Introducing the Newest Sigma Pi Sigma Chapters

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Chapter Profile

Introducing the Newest Sigma Pi Sigma Chapters


Kendra Redmond, Contributing Editor

High Point University in North Carolina
Although its physics degree program is less than 10 years old, High Point University has an active physics department. “Because we are a new department, we have been very intentional about public outreach, undergraduate research, and developing a strong sense of community among students and faculty,” says advisor Aaron Titus. In their largest outreach event, HPUniverse Day, the department shares physics and astronomy with approximately 1,000 visitors from the community. High Point’s Sigma Pi Sigma installation followed a session of student research presentations, creating a day-long celebration of research, academic achievements, and community service.

High Point University physics department chair Dr. Aaron Titus sending off last year’s SPS president, Alan Vasquez. Photo courtesy of the HPU Department of Physics.

Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire
Saint Anselm College hosted its installation on May 4th, because, explains advisor Nicole Gugliucci, “we’re geeks.” It’s been a busy year in the department. “Our students were looking for an opportunity to expand their professional skills and connect with each other outside of classes. So, over this past year, they came together to form our first Society of Physics Students chapter,” she says. “With SPS up and running, there was also a desire to get a Sigma Pi Sigma chapter running as well. We did have to hustle a bit to make sure we got all our inductions in before our seniors graduated!”

Induction materials from the installation of the Saint Anselm College Sigma Pi Sigma chapter. Photo courtesy of Brad Conrad.

University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Renewed)
“Our primary goal as a chapter is to focus on the career development of the undergraduate students,” explains advisor Jason Steffen. Meetings focus on opportunities in internships and scholarships, research, career preparation, and public outreach. “We believe that reintroducing the honor society will provide students with an objective to strive for—motivating them to work hard to achieve their educational goals,” he says. The chapter is planning to explore a number of projects, including talks by potential employers, research presentations, and outreach events, in order to find their niche in the department.

 A group photo of the University of Nevada Sigma Pi Sigma chapter. Photo by Jason Steffen.

Wofford College in South Carolina
“Our physics department is a close-knit group of dedicated, hardworking students,” says Wofford College’s chapter advisor Carolyn Martsberger. “Many of them are leaders on campus and take initiative on projects both within and outside of our department.” Through its Sigma Pi Sigma chapter, the department plans to increase its community outreach activities to local schools. In addition, says Martsberger, the honor society represents a new level of professionalism. Next fall, members will be participating in an alumni interviewing exercise to learn about the different careers of physics graduates.

The Wofford College SPS chapter participates in the Terrier Play Day event held each spring. The event brings local elementary school children to campus for a safe and fun place to play. In this photo, two SPS members work with attendees to launch air rockets. Photo by Mark Olencki.


NEW - Alumni Engagement Program

A founding pillar of Sigma Pi Sigma is community fellowship: on campus, off campus, and among students and alumni. A fantastic way to bring together students and alumni is to invite Sigma Pi Sigma members to participate in chapter induction ceremonies and/or department talks. This fall, SPS National will launch a new way for chapters to connect with Sigma Pi Sigma members—the Alumni Engagement Program. Through this program, alumni can volunteer as guest speakers, informational interviewees, job shadow hosts, or Adopt-a-Physicist volunteers. Virtual and in-person opportunities will be available!

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