Austin Peay State University
SPS SOCK (Science Outreach Catalyst Kit) Intern
Society of Physics Students
Equipping SPS Chapters to do Science Outreach
The Society of Physics Students is a professional association explicitly designed for students, designed to help students transform themselves into contributing members of the professional community. SPS Science Outreach Catalyst Kits, or SOCKs, contain hands-on exploratory physics and science activities specifically designed for SPS chapters to use in outreach presentations to local elementary, middle and high school students.
Jacob and fellow SPS intern Zakary are creating and testing a set of core activities for this year's SOCK and writing instructions for lessons and demonstrations. They will also use the activities with the NIST Summer Institute for Middle School Science Teachers.
The benefits of science outreach are not limited to the public. By performing outreach, undergraduate students develop skills necessary for a successful career. Interacting with the public improves interpersonal skills and creates community relationships. Students further develop their own understanding by explaining science to the public. To enable our members to experience science outreach skill-building, SPS National has created online outreach resources in addition to taking a new approach to the Science Outreach Catalyst Kit.
I am a senior physics major at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. Since 2016 I have interned with the Dark Energy Survey at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, where I support the survey science groups by assisting with data calibrations. In addition to my astronomy research, I am a member of my university's High Altitude Ballooning Team, and I regularly launch balloons into the stratosphere.
Outside of my studies, I am active in physics outreach with my local SPS chapter. Recently, I worked with the College of Science and Mathematics to prepare for the upcoming total solar eclipse. I am also interested in science policy, and drafted legislation that was adapted and sponsored by my state representative. I am interested in using science outreach and policy to narrow the gap between scientists and the public.