June 09, 2016
As I look at Sigma Xi now, at the end of my year as president, I realize that every member needs a reason for joining and remaining active in Sigma Xi. We need a reason for paying dues each year and nominating new members. What is yours? For many the answer is American Scientist, and that’s a great reason, but there are many more. One is that Sigma Xi fosters a culture in which science and engineering are prized as the path to discovery and to improving the human condition and the condition of our world.
The insights we gain from science and engineering research enhance decision making, increasing the likelihood of success and enabling solutions to be implemented more quickly. In a world where science and engineering are prized, support for the next discoveries would increase. We need to encourage public understanding of what is known, the scientific method, and the results it produces. We need public support for our work.
Sigma Xi chapters can be found in many communities and we cross all science and engineering disciplines. Our chapters can reach the public in a local way to discuss new discoveries and possible solutions to important problems. We can reach students, encouraging them to consider science or engineering careers. And once they do, we can help them reach their maximum potential through our Grants-in-Aid of Research program and student-focused events. New problems, such as the current Zika virus threat, will require new discoveries and new solutions. We need new scientists.
I am more committed than ever to Sigma Xi’s role in honoring student and faculty scientists, providing them opportunities to enhance their careers, and enabling them to reach out to the public. I want to thank all of you for your support this year. For my part, I will continue working to strengthen our chapters through Sigma Xi Succeeds, an initiative to collect the best practices from chapters so that our membership team at headquarters can provide them to you when you need them, in a streamlined, simple-to-use form. Please contribute your chapter’s successes by logging in to SigmaXi.org. Go to “Chapters” and select “Officer Resource Center” from the drop-down menu to find Sigma Xi Succeeds.
I am proud that as a Society, Sigma Xi is now much stronger than it was two years ago, primarily through the efforts of past president George Atkinson to move our headquarters to more suitable, less expensive space. In addition, our interim executive director, John Nemeth, has initiated important improvements and collaborations that will bear fruit in the next year or so, and he is leading the charge to identify the ideal, permanent executive director who will continue the rise of Sigma Xi.
Finally, I would ask you to continue your support of Sigma Xi. Sigma Xi is Scientists Supporting Science. Let’s all work to make this more true each year.
President Mark E. Peeples