The Scales of SPS

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The Scales of SPS


David Donnelly, SPS President

Photo by Sacha Purnell.Greetings, fellow SPS Members! Welcome to the spring issue of The SPS Observer, where we'll be discussing the different scales at which SPS operates—from its individual members and chapters up to the national level. We'll even hear from SPS members abroad and learn about the growing number of international chapters and how they epitomize this year's SPS theme, "Science Beyond Borders: Physics for All."

I think SPS embodies the motto “think globally, act locally.” The heart of SPS is its chapters, which function as its organizational units at universities, colleges, and two-year colleges. Chapters provide structure for students at those institutions and offer new ways to become professionally engaged.

At a smaller scale, each chapter is made of members. Those diverse individuals accomplish activities ranging from community outreach and field trips to career exploration and tutoring.

At a larger scale, chapters come together as geographic zones for regional meetings that feature student presentations and activities. Many zones held meetings this spring (read about them on the SPS website at Elected student and faculty representatives from each of the 18 geographic zones make up the SPS National Council, which is largely responsible for setting the course for the society.

Providing support from above is the national organization, which creates an overarching structure that is consistent from chapter to chapter. It generates and provides resources for chapter activities such as the Science Outreach Catalyst Kits (SOCKs), financial support for zone meetings, and SPS reporter awards that support undergraduate members reporting on national physics meetings for SPS publications. The national organization also provides scholarships, research awards, and travel grants for student members presenting research at meetings of the American Institute of Physics’ Member Societies.

I hope this issue helps readers to understand the structure and scale of SPS, and motivates all members to utilize the different resources the organization offers. Continue reading to find out how you as an individual SPS member can make your own unique contribution to this awesome organization. //

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