APS News

Congressional Office Staffers React Favorably to PROSPER Petition

Student signatures gain attention on Capitol Hill

July 24, 2018 | Tawanda W. Johnson

An APS-coordinated petition stressing the negative impact that the U.S. House of Representatives PROSPER Act would have on student loan debt has received a positive response from congressional offices in Tennessee and Washington. About 1,300 students and members of the science community signed the document.


PROSPER petition photo 1
Office of U.S. Sen. Patty Murray

Kate Baumgartner and Shua Sanchez delivered the PROSPER petition to the office of U.S. Sen. Patty Murray in Washington state.

PROSPER petition photo 2
Evann Freeman

Left to right: XJ Xu, Savanna Starko, and Brooks Musangu (physics students) pose with Evann Freeman, a staffer in the office of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander in Tennessee.


Shua Sanchez, a physics Ph.D. student at the University of Washington, delivered the petition to U.S. Sen. Patty Murray’s office.

“The staffer was sympathetic and supportive,” concerning the detrimental effect that PROSPER would have on the lives of undergraduate and graduate students, said Sanchez.

“The Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act would create more anxiety and limit opportunities for students by decreasing the quality and accessibility of student loans, which are vital in this era of high tuition costs,” wrote Sanchez in an op-ed that he developed with support from the APS Office of Government Affairs.

In Tennessee, one physics undergraduate and two physics graduate students from Vanderbilt University — XJ Xu, Brooks Musangu and Savanna Starko — also received a favorable response from a staffer representing U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander. Starko said the staffer was “very receptive” to the issue and their personal stories.

“Thank you for listening to us and making us feel heard,” Starko wrote in a thank-you note to the staffer. “In my mind, those are two very different things, and making somebody feel heard is a lost art. You, though, have mastered that art.”

Senators Alexander and Murray were the focus of the petition since the Senate still has yet to write its version of the bill.

The author is APS Press Secretary.

Gray Arrow Read more about the PROSPER petition in the July 2018 APS News.

News Update Archive

View Archive


APS News

Read Current Issue


Recent News Update
APS Files FOIA Request in Response to Revocation of Visas for Chinese Students
APS has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the US State Department, asking for the rationale behind the revocation of more than 1,000 visas impacting Chinese students.
Spring 2021 APS Prizes & Awards Recipients
APS has announced the Society’s Spring 2021 prize and award recipients.
2020 Nobel Prize in Physics Announced
Three researchers share the Nobel Prize in Physics for black hole discoveries.
APS Fellows Among Winners of the 2021 Breakthrough Prizes
The Breakthrough Prize Foundation has announced the recipients of its 2021 prizes, recognizing individuals who have made profound contributions in physics.
2020 Apker Award Finalists
On August 9 and 10, seven bright young physicists presented their research to the selection committee for the LeRoy Apker Award.
2021 APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research Awarded to Gordon Baym
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor to receive top APS honor