Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Honor Society

Melissa W.

We’ve previously discussed honor societies dedicated to students excelling in the medical fields who are wrapping up their studies and heading straight to the front lines. Today, we’re talking about an honor society for students who are just as important but may be seen more behind-the-scenes: Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Honor Society.

Sigma Xi was founded in 1886 by a small group of students and one faculty member at Cornell University as a way to broadly reward academic excellence in both science and engineering. They saw it as a way to bridge the gap of scientists and allow them to back one another through discoveries, supporting their motto: “Companions in Zealous Research.”

Since reaching their Centennial in 1986, Sigma Xi adjusted their vision to incorporate more aspects of scientific education. According to their website, the shift allowed for “...a project that identified seven important areas for ongoing consideration: public understanding of science, science in the policy development process, interdisciplinary research, science education, the international dimension, cooperation-not-competition-in science and technology, and ethical issues involving science and technology.” The change prompted Sigma Xi to expand their mission statement to read: “To honor scientific accomplishments, to encourage and to enhance the worldwide appreciation and support of original investigation in science and technology, and to foster worldwide a creative and dynamic interaction among science, technology and society.”

Membership is by invitation-only and applicants must be nominated by two active Sigma Xi members. The organization has two-levels of membership: Full and Associate. A unique component of this honor society is that rather than membership being based on GPA, in order to be considered for either level, students must prove their contribution to the scientific research community through the authoring of publications, patents, or independent research reports. Additionally, students do not need to be pursuing a science degree in order to be eligible for membership.

The organization now has close to 60,000 members spread across 500 chapters internationally. At graduation, students traditionally wear a royal blue and white double honor cord.

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As a reminder, our team continues to operate with a modified business solution, complete with remote and isolated order processing locations. Our goal is to safely deliver honor recognition gear to schools and institutions to have ready for their students once graduation ceremony dates have been reworked.

We appreciate all of our graduates visibly working the front lines of public health and those pushing the limits behind-the-scenes for the greater good of society and we cannot wait to see The Class of 2020 proudly accept their diplomas while wearing their well-earned honor gear!

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