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Randolph College Physics Students Win National Award

LYNCHBURG – Randolph College’s chapter of the Society of Physics Students has once again received national recognition. The national Society of Physics Students (SPS) named Randolph College as an Outstanding Chapter for 2008-09. Peter Sheldon, physics professor and advisor, was also named a finalist for Outstanding Chapter Advisor.

The national organization announced the awards in December. Randolph College is one of about 60 schools recognized from the about 700 members of the SPS. Virginia Tech was the only other Virginia school to receive the honor. Randolph College’s SPS chapter is no stranger to this honor. The student group has received the award for 2004-05, 2005-06, and 2007-08.

The national SPS bases the decision on the depth and breadth of each chapter’s efforts to provide community outreach promoting science, involvement in research and conferences, and other activities throughout campus.

Randolph College’s chapter won the 2008 Blake Lilly Prize (http://www.spsnational.org/programs/awards/2008/blake_lilly.htm#rc) for their work with the annual Science day for local elementary school children. This event also won them the Randolph College award for Best Philanthropic Event. The SPS chapter also hosted a multitude of activities for college students including field trips to amusement parks to study the physics of roller coasters, trips to the Smithsonian Institute, a photo contest (http://physics.randolphcollege.edu/sps/PhotoContest/2008photo_contest.htm), a project to design and build a t-shirt gun, and a Wii tournament.

Several physics majors received grants from the national SPS this past year to attend and present research at the American Physical Society National Meeting. The group’s largest activities involve their efforts with local children. The chapter president, Wai Sze Cheung and a group of other members coached a group of middle schoolers in the FIRST Robotics tournament. (News Site Link)

And the chapter hosts the hugely popular Science Day (http://physics.randolphcollege.edu/sps/SciDay/) each year for local third through sixth graders. Last year was also the first year of the Randolph College Science Festival. (http://physics.randolphcollege.edu/sps/scifest/)

“I am really proud of our students,” Sheldon said. “We don’t just have physics students involved. We have a mix of students from all sorts of majors who are committed to enhancing science education. That is just one of the things that make this experience so great for our students — and so successful. We have a lot of fun together, and each year we try new activities that are open to the college and the local community.”

Fore more information about the award, please see: http://www.spsnational.org/programs/awards/2009/oca.htm

To learn more about Randolph College’s SPS chapter, please see:



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