2023 Student Achievements
Many thanks to all who were able to come to last weekend’s Sigma Pi Sigma banquet and celebrate some of our students’ many accomplishments over the past year. Here is a summary of the program for those who could not be there.
- Isaiah Beauchamp and Sebastian Miracle began the presentations by describing a few recent activities of the Society of Physics Students, including helping with the Physics Olympics, taking part in the new White Squirrel Arts Festival downown and the Earth Day fair at WKU, and hosting the always-popular Fall and Spring picnics in city parks; also featured were the amazing restorative properties of the SPS room.
- Following this, Chloe Jones touted the many undertakings of the Women in Physics club in the past year, which included participating in the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics, the herSTORY@WKU outreach event at the Kentucky Museum, the Ogden College Ice Cream Social, pumpkin painting, and all-important study nights for physics students.
- Then Galilea Ochoa-Vinalay introduced the officers in the Hilltopper Astronomy Club and highlighted its numerous efforts, like Solar observing at WKU and White Squirrel, separate star parties at Mammoth Cave and in Warren County with Lincoln Elementary School students, Trunk or Treat outreach, movie nights, and gift exchanges.
- After these club overviews, several student awards were announced. First, Dr. McGruder presented this year’s Quantum Leap Achievement Award to rising physics majors Leah Hartman, Kelly Humphrey, Ethan Kelly, Hannah Kramer, Aaron Masden, Travis Oliver, and Simon Shepard, who have all completed their demanding initial physics training are now transitioning to upper-level courses and advising tailored to their professional interests. Way to go, everyone!
- Dr. Harper then presented this year’s Departmental awards, two of which were tied! We are very proud of these students:
- Lars Hebenstiel, George V. and Sadie Skiles Page Award for Excellence in Scholarship
- Chloe Jones, George V. and Sadie Skiles Page Award for Excellence in Scholarship
- Chloe Jones, Dr. Randall Harper Award for Outstanding Research
- Ethan Poore, Dr. Randall Harper Award for Outstanding Research
- Isaiah Beauchamp, Dr. Douglas Humphrey Award for Outstanding Service
- Next we turned to the topic of Sigma Pi Sigma, the national physics honor society. First, Travis Oliver gave an overview of the History of Sigma Pi Sigma at WKU.
- Following this introduction, Dr. Brown gave a delightful and inspiring Charge to New Sigma Pi Sigma Members on the “magic” of physics.
- Finally, Dr. Gibson presented this year’s inductees to the select ranks of Sigma Pi Sigma: Isaiah Alvarez, Chloe Jones, Hannah Kramer, and Galilea Ochoa-Vinalay. A round of applause for our newest members!
- Dr. Harper then outlined Departmental scholarships granted in the past academic year, many named in honor of alumni and emeritus faculty: the Department of Physics & Astronomy Scholarship to Travis Oliver, the George and Sadie Page Scholarship to Isaiah Beauchamp and Simon Shepard, the Paul Campbell Scholarship to Alli Hunt and Sebastian Miracle, the Dr. Robert Hall Scholarship to Isaiah Beauchamp, the Randall Harper Scholarship to William Brunt and Hudson Harner, the Madole Family Fund Scholarship to Ethan Poore, the George C. Moore Scholarship to Joseph Goss, the Dr. Marvin Russell Scholarship to Isaiah Alvarez, and the Sarah and Mark Rogers Scholarship to Chloe Jones and Hannah Kramer.
- Concluding the awards portion of the program, Dr. Er announced our graduating physics majors: Isaiah Beauchamp, Hudson Harner, Lars Hebenstiel, Chloe Jones, Austin Lobe, Sebastian Miracle, and Ethan Poore, all in May 2023. We wish them all the best!
- To wrap up the evening, outgoing SPS president Isaiah Beauchamp introduced the SPS officers for 2023-2024: President Isaiah Alvarez, Vice President William Brunt, Treasurer Kelly Humphrey, and Secretary Travis Oliver.
- New SPS president Isaiah Alvarez then sketched out his vision for the SPS in the coming year: onward and upward!
Please join me in congratulating our fine students on their many accomplishments. Best wishes to everyone for a safe and relaxing summer break!