SPS Zone Meeting
April 21, 2023 to April 22, 2023
San Diego, CAMeeting host: By:
Faith PoutoaSPS Chapter:
This past spring, the SDSU SPS chapter hosted its inaugural zone meeting! The zone meeting was a free two-day conference that was also open to the public. The meeting was funded by San Diego State University’s Associated Student Body as well as the Physics department funds. The first night consisted of a reception followed by a talk given by keynote speaker Dr. Alex Frano of UCSD. This public colloquium is a yearly tradition within the SDSU physics department in honor of the late Richard ‘Doc’ Morris. He is a legendary professor and researcher in the history of the California State University system.
Dr. Frano gave a wonderful presentation on “How the ‘quantumness’ of electrons in materials can lead us to a machine that works like the brain”. The lecture lasted an hour and a half, with thirty minutes left for questions. Dr. Frano had even brought a demonstration revolving around the relationship between quantum materials and superconductors.
Day two of the zone meeting was filled with programs and activities for SPS-ers. The meeting began with a luncheon for people to mingle and get to know each other before starting the program.
Following the luncheon was a session of research talks given by undergraduates. There were a total of four presentations, all of which covered a range of fascinating topics in physics and engineering. Each presentation was roughly 10 minutes long, with 5 minutes for questions.
After the undergraduate talks was a graduate student panel, where SDSU physics and astronomy Master’s students shared their experiences as grad students. This wonderful panel was able to offer their insights and advice on prioritizing mental health, how to pick what track/avenue may best suit your needs, the difference between undergrad and graduate level research, and much more.
The program then continued with an Imposter Syndrome workshop given by the SDSU SPS co-president, Ky Putnam. The workshop primarily focused on recognizing that everybody experiences some form of imposter syndrome and how to identify ways to handle mental roadblocks. Ky then led a powerful discussion where participants shared their personal experiences. This discussion opened the door for many people’s journey to overcome their case of imposter syndrome.
The zone meeting wrapped up with a ‘fireside chat’ with SDSU professor Dr. Matt Anderson. The remaining participants were able to get first-hand insight into what the journey from undergrad to full-tenure professor may look like. Dr. Anderson talked about his illustrious career, from his humble beginnings an undergrad to his famous YouTube channel and research career.
The SDSU SPS zone meeting was incredibly successful and was met with great reviews from the participants. Hopefully, this will be one of many to come.