National Research Society
Honors Swarthmore College
by Nancy Nicely
Swarthmore College is again the recipient of the Sigma Xi Society's Certificate of Recognition for its "efforts to honor researchers" in the sciences. This is the tenth consecutive year in which Swarthmore has received this award, given to 15 of the Society's more than 500 chapters who have elected the most new members in a given year. The award will be presented at the Society's national meeting, which will be held Nov. 1-4 in Orlando, Fla.
Chemistry major Nathan La Porte '08 discusses his research with President Alfred H. Bloom at Sigma Xi Swarthmore's fall poster session.
"One thing that makes undergraduate research at Swarthmore so successful is that its faculty are able to devise meaningful projects that the students can take ownership of themselves," says Cheryl Grood, associate professor of mathematics and current president of Swarthmore's Sigma Xi chapter. "Because the faculty value and excel at both scholarship and teaching, they are able to mentor the students effectively so that, by the end of the research project, the students have developed from apprentices to genuine collaborators." More about Swarthmore's Sigma Xi chapter can be found here.
Only individuals who have conducted independent investigation and written a report concerning their research in a field of pure or applied science are eligible for Sigma Xi membership. The vast majority of Swarthmore's new members each year are students, according to Grood. The rest, she says, are new science faculty members. "We have so many students eligible each year because of the hard work and dedication of our faculty in involving students in summer research projects and helping to place them in research groups across the country," she adds.
Sigma Xi was founded in 1886 to honor excellence in scientific investigation and encourage a sense of companionship and cooperation among researchers in all fields of science and engineering. The Greek letters "sigma" and "xi" form the acronym of the Society's motto, "Spoudon Xynones," which translates as "Companions in Zealous Research."