Society of Physics Students earns Outstanding Chapter Award

Marshall University’s chapter of the Society of Physics Students has earned an Outstanding Chapter award from the national SPS office for the second year in a row.

“This will be the fourth consecutive year the MU SPS group has been nationally recognized, with the last two consecutive years being the highest possible distinction sparsely recognized by the American Institute of Physics,” said the chapter advisor, Dr. Sean P. McBride, assistant professor of physics at Marshall. “Fewer than 15% of all SPS groups receive this distinction, and these students are very deserving to receive such a recognition two years in a row.”

The Society of Physics Students (SPS) is a professional association designed for students, and membership is open to any student interested in physics and related fields. SPS operates within the American Institute of Physics (AIP), an umbrella organization for professional physical science societies. The SPS chapter at Marshall has been advised by McBride since 2017 and is led by student officers.

The 2021 officers were Ellie White, president; Peter Burbery, vice president; A.J. Messinger, secretary; Eli Williamson, treasurer; and Liv Stockwin, social media officer.

“Serving as president of the SPS chapter was one of the highlights of my time at Marshall, most of all because I got to meet and work with so many talented students and faculty who are passionate about physics and helping their communities,” White said.

SPS chapters are evaluated on their level of interaction with the campus community, the professional physics community, the public and with SPS national programs. Marshall’s chapter has been highly active this past year, having hosted four established speakers in their Faces of Physics series since the summer. Also, two members, A.J. Messinger and Peter Burbery, along with McBride, have participated in NASA’s Great Lunar Expedition for Everyone (GLEE) program and attended the GLEE workshop in Boulder, Colorado. The club also assisted with Huntington Middle School’s Pumpkin Drop. To learn more about the club, visit

To follow along with the Faces of Physics series that has experts from across the world give livestreamed talks, visit its YouTube channel: