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Welcome Back!

A Letter from the Newly Elected SPS President


DJ Wagner, President of the Society of Physics Students, Professor of physics at Grove City College, PA

 SPS President DJ Wagner makes liquid nitrogen ice cream during a chapter meeting at Grove City College. Photo courtesy of DJ Wagner.

Greetings, and welcome back to another exciting year of physics! I am thrilled to be the new president of SPS and am looking forward to working with SPS members, advisors, and student leaders over the next two years as SPS continues to grow and make a positive impact on the undergraduate physics community. I am currently the chapter advisor at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, but my journey with SPS began when I was a sophomore at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA. A classmate revitalized our chapter and convinced me to join in the fun. We presented outreach activities at local schools, and I believe that we made a difference in our department. I knew then that SPS was cool, but little did I know where the SPS journey would take me! I knew that it had made an impact on my life, so I have continued my commitment to SPS throughout my career. Now I have the honor of taking the reigns as SPS president. And I have seen as a faculty advisor that SPS is still cool, and still making a difference in departments!

SPS is instrumental in the lives of many students and departments across the nation and even in some international schools, but there is always more that we can do to make a difference for students. I would love to see even more interaction between chapters, whether through increased zone meeting attendance or more shared events between nearby chapters.

SPS is the place where we begin our professional networks—Who knows? . . . That student at the college down the road may be your collaborator (or employee!) someday. Start expanding your network now by inviting a nearby chapter to your next event. Be sure to share your chapter’s events and ideas in your annual chapter report and look for ideas in others’ chapter reports. Start the year with a commitment to keep a good record of your activities. If you begin the document now and update it after every event, submitting it in June will be a lot easier.

Who knows where your journey with SPS will take you? To a local zone meeting? To Washington, DC, as an SPS summer intern? To local schools to practice physics with a fun outreach event? To a national meeting of one of the AIP Member Societies? Or even to the awesome 2016 Sigma Pi Sigma Congress in San Jose, CA? Will you decide to run for election to serve on the SPS National Council, or write about your research and earn a trip to the International Conference of Physics Students? SPS can help you get to each of these places, so consider applying for one or more of the numerous awards we offer thanks to our generous donors.

I hope you have a great year. Stay active in SPS and think lots of happy physics thoughts! //

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