New Executive Director and CEO Describes Our Path Forward

July 12, 2017

Jamie Vernon, John Nemeth, Tee Guidotti

From left: Jamie Vernon, John Nemeth, and Tee Guidotti represented Sigma Xi at the March for Science in Washington, DC, in April. Sigma Xi's partnership with the march mobilized members and chapters across the country.

After serving as Sigma Xi’s director of science communications and publications and editor-in-chief of American Scientist, my admiration for the members and mission of this organization has only grown. And so, it is with tremendous gratitude and humility that, as of July 1, 2017, I have assumed the role of executive director and CEO of the Society. I would like to extend my utmost appreciation to you and the Board of Directors for giving me the opportunity to lead this renowned organization.
Joining the Sigma Xi team in Research Triangle Park three years ago was the best decision I have ever made. The opportunity to be a part of the Society and to participate in its revitalization has been the most rewarding experience of my life. I’ve had the pleasure of working with individuals who hold Sigma Xi in such high regard that they were willing to put all other things aside and focus on securing the future of this Society for generations to come. 
In the past two years, under the governance of Presidents Tee Guidotti and Mark Peeples, the Board of Directors has brilliantly administered adjustments across all aspects of the organization. Their most significant decision was selecting John Nemeth to serve as the interim executive director. John immediately introduced a stabilizing influence on the headquarters operations. His steadfast leadership strengthened the Society’s role as a voice and a force for science and his unrivaled enthusiasm for Sigma Xi inspired the staff and all members that he encountered to recommit to our mission. 
What has been achieved in terms of fiduciary responsibility, chapter and membership services, and public awareness of Sigma Xi in recent years will prove to be a landmark in the history of the Society. However, our work is far from complete. Our status as the largest scientific honor society in the world compels us to continue on the path we’ve forged. We must continue to advocate for research funding and for the use of evidence in policymaking. We are duty-bound to support young scientists, insist upon ethical conduct of research, and build trust and appreciation for science among the public. 
Our biggest asset for achieving these goals is the convening power of our chapters and members-at-large. In coming weeks and months, I will be announcing ways in which members and chapters can further contribute to and benefit from Sigma Xi’s mission. Initially, we’ll be suggesting ways to strengthen your member and chapter programming. 
Although the basic premise of the Society’s chapter activities will seem familiar, the approaches may incorporate a modern twist. For example, if your chapter has traditionally organized a science café, we might recommend that you host a screening of a short science film and plan a discussion afterward or we might connect you with a local citizen science project that needs scientific support. These types of opportunities will enrich your experience as a member of Sigma Xi and they will demonstrate the value that research provides to the public.
Thank you again for the opportunity to lead this wonderful organization. I look forward to working with you to shape the future of the research enterprise. 


Jamie L. Vernon, PhD
Executive Director and CEO,
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society
Publisher of American Scientist

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