Members of a general meeting of SPS meet
Courtesy of Orisvaldo Neto
Members of a general meeting of SPS meet
Courtesy of Orisvaldo Neto

MIT Physics Students Win National Recognition

Student-Led Physical Sciences Organization Is Honored with Award from the National Office of the Society of Physics Students as an Outstanding Chapter

The MIT chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) has won an Outstanding Chapter Award from the SPS National Office, its first time receiving this award. This is the highest level of distinction given to SPS chapters and is received by less than 15% of our top chapters annually, with just 73 of over 800 chapters so honored this 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 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.”

Last year, the MIT SPS chapter expanded its chapter leadership to include a lower-commitment “staffer” position, which resulted in the addition of 20 new staffers, many of them first-years, to its leadership. Throughout the year, the SPS leadership led and organized community events such as faculty dinners with MIT professors, Campus Preview Weekend events showcasing the chapter to prospective undergraduates, and the GAPS workshop to prepare seniors to apply to grad school.

The chapter hosted a career workshop by National Director of SPS Dr. Brad Conrad, several Minority Meetups, and a PRISM conference (an undergraduate research conference at MIT). It crafted and advocated for the implementation of a mid-semester course feedback form, and drafted academic resources such as a UROP (undergraduate research) guide and the Academic Handbook as a resource for undergraduates in the department.

“We are truly honored to be recognized with such a high honor,” says Chapter Vice President Chirag Falor. “Last year has been very successful in the MIT SPS journey, and we are excited to continue our work in the years to come.”

The MIT SPS chapter is a student-led physical sciences organization advised by faculty undergraduate coordinator Joe Checkelsky. The 2022-2023 officers are:

  • President: Hillary Andales ’23
  • Vice President: Chirag Falor ’24
  • Treasurer/Secretary: Laura Cui ’23
  • Career Chair: Hope Fu ’24
  • Career Chair: Sanjay Raman ’23
  • Social Chair: Orisvaldo Neto ’23
  • Social Chair: Karen Lei ’25
  • Advocacy Chair: Sahil Pontula ’23
  • Outreach Chair: Linh Nguyen ’24
  • Webmaster: Richard Luhtaru ’23
SPS executives sit/pose around table
SPS executives (from left to right): Sanjay Raman, Karen Lei, Orisvaldo Neto, Sahil Pontula, Hillary Andales, Linh Nguyen, Hope Fu, Richard Luhtaru, Chirag Falor. Courtesy of MIT SPS.

“Our SPS chapter has done fantastic and important work on so many fronts,” says Checkelsky. “The enthusiasm and skill the group brings to these efforts, including with physics research, education, mentorship, and interacting with so many people inside and outside of our department, is truly inspiring.”

Added Department of Physics Academic Administrator Shannon Larkin, “I am extremely proud and utterly unsurprised.”

SPS operates within the American Institute of Physics (AIP), an umbrella organization for professional physical science societies.