President's Letter: Sigma Xi on the Rise

June 15, 2015

Mark Peeples Greetings from your new president! I am proud to be taking the helm July 1 of our great organization at a time when we have so many opportunities. I must first thank our immediate past president, George Atkinson, for his tireless leadership through the past year. As a member of the Executive Committee and the Executive Board during that time, I have been amazed by his forethought and tenacity. I am certain that we will look back on the past year as the year that Sigma Xi began to bounce back. Thank you, George! We all thank you.

Now that our finances and our new headquarters are in order, it is time to grow Sigma Xi, to increase our membership particularly among faculty and science and engineering professionals of all kinds. To increase our membership, we need to enhance the value of each Sigma Xi chapter and of our national Sigma Xi programs. Membership and chapters are my two top priorities as president. 

I have been very active in my Sigma Xi chapter at Ohio State, serving for the past eight years on the Chapter Executive Board, including as secretary, vice president, and president. Throughout this time, I have used our chapter as a laboratory to develop and improve our approaches to increase our membership and chapter value. 

It’s not difficult to convince colleagues that supporting our best and brightest science and engineering students with research grants is important. Or that dialogue with the public, including K–12 students, on what it’s like to be a scientist or engineer and how we approach and solve problems is important. Or that connecting with scientists and engineers outside our field is fun and interesting, and important when it leads to collaborations. The great majority of my colleagues are interested in these goals, and I have been able to recruit 30 of them to Sigma Xi membership in the past several years.

Throughout this year, I will be sharing my ideas with you through this column and through Sigma Xi’s newer and ever-expanding modes of communication, and I hope that you will share your ideas with me. One of my goals is to expand our library of successful programs for building membership and increasing the value and vitality of our chapters. To that end, at our April meeting the Sigma Xi Board of Directors approved my proposal to establish a Membership and Chapters Task Force. If your chapter has a particularly successful program, please send me a description so that we can include it in our expanded “Library.” Many on the Board have offered their help, and we will be asking many of you for your help, too.

Thanks for your continuing membership and participation in Sigma Xi. Now let’s get this baby off the ground!

Mark Peeples signature

Mark E. Peeples

Photo: Mark E. Peeples, past president of the Ohio State University Sigma Xi Chapter, will be Sigma Xi's president from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016. 

More About Sigma Xi: Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society is the world’s largest multidisciplinary honor society for scientists and engineers. Its mission is to enhance the health of the research enterprise, foster integrity in science and engineering, and promote the public understanding of science for the purpose of improving the human condition. Sigma Xi chapters can be found at colleges and universities, government laboratories, and industry research centers around the world. More than 200 Nobel Prize winners have been members. The Society is based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. On Twitter: @SigmaXiSociety