Society of Physics Students’ leaders push for national recognition


SPS President, Emilie Burnham and Historian, Stone Gebhart. (Sara Honda/Staff Writer)

By Sara Honda, Staff Writer

A student club at TCU has started working toward a new goal: national recognition.

Society of Physics Students (SPS) focuses on connecting students interested in astronomy and physics through academic and social-based events. The club is open to all majors and welcomes any student interested in the subject.

This semester, SPS’s new officers have expanded club activities in efforts to become a nationally recognized organization, said Emilie Burnham, senior astrophysics major and president of SPS. Burnham said until now, the club had mainly consisted of social events where students met up and ate pizza.

“I kind of saw the potential SPS could have, seeing the old picture of what SPS was and flyers of people in laboratories and stuff like that,” Burnham said. “We’re not really seeing that with SPS here so I thought we’d push to be something different than we have been.”

SPS members meet up in their club meeting room located in Sid Richardson Hall. (Sara Honda/TCU 360 Staff)

SPS is formally recognized as Sigma Pi Sigma at other universities as part of the Independent Greek Council. Burnham said getting the same title would allow TCU SPS to be a support and resource for future scientists during their academic journeys.

With their newly set goal, SPS has already seen significant growth, Burnham said. The club has hosted five events this semester, two of which were purely academic-based and involved a guest speaker to talk about careers in the field. Other events involved conversations about immediate opportunities for members, like internships and graduate school.

The broadening of SPS’ club events has been supported by a new budget that is almost 70 times the amount of last year’s, said Stone Gebhart, junior astrophysics major and SPS historian. The club was granted the budget increase after a group of SPS officers presented their goals to SGA.

“We can do a lot more than we did with 11 dollars, that’s for sure,” Gebhart said.

He said the most important developments have been outreach opportunities such as the city of Fort Worth inviting SPS to local astronomy night.

“The end goal is Sigma Pi Sigma,” Gebhart added. “Ideally in a perfect world in 20 years, a student from TCU can put on their resume ‘SPS’ and the job interview will be like ‘I know what that is, I know what they do.’”

More information about SPS is available on their page on TCU Engage.