The 2017–18 SPS Guiding Priorities

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Meeting Notes - SPS Reporters at Science Conferences

The 2017–18 SPS Guiding Priorities


Samuel Borer, AZC Rep, University of Maine

Samuel Borer. Photos courtesy of the author.This past September, SPS faculty and student leaders from around the country converged at the American Center for Physics for the 2017–18 National Council Meeting. At the beginning of the academic year, the National Council meets in person to strategize and plan for the success of SPS throughout the next year. For most associate zone counselors, who serve one-year terms, it was our first time on the National Council and the meeting offered us the chance to get acquainted and form close friendships with the people we would be working alongside for the next year. For others, it was a reunion of old friends, a time to exchange cherished memories and reminisce about their histories within the organization.

The major focus of the National Council meeting was to discuss the Society of Physics Students’ guiding principles for the upcoming year. We came up with three goals for the upcoming academic year: 1. improving communication among chapters, zones, and the National Office, 2. promoting professional development, and 3. integrating diversity and inclusivity into our chapter operations.

Here’s what those goals mean. 

1. Improving communication among chapters, zones, and the National Office

No SPS chapter lives in a vacuum. One of our greatest strengths as an organization is that we connect physics majors from across the globe to each other and to the professional physics community. Through the zone system, SPS chapters have access to regional assets and a local community of physics enthusiasts. Each chapter has a connection to the National Office through its zone, where they can take advantage of national resources, scholarships, professional development opportunities, and more.

Throughout the next year, we will make an active and directed effort to reach all corners of the SPS network to establish or improve upon existing routes of communication. Establishing lines of communication that will outlive the flux of SPS chapter leadership will help us ensure we maintain contact with every chapter as they evolve and grow. This will also give every local SPS chapter unfettered access to amazing resources to enhance their chapters and improve their members’ experiences. To contact your zone councilor or associate zone councilor, visit the National Council directory at

2. Promoting professional development in our chapters

In today’s competitive job and graduate admissions climate, having a bachelor’s degree is barely enough to get your application considered. Employers and admissions committees consistently say that they want college graduates who are able to present their education, experience, and skills effectively. These are not topics commonly found in your electricity and magnetism syllabus!

This is an enormous opportunity for SPS to bridge the gap and provide our members with professional development. The National Council wants to work to find ways to encourage every local chapter to introduce more professional development into their operations. Consider holding a resume workshop, an interview prep session, networking opportunities, or graduate school application assistance. The SPS National Office, your school’s career center, and local alumni can be great partners in this effort.

3. Integrating diversity and inclusivity into our chapter operations

Scientific exploration is, at its very core, a human endeavor. It underpins who we are as a species and it knows no division. The Society of Physics Students promotes, supports, accepts, and respects everyone who wants to join our community of science-lovers.

The National Council declares that discrimination, intolerance, or hatred should not be permitted in any magnitude. We celebrate differing opinions and welcome civil discourse. We foster respect and understand the importance of working to understand those around us. Our chapters will foster an outlet for expression—an environment where every member feels safe and welcome and has resources available to them to succeed. These are values held dear by the Society of Physics Students at every level of our community. To read the SPS Statement on Diversity and Inclusivity, review

It has been an absolute honor to serve on the National Council thus far and I am looking forward to the remainder of my term. The National Council is here to help you and your chapters with anything we can, and we would love to hear from you. You can identify your National Council representatives at If you are interested in serving on the National Council, review the descriptions of open Council positions and fill out the nomination form by visiting //

The SPS National Council applauds Earl Blodgett, SPS & Sigma Pi Sigma Historian, during the 2017-18 Fall National Council Meeting. Photos courtesy of Hyun Joo Kim, AIP.

The entire SPS National Council poses outside of the American Center for Physics. Photos courtesy of Hyun Joo Kim, AIP.

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