2005-2006 Chapter Outstanding Program Awards

Program Awards were given to the following chapters for organizing and/or hosting a single outstanding program, especially one which other chapters can emulate. Nominees were chosen by the Regional Directors based on Chapter Annual Reports, and winners were selected by the Committee on Qualifications and Membership.

Chs-Sci-Net is a science outreach tool to the local community, hosted by theCharleston Chapter. Subscription is open to all. In addition to Sigma Xi members, participants include a large number of public school teachers and other educators. The Charleston Chapter serves as the American Institute of Biological Science's anti-creationism organ for South Carolina.

The Central Arkansas Chapter continued its tradition of recognizing and promoting science in the high school community by sponsoring the Twelfth Annual Science-in-Society Debate. This competition draws students from high schools in the central Arkansas area. This consists of preliminary judging of winners from various schools with the two finalists competing at the Spring Banquet. This year's debate topic was "Resolved that protection of natural habitat for endangered species should be a higher priority for Arkansas than economic development." This year, four students from two local high schools participated in the debates with Sigma Xi members serving as judges. Financial awards were presented to the participating students.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology Chapter'sColloquium Series invites internal and external Sigma Xi members to give formal oral presentations on scientific research or scientific policy issues of immediate importance to the NIST community. The general public is also invited to attend. A total of eight presentations were given this year on topics ranging from Quantitative Cell Biology in the Cell and Tissue Measurements Group at NIST to Statistical Approaches in the NIST World Trade Center Analysis.

The Mayo Foundation Chapter hosts five public lectures each year (October, November, January, February, and April). Topics include a wide variety of sciences, and speakers are well known in their fields. Lectures are attended by high school students, teachers, Chapter members and other interested individuals. A video tape or DVD recording of each lecture is given to the public library and to the public schools. Expenses include dinner for the speaker and members of the Chapter's electoral committee, an honorarium, transportation and local expenses for the speaker. One of the supported lecturers also worked with Quarry Hill Nature Center in Rochester to set up a public exhibit of a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton that was visited by more than 19,900 community members.

Over a two-day period in November 2005, the Northern Michigan University Chapter hosted, with Sigma Xi co-sponsorship, a set of four Web casts by experts in the field of evolution. The Web casts were made available to Northern Michigan University courses as well as to Northern Michigan University faculty and area science teachers

Marquette University Chapter co-sponsored a Future Potential in IT program with Microsoft and the Society for Information Management, an event to recruit undecided students to majors and careers in STEM, especially in IT-related fields. Included at the event was a video message from Bill Gates, a keynote by Wisconsin Commerce Department Secretary Mary Burke and a prize give-away of an X-box. Over 100 individuals participated in the one-day workshop.

The Texas A&M University Chapter's Educational Outreach Committee was formed in an attempt to centralize educational outreach and to build on their ideas to promote better outcomes for TAMU and K-12 education throughout the state. The committee met for the first in a series of seminars about the importance of the collegial/cooperative sharing of each other's efforts to maximize impact. The participants were given the opportunity to summarize their outreach efforts. Afterwards, an open discussion was held concerning how their respective programs could be leveraged to maximize the impact on K-12 education.

The University of Texas at Arlington Chapter's Annual Celebration of Excellence by Students is a combined graduate and undergraduate research forum in which about 150 students present their work orally or by posters. Sigma Xi contributes as a co-sponsor, providing leadership for the organization of the event. This year, numerous faculty served as student mentors, several student members presented and received awards, and several members served on the organizing committee. Sigma Xi also provided funds for awards for the outstanding mentors at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and an honorarium for the keynote speaker.