The Texas A&M University chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) has been recognized by the association’s national office as a 2020-2021 SPS Distinguished Chapter.
Texas A&M’s SPS chapter, housed within the Department of Physics and Astronomy and advised by Associate Department Head for Undergraduate Programs Dr. Alexey Belyanin, was recognized for the second consecutive year and second time in its history for its excellence as a top-tier student-led physical sciences organization among the hundreds of chapters located at colleges and universities across the United States and internationally.
“We at the SPS National Office want to take this opportunity to commend and applaud you for your tireless efforts to enrich the SPS community,” said Dr. Brad R. Conrad, director of SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma. “It is because of your dedication and commitment to the SPS mission and vision that we are able to foster such a strong SPS community. We are consistently amazed each year at how much time, energy, and effort everyone devotes to their departments and local communities.”
As a professional association designed for students, SPS membership is open to anyone interested in physics and related fields. SPS operates within the American Institute of Physics, an umbrella organization for professional physical science societies.
Each year, SPS chapters are evaluated on their level of interaction with the campus community, the professional physics community, the public and with SPS national programs. The Outstanding Chapter Awards recognize high levels of outreach as well as unique approaches to fulfilling the mission of SPS to “help students transform themselves into contributing members of the professional community.”
Texas A&M’s SPS chapter is an officially recognized student organization that seeks to provide opportunities for physics majors and enthusiasts to gather and share ideas, have fun, and organize local outreach and volunteer events that demonstrate science. Members are highly active within the department, participating in the DEEP (Discover, Explore and Enjoy Physics and Engineering) Program, the annual Texas A&M Physics and Engineering Festival, Just Add Science, Game Day Physics and the Real Physics Live educational video series, along with other community-oriented activities and experiential learning programs.
“We have a very active chapter, with weekly meetings, guest lecturers, career panels, a social program and, of course, numerous outreach activities,” Belyanin said. “Perhaps even more importantly, the SPS plays a crucial role in creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere for undergraduate students in the department and helps them connect with their peers, graduate students and faculty. Senior SPS members even teach a freshman seminar.
“The chapter is run entirely by students. The SPS leadership team managed to run a very active program in school year 2020-2021 despite COVID restrictions. This fall, we are back with a full spectrum of events and activities overseen by the current 2021-2022 president, Nathan Valadez ’22.”
“The Texas A&M SPS chapter did it again,” said Dr. Grigory Rogachev, professor and head of Texas A&M Physics and Astronomy. “This winning streak of getting the SPS award for the second consecutive year is a great testament to the dedication and hard work that our majors put into the activities of our chapter and broader community. The welcoming and supportive environment created by the chapter provides a tremendous help to our majors in navigating an exciting but always challenging world of academic studies in physics and astronomy. Congratulations again to all members of Texas A&M SPS chapter. I thank the chapter’s leadership team and its faculty advisor, Dr. Belyanin.”