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Students Resurrect Physics Honors Society

Sigma Pi Sigma 2018The Department of Physics held its first Sigma Pi Sigma Induction Ceremony in 46 years, resurrecting the Physics Honor Society, established in 1969 but dormant since 1972. The celebration on April 27 also recognized CSU students and alumni who have demonstrated professional and academic achievements, significantly contributed to the growth of CSU’s SPS chapter, and inspired new generations of CSU physics students. 
 
Physics Chair Petru Fodor, PhD kicked-off the celebration with the state of the department, which has boasted impressive growth over the past 12 years. CSU Physics has achieved success in both graduate program acceptance rate and employment of our graduates. Recent alumni have gone on to NASA, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Cleveland Clinic, Caltech, Johns Hopkins, and Carnegie Mellon among others. This growth may be attributed to the program’s academic quality as well as research and teaching opportunities available to undergraduates in the department. Meanwhile, student engagement has flourished through CSU’s award-winning Society of Physics Students (SPS) chapter, led for the last 13 years by Dr. Kiril Streletzky (a.k.a. Dr S), SPS Faculty Advisor. 
 
Presentations by SPS Vice President Ilona Tsuper, SPS Outreach Coordinator Samantha Tietjen, and SPS Faculty Advisor/SPS Zone 7 Councilor Kiril Streletzky, PhD proceeded the induction ceremony. A priority for CSU SPS has been connecting with physics alumni, an effort that began with PhysCon: The 2016 Quadrennial Physics Congress. This year, CSU physics alumni hosted their largest reunion to date at the 2018 American Physical Society March Meeting in Los Angeles. The final step was reviving the CSU Sigma Pi Sigma chapter. Sigma Pi Sigma is the Physics Honors Society that “exists to honor outstanding scholarship in physics, to encourage interest in physics among students at all levels, to promote an attitude of service, and to provide a fellowship of persons who have excelled in physics.” The goal of the chapter is to link students and alumni who are active in industry and academia, which is especially important for physics majors nearing graduation and for students seeking research or employment experience. 
 
National SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma Director Brad Conrad, PhD officiated the Induction Ceremony with assistance from Drs. Walker, Kaufman, and Streletzky. Three new members were inducted into Sigma Pi Sigma for their academic and professional achievements in physics, significantly contributing to the growth of CSU's SPS chapter, and inspiring new generations of physics students:
 
Justin Flaherty, MS
Bachelor of Science in Physics (Honors) and Mathematics, 2016
Master of Science in Physics, 2018
CSU SPS President, 2014-2016
 
Krista Freeman, PhD
Bachelor of Science in Physics Honors, 2011
CSU SPS President, 2008-2011
PhD, Carnegie Mellon University, 2017
Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Pittsburgh
 
David Spelic, PhD
Bachelor of Science in Physics, 1985
PhD, University of Cincinnati, 1994
Physicist, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
 
 
CSU also recognized three Honorary Guests inducted into CSU Sigma Pi Sigma in 1970-1972: 
 
Noel Sargent
Bachelor of Engineering Science in Physics, 1970
US Delegate to ISO TC20 SC14, NASA-GRC
 
William Zacharias
Bachelor of Engineering Science in Physics, 1972
Master of Science in Physics, 1975
 
Michael A. Centanni, PhD
Bachelor of Engineering Science in Physics (Honors), 1973
Juris Doctor, 1983
PhD, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1977
Chief Patent Counsel, STERIS Corporation
 
 
The program concluded with student awards and recognition of SPS Chapter achievements:
 
Outstanding Physics Senior: Nicholas Barron, BS Physics (Honors)
 
2018 Research Day Undergraduate Physics Poster Award
  • 1st Place: Joshua Clark, Mixing Analysis in Serpentine Type Micromixers (Advisors: Dr. P. Fodor, Dr. M. Kaufman)
  • 2nd Place: Nickolas Barron, Reconciling Chord Length Measurements to Area Measurements of Cloud Structures (Advisors: Dr. T. Heus, Dr. S. Ryan)
  • 3rd Place: Samantha Tietjen, Characterization and Synthesis Optimization of Polymeric Microgels (Advisor: Dr. K. Streletzky)
 
2018 Undergraduate Teaching Assistant Award: Joshua Clark
 
COSHP Valedictorian, Spring 2018: Vladimir Sworski, BS Math (Honors) and Physics Minor
 
The Dr. Jennie S. Hwang 2018 Award: Aubrey Lokey, Physics and Computer Science
 
Congratulations to all!