The physics leaders met on November 8 and 9 of the 2019 fall semester. Friday morning began with department chair Dr. Sash Satpathy presenting the state of the department and sharing his vision for future priorities. Students Phillip Hagemann talked about the department Society of Physics Students (SPS) activities over the past year and Sean Fayfar summarized Physics and Astronomy Graduate Student Association (PAGSA) news.
The leaders and attending faculty spent time discussing department issues and priorities to be discussed later with the Dean of Arts and Science.
After lunch was served, Dr. John Shumway talked with students and faculty about his career path and experiences working at Google. For the remainder of the lunch break the leaders shared their career paths and encouraged Q&A with our students during a panel discussion in the common room. The afternoon session opened with three undergraduate and 5 graduate student 10 minute presentations, with 5 minute Q&A each. All the talks were outstanding and all attendees stated they were impressed not only with the research by all the students but also their abilities to clearly present their work.
A&S Dean Pat Okker arrived and spent about an hour with the leaders and faculty discussing issues for the department, college of A&S and the university.
The evening dinner was held at the Stoney Creek Inn. Following the meal, Dr. Sashi Sitpathy and Leaders president Dr. Vann Priest presented the Faculty Enhancement Awards to Dr. Dorina Kosztin and Dr. Carsten Ulrich. The undergraduate student presentation award was presented to Zachery Vallery and the graduate student presentation award went to Katie Schaefer.
Dr. Satpathy, along with Ronald Boain and Catherine Rangel-Boain (whose generosity funds this award), presented the Boain Dissertation Award for best doctoral dissertations to (???)
A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the department Distinguished Alumni Award to Dr. Jerry Fishman for his career achievements in high-energy astrophysics. Dr. Fishman reflected on his career and his time in the department, singling out professors who had a major impact on him and his future research. Open mic time followed with several attendees sharing their memories of their time in our department.
The Saturday morning session closed out the weekend meeting with presentations from Dr. Silvia Bompadre (given by stand-in Dr. Carlos Wexler) on latest information on our undergraduate students and from Dr. Paul Miceli on the status of our graduate students. Dr. Maria Mills, newest faculty member, gave a talk on her research: "Freezing with Force: Direct Observation of Type IA Topoisomerase Gate Opening”.
As the last item of business, the leaders selected new officers for the upcoming year. President Dr. Vann Priest and vice-president Dr. Shadi Shahedipour-Sandvik handed over their duties to the new officers: president Dr. John Shumway and vice-president Dr. Alan Van Nevel.