UCF Physics Revamps Student Society


Twenty-five UCF undergraduate physics students gathered for the first Society of Physics Students (SPS) meeting of the fall semester.

A once thriving chapter, UCF’s SPS has died down the past few years according to Conrad Troha, recently appointed chapter president.

Troha, a UCF senior studying physics on the astronomy track, hopes to change this.

“Our vision is to make the UCF chapter of SPS something to rival what it once was,” explained Troha. “Reviving the chapter has had amazing amounts of support from the UCF physics faculty. The vision is truly one shared by all of us.”

Troha, along with his fellow officers Jeff Jorges, Jesse Randall, Vanessa Lowry, Nick Honickman, and Tyler Townsend, have big goals for the 2016-17 year.

Initiating peer-mentor programs, getting students involved in research, funding group travel to conferences, creating outreach initiatives with local high schools, and building a strong community of physics undergraduate students are just a few of the goals Troha and his officers maintain for the future.

Assistant Professor of physics William Kaden eagerly accepted the department’s nomination to serve as the chapter’s adviser. Kaden, who heads a lab in the UCF Department of Physics specializing in interfacial catalytic materials and processes, remains active in public outreach on behalf of the department.

img_5448_editedThrough STEM initiatives, outreach committees, and now the SPS chapter, he seeks to continue bridging the gap between faculty and undergraduate populations.

“I hope to help build a sense of community and inclusion within our undergraduate students and their relationship to the department faculty,” said Kaden, who holds a doctorate in analytical chemistry from the University of Utah. “This chapter provides an excellent platform to help accomplish this and better understand the needs of our students so that we as faculty might better serve them and their professional development at UCF.”

Along with determining and meeting the needs of physics students, Kaden hopes to help re-establish the recognition of UCF’s SPS chapter among the national society.

Chapter President Troha agrees.

“I feel that SPS can do a lot to help foster a rich and memorable experience for my fellow undergraduate physics majors and create a community that can work towards that goal.”

The chapter, open to anyone with an interest in physics, typically holds its meetings on Thursdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in PSB 160/161.

Those interested in getting involved can contact SPS President Conrad Troha for more information: ctroha@knights.ucf.edu.

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