How to Help the Harvey Research Recovery

September 01, 2017

Sigma Xi is much more than just another scientific association. We are also a community of researchers who come together in difficult times. We are currently witnessing a historic moment of need along the gulf coast of Texas and Louisiana where many people, including our fellow researchers, are being impacted by the flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

Flooded carThis week, we learned from the President of the University of Texas Medical Branch Sigma Xi chapter, Dr. David Niesel, nearly one-third of the homes in the Galveston, Texas, community have taken on water. Some students and postdocs have lost their homes and apartments and they would welcome your assistance. One student wrote, “I lived in the Friendswood area with my family and my house was completely submerged by the flood water. We lost everything including our cars.”  

Although Sigma Xi is not a disaster relief organization, we recognize that the scale of this storm is unprecedented and it will require global participation to support the recovery. Therefore Sigma Xi is now promoting opportunities for you to assist those affected by Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath.

Connect with Members and Chapters

In 1999, while working on my master’s degree at East Carolina University, my apartment was flooded by the storm surge from Hurricane Floyd. The faculty and students in the biology department generously collected food and supplies to help my classmates and me get back on our feet and resume our research projects. Today, we have an opportunity to lend a hand to researchers who are experiencing a tremendous setback. 

I encourage you to use the Locate a Chapter page on the Sigma Xi website to connect with chapters in eastern Texas or southwestern Louisiana to offer assistance. They may be able to identify members and nonmembers in need. During these difficult times, a supportive message from a colleague can be enough to ease the stress. However, a small donation or a shipment of supplies can do wonders to help the victims recover from this catastrophe. I hope you’ll take some time to reach out to your fellow members in Texas and Louisiana.

Sigma Xi Director of Membership, Chapters, and Programs, Eman Ghanem, and I will also be contacting our Members-at-Large in the area. We’d be happy to relay your messages or donations to them. 

Open Your Lab to Displaced Researchers

Some researchers in the storm’s path will be displaced from their laboratories for an extended period. These individuals may require extraordinary measures to continue their work. Sigma Xi is joining with March for Science to assemble a list of research laboratories nationwide that are willing to accommodate faculty, postdocs, and students who need to temporarily relocate. If you are interested in opening your laboratory to researchers evacuated by the storm, please email to be added to this list:

Donate to All Harvey Victims

Sigma Xi Member Dr. Tammy Henderson (540-818-9089), who played an important role in the recovery effort following Hurricane Katrina, has offered to coordinate the distribution of physical and monetary donations (checks preferred) to those affected by the storm. She will work with Dr. John Adolph (409-893-1159) and Reverend Sheryl Williams (409-466-5640) to receive donations at the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Beaumont, Texas and distribute them to anyone in need.

We invite you to send donations to:

Antioch Missionary Baptist Church
Harvey Emergency Relief Fund
c/o Dr. Tammy Henderson
920 W Cardinal Drive
Beaumont, TX 77705
Church Phone: (409) 842-3146

Please make checks payable to Antioch Missionary Baptist Church with Harvey Emergency Relief Fund in the comments section. Be sure to include your complete address so they can send receipts to you.

Dr. Henderson recommends the following donation items:

1) Gift cards
2) Toiletries
3) Lightweight T-shirts and sweat pants
4) Non-perishable food items
5) Cleaning supplies
6) Diapers, baby formula, and baby supplies

In addition to these suggestions, there are many traditional ways to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

We will continue to monitor the situation in Texas and Louisiana. As we learn more about the hurricane's effects on our members and other researchers in the area, we will update our approach to accommodate their needs.


Jamie Vernon signature 
Jamie L. Vernon
Executive Director and CEO, Sigma Xi  

Photo Credit: Dean Leathers (University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston)  

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