The University of Mississippi Hosts Zone 10’s 2018 Meeting

Zone Meeting Reports

The University of Mississippi Hosts Zone 10’s 2018 Meeting

Carolton Tippitt, SPS Member, University of Mississippi

The first day’s events were very casual. The SPS groups from colleges in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and some of Tennessee  arrived around 4 p.m. We socialized, and a  few hours later, dinner was ready. We ate some delicious hamburgers and veggie burgers as well as a variety of chips and sodas while continuing to get to know each other.

Around 7 p.m., the main event of the night was ready. The students filed into Lewis Hall’s large lecture hall to watch a presentation on LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. Dr. Marco Cavaglià, a member of the LIGO team and a professor at the university, led the presentation and held a short Q&A after the viewing. Afterward, some of the students returned to their hotels, but most stayed in Lewis Hall to play music and board games, most notably, Cards Against Humanity.

The next day, the students reunited to continue the meeting. During this day, they learned a lot about graduate school and life after graduate school.

A few panels were held throughout the day. In one of them students learned about what graduate schools look for in applicants. Others included representatives from universities within Zone 10 and talks on fundraising, outreach, and the importance of minorities in physics. There were also tours of the National Center for Physical Acoustics.

Dr. Breese Quinn gave the keynote speech around noon. Dr. Quinn, who has years of experience lobbying for grants and budget inclusion for physics study, explained the process of lobbying Congress. He also detailed the importance of lobbying, showing that it gets results. Afterward, some students and faculty members presented their research, and we had lunch.

Finally, each chapter presented their yearly events and progress. For many of us, this was a great way to improve our respective chapters. Many of the chapters had hosted unique events, but there were also reports of similar events, for example, witnessing the solar eclipse in August. We concluded by asking for nominations for zone counselors.

This year’s Zone 10 meeting was very beneficial for all of those involved. It was a great opportunity for different schools to share what helped them through the year. Everyone is already excited for next year’s zone meeting—it will be a blast!


Ole Miss SPS officers Carolton Tippitt and Renee Sullivan-Gonzalez making liquid nitrogen frozen marshmallows during the Zone 10 meeting. Photo by William Slaton.

Zone meetings are an opportunity for SPS members and chapters to engage with other undergraduate students and advisors within their geographical region. These meetings often combine a fun and informal platform for students to network while also enabling students to present their research, interact with relevant speakers, visit local labs, and participate in other engaging activities. Each SPS zone meeting takes on a unique style and culture, shaped largely by the traditions of the schools in that region.

To support the meeting agenda and enable student travel, SPS National offers zone meeting funding. Upon receipt of that funding, the zone must submit a report. The following reports highlight two zone meetings (zones 10 and 17) that occurred in the 2017–18 academic year.
To learn more about SPS zone meetings, visit