Continuing a tradition that spans 135 years and more than 500 chapters worldwide, Abby Carney and Munonyedi Egbo, both graduate students, were recently initiated into the Wichita State University chapter of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society.
“Growing Sigma Xi on campus is part of fostering a culture of excellence,” said Dr. Mark Schneegurt, WSU Sigma Xi chapter president and biological sciences professor. “Induction to Sigma Xi is a lifetime honor that recognizes the research potential or productivity of scientists.”
Schneegurt said students eligible for Sigma Xi work in a research lab on campus in the sciences or engineering departments and are selected because they show promise for research in terms of presentations, publication or awards.
Carney, a biological sciences graduate student from Bennington, Kansas, said she became interested in joining the society once she heard Schneegurt give a presentation on it. He recommended that she apply.
“I wanted to join because I really enjoy research and because of the group’s emphasis on scientific integrity.”
Carney said she also looks forward to her future with the Sigma Xi, as it fosters her interests and will provide her more opportunities for scientific discussion.
“As a Sigma Xi member, I’m hoping to help get other people to not only talk about science, but I also want them to get comfortable talking about science.” Carney said.
Egbo, a mechanical engineering graduate student from Nigeria, also is enthusiastic about the connections he will make as a member of Sigma Xi. He plans to continue as a researcher when he graduates this summer and begins a job as a mechanical engineering assistant professor at the University of Portland.
“It will open a lot of doors for me because membership in Sigma Xi will help put me in touch with agencies that can help fund the research I want to continue because most of the agencies also have members in Sigma Xi,” Egbo said.
Egbo also believes that by joining Sigma Xi, he will be able to contribute more to mankind overall.
“By joining them, they encourage me to do more,” said Egbo. “There’s a mutual benefit for them and me.”
He also encourages more research students to get involved, as many do not know about the existence of Sigma Xi, or the benefits that can come from being a member.
“One thing I have noticed is that there are not a lot of research students that are aware of Sigma Xi. I wish that they would become more aware because once they do, they could come together more often and learn from each other,” Egbo said.
Schneegurt says that any student who pursues research and has presented research at a national scientific symposium or published a paper can apply for membership. Though Sigma Xi is currently a small group at WSU, he hopes to see the membership grow as more students learn about it.