Mines News

Release Date Monday, January 10, 2022

Mines Physics Student Organization Wins National Recognition

Members of the Society of Physics Students at Mines (from left to right) Serenity Engel, Samuel Schleich, Trevor Krason, (seated) Layne Tieszen and William Housman.

 

The South Dakota Mines chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) has won an Outstanding Chapter Award from the SPS National Office. This is the sixth year in a row the chapter has been recognized for its excellence as a top-tier student-led physical sciences organization, a designation given to fewer than 10 percent of all SPS chapters at colleges and universities in the United States and internationally.

“We are proud of our Society of Physics Students and especially their leadership, their strong sense of community and the positive impact they have on everyone interested in physics. They perform outstanding education, outreach and community service activities. It is no surprise that they have been consistently earning the highest national honors,” says Richard Schnee, Ph.D., the head of the department of physics at South Dakota Mines.

The SPS chapter at South Dakota Mines is advised by Michael Dowding, who was also a finalist for the 2019 National Outstanding Chapter Advisor, and is led by student officers including president Serenity Engel, vice president Samuel Schleich, secretary Alex Heindel and treasurer Trevor Krason. 

The letter notifying the physics department of this achievement gives Dowding high praise for his work: “when an SPS chapter is thriving and integrated into the department environment, it is often a sign of an advisor who is committed and actively engaged with their students.” The letter also states that the SPS Outstanding Chapter Award is a “testament to faculty leadership.”

Many members of SPS at Mines work on research associated with the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead. The deepest underground laboratory in the United States, SURF houses multiple experiments in areas such as dark matter, neutrino physics, biology, geology and engineering. Mines students have a unique opportunity to engage in world-class science at SURF while completing their degrees.

The Society of Physics Students 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.

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.”

Each year Mines’ SPS chapter takes part in a list of community outreach and charity activities: Punkin Chunkin, Festival of Lights Parade, Parade of Trees, Neutrino Day activities at SURF, Dark Matter Day, Rocker Night at Main Street Square, Go to Mines, MLK Food Drive, Trick or Treat for canned goods, Engineering Week, Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics, Women in Science & Engineering Conference, Mines Day at the Capitol and Charity Pig Wrestling.

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About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,493 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 97 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $68,685. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country for return on investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Contact: Mike Ray, 605-394-6082, mike.ray@sdsmt.edu