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SPS Chapter Receives Blake Lilly Prize

Outreach with kids and SPS

Boy Scout troop observing an experiment

The U’s chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) has been awarded the Blake Lilly Prize by the national Society of Physics Students organization. The prize recognizes SPS chapters and individuals who make a genuine effort to positively influence attitudes about physics among school children and the general public.

The U’s chapter was recognized for its outreach events targeted to high school and middle school students. Each month, SPS chapter volunteers planned instruction around a theme that was coordinated with the ongoing science curriculum of students in the Salt Lake City School District. Events consisted of one or two large science demonstrations and break-out sessions to encourage hands-on activities.

Unfortunately, the pandemic shut down area schools last spring, so the chapter immediately moved to online instruction, with recorded science demonstrations, videos, explanations of the science behind the demos, and materials distributed to science teachers.   

“It was an expansive undertaking that took the coordination and hard work of all the SPS chapter leaders to execute,” said Kameron Goold, last year’s chapter president. “We had a great time encouraging young students to pursue STEM by introducing physics to them in a fun and engaging way. Unfortunately, COVID changed our ability to do in-person events, but I'm proud of the flexibility of our leadership in using an online approach in order to continue engaging with students and teachers. We’re thrilled to see our efforts recognized by the national SPS organization.”  

The following individuals participated in the chapter’s outreach efforts and activities in 2020:
Kameron Goold  – President
Galen Bergsten  – Vice President
Vivek Vankayalapati  – Treasurer
Mario Homer – Secretary
Chandler Bass  – Historian
Chandler Merrill – Outreach
Estephani Torres  – Outreach
Jonah Barber  – Outreach
Tobin Wainer – Communication
Cyri Dixon – Chapter Advisor
Jared Coles  – Associate Zone Councilor

The Blake Lilly Prize is named after and given in honor of the late Blake Lilly, a physics student at Georgia Tech in the late 1980s. Chapter recipients are selected each year by the national council of the Society of Physics Students, which considers public service, community engagement, outreach efforts, and audience interaction in making award decisions.

Find out more about the U’s SPS chapter as well as the national Society of Physics Students.

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Last Updated: 1/30/21