Convention Reports: 2018 Founders Cup Award


Chapter Applications: Rho | Gamma Eta


Graeme Wyllie (Gamma Gamma) and Joe Whittaker (Gamma Gamma)  
[email protected]
Marcel Gonzalez - Gamma Rho
Shannon Watkins - Beta
Stephanie Martinez - Sigma
Brianna Handy  - Alpha Beta
Shelby Barta - Gamma Kappa
Jacob Ross - Alpha Psi
Hunter Smith - Gamma Gamma 
Gyanendra Karn – Gamma Gamma
Brandon Bode - Alpha Eta
Jonathan Cox - Beta Eta
Levi Coyle - Beta Eta
Dyllan Weelborg - Beta Eta
Maggie Crider - Beta Eta
Kelly Chies - Beta Iota
Zack Peterson - Beta Iota
TJ Register - Beta Tau
Committee Report:
The Sigma Zeta Founders Cup recognizes a single chapter each year that has been involved in efforts and programs in a wide range of venues. To be eligible for consideration for the Founders' Cup, a chapter must exhibit strong evidence of activity at both the local and national chapter level. This committee has been headed by Joe Whittaker and Graeme Wyllie, both of the Gamma Gamma chapter, winners of the Founders Cup in 2017. 

Two chapters: Rho and Gamma Eta completed the required form on the Sigma Zeta website and we encourage all of the audience to check out their completed applications which are viewable on the Convention page and maybe consider applying themselves in future years. Interesting this turned out to be a local derby as both chapters are based in Indiana, Gamma Eta is the Marian University Chapter and hosts of the 2017 National Convention while Rho are the chapter from University of Indianapolis.

Unfortunately, there is only one Founders Cup and it was the job of the committee to judge the applications on the basis of the required criteria which are then subdivided into several smaller subjects. The first category looks at activity on the local level and the second on the national level. Rather than simply score these, the committee compared the entries for each criterion for the two chapters and focused on the positive items in particular that each chapters reported. 

Criterion 1A looked at local meetings and activities with an emphasis on quality and originality. Rho reported an active chapter with many new members, an admirable biweekly schedule of officer meetings and twice a semester member meetings. Gamma Eta’s mandatory induction ceremony reported an impressive 85% attendance of members at the start of each year, their monthly officer meetings were supplemented by a well-documented shadowing program for upcoming officers giving them the chance to learn the ropes. Overall, it was felt Gamma Eta represented stronger in this category. 

Criterion 1B looked at local activities and both sections demonstrated significant involvement in a wide range of events from science outreach for kids and campus programs such as clean up and invasive species removal (Gamma Eta) or a food drive generating over 700 lbs of food (Rho). Full lists are available on the applications on the webpage and both sections are commended for their work. Overall, we felt both had a strong focus on making science fun and Rho’s efforts in giving back to the community were particularly commendable though the efforts of Gamma Eta just edged out Rho here

Criterion 1C looked at recognition from outside groups, both sections reported lots of outside interaction though for Rho, their program with the University Career center was particularly strong and gave them the victory here. 

Criterion 1D looked at using outsider resources and Gamma Eta’s particular efforts in a strong selection of outside speakers and field trips was the stronger entry here. Rho’s expanded description of their collaboration with the career service again stands out though in terms of innovation and is something this committee felt the stronger entry for Criterion 1E and something we encourage other sections to check out.

Criterion 2 looked at activity on the national level, 2A in particular being attendance at the national convention. Both sections have continuously maintained attendance and it was felt that their efforts here were equal. 2B looks at paper presentation, quality and quantity and even after acknowledging their home-field advantage in being hosts in 2017, comparing the recent works by both chapters yielded the advantage to Gamma Eta who instead of a post-hosting slump present a strong presence at the 2018 event. Both sections have maintained demonstrated responsibility in interactions with Sigma Zeta National Body (Criterion C) while Gamma Eta’s efforts in recruiting new chapters (2D), promoting interchapter events (2E) and ongoing cooperation with other chapters (2F) are the model of a successful chapter and gain them the higher rankings in these categories. 

To conclude, both chapters submitted strong reports and both would be worthwhile winners of the Sigma Zeta Founders Cup and serve as strong examples of what a successful chapter can achieve and this was not an easy decision. In the end, it was the feeling of the committee that the Gamma Eta chapter submitted the stronger application with particular highlights being the sheer number and range of activities, their chapter events including year opening induction and officer shadowing program, their impacts off campus in the community and their efforts at the national level, particularly hosting of the 2017 convention.

The committee would also like to mention that they were overall very impressed with the application from the Rho chapter and their ongoing efforts in all the areas described. As mentioned previously, their collaborative interactions with the career center in particular stands out for commendation and is something we encourage other chapters to consider. 

We would like to congratulate the Gamma Eta chapter on being awarded the 2018 Founders Cup Award.





Taylor Hauersperger
[email protected]

We currently have a total of 66 active members in our chapter. This year alone we have been able to recruit and induct 35 students with about 6 prospective members who do not yet meet the minimum credit hour criteria. We have officer meetings every 2 weeks to discuss upcoming events and plan any new activities and two meetings per semester for general members.

This year, our chapter has helped out with a local event at the Indiana State Fairgrounds called Celebrate Science. During this day-long event, we decided to do something simple and fun and blew up balloons using the reaction of baking soda and vinegar that kids could take with them. This taught the students about chemical reactions and how to see if one is occurring. We also helped the biology department set up microscopes so the kids could look at microorganisms and we had large scale visuals of the organisms for the kids to play with. Some of our members in the physics department helped faculty set up and run a virtual reality headset that the kids could use and play with to learn about technology. In total, we had 9 members at this event. 
Sigma Zeta Rho had a booth at an event the American Chemical Society put on at the Indianapolis Children's Museum for National Chemistry Week. The theme for this week was "Chemistry Rocks" so we brought different crystallized forms of chemical compounds provided by our schools geology and environmental science department. We also brought ghost crystals and liquid crystals for the kids to look at as they came by our table. At this event, we collaborated with the UIndy Chemistry Club and had 6 members come to help. 
In November, just before Thanksgiving, our chapter hosted a campus wide food drive to donate food to Gleaner's Food Pantry here in Indianapolis to help families during the holidays. The food drive lasted 2 weeks and we collected over 700 pounds of food, all of which was donated. 
The Rho chapter also assisted the Chemistry and Biology clubs in putting on an event called Halloween in the Halls during the week of Halloween. At this event, we teach kids about chemical reactions in the fun of Halloween. 
We are currently in the process of doing a collaboration with many other clubs on campus including Biology, Chemistry, Gaming, Psychology, and Archaeology clubs to put on a campus wide trivia night. Sigma Zeta Rho will be in charge of creating the science and math related question for the trivia and we will be providing volunteers to help run the event.

We regularly collaborate with UIndy's Chemistry Club and Biology Club and have recently began working with the newly developed Sustainability Club and UIndy's Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society. We have Sigma Zeta members who are also members of all of these clubs and when in need, we help to provide them extra assistance whether that be with man-power or coming up with ideas. UIndy's Professional Edge Center (Career Services) regularly contacts our chapter as well for help with various events.

In April of 2017, we took a day long field trip to Chicago to go to the Museum of Science and Industry. We had 13 members go on this trip and it was a great learning opportunity. We are currently in the process of planning another field trip for this April and are considering going to Mammoth Cave. We also have an event planned with the Sustainability Club where a National Geographic documentary titled "From the Ashes" will be shown and a guest speaker in collaboration with two professors here at UIndy will lead a discussion afterwards, answering all student questions. 
As in the past, we have utilized our school's Professional Edge Center where they have assisted us in providing our students a way to receive free, professional head shots for applications and online use. This year, we have decided to take this event a step further and we have offering the head shots along with a small set of personalized business cards at our schools Science Networking Event. This event has some employers in the sciences and professors in attendance and it helps teach students how to behave in a professional setting where there is also food and drinks available. It also provides students the opportunity to meet employers in the field of their study. A date for this event has not been set yet, but it will more than likely occur in late March and we will have volunteer members there to take head shots and get student's information for their business cards.

One thing we have done that I think would beneficial to other chapters is contacting our Professional Edge Center (Career Services) and being involved in events that help to encourage professional develop. The skills our members have acquired through events like these has made our chapter much more professional and successful in other aspects of college and life.

Sigma Zeta Rho chapter always attends the Sigma Zeta convention with a combination of our officers and presenting members.

Previously, our members have won both best poster presentation and best oral presentation and we have always brought members who are presenting. This year, we will have 2 members doing poster presentation and 1 member giving and oral presentation. All of these students have been working on their research topics for the majority of their college careers, as many of them are seniors, and they are very excited to present the accomplishments they have reached.

The rho chapter has always cooperated with the national chapter by answering all mail and sending in reports in a timely manner. We have also been in contact with the newly formed National Student Representative.


Gamma Eta

Paige Swan
[email protected]

In the fall of every new academic year, we have a mandatory induction ceremony for the new class of inducted members. At these ceremonies, we have a great turnout with at least 85% of the chapter members attending. At the conclusion of each semester, we have a “celebration” meeting, which is mostly a social event, but also a time to reflect on the successes of the chapter that semester as well as ways to improve in the upcoming semester. The spring semester brings a mandatory orientation meeting. At this meeting, we go over the event and speaker opportunities of the semester and reminders for the semester, stressing the importance of participation in the events that Sigma Zeta holds. This again is another time to socialize with the chapter members. We believe that this is an important opportunity for success of the society as a whole so that we go into events as a team, rather than isolated individual members. All events that are held in this nature always have a component that is “fun.” Most events have food and drinks and other bonding activities.

We also have officer meetings, approximately once a month (dependent on the time of year and what there is to plan, such as meeting agendas, officer elections, and event planning). Here, the 5 officers meet with our advisors. To accommodate two of our officers could not complete their duties in the Spring of this year (due to graduating early), we held elections for the upcoming school year in the fall. This way, we were able to have a full board of officers, and the officers who will take over for the current officers giving them time to “shadow” the present officers to get a better understanding of the officer duties and roles that they will be assuming come fall 2018.

This year we have been active in local and regional science fairs as both mentors, judges, and volunteers. Many Gamma Eta chapter members judged at the Central Indiana Regional Science and Engineering Fair (CIRSEF) which is held at Marian University annually. This includes a weekend of K-5 students and 6-12 students presenting their research posters. As a judge, members had the opportunity to interact with young scientists and encourage them to come back next year and continue to explore the world around them. This event also provided the opportunity for the judges to give students constructive criticism. Those who volunteered were not only able to interact with the students but they were also vital to the smooth and efficient running of the weekend of February 24th. To further promote science in our community, we volunteered at Celebrate Science Indiana (CSI) which is Indiana’s premier science festival. There students, children, and their parents flock from around the state to learn more about science. Those of our members who were in certain science classes were volunteers at booths, teaching students about various science topics and encouraging them to be scientists in their daily lives, observing and analyzing the world around them. Other volunteers were much more general but continued to encourage science in all the tasks that they were assigned. This occured at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, and Marian University had their own booth set up as well. By participating in these mentoring and judging events with the youth of Indianapolis we have highlighted the role of science in their everyday lives in the form of education. 

We partnered with Marian University’s student led group, Students for Sustainable Stewardship, for days of invasive species removal and clean up at Marian University’s Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab, which is an area of 55 acre natural area on campus where environmental restoration began 100 years ago and continues today with the help of students, faculty, and the general public. Through these events, we helped remove invasive species and performed general clean-up to take care of the environment around us on campus and in Indianapolis. This is extremely significant for the community because it is one of few large “green spaces” located in the extremely urban location of Marian University’s campus. We also had a volunteer conservation day at the Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab where we advocated for ecological and green practices through helping restore the acreage on campus. 

We partnered with another organization at Marian University, Pre-SOMA (Student Osteopathic Medical Association), for various events regarding medical school and pre-medical preparation. This is very beneficial for our organization, to work with Marian University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, because a majority of our chapter members are pursuing a career in medicine (DO or MD) or medical-related-research (PhD or Masters). We have had presentations from the Director of Enrollment Management at MU-COM, tours of MU-COM, as well as lectures on the differences between DO and MD medical school educations. We also had a representative from KY-COM, from Pikeville Osteopathic Medical School, come and speak to prospective students as they prepare to take their MCATs and apply in the upcoming year. 

We also partnered with Marian University’s Chapter of College Mentors for Kids to interact with the children from Holy Angels School, teaching them about different science topics. This allowed the chapter members who volunteered at this event to talk and explain what a hypothesis was, as well as teach the children how to use their senses to make observations during experimentation. We did a DNA extraction experiment from strawberries with the older kids, as well as made slime with the younger children for them to play with and take home with them. 

We promoted our individual chapter through various activities such as the following: White Coat Mixer, Induction Ceremony and Call Out Meeting, Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream Social, End of the Year Celebration, and the Chemistry of Beer Making. These events were primarily social events. However, the liquid nitrogen ice cream social and the chemistry of beer making, although entertaining, were also educational and promoted scientific learning. One of our chemistry professors, Dr. Carl Lecher, led these events and explained the chemistry behind making ice cream with liquid nitrogen, and making beer and wine. The liquid nitrogen ice cream was followed by the chapter members socializing while eating the ice cream we created. The lecture on the chemistry of beer making was followed by a trip to Sun King Brewery for those 21 and older for a tour and tasting session. These events encouraged socialization between chapter members to facilitate new friendships and connections. We also strongly encouraged chapter members to bring friends who were either interested in Sigma Zeta or just wanted to socialize to broaden our connections on campus and possibly recruit new members. These events really emphasized the theme of this year, highlighting the significance and role of science in everyday life (even when you’re doing something as simple as drinking a beer or eating ice cream).

Marian University's College of Arts and Sciences is a continuous proponent and supporter of this organization. The faculty of the science and mathematics departments are always willing to participate in events and volunteer their time to give opportunities to our chapter members that we would not have otherwise. Other organizations affiliated with Marian University, such as College Mentors for Kids, Students for Sustainable Stewardship, and Pre-SOMA, continue to support this organization through positive interactions and joint activities/speakers to give opportunities to members of each group. This also allows for expansion of both group’s members social networks.

We have hosted or attended multiple events that have utilized outside resources to further benefit our chapter members as well as others at Marian University who are not involved in Sigma Zeta (to further promote our society and recruit new, qualified members). 

Below is a list of the events that Gamma Eta has participated in or hosted with outside resources, such as speakers, field trips, etc. for the Fall semester of 2017:

ScribeAmerica representative guest speaker Megan Maxwell
Indy Do Day of community service all around the Indianapolis area
Volunteer Conservation Day at the Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab
Guest speaker Christie Wilcox from Butler University, author of “Venomous: How Earth’s Deadliest Creatures Mastered Biochemistry” 
Celebrate Science Indiana volunteering at Marian University booth at the Indiana State Fairgrounds 
LSMCE (Louis Stokes Midwest Center of Excellence) research presentations at Sheraton Indianapolis Hotel 
Guest speaker Dr. Tabitha Hardy from IUPUI speaking about “What You Need To Know About Graduate School” 
Guest speaker Christine Skaggs speaking about her graduate chemistry program at IUPUI at Marian University 
Partnership with College Mentors for Kids doing a volunteer science activity 
“CanopyMeg” guest speaker Margaret Lowman speaking on her discoveries of biodiversity in Australian rainforests 
Guest speaker Jordan Ellenburg at Butler Arts Center talking about the significance of math in everyday life 

Below is a list of the events that Gamma Eta has participated in or hosted with outside resources, such as speakers, field trips, etc. for the Spring semester of 2018 (thus far):

Owl Prowl with the Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab
Science fair judging at the Indiana Math and Science Academy West
MU-COM Presentation coordinated with Pre-SOMA chapter at Marian University
GeoFest Fossil, Gem, and Mineral Show
“Oil and National Security” guest speaker Retired Mayor Greg Ballard
“Cures & Causes: Science Reporting in the Media” guest speaker Dr. Krista Hoffmann-Longtin
CIRSEF Volunteer Activity (Central Indiana Regional Science and Engineering Fair) held at Marian University 
Next Step Fair at IUPUI organized by the School of Science Office of Pre-Professional & Career Preparations 
Hidden Figures book club guest speaker, Cari Lewis-Tsinovio to discuss this science themed book 
“Digital Technology and the Future of Education” guest speaker at the Butler Art Center 
In partnership with PreSOMA, we hosted Indiana Eye Clinic speakers and recruiters looking for ophthalmic assistants in the Indianapolis area

The following are possible innovative ideas that other chapters of Sigma Zeta could model: (1) Liquid Nitrogen Social: Dr. Lecher, an organic chemistry professor at Marian University, lectures on liquid nitrogen and then alongside chapter members, ice cream is made from liquid nitrogen (that is then enjoyed in the company of fellow Sigma Zetans), (2) partnering with other organizations on campus: this allows for interactions with additional groups and expands the opportunities that chapter members (these joint events are further explained above in Criterion 1B and 1D), and (3) Working with local science fairs and events to promote and encourage students to continue learning about science: this is very important, especially as the national theme this year is highlighting the impact of science on everyday life. Education is a crucial component of the everyday lives of children, and to incorporate science is an amazing learning opportunity.

This year we have two advisors and 12 members attending the National Convention, 8 of which are current officers or “shadowing” officers that will assume their full duties in the fall of 2018. Marian University's Sigma Zeta Gamma Eta Chapter hosted the 2017 National Convention. Thus, the majority of our chapter members and advisors attended and volunteered at this event. The year before (2016) we had two advisors and 13 members that went to the National Convention at McKendree University. We have been represented at the National Convention by advisors and members since the founding of our chapter in the fall of 2012.

Multiple students from our chapter have presented year long and summer projects at various conventions. At this convention (2018) we will have Kevin Hammond, Adam Lesniak, Victoria Yagodinski, Kegan Main, Aidan Washer, Bianca Stockmeier, and Paige Swan presenting posters. Ruthann Gorrell will be performing an oral presentation as well. At the 2017 convention, we hosted it at home at Marian University. Everyone from our chapter was heavily involved in the planning and execution of the 2017 National Convention, and multiple people presented posters such as Adam Lesniak and Kevin Hammond. At the 2016 National Convention, we had one oral presentation by Amanda Scanameo, Christine Skaggs, and Alyssa Heffren and one poster presentation by Madeline Weber, Jocelyn Young, Samantha Collins, and William Grabowski. In years past, we have had up to 3 individual presentations at National Conventions. Members Paige Swan, Luke Elsener, Bianca Stockmeier, Kegan Main, Aidan Washer, Baylen Shoemaker, Marek Lisek, and Ruthann Gorrell also received Sigma Zeta Research awards of varying amounts. The majority of these individuals are participating by presenting at this 2018 National Convention.

We answer all forms of communication promptly and on time. For all required reports, forms, and applications, we continuously submit them not only on time, but quite some time in advance to further insure that we meet all of the national requirements.

Paige Swan, our current President of the Gamma Eta chapter and the National Student Representative for the National Chapter of Sigma Zeta attended the National Officers meeting in the fall of 2017 in Denver, CO on November 4th, 2017 where they discussed the recruitment of new chapters amongst other items. Our co-advisor, Joyce Horton attended the National Officers meeting in Florida in September 2016 and she was involved in recruiting new chapters from the surrounding areas as well.

We use our online applications through Marian University, CANVAS and OrgSync, to post announcements and calendars for events and updates throughout the semester. Each of our chapter members are a member of these pages, ensuring everyone gets the announcements posted. We also post on our Facebook page as a social media outlet. Additionally, we use word of mouth to spread information about events. During the spring, an email is annually sent out to potential new Sigma Zeta members which allows for, if they accept membership and fill out the application, more participation in Sigma Zeta events. To ensure the members meet the GPA and credit requirements, we obtain a list from the School of Arts and Sciences of eligible applicants to send the emails to.

We do and will continue to in the future to respond promptly to all communication with other chapters as well as continue to back and support other chapters of Sigma Zeta.