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NMSU physics student takes Four Corners seat on executive committee

A graduate student in the physics department at New Mexico State University was recently elected as the 2011 Student-Representative Member-at-Large of the Four Corners Section of the American Physical Society.



Lina Abdallah, a graduate student in the physics department at New Mexico State University has been elected as the 2011 Student-Representative Member-at-Large of the Four Corners Section of the American Physical Society. (Courtesy photo)

"I was reluctant at first to run for the 4CS student member, but since there has been participation from NMSU for quite a while, I got enthusiastic about it and was happy when I got the job," said Lina Abdallah, a graduate student in NMSU's physics department.

As a member-at-large, it is her responsibility to come up with ideas that benefit undergraduates. Abdallah will work to make sure undergraduates have an opportunity to present their work at both the regional and national meetings.

"Serving on this committee will introduce Lina to academic service, and will prepare her for a future faculty role," said Stefan Zollner, physics department head.

Abdallah has plans to help undergraduates collaborate with students from others schools. She believes it's beneficial for undergraduates to learn from other students' experiences when determining what to specialize in during graduate school.

"By the time I got my undergraduate degree, I had developed a taste for problem solving and a passion for the elegance of physics," Abdallah said.

Abdallah, originally from Amman, Jordan, recently attended the annual Four Corners Section board meeting in Tucson, Ariz., where she and others discussed upcoming events and planned activities four years in advance. She hopes to help bring a future section meeting to Las Cruces, perhaps in October 2016.

She also discovered a lighter side to physics while attending last month's meeting. The Spherical Cowboy Award, a new tradition for members, is awarded to the best non-student presentation.

After ballots were cast, Abdallah selected a winner and then handed out the prize.

Abdallah's immediate plans are to continue studying the optical properties of metal alloys using spectroscopic ellipsometry. In the future, she plans to work in a research capacity for academia or an industry.

The APS is a nonprofit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy and international activities. It has 46,000 members internationally and 60 Nobel Laureates.