for his chapter. Prior to his time at Davidson College, he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University working with the Modular Neutron Array (MoNA) to study the structure of neutron-rich nuclei. His educational history includes a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from Florida State University in 2013 and a B.S. degree in physics from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 2008.

Candidate Statement: I am finishing my first three-year term as SPS Zone 5 Councilor. Over half of this time has been during the COVID-19 pandemic which had a large impact on many chapters. My goal is to help chapters get back to what they used to do well and bring together the chapters of Zone 5. Additionally, a main goal is to help chapters find ways to get to participate in the 2022 PhysCon. This is especially important to me as it will be part of the celebration of 100 years of Sigma Pi Sigma, which originated at my institution, Davidson College.

 

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Julia Bauer
Davidson College

Biography: My name is Julia, and I am a junior physics and political science major at Davidson from Danbury, CT. I was privileged to serve as an SPS science policy intern last summer and as Associate Zone Councilor for Zone 5 this year. This summer, I look forward to conducting research in quantum mechanics at Davidson and in materials science at Northwestern.

I am a member of Davidson’s Student Government Association Academics Committee, Teaching, Learning, and Research Trustee Committee, and Educational Policy Committee. I am also an equity advisor for the Student Initiative for Academic Diversity, a student group that interviews tenure-track faculty candidates about inclusive pedagogy. Outside of physics, I enjoy hiking and spending time with my pug, Ralphie.

Candidate Statement: My work as AZC has focused on ensuring that our Zone is well informed about social and professional opportunities provided by SPS National and APS through our annual Zone meeting and regular email updates. Last fall, I coordinated our Zone 5 meeting with our Zone Councilor, intentionally inviting physicists with expertise in applying to graduate school and pursuing non-traditional careers in STEM to speak to students. We successfully increased the number of chapters represented in our Zone meeting through targeted outreach to chapter representatives, something I hope to continue working on next year if reelected.

Throughout the past year, I have contributed to addressing issues that affect SPS chapters nationally through my work on SPS Governance Committee. Our committee’s most recent focus has been proposing and passing amendments to the SPS bylaws to be more inclusive of astronomy students. We are currently in the process of publishing an article for the SPS Observer that explains our committee’s work to make SPS language and services inclusive of astronomy students. I hope to continue my work with the Governance Committee next year; additionally, I would like to consider ways in which SPS might expand its work on educational resource accessibility issues beyond its Food for Hungry Physics Students and AIP Emergency Grant programs. This work would likely entail focusing on how SPS can support physics departments in making educational materials like textbooks more accessible to physics students in a time of continued financial uncertainty.

 

Aiden Keaveney
Appalachian State University

Biography: Aidan Keaveney is a rising senior at Appalachian State University. A double major in physics and mathematics, Keaveney has been the President of the Appalachian State University Physics and Astronomy Club since January 2020. He has conducted research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Louisiana State University, Appalachian State University, and Purdue University. His primary research interests are in experimental nuclear and astroparticle physics. Keaveney also serves as a STEM mentor with Wildwood Agile Learning Community, an alternative education and homeschool group for 6-14 students, where he performs weekly physics demonstrations and provides engaging science programs. He is also a regular volunteer with state and local science fairs and other outreach programs. Keaveney’s passion for community engagement, servant leadership, diversity and inclusive excellence, and science communication are what brought him to SPS. For the summer of 2022, Keaveney will be participating in the SPS Summer Internship Program as an AIP Mather Policy Intern. In the future, Keaveney hopes to combine his passions for scientific innovation, education, and community engagement to contribute to the knowledge of humankind and generate positive change in his communities.

Candidate Statement: The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear the need for effective science communication. I propose the following questions to the SPS community: how do we talk to people about science? In a media landscape seemingly determined to filter out any sense of nuance, how do we talk about concepts like error and uncertainty? When we get new data and adjust our findings, how do we talk about that change without losing the trust of our audience to make good recommendations? When, as with COVID-19 vaccines, our ability to reach our audiences can deeply impact or even save lives, how do we cut through the noise without compromising our integrity as scientists? I believe we, the SPS community, have a unique opportunity and responsibility to explore and address these questions as science communicators and advocates. If elected, I intend to encourage science communication training and outreach events in Zone 5 and beyond. I hope to place a premium on engaging with diverse communities to identify and serve their unique needs. I also hope to serve as an accessible and approachable liaison between local SPS chapters and SPS national, to make use of the resources available most effectively to students through SPS.

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Zone 6

Zone Councilor (ZC)

Mel Blake
University of North Alabama

Biography: I am the current Zone Councilor for Zone 6, finishing my first three year term. I am an associate professor at University of North Alabama. My research area is astronomy, studying variable stars. I am also the director of UNA Planetarium, and I use this to encourage our SPS chapter to do outreach activities when they can.  I have been at UNA since 2008.

Candidate Statement: I have been trying to reach out to chapters that have been inactive and get them rebooted. I have also been trying to get the Zone 6 meetings more organized and have the information for dates and registration out earlier so that chapters can plan better. I want to continue these efforts, as there are always lapsed chapters that need encouragement and resources.

 

Sesha Srinivasan
Florida Polytechnic University

Biography: I, Dr. Sesha Srinivasan, Assistant Professor of Engineering Physics and Faculty Advisor of our SPS FL Poly Chapter, #2054, Zone 6. I have initiated our chapter from the ground up when Florida Poly was named as a new Public University in the State of Florida in 2014. Since then our chapter consistently receiving outstanding and distinguish recognitions from the SPS National Office. Our first batch of cohorts from Engineering and Computer Science disciplines initially built our SPS chapter in the executive positions when there was no Physics degree program offered at the college. When I look back after 7-8 years, I do see we have 11 Physics majors working on different SPS-AIP related Chapter Research and our students are now motivated by me to launching our Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Honor Society. Before FL Poly academic role, I was at the Tuskegee University, SPS Chapter Advisor and trained more than 10 Physics major students for Undergraduate Research. I am also serving as the APS NMC mentor, APS CM Fellow and President-Elect of Florida Academy of Sciences, I did my Post Doc from University of Hawaii, and University of South Florida. I did graduate with Physics degree University from Banaras Hindu University, India. I currently live with my wife and two kids in Lakeland, Florida.

Candidate Statement: I plan to enhance the Zone 6 participation in our SPS national council activities and serve in the leadership role to serve the zone 6 to create opportunities for our SPS students' professional preparations for the industry and academia. I have a track record of serving as one of the Physics Congress organizer in 2016 and took 5 of our Florida Poly students to San Francisco to attend the conference. I have close collaboration with the current Zone 6 Councilor, Dr. Mel Blake and previous Councilor from Georgia Tech. I have worked in HBCU and Minority Serving Institutions, therefore I value how important to preserve the diversity and inclusiveness as the Zone Councilor for the SPS National Office. I have actively involved as a faculty mentor for APS National Mentoring Community and also second time in a row elected as an APS CM Fellow to help and guide graduate and undergraduate students nationwide. As a Zone Councilor, I will initiate some new programs like in connection with AAPT FL, AAAS and APS so our students get benefited in developing their scientific, academic and professional soft skills. I closely work with the Associate Zone Councilor and the SPS National Office in implementing outreach programs for the underserved community in Zone 6, especially HBCUs, MSIs, Women and students with disabilities.

 

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC) 

Matthew Klink
University of Alabama

Biography: Matthew Klink is a physics and math double major currently in his junior year of college at the University of Alabama. He is on an astrophysics track for graduation, a topic which has interested him from a very young age and continues to lead his academic path. He is actively engaged in research with Dr. Marcos Santander, another faculty member at the university. In addition, he is actively working towards student inclusion in several different ways. He is a prospective social chair for SPS at UA, a position which will allow him to foster community in our department and is actively establishing an organization on campus that aims to help students reinforce useful mathematical skills.

Candidate Statement: Matthew would like physics to be a more accessible major for students. He has often had encounters with people who view the major as something way too out of their reach. He feels that through becoming an Associate Zone Councilor he can better understand the way SPS functions and how that can be used to branch out and help make physics seem feasible to more people.

  

Aidan Klingelberg
University of Alabama

Biography: Aidan Klingelberg is an exceptional physics major and is also a part of the SPS Exec committee of the local chapter; he is one of the social chairs. During the time he has held office, UA's chapter of SPS has more than doubled with respect to active members.

Aidan will be a rising junior in the fall, as a physics major on the astrophysics track and a double in mathematics. He is expected to be inducted into Sigma Pi Sigma in the following month or two now that he is eligible and his GPA more than qualifies him. As current President of UA’s chapter of SPS, I predict Aidan to run and be elected for the Vice Presidency for this upcoming academic year, and most likely the Presidency the year after that, although that is harder to predict.
Furthermore, Aidan has been conducting astroparticle research under the tutelage of Professor Marcos Santander and is expecting to publish by the end of term. I, myself, do not know much about his research since I have done condensed matter and plasma physics research.
I also think that Aidan’s upbringing could be beneficial if you choose to take advantage of his nomination and elect him: he spent his first ten years in California, before moving to North Carolina and going to the University of Alabama for school. This provides him with exposure to people from other SPS Zones, as well as a more diverse knowledge of life throughout our own Zone, Zone 6.

Candidate Statement: Aidan Klingelberg has always been a big picture type of guy, without missing out on the details which is a rare balance in an officer of any kind. He has always been quite responsive, adaptable, and flexible when it comes to plans and others’ concerns, so he has not voiced any major plans to me, although he definitely has some goals in mind.

First and foremost, it will be to increase inter-chapter relations; chapters only interact with each other at a few conferences and meetings. With one of the hallmark pillars of SPS being community, Aidan believes this must improve. When we attended CUWiP in January, we had the privilege of interacting with UNC-Asheville’s chapter and had an amazing time. The sense of community needs to improve between chapters while remaining strong within them, and he suggested to myself to attempt to set up a meeting or event with nearby chapters, whether in-person or virtual.
Secondly, he would like to see continued advocation for physics among high school and middle school students. Our local chapter at UA does just that, and Aidan assists the Outreach Administrator to align volunteers. If he would be elected as Zone Councilor, he would have the ability and resources to help do this on a larger scale, hopefully increasing the numbers of physics majors in total, but especially in the southeast.
Whereas these are more considered as goals rather than plans, Aidan understands that, if elected, his primary responsibility would be to be a representative of the other colleges and universities in the southeast and is committed to do that to his best ability, maintaining regular contact with the presidents of local chapters and attempting to start chapters at schools without one.
Thank you for your time and consideration, you will not regret voting for Aidan K!

 

Sarah Michelle Bulger
Georgia Institute of Technology

Biography: Sarah will be graduating in May of 2022, however she is and will continue to be in close contact with her home chapter (Georgia Institute of Technology) and has a plethora of experience in leadership positions. From managing corporate teams to hosting and planning national conferences- she is more than equipped to represent Zone 6’s student body.

Even at a young age she has been volunteering her time to better help her community. She has volunteered with and helped foster children, organized community events to bring families together and rehabbed animals.

She enjoys spending her time with her 2 cats which she is more than happy to show off. Her love for animals and nature further solidified that Physics was the right decision for her. Physics provides an insight to the physical world that not many people know or see.

As the current president of her SPS Chapter, and historian of her Society of Women in Physics (SWiP) she is fully equipped to take on this role of leadership. Representing those who may not have a voice otherwise is something that she feels very passionate about and is prepared to take on this responsibility.

Candidate Statement: If I am elected to be Zone 6’s Associate Zone Councilor I will strive to make SPS National and individual chapters closer than ever. As part of my chapter’s SPS currently, I know that our communication and exposure to SPS National is limited.

My goal would be to let other chapters know that this line of communication will be more open. As well as have more events so that the sense of community grows and thrives in the environment that we will harbor.

With open communication and a drive to improve each chapter I promise to work towards the student's wants and represent them in the best way I can. Our wants deserve to be heard.

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Zone 7

Zone Councilor (ZC)

Ronald Kumon
Kettering University A & B

Biography: I received a B.S. in physics and mathematics from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. in physics from The University of Texas at Austin. I subsequently worked as a research physicist at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology, University of Windsor, Case Western Reserve University, and the University of Michigan, and as an adjunct professor at Lawrence Technological University. I am currently an associate professor of physics at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan, where I teach introductory and upper-level physics courses and do research with undergraduates in acoustics and ultrasonics. I am also a member of Sigma Pi Sigma physics honor society and serve as our chapter’s advisor. At Kettering, students alternate between school and co-op terms, and as such, we actually have two separate “A” and “B” chapters that also alternate between quarters.  I have had the pleasure to serve as the faculty advisor for both chapters since starting at Kettering in 2011. During that period, we have received 8 Outstanding Chapter Awards, 10 Distinguished Chapter Awards, 2 Chapter Research Awards, and 1 Blake Lilly Award.

Candidate Statement: The primary responsibilities of the Zone Councilor are to enhance communication between SPS chapters in the zone, assist in the planning of zone meetings, provide continuity from year-to-year through changes in Associate Zone Councilors (AZCs), and represent the zone at the annual SPS Council meeting. As Zone Councilor, I started a Zone 7 website (https://sites.google.com/view/spszone7/), which includes a list of chapters, past events, and recent history as well as a YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCUHyFcBb-VVuuKQRGQLK9w). I have also organized in-person and online zone meetings during Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Fall 2021 in conjunction with section meetings of the American Physical Society. During these meetings, the AZCs and I have provided updates about SPS National programs, presented interesting speakers, and organized a panel discussion about physics majors with bachelor’s degrees in the workforce.

On the SPS National Council, I served on the Governance Committee during 2019‒20 where we drafted the SPS/ΣΠΣ Statement on the Climate Crisis and created an on-boarding book for new Zone Councilors. During 2020‒21, I served on the Physics Congresses Committee where we generated new fundraising ideas, letters, and brochures, and also updated the 2022 Physics Congress fundraising page. Currently, I am serving on the Sigma Pi Sigma Committee to improve recruiting of members to the society.

If re-elected, I will work to:
1. Establish a Zone Council to enhance participation and representation of chapters in zone activities.
2. Continue to enhance communication in the zone chapters through the use of email newsletters and other methods.
3. Promote regular zone meetings throughout the zone region, including some meetings in collaboration with the section meetings of the American Physical Society or other meetings of physics-related organizations, and continue to enable remote access via video conferencing for students who are unable to travel to the meetings.
4. Increase awareness of internships and cooperative jobs for undergraduates during their degree programs, career development skills, and the range of employment opportunities for students with an undergraduate physics degree.
5. Encourage participation in undergraduate research experiences and citizen science initiatives.
6. Support the participation of underrepresented groups in physics.
It would be a privilege to continue to serve as your Zone Councilor during the upcoming term. If you have any questions about my candidacy, please feel free to contact me at rkumon [at] kettering.edu.

 

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Rebecca Abbott-McCune
Kettering University A

Biography: Becca is a second-year senior student studying Mechanical Engineering at Kettering University. She is passionate about astronomy and astrophotography and is excited to be more involved within the physics community at large and help facilitate new events in the region. She has held executive board positions and holds membership in several honor societies including Pi Tau Sigma, Kappa Mu Epsilon, and Rho Lambda. Previous work experience has included the development of inflatable restraints at ZF Group, as well as employment developing products and managing operations within a performance vehicle company.

As she prepares to graduate within the next year and other campus involvements come to a close, she is excited to dedicate more time to SPS and help the schools within the region connect.

Candidate Statement: The first plan of action would be to reach out to the individual schools within the Zone and check in to see if they need any resources, update contact information to reflect department changes if necessary, and then move forward with connecting chapters together through events such as game nights, cross chapter meetings to discuss activities and provide ideas, and -hopefully- host in person activities between chapters, both small and large scale.

 

Jordan Miller
Cleveland State University

Biography: Hello! I am finishing my junior year as a physics major at Cleveland State University (CSU). I started at CSU in 2020 and plan to graduate in 2024 with a Masters in Optical Physics (compliments of a 4+1 program). I was hired as a teaching assistant the summer after my first full year at the college and have loved every minute of teaching since and connecting with students. I became a member of SPS in the spring of 2021 and went on to become the treasure of CSU's SPS chapter the following fall. I have volunteered at physics out-reach events, where students have the opportunity to travel to different schools and teach K-12 students about various topics in physics and try to get them excited about STEM fields.

In a more recent endeavor, I will be conducting research this summer involving nanoscale surfaces and interfaces. Specifically, how the arrangement of atoms at a surface affects how new atoms incorporate into the surface.
I have a passion for bettering myself and the people around me and will always look for new ways to shape myself into a well-rounded person.

Candidate Statement: My plans include stressing the importance of physics outreach in the community as well as overall student well-being. In the science field, we often compare ourselves to others in a way that makes us sell ourselves short in our capabilities. But I have found through outreach, you are given a chance to step back and admire all you have come to know and understand.

I also think it is important to educate students of all the financial help that could be available to them. From someone that has lost their job due to covid, I would not have been able to keep pursuing my degree without the financial help provided to me not only from the college, but SPS resources as well. Making sure information about what SPS offers outside of academic help is important to bring into light.

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Zone 8

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Jesse Farr
University of Tennessee Knoxville

Biography: I am a senior at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. For the previous year, I have served as the associate Zone councilor for Zone 8. I have reached out directly to SPS officers and communicated with chapters who identified that they were struggling to keep their head above water. The biggest accomplishment was working directly with our Zone councilor and the University of Louisville to facilitate an in-person Zone meeting for the first time since 2019.

Candidate Statement: My goals for next year are to facilitate another Zone meeting and promote inter-chapter activities such as meeting with chapters from each state once a year in addition to the Zone meeting. While I have focused on reinvigorating SPS chapter activities, I will focus on Sigma Pi Sigma in the following year and assist any chapter who has not established a Sigma Pi Sigma chapter yet. Overall, I feel as if I am a good fit for this position because I have established myself in my first year of serving as Associate Zone Councilor, and would only continue making progress to lead to a more integrated Zone in the coming year.

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Zone 9

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

William Murillo
Augustana College

Biography: My name is William Murillo. I am currently a second year student 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 would be a good candidate for associate zone councilor for zone 9 because I am currently in charge of building and designing a rocket in Augustana Physics and Engineering Society (APES). We have been working to build this rocket since last fall. I have been working with different club members to build this rocket. I have experience with working with different people of varying math and physics backgrounds and am willing to help students solve problems. I have worked with other members of the exec board as well as professors from the physics department to come up with events that inspire children to study STEM subjects. I have given presentations to my schools student government to ask for funding for my rocket project.

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Zone 10

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Payton Arber
Henderson State University

Biography: Currently working on research in astronomy to present at PhysCon and am creating a website to make getting into astronomy more accessible and understandable. Previously built a Rubens Tube used for outreach ad science demos. Local SPS Secretary active in fundraising and outreach. Active in "Reddie Rockets" club and multiple research projects.

Candidate Statement: My goal is to plan and conduct Zone meetings and get other students excited about physics and astronomy, as well as help prepare and create connections for post-grad jobs and internships. I would also like to work on public outreach and work on getting youth involved in Physics and Astronomy.

 

Jess Hamer
Rhodes College

Biography:  I am a junior physics major at Rhodes College with a minor in mathematics. I joined SPS as a second-semester first-year and currently serve as our demo chair. I am very passionate about making physics accessible and love doing demonstrations during our biweekly chapter meetings. I also work in a physics research lab under Dr. Bentley Burnham, designing circuitry for RHOKSAT, our nanosatellite project. RHOKSAT has given me a chance to help solve challenging engineering problems at a college without an engineering department. I have also helped our chapter receive two SPS grants: the Marsh White Award and the Chapter Research Award. I have also been heavily involved in our community outreach, including helping with our chapter’s biggest event of the year, Pumpkin Drop. We also put on Egg Drop, our Marsh White project, for local Memphis kids to get them excited about physics. Our SPS chapter has taught me a lot about physics, communication, and, most importantly, community. Our chapter was very active on zoom during the pandemic and helped create a community our members could lean on. I am eager to help bring that sense of community to Zone 10!

Candidate Statement: If elected Associate Zone Councilor, I plan to help facilitate communication throughout Zone 10. My chapter is organizing a joint outreach event with the University of Memphis, and it has been a lot of fun. It has given us a chance to connect more with another chapter and I would love to encourage other chapters to do the same. I hope to inspire this kind of collaboration throughout our Zone to help build a stronger sense of community so we can teach more people about physics!

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Zone 11

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Serenity Engel
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Biography: As a child, I was obsessed with the idea of understanding the universe, even if the questions were slightly gross, like “How do astronauts pee?”. I now know about the useful urine recycling system in the ISS, but my curious mindset hasn’t changed. I, probably like you, continue to ask questions, no matter how strange they may be. That’s why I’m pursuing physics!

My name is Serenity, and I am a first-generation junior physics student at South Dakota Mines. Physics is organizing the universe: the science of everyday life and beyond.

Because of my passion, I’ve taken on several physics-related jobs. I’ve worked with germanium detectors (both on the surface, and a mile underground) since I was a freshman. I also was lucky to play an important role in the LUX-ZEPLIN dark matter detector at the Sanford Underground Research Facility. Most recently, I started working on electroforming ultrapure copper underground for the LEGEND experiment. This summer, I’ll be heading to the east coast to either accept an offer with Brookhaven National Lab or Rutgers University working in accelerator physics.

I use my free time to serve as a mathematics/physics peer mentor, helping with summer camps/outreach, and being a part of Sigma Pi Sigma. I have held two officer roles for my SPS chapter, one of which was president this year. I use these skills to hold one of three APS student ambassador positions in Zone 11. I use this to speak to Congress annually about issues facing the physics community, which is one of my proudest accomplishments.

Besides physics, I’ve worked as a resident advisor, which has manifested into an assistant area coordinator position that extends to the entirety of campus. For fun, I love cooking, watching movies, and playing video games on my PS4.

Soon, I’ll pursue a Ph.D. in experimental particle/astrophysics. I love SPS, but it’s mostly geared toward undergraduate students. Because of this, I hope to help graduate schools start to develop APS chapters so that I can bring this passion to the graduate level.

Candidate Statement: SPS is one of the most fulfilling things I’ve experienced. It’s so much more than physics. We share excitement, celebrate our successes, and learn from our failures. We have a valuable network of passionate students, helpful faculty, and brilliant experts from around the world and across different disciplines.

I want to showcase my platform for the AZC role. My first idea, which I’ve already received support for through my physics department, is to bring a colloquia series to universities in our Zone. The purpose of the George A. Gamow Physics Colloquium Series is to encourage discussion between faculty, experts, and all levels of students by presenting talks on a wide range of topics designed for a general audience. You’ll be able to tune in online, ask questions, and get a glimpse of what physics is really like!

The connections I’ve made through my experiences have provided me a unique and expansive network. Networking is extremely important, especially in a highly collaborative subject like physics. I want to prioritize interactions between chapters, allowing both you and me to expand our professional/social networks. I’ll bring this enthusiasm to meet as many of you as I can, if I don’t know you already.

My role in APS as an ambassador also keeps me in the loop of all things physics. I can provide updates about all sorts of events, such as career fairs, workshops, summer experiences, and conferences for presenting research. Professional development is a key aspect of the SPS mission, and I will use my role to reinforce that pursuit.

I spend my life connecting to all sorts of people and learning as much as possible. I’m proud of my dedication to physics and I know how to have an impact on a large community of people. SPS means so much to me- I’ve gained experience to become a better physicist, leader, and person. Because of my love for this organization, I would be the perfect fit to be the Zone 11 Associate Zone Councilor.

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Zone 12

Zone Councilor (ZC)

Jency Sundararajan
Missouri Southern State University

Biography: Dr. Jency Sundararajan is an Assistant Professor of Physics at Missouri Southern State University, Joplin MO since 2014. She holds a Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Master of Philosophy in Physics from Bharathidasan University, India. She received her PhD in Physics from the University of Idaho, Moscow ID with research in charge transport in hybrid nanostructures. She completed her postdoctoral research at the University of Washington, Seattle WA on the modeling of nanodevices for photovoltaic applications. 

She serves as the SPS Advisor of the local chapter since 2016 and have been instrumental in making the chapter active locally and nationally. She is passionate about making Physics fun for all ages and highly involved in community outreach activities, science shows and demo days.

Candidate Statement: I am inspired by the guidance and support SPS provides to the undergraduate physics students, alumni and the advisors through outreach activities, awards, conferences, career resources, professional networking opportunities, alumni engagement, publications and much more.

I would like to get involved intensively in SPS by serving as the Zone Councilor for SPS Zone 12 and work diligently as a member of SPS National Council. If elected, I will fulfill this role to the best of my abilities by promoting active communication among all the chapters in the zone and at the national level.

As a local chapter advisor I have played a vital role in giving a new dimension to our chapter in terms of activity and participation, worked efficiently to represent science and scientific thought to our local community. Our chapter of SPS was recognized with several awards in 2018 on campus and by SPS national office.

I am highly motivated and thrilled to represent SPS at the national level and continue to contribute more effectively in bringing together all the chapters in the zone. I will endeavor to help strengthen connections within the chapter and facilitate active participation at the national level.

 

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Ashley Stokes
Missouri Southern State University

Biography: I am math major and physics minor at Missouri Southern State University (MSSU). I am member of the MSSU Honors Program, treasurer of my local SPS chapter, vice-president of tutor club, a member of math club, and am a committee chair of my college's Omicron Delta Kappa honor society. Outside of my clubs and coursework, I work as a math tutor at the MSSU Student Success Center. In addition to my tutoring job, I have written curriculum and lead professional development for middle school and high school robotics programs for Stokes Educational Services.

Candidate Statement: If elected I plan to provide consistent and clear communication to all my Zone area's chapters. I also plan to increase involvement levels amongst the chapters in my Zone and represent my Zone at the national level in a responsible and professional manner.

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Zone 13

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC) 

Zorayda Martinez
Texas A&M University-Commerce

Biography:   My name is Zorayda Martinez, and I'm currently a junior with a major in physics with a concentration in astrophysics and a second major in mathematics.

In SPS, I have always been most drawn in by our events that encourage the growth of our physics community here at Texas A&M University-Commerce (TAMU-C) and in the broader community. Since becoming Secretary for 2021 and Vice President for 2022, my role in helping plan and participate in events that seek to get young people involved in physics has increased and must be my favorite part of being in leadership.

Outside of SPS, I work as a Learning Assistant (LA), or an undergraduate teaching assistant. I'm beginning my fifth semester as a Learning Assistant (LA). For me, this experience has not only altered the way I learn physics (for the better), but it has also changed the way I share my love for physics. I have always felt that being an LA is about making a connection with the students and guiding their thought process in a way that teaches them to become confident in their own abilities rather than dependent on someone always giving them the answer. On that note, I believe it is my responsibility to create a situation where my students can openly discuss the material with me and their peers without fear of judgment or having their ideas shot down. I am a firm believer in the idea that to truly master something is to be able to teach it well, and what better way to master course material than to help others develop an understanding of it. Therefore, over the last four semesters, I have gained a perspective that never would have been possible had I only been a student in these classes.

I am excited by the many wonderful fields of astronomy and have had the pleasure to participate in two research projects so far. In the summer of 2021, I had the opportunity to be a part of Northern Arizona University’s REU in Astronomy and Planetary Sciences. Over the course of the program, I worked at Lowell Observatory Dr. Deidre Hunter on a project comparing turbulence and star formation in nearby star-forming galaxies. From this work, I am on one publication that has been accepted by the Astrophysical Journal (ApJ). Additionally, at TAMU-C, I have been working on my honors thesis with Dr. Kurtis Williams looking at the period distribution of massive magnetic white dwarfs.

After obtaining my bachelor's degree, I hope to pursue a Ph.D. in Astronomy. This is the hope of someday working as an observational astronomer and continuing to promote the growth of young people in physics by helping them pursue their goals. The same way those around me now have helped me achieve mine.

Candidate Statement: As the AZC, I'd take all the skills I have gained from all my experiences and put them to use helping and supporting the wider SPS community of Zone 13 by helping organize SPS sessions statewide, bringing together SPS chapters via Zone meetings.

 

Sebastian Hernandez
Tarleton State University

Biography: My name is Sebastian Hernandez, I am a second year Physics major at Tarleton State University. I am from Dallas, Texas and graduated from Red Oak High School in 2019. I was unanimously elected President of the newly organized SPS here at Tarleton State and hope to be re-elected next year.

Candidate Statement: With COVID-19 hitting us very hard, our SPS club has fallen apart. I am making it my number one priority to re-establish a prosperous club full of knowledge and fun. I hope to expand this enthusiasm to all of Zone 13, in hopes of growing more than a club, but rather a community.

 

Skylar McLerran
Abilene Christian University 

Biography: I am currently a Sophomore Physics major at Abilene Christian University. I have been a member of SPS National for over a year and currently hold the Officer position of Secretary for SPS at Abilene Christian University. While attending school full-time I am also enlisted in the Texas Air National Guard as a Cyber Surety Specialist. As SPS Secretary I help to plan local SPS events on and off campus to promote physics education and a welcoming community for all Physics enthusiasts.

Candidate Statement: As an Associate Zone Counselor, I intend to continue promoting Physics to my community. I hope to help give other physics enthusiasts, like myself, an outlet to express their interest in a positive way and to increase physics education within my community and beyond.

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Zone 14

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Cameron Clarke
Colorado School of Mines

Biography: I am a rising Senior majoring in Engineering Physics at Colorado School of Mines.  I entered Mines with many interests and as an undecided major.  I knew that regardless of what field I pursued, I wanted to be involved in research in some capacity.  I was awarded a Research Fellowship during my first year of studies in Mines world-renowned Ultra-Fast Optics Laboratory.  After my first semester, I immediately decided to pursue physics as my major.  My passion for the subject accelerated from there and has been nurtured by on-going research pursuits for the past 6 semesters, attending my department's weekly physics colloquiums, and joining our campus SPS Chapter.  Through my SPS activities, I have been able to participate in several on-campus and off-campus science education outreach events, as well as volunteer my time to several deserving causes.  In addition to SPS, I am involved in the Mines Climbing Club and the Freeride Ski Team.

Candidate Statement:  If selected to be our Associate Zone Councilor for Zone 14, I would like to organize a Zone meeting either late this spring or early this fall, so we all get a chance to meet before the Physics Congress this October 6-8 in Washington, DC.  This would give us the opportunity to network, both socially and academically, in a cordial forum.  A spring meeting would give us the chance to share fundraising ideas and strategies that we can use to help all Zone 14 members make early plans to attend the Physics Congress.

 

Alya Sharbaugh
University of Colorado Denver

Biography: As a freshman in college, I constantly questioned whether or not physics was the right path for me. It was not until that summer, when I embarked on my first research experience abroad in China, that I realized the vast opportunity this field has to offer. Since that exposure, I have made sustained efforts throughout my undergraduate career to connect others to physics and each other. I served a year term as my university’s SPS President, during which I started a peer mentoring program for incoming majors. Through this program, more young women and minorities were encouraged to stay in physics. Together, we founded a Women in Physics group. After transferring to the University of Colorado Denver, I founded the Physics Identity & Expression (PIE) club, which leads inclusive outreach programs and hosts interactive social events for students. Currently, I am serving a year term as the PIE Club president, as well as representing my physics department as the ambassador to our university’s CLAS Dean’s Student Council. Beyond these involvements, I work part time instructing K-12 children in the fundamentals of programming and am a Teaching Assistant for General Physics Lab I. Looking forward, I will be starting my senior thesis on neutron flux detection in relation to the SuperCDMS experiment and plan to apply to graduate schools next fall.

Candidate Statement: If elected to the SPS National Council, I hope to continue to connect others to physics on an even larger scale. I graduated from a rural high school with limited resources and no advanced science or mathematics courses. Upon embarking on my undergraduate journey, I found myself competing against students who had the opportunity to take AP Physics and Calculus. This upbringing and personal struggle gives me a unique perspective, and I have many ideas about how SPS can facilitate outreach to districts with limited opportunity for students to engage in STEM. It is vitally important for the health of this field that physics be accessible to all people, regardless of background. Furthermore, I was the only woman in my major at my previous university for almost two years. While great strides have been made to overcome the minority gap in physics, it is still a reality for many individuals in this field that they are alone in a room. We must make efforts at a national level to connect with those people and tell their stories. Only through the actualization of the experiences of current physics students can we pave the road for the generations who will follow us.

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Zone 15

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Jason Logan
Brigham Young University

Biography: My name is Jason Logan, and I am a student at Brigham Young University in Utah. I am an undergraduate studying applied physics with an emphasis in physics teaching, which I will be doing over the summer at the high school I attended in Nevada. I have been a member of SPS for about a year now, and have loved every second of it, especially the outreach activities to surrounding schools. We've done science paloozas, school demos, and shows for the community, and this summer I personally am running a rocketry course for middle and high school students. I am currently serving as my chapter's secretary where I participate in our weekly meetings and help plan all of our events. Outside of SPS, I am involved in several other activities, including BYU Men's Chorus, where I volunteer as the social media specialist.

Candidate Statement: My goal if I am elected as the Associate Zone Councilor will be to get more involvement in our SPS chapters and help chapters receive help and resources they need to be successful. I think our zone has a lot of potential and has a great foundation, but we can always do more. If elected, I will try to ensure more communication between the zone council and our chapters, try and spotlight our chapters for their efforts, and try to make our next zone 15 meeting the best yet!

 

Kylie "Curly" Ellsworth
University of Utah

Biography: I have lots of experience working with groups and the general public from my customer service background since 2015. That background includes tutoring, food service, and pharmacy. I've also taken up many leadership positions. I was head of my section in orchestra for over five years throughout middle school and high school. I was also the President of my Academic Decathlon group during my senior year of high school, and we took home 11 medals during 2021 season. I'm currently a undergrad freshman at the University of Utah and I'm the communications officer for my chapter of SPS at the University of Utah. I love being involved in getting other people interested in STEM, and I leap at any opportunity for outreach and SPS promotion.

Candidate Statement: These past few years have been rough across our Zone due to COVID-19 impact. I am excited to help everyone get back up on their toes! Outreach would be our biggest advantage, like events that encourage students to ask questions and even join SPS. Helping chapters bring in more members will be a top priority, through promotion of meetings and parties as well as outreach events at local high schools and even less-active universities and colleges. Building backup communication between chapters is another key to our successful comeback this year. Weekly or monthly updates on chapter activities would be a big help, as well as creating an easy platform for communication between chapter presidents and so on (like Discord) about important dates and activities.

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Zone 16

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Janessa Slone
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott

Biography: Hello! My name is Janessa Slone, I am a Space Physics Junior (2021-2022) with a minor in Computer Science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Prescott. I have been involved in SPS for three years, including holding an officer position for two of those years. I have been conducting research with the astound Dr. Bailey where I focus on Special Relativity and Lorentz Violations in further detail. This includes analyzing different texts and opinions, deriving the field equations, and developing the ability to view the universe at a large scale.  I was recently awarded with an AZ NASA Space Grant that has been rewarding thus far. I am also a Physics Lab Teaching Assistant for different levels of physics which helps me solidify my understanding of core concepts in physics.

Candidate Statement: In the past year, I have organized numerous outreach events, allowing me to connect and invite new members to our physics community. As an active member of SPS and a running AZC, I've gained many skills that help me explore and celebrate the differences of chapters in my Zone.  As an officer, I started my chapter's Member of the Week which gained a lot of attention and involvement from my chapter. I've also introduced my members to new demos and given them the opportunity to present these at schools around Prescott. My contribution to the program has taught me the importance of engagement in order to promote the growth of the physics community including acknowledging new opinions and ideas. If elected, I will continue to connect with chapters and rebuild those chapters who have been affected by the pandemic. I would like to create a program of "rehabilitation" that offers a kit to restart and renew chapters.

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Zone 17

Zone Councilor (ZC)

Deanna Marshall
Central Washington University

Biography: Ms. Marshall joined Central Washington University as the Advising and Recruiting Specialist for the Physics department in September 2015. As the principal point of contact for college, career and academic advising for pre-college through undergraduate level students, she is instrumental in helping students pursue degrees and careers in physics, engineering and astronomy. Her outreach and recruiting duties allow her to meet with students in all levels of the K-16 pipeline throughout the state of Washington to discuss their interests, career aspirations and educational goals. Ms. Marshall also chairs the Physics scholarship committee. Prior to joining CWU, Ms. Marshall spent seven years as the Math/Science Program Coordinator for Upward Bound at the University of Hawaii at Hilo where she assisted low income, first generation, underrepresented high school students prepare for and enter postsecondary education. She volunteers for FIRST FRC events throughout the Pacific Northwest. Ms. Marshall completed her graduate program in Information Systems at Johns Hopkins University and undergraduate degree at Rutgers University.

Candidate Statement: I enjoy working with students as they navigate their path to success. Encouraging students to become leaders and take risks is a big step towards enhancing their personal development and growth. Outreach plays an important role in that it provides students with a chance to share their passion for science with the public at large. As the Zone Councilor, I would work to encourage chapters to take advantage of SPS events and activities, host zone meetings, grow their chapter and sponsor outreach events.

 

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Lauren Dressler
Lewis & Clark College

Biography: Hello! My name is Lauren Dressler. I am a third-year student studying physics and mathematics at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. I was born and raised in the Los Angeles area, where I graduated from high school in 2019.

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.Hello! My name is Lauren Dressler. I am a third-year student studying physics and mathematics at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. I was born and raised in the Los Angeles area, where I graduated from high school in 2019.

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: Currently, I work as a peer tutor at my college and am involved in my school’s physics club. I enjoy learning collaboratively and sharing what I know about physics with others. To me, being able to find a sense of belonging in physics is very important, and I would love to become further involved in making this field more welcoming and accessible. I think I would enjoy taking a more active role in SPS because I find this community aspect of physics so important. It would be amazing to be able to connect with students from other institutions while contributing to a more united physics community in the PNW.

If elected, I would love to organize virtual events for students across Zone 17. Last semester, I attended a virtual workshop on careers in physics, which was an awesome experience that gave me new perspectives on what my future could hold. I would be interested in putting together similar events in the coming year for more physics students to enjoy.

Being in a position where I can help spark excitement for physics and build community would be a joy for me, and I would be delighted to have the opportunity to support SPS in this way.

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Zone 18

Associate Zone Councilor (AZC)

Soumay Garg
Ohlone College

Biography: Hi, my name is Soumay Garg. I am currently a first-year student at Ohlone College and am a high-school graduate from Mission San Jose High School. I am working towards becoming a Physics major, as I currently intend to go into Particle Physics and become a researcher in the future. Within my college, I am the Vice-President of the Physics Club and am a member of the Engineering Society and IEEE STEAM clubs. I am also an active member of my community, as I am an Eagle Scout and Merit Badge Counselor from the BSA. I have a deep passion for the subject of Physics, and I frequently spend my time reading books or watching online lectures about different Physics subjects and topics that fascinate me. In addition to my dedication to Physics, I am avid astronomy, astrophotography, and model rocketry enthusiast.

Candidate Statement: As AZC, I intend to help reengage the different local chapters of the SPS by helping them plan and organize in-person meetings and events as we begin to transition back to a normal in-person academic setting. I intend to use my organizational and communication skills to help each of the local chapters pursue their individual and collective interests and needs. As a leader, I hope to make the functioning of each chapter more systematic, which will help each chapter achieve its goals efficiently and help our Zone in the SPS as a whole be more productive. As a passionate student of Physics, I also hope to spread the joy of Physics to other students, and I will make outreach one of my main priorities in order to raise interest and awareness of the opportunities that the SPS presents. Ultimately, I hope to serve my fellow students’ needs to the very best of my ability and true dedication.

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