SPS Zone 10 Meeting

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SPS Zone Meeting

March 15, 2024 to March 16, 2024

Lafayette, LA

Meeting host:

Society of Physics Students


Michalis Charilaou

SPS Chapter:

SPS Zone 10 Meeting

March 15/16, 2024

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

On March 15th and 16th, we had the Zone 10 meeting, hosted by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. There were 28 attendees from 6 universities: University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Southeastern Louisiana University, University of Southern Mississippi, Henderson State University, Rhodes College, and Louisiana Tech University.


The meeting began the evening before with a reception at a local restaurant next to the meeting venue, the UL Lafayette Science Museum. We combined the reception with our annual physics spring social; we had 50 attendees during the evening. On 3/16, the meeting started at 10am with a coffee and breakfast, a welcome reception by the local SPS coordinator, Dr. Michalis Charilaou, followed by an address by the zone Councilor Dr. Shannon Clardy from Henderson State University on behalf of SPS National. We then had the main talk of the meeting, which was given by Dr. Joseph Dwyer from the University of New Hampshire, with the topic “High-Energy emissions from thunderstorm and lightning”. The lecture was very well received by the students and an interesting discussion followed.

After the presentations, we had a live planetarium show with the title “The sky tonight”, given by one of our graduate students, Ms. Gracie Babineaux.

There was a lunch break and attendees could walk to various nearby restaurants in downtown Lafayette. At 2pm, there was a tour of the Louisiana Accelerator center, which is only a few minutes away from the venue, given by Dr. Gabriela Petculescu of the UL Lafayette Physics department.

The afternoon session continued with a talk by Dr. Gabriele Morra, also from the UL Physics department, with the title “Starting your research as an undergraduate”. It should be noted that this time slot was originally planned for a poster session for undergraduate research but given the lack of submissions (there were only two), we changed the agenda in the last minute.

The meeting was concluded with refreshments, catered by a restaurant, and by making ice cream with liquid nitrogen. A pre-prepared cream was provided, and attendees churned their own ice cream. At the same time, the two posters that were submitted were presented and discussions were had among the students.

Notes for future meetings

One major challenge we faced was reaching out to the other chapters in the zone to send invitations. Many of the email contacts were not active emails, and most of the contacts did not communicate back. To address this in the future, zone meetings should be planned several months sooner to provide enough time for communication and organization.

Another planning aspect that we should consider in the future is that most attendees only stay in the hosting location the night before the meeting, and they need to travel back on the day of the meeting. Therefore, the agenda needs to be limited to morning only sessions.