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Sylphrena Kleinsasser ’23 has earned the 2020 Herbert Levy Memorial Scholarship from the Society of Physics Students. The president of the Lycoming College Chapter of the Society of Physics Students, the Muncy Valley, Pa., native is a dual major in physics and chemistry.
The purpose of the Society of Physics Students scholarship program is to encourage the study of physics and the pursuit of high scholarship. In memory of her late husband Dr. Herbert Levy, Margaret Sussman Levy bequeathed funds to establish this $2,000 scholarship award "to be used for a worthy, needy physics student" to attain a quality physics education.
“I was very surprised and honored to hear that I had won this scholarship,” Kleinsasser said. “I met a large number of amazing people through the SPS PhysCon event and I know they value SPS just as much as I do.”
The Sullivan County High School graduate said that they heard about the scholarship through the previous president of SPS, Maryam Esmat ’21, and that the scholarship was of immediate help as they took summer courses.
“I've been very busy with summer courses this year,” Kleinsasser said. “I needed to keep my future summers open for research experiences and I had to take some courses over the summer to graduate on time. Luckily, this scholarship managed to cover all four of my courses.”
In addition, Kleinsasser said that their experience in the Lycoming chapter of SPS has been a major part of them feeling at home on campus.
“I was blown away by the welcoming atmosphere of our SPS chapter,” they said. “They welcomed me into the club and offered amazing opportunities like the 2019 trip to PhysCon in Rhode Island. Other chapters at the conference were very impressed that our club offered such opportunities to first-year students. When elections rolled around, I knew I wanted to be a bigger part of the club and help organize the events.”
“I would not have received this scholarship without Lycoming,” they continued. “I used my very welcoming experiences with our Physics Department as a major talking point in my application. I know I owe much of my success to the timely recommendations of my professors and their kind words. I applied later than I should have, but (Professor of Astronomy and Physics) Dr. (David) Fisher, (Assistant Professor of English) Dr. (Maria) Hebert-Leiter, and (Professor of Physics) Dr. (Christopher) Kulp fit me in their very busy schedules. I'm very thankful for their help on such short notice.”
The Lycoming Chapter of SPS is open to any student with an interest in Physics. There are more than 820 chapters nationwide that help students transform into contributing members of the professional physics community. Two presidents of the Lycoming College SPS Chapter have spots on the SPS National Council. Nicole Gugliucci ’05, an assistant professor of physics at Saint Anselm College, serves as Zone 1 councilor and Esmat is an associate councilor for Zone 3.