2017 Fall Update

Sigma Zeta Key                                                                                                    August 30, 2017 (letter+attachments-pdf)

Hello Sigma Zetans and welcome to a new academic year! 

The Sigma Zeta National Office is once again open for business after the summer break, and we look forward to working with you.  Hopefully your chapters are beginning to meet and make plans for a productive year.  All the national officers want to thank the chapter advisors, student officers and members for the hard work you put into making Sigma Zeta a meaningful and successful organization. Our strength is in what happens at the local level within each chapter, and it’s important that we share our local successes through chapter reports, postings to our webpage, Sigma Zeta’s Facebook page, our email list or in person at the national convention. 

There were many highlights in the 2016-2017 academic year, and I want to make special note of the following three:

     -- We elected our first ever Student Representative to the Executive Council of national officers

     -- Two new chapters were added to our Sigma Zeta family, both in Florida – Gamma Pi and Gamma Rho

     -- A record 21 Student Research Awards were funded, and 10 of these projects were presented at the Convention

At the March 2016 national convention, a constitutional amendment was passed to add a ninth member, a Student Representative with full voting rights, to the Council.  The other 8 officers are faculty advisors of chapters, and our hope is that adding a student perspective to our year-round correspondence and to our November and March business meetings of the Council will add fresh ideas in our continuous goal of improving our organization.  Please welcome Paige Swan of the Gamma Eta chapter at Marian University as the FIRST EVER Student Representative!  Paige was elected at the March 2017 Convention, and will serve until the March 2018 Convention.  She will join the rest of the national officers at the November 4, 2017 officer meeting in Denver.  

The November 2016 officer meeting was held in Tampa, Florida, and that location was chosen after discussion about expanding Sigma Zeta to parts of the country that lacked chapters.  Prior to that meeting there were no chapters in the state of Florida, despite the presence of many schools that seemed like good fits for Sigma Zeta.  A few of the national officers arrived a day early for the meeting and visited several schools in the Tampa area to let them know about our organization.  Our recruiting trips were successful!  On April 6, 2017 Warner University in St. Wales, FL joined us as the Gamma Pi chapter, and the next day Miami Dade College InterAmerican Campus became the Gamma Rho chapter.  Students, faculty and administrators at both campuses were very excited and hope to join us in Missouri at the March 2018 convention.  See sigmazeta.org for pictures and more information about their chartering ceremonies.

A major item of business at the November meetings is to discuss the applications for the Student Research Awards and to decide which to fund and for what amounts.  Because we had not awarded the full amount dedicated to these research awards in past years because of limited number of applications, we had accumulated a large reserve to add to the new dollars that were generated from 2015-2016 memberships.  We had a record number of applications and were thrilled to award a record 21 research projects!  This number is especially impressive when comparing to the number of awards the past three years: 8 in 2015, 6 in 2014 and 9 in 2013.  Let’s all work to encourage students to apply for the 2017 awards – deadline to apply is October 21, 2017.  The process is relatively short and painless, as can be seen when looking at the guidelines for applying.  With a little help from the faculty research mentor and closely following the guidelines, putting together a good application should not take too much time.  See our website for details and forms for application. 

Sigma Zeta nearly broke the 2013-2014 record of 862 new members, adding xxx new student members and xxx faculty members in 2016-2017, for a total of xxxx.  Five dollars from each new student membership is used to fund the Student Research Awards mentioned above.  We continue to be a growing and thriving organization. 

This will be Sigma Zeta’s seventh year to work together on a National Service Project.  At the spring 2017 National Convention, the theme of "Highlighting the impact of science on everyday life" was selected, and it should be fun to put this theme to work on your campus in whatever creative ways fit best with your chapter, school and community.  Please share your activities and projects through the website (sigmazeta.org), through Sigma Zeta on Facebook, and at the spring 2018 convention. 

The National Convention in Indianapolis, IN, March 23-25 was hosted by the Gamma Eta chapter of Marian University and led by Steve Dougherty and Joyce Horton, along with a great group of students.  Field trips included the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indiana State Museum and the Indianapolis Zoo.  Maybe the highlight of the convention, along with the student presentations, was our keynote speaker, Mr. Raul Zavaleta, who inspired all in attendance with his advice to take chances and be creative, which are the hallmarks of his 25-year career in international entrepreneurial enterprises in the biomedical sciences.  For more Convention highlights, see sigmazeta.org.

Please see the attachments to this message for details of the National Officers/Chapter advisors meeting which will be held on November 4, 2017 in Denver, CO.  Colorado was chosen because there are currently no chapters in Colorado, and several schools in the Denver/Colorado Springs area have been identified for recruiting trips by officers.  An invitation to this meeting and a registration form are attached to this letter.  As mentioned earlier, it is at this meeting that national officers with some advisors will make decisions on student research application funding.  I will send out soon a draft of the agenda for this meeting.  This fall meeting allows the national officers and advisors within driving distance of the meeting to conduct business that is difficult to accomplish in the midst of all the activities of the spring Convention.  We strongly encourage chapter advisors to attend, although currently there are no chapters near Denver, so we welcome ideas for agenda items from everyone, even those who cannot attend.

With the paper and electronic mailings of this letter you will find enclosed/attached information about the Student Research Awards, November Officer/Advisor meeting, the annual forms for reporting new officers and updating advisor information, national office supplies and a printed copy of the instructions to accompany the spreadsheet form for reporting new members (all of these are also available in electronic form at the website).  I’ve circled on the enclosed paper copy the instructions to spell out the day of the month (ex. Sixteenth versus 16th) to improve the appearance of the certificates.  ALSO PLEASE DOUBLE CHECK THE SPELLING OF NAMES OF NEW MEMBERS, because the certificates are prepared directly from this spread sheet.  Please return your new officers list electronically through the website as soon as possible.  This information is needed to keep communications current.  New chapter officers are encouraged to submit their names to the Sigma Zeta email list using the link on the website.  I also encourage all of you receiving the paper mailing of this letter who have not yet gone to the website to add yourself to the Sigma Zeta email list to do this now.  It’s quick and easy and ensures that you get regular updates and communications from other members.   

The Beta Eta chapter at Evangel University in Springfield, MO will serve as the host for the spring 2018 National Convention.  The meeting will be held March 1-3, which is earlier in March than in most years, so plan early to attend.  I know we can count on an exciting convention because our hosts are regular attendees at the National Conventions, usually with several of their students presenting their research.  Information regarding the specific details of the meeting will be coming to you from the Beta Eta chapter advisor, Dr. Natasha DeVore, from the national office, and via the website and e-mail list as the year progresses. 

The national office here at Our Lady of the Lake University is anxious to help you have a good year.  I can be reached by phone at 210-528-7091 or by e-mail at [email protected]I look forward to working with you again this year!


Jim Hall

National Executive Director