Zone 3 Meeting

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SPS Zone Meeting

April 7, 2019

Rutgers University, New Brunswick

Meeting host:

Society of Physics Students


Alyson Brooks

SPS Chapter:

The Spring 2019 Zone 3 Meeting, hosted by RU and NJIT, started off with a relaxed and social coffee and breakfast. This time was mainly used as a buffer for participants to sign in and take a breather after their long travels. The breakfast food consisted of bagels, muffins, and coffee, all which were provided by Gerlanda’s Cafe. Everyone was also able to chat and get to know each other during this period of time.

The next portion of the event was research presentations. There were three undergraduate student presentations in Condensed Matter, High Energy, and Astrophysics. The presentations were concise enough to allow students not familiar with the field(s) to participate in post-discussions, and were also detailed to allow deeper inquiries into the research presentations.

We held the diversity panel right afterwards. With four graduate students on the panel, we were able to generate a lot of impactful discussions on the issues and discrimination that physics students face. The panelists were able to bring about their own experiences to give advice to undergraduate students as well bring to light their own cases where they faced discrimination.

Afterwards, we transitioned into the physics tour; we planned to take half of the students to the observatory and the other half of the students to the clean room. However, one of the diversity panelists volunteered to take some students to the biophysics lab as well!

We then proceeded to serve lunch, which were meat and vegetarian options of subs from Gerlanda again. We bought liters of soda and bottles of water beforehand, which was a cheaper option that buying cans of soda.

Brad Conrad gave his Physics Career Toolbox talk right afterwards. He gave a lot of advice on physics careers from academia to industry and we were also able to hold various team-building exercises as well.

Peter Taylor, a medical physicist from Hostraf University and our keynote speaker, gave his talk on the impact and advancement of medical physics and the work he has been doing so far. He talked a lot about the different types of scanning techniques used in medical physics today and the short and long term effects they have on patients and their recoveries. 

For our industry panel, we had a food scientist, Kirtley Karpodinis, and an engineer, Brian Ellsworth, to participate as panelists. Both panelists fared from a physics background, and they talked about their journey after graduating and their decisions in between industry and academia. 

We took a break to take a gigantic group photo right after our industry panel. Our next event was the graduate school panel, hosted by one of the Rutgers graduate students. She talked about the planning and preparation that goes up to and during the applications for graduate school.

One of our own undergraduate students gave the next talk about technology in physics in the modern world. She went over software and hardware used in different fields of physics.

For our next event, we held a spaghetti and marshmallow team building event while serving dinner, which was pizza from Gerlanda’s. It was fun and competitive and gave people a chance to breathe after the day’s events.

Next up, we hosted a trivia night with prizes donated by Brad Conrad! Our final event was an observatory night, which was set up by one of our undergraduate astrophysics students.

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