Chestertown, MD, December 3, 2002 — Washington College's chapter of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, has received both a Chapter of Excellence Award and a Chapter Program Award from the national offices of Sigma Xi, based in Research Triangle, NC. The awards were presented during the second Assembly of Delegates at Sigma Xi's Annual Meeting, November 16, 2002, in Galveston, TX. Alumna Kouri Coleman Miller '96, a physics major now working with NASA's Space Shuttle, accepted the awards on behalf of the College at the November ceremony.
Chapter of Excellence Awards are awarded to chapters for overall outstanding educational programming—such as symposia, speaker series and other public events—during the past fiscal year. Washington College was honored for two science outreach programs developed by its Psychology and Chemistry Departments respectively to serve area secondary and high school students: “Neuroscience in Schools” and “Why Chemistry is Fun.”
Program Awards are awarded to chapters that have organized or hosted a single, outstanding program during the past year. The College's Sigma Xi chapter was honored for its symposium “Barriers to and Opportunities for Women in Science,” whose keynote speaker was Dr. Rita Colwell, Director of the National Science Foundation, and the coordinated “Women in Science” lecture series that featured prestigious women scientists across diverse fields.
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 science and engineering, science education, science policy, and the public understanding of science.
The Washington College Sigma Xi chapter was officially installed in April 2001. The affiliation allows faculty and students to advance scientific education and research through grants; to fund faculty and student projects, travel awards and conferences; and to sponsor visiting scientists and collaborative research.