SPS SOCK & the NIST Summer Institute Intern
Society of Physics Students
Equipping SPS Chapters to do Science Outreach
The Society of Physics Students is a professional association explicitly designed for students and to help them become contributing members of the professional community. SPS Science Outreach Catalyst Kits (SOCKs) contain hands-on exploratory physics and science activities specifically designed for SPS chapters to use in outreach presentations to local elementary, middle, and high school students.
Zakary and fellow SPS intern Jacob are creating and testing a set of core activities for this year's SOCK and writing instructions for lessons and demonstrations. They will also use the activities with the NIST Summer Institute for Middle School Science Teachers.
My primary goal over the summer, along with Jacob Robertson, has been to develop a number of outreach demonstrations in an effort to make outreach a more viable and accessible method for chapters to interact with their local communities. I aim to specifically detail what SPS chapters stand to gain from performing outreach as well as what factors are working in their favor and what we as SPS may do to alleviate issues they may have. In my presentation, I outline how outreach affects the public, educational, and academic spheres, as well as chapter relations with the national office. In addition, I report on my experiences at the NIST teacher’s institute and AAPT’s two-year college committee in Cincinnati to communicate the feedback we have received on our work already and what can be further done to propagate the benefits that science outreach brings.
I am currently a third-year physics major at Lamar University. I also hold an Associate of Science degree in physics from Lee college. I began making contributions to physics when I assisted my professor, Dr. Tom O’Kuma, in creating new lab materials using Vpython, a visual shell for the python programming language. I was granted the opportunity of sharing my experiences at the local joint section meeting of AAPT, SPS, and APS when it was being hosted at Lee. Since then, the Society of Physics Students has been an integral part of my involvement with my physics community both locally and nationally. My ultimate goal is to move on to graduate school with the help of my amazing mentors and become a PHD holder myself.
I was born in raised in Baytown, Texas, outside of Houston. I grew up learning a lot about ground control in the Apollo missions and was fortunate enough to spend lots of time at the Johnson Space Center. As a result, I love learning about space and the cosmos, especially as it relates to humankind’s ever persistent drive to delve deeper into the unknown and explore firsthand frontiers that lie farther and farther away from our cozy little home planet. I am an active member of my university’s SPS chapter and I love being able to share my interest in physics and the sciences with my fellow students.