Letter from the Chair - 2016

Dear SESAPS Members,

Welcome to the APS webpage for the Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society. SESAPS is a vibrant, regional physics organization that is free to join once you are a member of the APS. In addition to your access to the various benefits of SESAPS membership, SESAPS receives funds from the APS for every member who joins our organization. This funding allows us, for example, to cover travel support for SESAPS students who make presentations at SESAPS annual meetings. Your membership is important and supports the development of future physicists in the region.

SESAPS also serves a vital role in our research and educational community. As an undergraduate, I attended Middle Tennessee State University, which, at that time, was a small predominantly undergraduate institution. I then received my M.S. and Ph.D. from Indiana University in Nuclear Physics and was exposed to the large university research environment for the first time. There are benefits and drawbacks to both large and small institutions. At larger institutions, the individual support and attention that students often receive at the smaller schools is sometimes sacrificed for greater research opportunities. Meanwhile, networking opportunities among students and faculty are often curtailed at smaller institutions by virtue of their smaller faculty and student populations. SESAPS is a unique organization to provide a solution to these difficulties.

Now, as a Professor at a primarily undergraduate, four-year, comprehensive university, I have been able to see and appreciate the importance of SESAPS in the development of the next generation of physicists. SESAPS provides a unique regional networking opportunity for both physicists and students. Its well-organized meetings provide undergraduate research students a professional venue at which their work can be presented and discussed with experts in the field. This opportunity to interact with and observe students and faculty from other institutions helps to broaden students’ understanding of the field and their place within it. For primarily undergraduate institutions with relatively little available travel and research support, these relatively nearby meetings and other off-campus research experiences are vital to prepare students for the next step in their academic careers.

SESAPS is a great organization with a bright future and an important mission. I encourage you to maintain your membership and to find others to join the organization.

Dr. Mark C. Spraker, Chair
the Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society
Professor of Physics
the University of North Georgia