Physics students with Dr. Matthew Fleenor

Physics students with Dr. Matthew Fleenor

By Roanoke College News

Roanoke College physics students win national recognition

The Roanoke College chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) has won an Outstanding Chapter Award from the SPS National Office.

This is the first time the chapter has been recognized for its excellence as a top-tier student-led physical sciences organization, a designation given to fewer than 15 percent of all SPS chapters at colleges and universities in the United States and internationally.

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 Award recognizes 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.” 

Roanoke College physics has been recognized as a distinguished chapter by SPS nationally each year from 2016-2018.  In 2018, the chapter also received a Blake Lilly Prize for serving as eclipse ambassadors during the total solar eclipse, helping hundreds of people safely view the eclipse through telescopes at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The Outstanding Chapter Award in 2019 certainly encompasses these past and on-going accomplishments.

“We are all striving for excellence individually and building that same excellence within the community.”

Rachel Lindsay '21 and Sophie Martin '21

“When I come back to the reasons why we won the award, I am fairly overwhelmed by the student commitment to ‘science outreach’ to the next generation of aspiring young scientists,” says advisor and physics professor Dr. Matthew Fleenor. “The culminating outreach for the eclipse was just one of many events the students have planned, attended, and made excellent.”

Students in Roanoke College’s physics program are like family, say juniors Rachel Lindsay and Sophie Martin. "We may not get along all the time, but we are partnering together toward a common goal of better understanding.  We are all striving for excellence individually and building that same excellence within the community.”

The SPS chapter at Roanoke College is advised by physics professor D. Matthew Fleenor and is led by student officers. The 2019-20 officers are:  Rachel Lindsay ‘21, Razan Hamed ’21, Sophie Martin ’21, Joe Carman ‘21 and Gretchen Michaels ’20.

The Society of Physics Students (SPS) is a professional association designed for students and membership is open to anyone interested in physics and related fields. SPS operates within the American Institute of Physics (AIP), an umbrella organization for professional physical science societies.