Wednesday, April 18, 2001

College Establishes Sigma Xi Chapter

Society Supports Excellence, Opportunities for Scientific Research and Education

Chestertown, MD, April 17, 2001 — Washington College has been granted a charter to establish a new chapter of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society. The chapter received its charter during an installation ceremony held Tuesday, April 10, 2001 in the College's Casey Academic Center Forum.
"The primary benefits of our Sigma Xi affiliation will be an increased availability of research grant money for faculty and student projects, and opportunity for a greater exchange of ideas and for interdisciplinary collaboration with researchers from other institutions," said Dr. Michael Kerchner, an associate professor in the College's Psychology Department and first president of the newly formed chapter.
Founded in 1886, Sigma Xi is a non-profit membership society of more than 80,000 scientists and engineers elected to the Society because of their research achievements or potential. In addition to publishing the journal American Scientist, Sigma Xi awards annual grants to promising young researchers, holds forums on critical issues at the intersection of science and society, and sponsors a variety of programs supporting honor in science and engineering, science education, science policy and the public understanding of science. The affiliation allows Washington College faculty and students to advance scientific education and research through grants, travel awards, conferences, and visiting scientists.
For the last five years, Dr. Kerchner has been part of a core of faculty working to bring Sigma Xi to the College. "There has been a dedicated core of Washington College faculty, primarily in the natural sciences, working to establish this chapter," he said. "Their three-year plan for the chapter that includes a schedule of events and speakers, membership recruitment strategies, professional development plans, community outreach initiatives, and programs to foster research opportunities for undergraduates demonstrates our commitment to Sigma Xi's ideals."
Officers serving for 2001-2002 will be Michael Kerchner, president; assistant professor of biology Martin Connaughton, president-elect; assistant professor of biology Doug Darnowski, chapter secretary; and assistant professor of chemistry Leslie Sherman, treasurer. For more information on Sigma Xi, visit

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