Honor Societies

Sigma Xi (Math and Sciences)

Paulen A. Smith Chapter at Ithaca College

Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, is nonprofit membership society of scientists and engineers who were elected to the Society because of their research achievements or potential. Founded in 1886, Sigma Xi has more than 500 chapters at universities and colleges, government laboratories and industry research centers.

The chapter at Ithaca College was founded in 1965. In 2005, the chapter was named the Paulen A. Smith Chapter at Ithaca College in honor of Paulen Smith, Professor Emeritus of Physics, a long standing advocate for the honor society. The chapter holds an annual banquet at which the faculty nominators highlight the research achievements of the student and faculty inductees.

Nomination Procedure

Students are nominated for membership by their faculty research mentor. A call for nominations is posted in Intercom early in the spring semester. To nominate a student, the mentor should fill out two forms, the Sigma Xi Local Nomination Form and the Sigma Xi National Nomination Form. The local form provides information for the local committee to consider for the nomination. The national form is for the local committee to forward to the national organization. The local form is in .doc format and is electronically editable. The national form is a .pdf file that is electronically editable. Alternatively, the national form could be printed out, filled in and either sent in the mail or scanned to email.

Students are generally nominated for associate membership. A faculty member does not need to be a member of Sigma Xi to nominate a student. Non-members should leave the Nominator/Second Nominator information blank on the national form and the local committee will fill those in. Send the completed forms (.pdf preferred) by email or campus mail to Bruce Thompson in the Physics Department, CNS 263 or at bthompso@ithaca.edu.

Nomination Criteria

The national criteria for associate membership are:

Research aptitude specified for election [in pure or applied science] must be evidenced by independent investigation ordinarily resulting in a written report [for instance, a published paper]. Associate membership is offered to encourage young investigators with promise to continue careers in research.  In making the nomination, the nominator must attest to the nominee's potential for future promotion to Member.

For students, the local committee uses the following guidelines when considering the nomination. The student should have

1. evidence of scholarship by having authored/co-authored a publication in a recognized scientific journal, and/or presented a paper or poster at a recognized regional or national scientific conference (e.g., ECSC, regional or national discipline meetings, NCUR, Sigma Xi conference). Please note that presentation at the Whalen Symposium does not suffice to meet the requirement.

2. a clear intention of going further in a research environment (e.g. graduate school or industrial lab).

3. for seniors, an overall GPA of at least 3.0 and a science & math GPA of 3.3; for non-seniors, an overall GPA of 3.3 and a science & math GPA of 3.5.

Exceptions to the criteria will be considered.  In such case, the membership committee expects the nominating faculty member to present a strong case on the student's behalf.

Nominations for faculty are welcomed. Please talk to one of the local Sigma Xi officers for further information.


Please see the annual Intercom announcement or email for this year’s deadline for submission of the two nomination forms or contact a local officer.

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