Sigma Xi Hires New Director of Membership and Chapter Services

June 03, 2022

Media contact:
Jason Papagan
Manager of Communications
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society

Richard Watkins_400RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.—Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society announces the hiring of Richard L. Watkins, PhD in the role of Director of Membership and Chapter Services. Effective June 1, 2022, the position plays a key role in growing and strengthening Sigma Xi's community of scientists and engineers.

In leading the membership and chapter services team operations, Watkins will develop and oversee member growth, retention, and engagement initiatives, along with the management of an international network of research-based chapters. He will also oversee organizational membership marketing and outreach efforts, in alignment with Sigma Xi's Strategic Plan and Goals. The role will report to Sigma Xi's Executive Director and CEO, Jamie Vernon.

“The experience that Dr. Watkins brings, both in the research enterprise and the public sector, is an invaluable addition to Sigma Xi,” said Vernon. “We look forward to an exceptional array of new growth opportunities and diverse initiatives for our chapters and members under his leadership.”  

A member of Sigma Xi since 2013, Watson has previously served in several leadership roles for the Society, including Southeast Regional Director and president of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill chapter of Sigma Xi. He has also served on several Sigma Xi committees including the Committee on Regions and the Ad hoc Committee on Diversity. 

Raised in Greensboro, North Carolina, Watkins earned his PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Microbiology and Immunology with a specialty in Virology. His research focused on the factors that influence disease progression towards AIDS in HIV-infected patients. He is also the founder and CEO of The Science Policy Action Network, Inc. (SPAN), formed in 2014 to fill critical gaps between scientific advancement and stakeholders.

Committed to service, Watkins is also a member of the Rotary Club of Raleigh, where he serves as the Director of Club Administration. He also serves on both the Religious Affairs Committee and the Health and Wellness Committee for the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Chapter of the NAACP.

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