Programs & Awards  
2009 SPS Outstanding Chapter Advisor
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Dr. Diane Jacobs, Eastern Michigan University
Eastern Michigan SPS & Sigma Pi Sigma website

Diane Jacobs (left) with SPS President Toni Sauncy after being presented with the Outstanding Chapter Advisor Award.  
Diane Jacobs (left) with SPS President Toni Sauncy after being presented with the Outstanding Chapter Advisor Award.  

The Outstanding Chapter Advisor (OCA) Award is one of SPS’s most visible and significant awards. In 2009 there was a record number of Outstanding Chapter Advisor nominees who received a coveted OCA polo shirt or tote bag, each very deserving and exceptional (see For Those Who Care in the 2009 Fall Observer).

Congratulations to Diane Jacobs from Eastern Michigan University (EMU), the 2009 Out- standing Chapter Advisor! The SPS National office could go on for paragraphs about the contributions that Dr. Jacobs has made to SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma, but instead we turn to the recommendation letters from her students, which capture her outstanding work more than our words could.

“I can vividly remember the first time I met Dr. Jacobs; it was during one of my first SPS meetings. We were playing physics Jeopardy and a question was thrown to me in a particularly challenging category. I had only seconds to respond, and I was taking too long to decide on an answer, for fear of being wrong. Dr. Jacobs was playing Alex Trebek at the time and she said something along the lines of, ‘Come on, you’re a spitfire woman, be fearless and throw out an answer!’ ...Ever since then, I knew my journey in the physics curriculum was going to be a good one, especially if it were as part of EMU’s SPS chapter.”

“A special passion of Dr. Jacobs was doing outreach activities involving minority groups in physics. She arranged multiple events at the university and in our elementary school outreach programs to promote the understanding of contributions to women and minorities in physics. I’ll never forget doing a Japanese style kabuki theater for second graders to present the accomplishments of little-known minority scientists.”

“I was experiencing extreme difficulty in modern physics and decided to seek Dr. Jacobs’ counsel. I sat down in her office anticipating a grim assessment and she simply told me to put failure out of my mind and accept this next challenge as a [stepping stone] to success.”

“In my senior year our SPS group turned a lot of heads on Halloween when Dr. Jacobs (in her prize-winning Ben Franklin attire) hurled a liquid-nitrogen-filled pumpkin off the third story of our physics building.”

Dr. Samuel Lofland  
At the 2010 Winter meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers, Diane Jacobs leads students through an exploration of sound.  

“Dr. Jacobs has put her heart and soul into SPS for over 20 years and I can’t think of a more deserving person. Without her SPS might still exist at EMU, but she makes SPS more than a student organization, she has made it a home for us.”

“Dr. Jacobs’ efforts cannot only be judged by the number of students that she has touched through her dedicated work, but also by the quality of those whom she has had a chance to mold into responsible, dedicated scientists.”

Dr. Jacobs, along with her chapter and department, generously donated the $5000 OCA prize to establish a lecture series at EMU for future generations of physicists.

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