APS News

Halsted Returns to Roots

Halsted Returns to Roots in Ridge

Amy Halsted
Amy Halsted

APS Headquarters in College Park lost one of its most valued employees in February. Amy Halsted, staff administrator to the APS Council and Executive Board since 1993, left that position to become special assistant to APS Editor-in-Chief Martin Blume at the APS Publications Office in Ridge, New York.

A 1979 graduate of the University of Connecticut at Storrs, Halsted joined the APS 11 years ago, when the headquarters office was still located in New York City. She confesses to feeling a bit intimidated initially by the esoteric environment - not to mention the plethora of acronyms for the Society's innumerable units, publications, and committees. A turning point came during an administrative meeting, when her attention strayed down the table at a volunteer committee member. "His concentration had also lapsed, and I watched him holding a clear plastic cup half- full of water, tipping and rotating it slowly before his eyes and watching the surface remain level as the water assumed the changing shape of its container," she says. "At that moment I began to understand the nature of physicists."

Halsted began as a staff liaison to five committees charged with monitoring non-technical issues in physics, and also began writing a monthly page of Society news for Physics Today magazine, crediting then-Senior-Editor Bill Sweet with teaching her the ropes of basic reporting. In 1991 she became administrator for the newly formed Department of International Scientific Affairs under Irving Lerch, another personal mentor, and found herself grappling with human rights and other global issues. Former APS Treasurer Harry Lustig, APS Executive Officer Judy Franz and Associate Executive Officer Barrie Ripin are among the others who have significantly influenced her during her tenure with the APS.

That same year, Halsted took advantage of the Society's tuition reimbursement program to earn her Master's degree in public administration, completed in 1993; she wrote her thesis on the APS decision to relocate to College Park, Maryland. She chose to move with the Society, and has not regretted her decision, although "I never really warmed up to Washington," she confesses, despite her job satisfaction and the opportunity to purchase her first house. "It's always reminded me of tofu: extremely nutritious and totally lacking in flavor."

Halsted's new position will enable her to return to the region she loves, and also to create many of her own job responsibilities, although she will continue to support the Publications Oversight Committee, and will assist Blume with numerous other projects.

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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette