Physics SPS wins the 2018 Blake Lilly Prize.

by Bala on December 7, 2018

The Society of Physics Students (SPS) at Roanoke College has won the 2018 Blake Lilly Prize for outstanding science public outreach and awareness. This prestigious national recognition is bestowed upon only select few colleges nation-wide, about 10 or so, each year.

The award letter from SPS National Council states “Members of the SPS National Council chose your chapter for the Blake Lilly Prize, which is funded by the generous donations of Sigma Pi Sigma alumni, after carefully reviewing all of the submitted applications. Reviewers noted the quality of your chapter’s science outreach activities and were impressed with the reach and scope of your efforts. We hope your chapter feels honored and encouraged that your application was among the best.”

(Morgan Heckman (‘19), L, leads several STEM outreach events at local elementary schools; Dr. Matt Fleenor, R, is the faculty advisor for SPS outreach events. You can see a copy of the award letter pinned to the white board in the background.)

Roanoke College-Physics group has been able to lead a variety of outreach efforts over the last several years, thanks to dedicated group of students and faculty who are passionate in their pursuit of science and its reach to the general public.  Dr. Matt Fleenor, who is the program coordinator of the physics group, serves as the faculty mentor of the outstanding SPS chapter at Roanoke College. He spearheaded the RC eclipse ambassador outreach program during total solar eclipse of 2018 in North Carolina which was attended by more than 1000 people. Click on the link below to read more about our outreach work during the eclipse. (

Upon receiving the notification of the award, Fleenor had this to say to students and alumni for contributing to the outstanding work by RC-physics SPS Thanks for your efforts in making RC Physics a place known for its love of science (and especially, physics).  The Physics Group has much to celebrate in being recognized on the national level with other prestigious physics programs.  Be confident that you are a member (or alumni) of a nationally-recognized program, a program of excellence and distinction.  As I speak for all the faculty, it is a pleasure to call you our students, majors, advisees, and alumni.  Please understand that we are always seeking to make the physics group a place of excellence in learning, teaching, and research”

We are certainly thankful for the Blake Lilly Award for recognizing the outstanding work by students and faculty.