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College of Wooster Physics Club Recognized for Outreach Efforts

UPublish story by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — The College of Wooster’s Physics Club has been selected to receive a Blake Lilly Prize for its enthusiastic efforts to positively influence the attitudes of elementary school students and the general public about physics. Wooster was one of only six clubs chosen from a pool of 700 colleges and universities nationwide. The other five schools were Abilene Christian, Central Washington, Rhodes, Louisville, and Hartnell Community College.

Wooster’s club was recognized for its variety of outreach initiatives, which include full-length demonstrations in four areas: (1) forces and motion, (2) air pressure, (3) electricity and magnetism, and (4) waves and optics. Members of the Physics Club visit local elementary schools once or twice a week to perform these demos for students in grades 2-6. Other activities include a Community Science Day on campus each spring.

“These programs have developed a successful reputation, and teachers look forward to the demonstrations every year as an exciting opportunity for their students,” said John Lindner, professor of physics and adviser to Wooster’s Physics Club. “This is the third time in seven years that our club has won this award (the last two times were in 2007 and 2009).”

Leading Wooster’s outreach initiatives this year were recent graduates Lily Christman and Andrew Blaikie, who shared the 2013 Mahesh K. Garg Prize in Physics, which is awarded annually to an upper-class physics major who has displayed interest in and potential for applying physics beyond the classroom. They were joined by classmates Tyler Rhoades and Lorenzo Dumancas, who shared the Garg Prize in 2012. Also contributing were incoming Physics Club President Vanessa Logan and Vice President Danielle Shepherd, who collaborated in writing the winning entry, which summarized the club’s outreach efforts.

The Blake Lilly Prize was established by his parents and given in memory of the former Georgia Tech student. The prize is sponsored by the American Institute of Physics Society of Physics Students.

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