Physics Department Friday Newsletter for January 21, 2022

In this edition of the Friday Newsletter, we preview the first Speaker Series event of the term and announce the pause of unstructured social events in the department to help inhibit the spread of Omicron. Check out the Physics Challenge, now open to faculty, staff, SMU SPS members, and physics students!

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Congratulations to Lacey Breaux and Next Steps for the Department

A version of the following was sent at a letter to the Physics Department at 4pm today, and is reproduced here as an announcement for the SMU Physics Community.

Dear Friends,

I write to you with some bittersweet news. Lacey Breaux, our department’s Academic Operations Coordinator, has been offered and accepted the position of Senior Graduate Advisor in the Department of Economics. This is not only a promotion to a more significant position at SMU but one deeply aligned with her core values and interests in supporting graduate students. First and foremost, please congratulate Lacey on this outstanding achievement. I know you all join me in wishing her great happiness and success as she launches the next phase of her career.

This, of course, means that we will initiate a search for a person to step into the role of our Academic Operations Coordinator. I have already begun a conversation with both the Dean of Dedman College and with Human Resources to move this process forward. I will have more information for the Physics Department in the coming days and weeks.

Lacey begins her new position on December 1, 2021. She has been a key member of our Department since joining us in July, 2014. Her more than seven years of commitment, service, and excellence to the Department of Physics is deeply appreciated. I am sure we all agree that the process of hiring a new staff member to fill this role will be made challenging simply by virtue of how much she has become a cornerstone of this Department.

This will be a challenging period for the Department until we are able to identify a new person for this role. The goal remains to advance the twin missions of this Department: teaching and research.

If you have specific questions, please direct them to me. I ask that you join me once more in congratulating Lacey on this outstanding evolution in her support of graduate students at SMU.


Stephen Jacob Sekula
Chair, Department of Physics