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   Whitman College-Walla Walla College Chapter

History of the Whitman College-Walla Walla College Chapter

   Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society



Sigma Xi was founded in 1886 by a small group of students and faculty who believed the time had come to establish an honor society specifically for scientists, mathematicians and engineers.  The purpose was to honor excellence in research, promote interdisciplinary research and dialogue, and to encourage a sense of companionship and cooperation among scientists of all fields. Members are elected by their peers on the basis of the excellence of their research. Associate members are elected based on demonstrated potential. The Society's mission was expanded in 1986 to establish new ways to encourage scientific research, promote the public understanding of science, increase the scientific literacy of all citizens, and increase the quantity and quality of scientists, mathematicians and engineers.

     Sigma Xi has a special niche among scientific societies, due to its interdisciplinary membership and its grass-roots structure, which encourages activities at the local level.  Members are affiliated with one of more than 500 Chapters across North America, a National Chapter at Large, or the International Chapter.  Chapters plan and conduct their own programs, and also have the option of participating in a number of activities that are administered through the National Headquarters.  The Mathematics/Science Teacher Award presented annually to an outstanding local K-12 teacher is one such program. Members receive award-winning American Scientist magazine (http://www.americanscientist.org/template/OnlineFeaturesLanding), Sigma Xi awards hundreds of grants (http://www.sigmaxi.org/programs/giar/index.shtml) annually to promising student researchers and sponsors a variety of programs that support research ethics, science and engineering education, the public understanding of science, international research networking and the overall health of the research enterprise.


Whitman College/Walla Walla College Chapter #519



     This area is represented by the Whitman College-Walla Walla College Chapter #519 of Sigma Xi.  Our chapter was founded in 1962. In addition to activities at the national and international level, the Whitman College/Walla Walla College Chapter is engaged in the following activities:

• Annual awards to recognize outstanding local K-12 teachers

• Annual dinner to recognize new members, present awards, and provide an opportunity for collegial interactions among members from the local colleges

• Host outstanding speakers identified and funded through Sigma Xi's National Lecturer Program, and organize a presentation to the general public as well as to classes

• Organizes a ‘virtual’ Science Book Club (if you would like to belong, contact Sue Weiler, weiler@whitman.edu)

• Maintains a distribution list of area teachers interested in science, and posts science news, opportunities and other announcements of interest to students and teachers.

• Organize seminars by speakers nominated by Sigma Xi members

• Recommendations to Sigma Xi for the development of national policy, such as a policy concerning the use of animals for research

• Member presentations s to local schools

• Source of information about science issues

• Provide delegates to Sigma Xi  National meetings . These delegates vote for Society officers and on issues at the National level.

• May serve on National Committees and the Board of Directors


Members are elected to the Society, after having demonstrated research capability, usually through peer-reviewed publication of their research. Associate members are elected at the beginning of their careers in recognition of their potential as research scientists. Our local Chapter identifies and elects students to associate membership based on outstanding performance of an independently conducted research project.





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