So You Want to Be an AZC?

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So You Want to Be an AZC?

Join the SPS National Council!

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The SPS National Council is looking for students to run for Associate Zone Councilor (AZC), student representative, in each of the 18 SPS geographic zones.

Nominations are due March 15.


Reflections from AZCs, past and present:

Peter Nguyen
Graduate Student, University of Florida, Gainesville; AZC from Zone 6, 2010–12; Student Representative to the SPS Executive Committee, 2011–12

My time on the SPS National Council was definitely one of the best experiences of my undergraduate career. It was great getting to meet fellow students who are just as passionate about science as I am. Even though we only spent a few days together, I made some lifelong friends among my fellow council members.

Kelby Peterson
Class of 2015, Utah State University; AZC from Zone 15, 2014–15

Being a part of the SPS National Council has given me invaluable insight into how SPS is organized. Meeting physics students from across the nation has been an awesome experience, and I now understand the foresight and thought that goes into SPS initiatives. Being on the council has also helped me figure out what I want my role to be in the greater physics community as I further my academic pursuits.

Brendan Diamond
Full-Time Teaching Faculty, Tallahassee Community College, FL; Graduate Student, Florida State University, Tallahassee; AZC from Zone 18, 2007–2009; 2008 Sigma Pi Sigma Congress Planning Committee

By becoming an AZC, I was able to help plan the 2008 Congress. I hope it inspired the next generation of physicists and leaders.

Dayton Syme
Graduate Student, Florida State University, Tallahassee; AZC from Zone 15, 2011–13

My fondest memory of being an AZC was my first visit to the headquarters of the American Institute of Physics. It was glorious to see the place where fantastic physics organizations come together to plan and build a better future for science across the United States (if not the world). Although the Society of Physics Students, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the other organizations housed in this building each have a different expertise, they share the goal of advancing physics. I got to be a part of that goal.

Richard Prince
Class of 2014, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; AZC from Zone 8, 2011–13; AZC Representative to the SPS Executive Committee, 2012–2013; 2016 Sigma Pi Sigma Congress Planning Committee

The most valuable experience I gained from being on the council was the exposure to parts of the scientific community that werenít research. Scientists have roles to play in many aspects of society, and the National Council introduced me to those other roles through such experiences as the congressional visits.

Bret Polopolus-Meredith
Graduate Student, University of Hawaii, Manoa; AZC from Zone 18, 2009–10

Being an AZC was my first experience with the dynamics of making decisions and my first experience working with a large governing body. Previously I had believed an academic career could be devoted solely to research or teaching. But now I know that how an institution operates and shares limited resources with students and faculty impacts the ability of faculty to perform quality research and teaching. My AZC experience has helped me to participate in decision-making at my institution and advocate on behalf of grad students for increased pay, security, and better work conditions.

Thanh Nguyen

Class of 2014, Cal Poly Pomona; AZC from Zone 18, 2012–13

At the 2012 Quadrennial Physics Congress, being in the same space with such minds as Freeman Dyson, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, and John Grunsfeld was a humbling, yet inspiring experience.

Amanda Palchak
Physics Instructor, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Hattiesburg; AZC from Zone 10, 2012–13

I was lucky enough to be an AZC during the year of the 2012 Quadrennial Physics Congress. Not only did I have the opportunity to hear and interview amazing speakers, but I also made lifelong friends. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I strongly encourage all SPS members to run for the position.

Kevin Cheriyan
Class of 2015, University of Maryland, College Park; AZC from Zone 3, 2013–15

Being a member of the SPS National Council has helped me realize how large and organized the professional physics community is. But the size of the community doesnít prevent the council from being receptive to undergraduatesí concerns about issues in physics education, undergraduate research, and diversity. I get a lot of pleasure out of being part of a group that affects the education of thousands of future researchers.

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