Physics majors on campus may be few in number, but they work together with a real sense of camaraderie. This can be seen most clearly in the Math-Physics Center, where unabashedly asking for contributes to success. The connections formed through this collaboration can be equally important to the learning experience. The Kalamazoo Society of Physics Students formed to encourage and strengthen connections between students.
The Society for Physics Students is a nationwide organization, but the Kalamazoo College chapter (KSPS) started with the inspiration and leadership of its president, Mojtaba Akhavantafti ‘15.
“If it wasn’t the explosive chemical reaction which blinded me for a week in high school that got me excited, then learning about particle physics while studying abroad in England and later working at a space lab for my SIP contributed a great deal to my excitement for the natural sciences,” said Akhavantafti. “I feel responsible to provide my peers with the same joy I feel for science—physics in particular.”
One goal of the KSPS is to reach out to the academic community and invite guest speakers. Dr. Martin Snow ‘86, for example, recently gave an informative speech about his Space Weather research and the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program at University of Colorado, Boulder. Such lectures not only raise interest in physics, but the networking that results can help set up SIP opportunities and show students the path to graduate school.
The KSPS also strives to help intro-level students by making sure Teacher Assistants are prepared through curriculum review and discussion of teaching strategies. On top of that, the organization plans to set up supplementary instruction sessions outside of MPC hours and match tutors with those seeking help.
The KSPS also aims to become involved in the greater community outside of campus. In collaboration with the after-school program at Woodward, the KSPS will create science demonstrations and become involved with tutoring. This will provide students with the great opportunity of being positive role-models while encouraging the study of math and science.
“I really like tutoring, so I’d definitely be interested in [going to Woodward] to excite kids,” said Megan Hoinville ’18. “I’ve really liked science since I was a kid as a result of interactions with my parents and teachers.”
Anyone interested should join the Facebook group and can contact Sam Lichtman-Mikol at firstname.lastname@example.org.