Tradition to Support Students and Early Career Researchers Carries on at the Sigma Xi Annual Meeting

November 05, 2018

Media Contact:
Heather Thorstensen
Manager of Communications
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society or (919) 549-4691 ext. 216

Joy CoteRESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC—An uplifting tradition carried on at the Annual Meeting and Student Research Conference hosted by Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society on October 27 in Burlingame, California. Each year, the honor society for scientists and engineers selects someone who has made an outstanding contribution to scientific research and science communication to receive its William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement. This year’s Procter Prize was awarded to Anna Marie Skalka, a Sigma Xi member and professor emerita at Fox Chase Cancer Center, who dedicated much of her career to studying retroviruses. Skalka’s prize came with $10,000, but only half was intended for her to keep. The Procter Prize winner selects a student or early career researcher to receive the other $5,000 as a grant to support his or her research. 

Procter Award 2018Skalka bestowed this year’s grant on a colleague at Fox Chase Cancer Center, postdoctoral associate and fellow Sigma Xi member Joy Cote, whose research interests involve understanding protein dynamics and interactions, which are often essential in combating most human diseases. She is currently focused on understanding how the addition of small protein tags influence their function. 

“The grant-in-aid of research will help me develop new methods for analyzing these complex and traditionally difficult to probe interactions,” said Cote. 

Cote joined Fox Chase in January 2018, after earning her PhD in chemistry at Wesleyan University and her BS in chemistry at College of Mount Saint Vincent. As an undergraduate, she completed research projects with Sigma Xi Board of Directors member and College of Mount Saint Vincent Sigma Xi Chapter President Pamela Kerrigan and Sigma Xi member James Fabrizio. 

Supporting students and early career researchers is a major part of Sigma Xi’s work. For example, Cote received her grant during the Society’s annual Student Research Conference, in which Sigma Xi members judged and provided feedback on student research posters. The Society also provides funding to students through its Grants-in-Aid of Research program two times each year. 

Top photo caption: Joy Cote, a postdoctoral associate at Fox Chase Cancer Center, receives a Sigma Xi grant certificate from the Society's president, Joel Primack, on October 27 at the Sigma Xi Annual Meeting and Student Research Conference in Burlingame, California. 

Bottom photo caption: Anna Marie Skalka, on left, received the Sigma Xi William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement from Sigma Xi President Joel Primack. She shared the $10,000 prize with Joy Cote. 

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