Dear Sigma Pi Sigma (ΣΠΣ) member,
Thanks to your generous donations and heartfelt passion, I am pleased to report that the 2016 Quadrennial Physics Congress (PhysCon) was a tremendous success! We had nearly 1200 students and mentors from 45 states and 3 countries who collectively presented over 350 posters. We had three days of exciting tours, renowned speakers, engaging workshops, and fantastic events such as Breakfast with a Scientist (many of the scientists were ΣΠΣ members). Your contributions directly supported the students, many of whom would not have been able to attend without your help. Overall, we increased participation by more than 40% compared to the 2012 PhysCon, and could not have done this without you.
This was my first PhysCon as Director of the Society of Physics Students and Sigma Pi Sigma, and I was blown away by the students’ reactions to their congress. Students met their heroes and connected with peers from across the country. I spoke with a student reporter that was so excited that she was visibly shaking with anticipation about an upcoming interview. Another student was beside herself with excitement that Jocelyn Bell Burnell stopped to ask her questions about her poster. Students who had never met became fast friends after bonding over E&M problem sets and new friends were made on the very early bus ride to the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.
Sigma Pi Sigma’s impact, however, doesn’t stop with PhysCon. Students present their research and outreach accomplishments at member-society conferences throughout the year. Often these students are attending and presenting for the first time, giving them a greater understanding of physics while also improving their communication and networking skills. Students bring copious amounts of drive and enthusiasm, but they often lack travel funds. That’s where you come in. You can help us support these committed physics students through travel awards by donating to the Sigma Pi Sigma Annual Fund. We expect a greater demand on our Annual Fund this year following the success of PhysCon, so any contribution you can provide will make a difference. All of these funds go to support students and their endeavors. Our goal is to help every undergraduate, who wants to, present their research.
On behalf of each and every student, I want to thank you for supporting our programs. It is through donors like you that we are able to provide students with a sense of community and a home away from home. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d like to discuss PhysCon, our travel awards, or other ways to give back in more detail..
Brad R. Conrad, Ph.D.
Director of the Society of Physics Students & Sigma Pi Sigma