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Physics students tapped Outstanding Chapter

LU SPS groupThe Society of Physics Students national branch has awarded Lamar University’s Sigma Pi Sigma chapter as an "Outstanding Chapter Award for 2016."  

“This is a great way to finish an exciting year with many SPS activities,” said SPS advisor Cristian Bahrim.

“It is the second time we have received this most important chapter award from the SPS National Organization.” Lamar first received the honor in 2014. 

Lamar University is in SPS’s zone 13 and received the honor alongside student chapters at Abilene Christian University, Angelo State University, Baylor University, Texas Lutheran University, Texas State University and UT Rio Grande Valley West.

Pickren and Townley-Smith“Congratulations to our SPS members and in particular to Keeley Townley-Smith, former SPS - Lamar president, current SPS president John Pickren, vice president Suzanne Wheeler and treasurer Jamie Stafford,” Bahrim said. The students compiled a 55-page report with LU’s SPS activities during the 2015-16 academic year.  

“Their accomplishments, as well as the accomplishments of their peers, made this award possible,” he said.   

Criteria for chapter recognition in each zone includes involvement in local, zone and national SPS meetings and other professional meetings, participation in SPS programs, outreach efforts to the grades K-12 or the general public, community service, contributions to student recruitment and retention, participation in social events, and interactions with the department's alumni.

Also, after Townley-Smith graduated in May 2016 and departed for the University of Rochester to continue her studies, Wheeler became team leader on LU’s SPS Chapter Research Award for 2016 “Finding the shape of Glowing Objects from Polarimetric Measurements,” Bahrim said.

“Receiving the outstanding chapter award is a huge honor,” Wheeler said. “We worked extremely hard to improve our chapter and SPS recognized that.”

Townley-Smith presenting“This research award was one of our important credentials in receiving the 2016 Outstanding SPS Chapter Award,” he said. “Another aspect that certainly helped in receiving this recognition was the organization a very successful physics conference in Spring 2016 where our SPS Zone 13 co-hosted the event.”

Founded in 1921, Sigma Pi Sigma is a member honor society of the Association of College Honor Societies. The society has more than 75,000 historical members. Election to Sigma Pi Sigma is a lifetime membership.

The Society of Physics Students (SPS) was formed in 1968 with the union of Sigma Pi Sigma and the AIP Student Sections. Today Sigma Pi Sigma is housed within the SPS.

Sigma Pi Sigma exists to honor outstanding scholarship in physics; to encourage interest in physics among students at all levels; to promote an attitude of service of its members towards their fellow students, colleagues, and the public; to provide a fellowship of persons who have excelled in physics. Through the four dimensions of honor, encouragement, service, and fellowship, the mission of Sigma Pi Sigma takes a longer view.