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An Attitude of Service
Letters and Feedback
An Attitude of Service
Andrew Zeidell, Assistant Director of Sigma Pi Sigma
“To develop and maintain an attitude of service” is a phrase we all uttered as we took the charge to become members of Sigma Pi Sigma. This charge, based on the mission of Sigma Pi Sigma, means that with the recognition of accomplishment comes the responsibility to serve.
Many of us embodied an attitude of service while leaders in SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma chapters, mentoring classmates, or doing public outreach or advocacy. Some have taken the ethos of service to the heart of their careers and made it the practice of their profession. Some serve by investing in students or volunteering at outreach events, even as they move through their own careers. However we maintain that attitude, we all share a set of values that guide and motivate our service to the physics and astronomy community, and beyond. This dedication to service is foundational to the society.
To encourage a continued attitude of service, here are a few ideas for how Sigma Pi Sigma members can serve the community.
At the national level, Sigma Pi Sigma members can help ensure that the United States has sound science policies. Whether this is by pursuing a career in public service, visiting Congress to share information on issues, or finding volunteer opportunities with organizations like the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), our expertise and educational background can be powerful tools for impacting society and the future of science.
Another way to contribute at the national level, yet with a uniquely local impact, is to volunteer for the Adopt-a-Physicist program. Adopt-a-Physicist, run by Sigma Pi Sigma and the American Association of Physics Teachers, connects high school physics, astronomy, and general science classrooms to Sigma Pi Sigma members. For three weeks each fall, members share their stories with students from around the United States and abroad, encouraging their interest in science and awareness of its impact.
Locally, Sigma Pi Sigma members can serve by advocating for science education and science-based policies in their community, getting involved in science outreach projects, and mentoring individual students or teams. Whether it is by serving as judges at regional science fairs or science Olympiads, coaching Science Bowl teams, or volunteering at local outreach events, science professionals can give a profound boost to student confidence. Contacting your local Sigma Pi Sigma or SPS chapter, or a local astronomy or science club, can be a great way to get involved in groups that consistently hold events. These initiatives provide key opportunities for local communities to learn more about physics and astronomy.
Within Sigma Pi Sigma and SPS
Within our Sigma Pi Sigma and SPS community, there are many opportunities to serve. The Physics Congress is a big one that happens every three years. It is truly only possible because of the dedicated efforts of many Sigma Pi Sigma volunteers. From plenary speakers to those running around setting up workshops, they are everywhere. If you’re local to a congress, Lunch with the Scientists is a great opportunity to share a meal with aspiring physicists and astronomers, swap stories, and provide encouragement to them. The 2025 Physics Congress will take place October 30–November 1 in Denver, Colorado, and volunteer opportunities will be posted on the Sigma Pi Sigma website as the event approaches.
Another opportunity to give back is through the Alumni Engagement Program, which enables SPS chapters to reach out to alumni members of SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma for mentoring, to serve on panels, and to attend induction ceremonies, colloquia, and outreach events. If you are interested in putting your name into the hat, make sure to stop by our website and fill out the form.
If donating time is not something you can do now, you can still give back in the form of a gift that supports and encourages students through scholarships, career resources, and professional development. For more information, visit foundation.aip.org/student-programs.html.
By maintaining a service-oriented approach throughout our lives, we can demonstrate the exceptional standards of membership in Sigma Pi Sigma. Our schools, departments, and society will be aware that we value the pursuit of excellence and enthusiastically support future generations of science-educated professionals. When Sigma Pi Sigma members serve others at any level, we build a sense of community and fellowship, and the society’s impact spreads well beyond its membership count.
Get Support for Inductions and Chapter Activities
Sigma Pi Sigma Chapter Project Awards of up to $500 are awarded to chapters to support inductions or other engaging activities that include alums or promote Sigma Pi Sigma on campus or to the public. Learn more at sigmapisigma.org/sigmapisigma/awards/chapter-project.
Be a Resource for SPS Chapters
Join the SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma Alumni Engagement Program—a database of participants willing to be speakers, panelists, tour guides, and mentors for SPS chapters. Learn more at spsnational.org/programs/alumni-engagement.