A national undergraduate honor society to encourage and foster scholarly activity
and recognize academic scholarship in the natural and computer sciences and mathematics

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National Office is now open


Hello, Sigma Zeta friends! Welcome to the 2021-2022 academic year from the National Office of Sigma Zeta at McKendree University! The goal of this letter is to communicate with you, our many chapters and associate chapters, what’s been happening at the national level since our last communication.

 The Sigma Zeta National Office closed for business of May 15th, 2021, and again re-opened for business on August 23rd, 2021. We look forward to working with/serving you. The National Office continues to be operated by myself and Haley Middleton, Sigma Zeta’s part-time administrative assistant. Rest assured that we are working hard to catch up on orders already received, but not shipped. As Haley and I work through the orders, we are contacting each chapter that submitted an order with an update. If your chapter submitted an order that you’ve yet to receive and you have not been updated on its status, please contact the national office. Again, thank you for your continued patience as we work to fulfill all the orders we have received and will receive in the future.

Hopefully, your chapters are beginning to meet and make plans for a productive year.  All of the national officers want to thank the chapter advisors, student officers, and members for the hard work that has been put into making Sigma Zeta a meaningful and successful organization. As many of you know, Sigma Zeta has 9 national officers who help to make decisions and keep the organization running at the national level, with input from all of the chapters and the respective members.  Five of the officers hold “semi-permanent” positions and agree to stay in their positions for multiple years to gain expertise in the position to add stability to the organization – Executive Director, Webmaster, Treasurer, Publicist, and Historian.  The other 4 positions change regularly with a new Student Representative elected each year and with a Presidential three-year term which is newly initiated each year following the election of a President-Elect, who will then transition through the positions of President and Past-President over the consecutive years that follow.

 As you are making preparations to submit materials to the National Office, please be sure that all checks for invoices are mailed to the address at McKendree University. It may also be that your school’s business office will require a W9 form to be filled out prior to issuing checks payable to McKendree University. Remember that we are now accepting credit cards as a form of payment. The authorization form is available on our website. If you choose to pay by credit card, the authorization form will be submitted to our business office. Someone from the business office may need to call the contact person on the form to complete the transaction, so please be sure to list an appropriate phone number on the form. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Here are some highlights from the 2020-2021 academic year:

  • As of the end of March, 2021, 216 new membership certificates were printed with 213 of these being new student memberships. 121 pins were disbursed, and 201 medallions were disbursed. This doesn’t reflect a flurry of orders received in April and May, so I am confident our numbers will be very similar to last year. With COVID continuing to impact our everyday lives and activities, it’s having an obvious effect on our current membership. I hope to see these numbers rebound significantly over this next year.
  • The annual fall advisors meeting was held on Zoom at the beginning of November, 2020. A major item of business at the meeting was the evaluation of all the Student Research Award applications that were received by the due date. In the end, 17 research proposals (totaling 24 students) received either partial or full funding. Let’s all work to encourage student members of our local chapters to apply for the 2021 awards – deadline to apply is Friday October 22nd, 2021.  The process is relatively short and painless, as can be seen when looking at the guidelines for applying. With a little help from the faculty research mentor and closely following the guidelines, putting together a good application should not take too much time.  See our website for details and forms for application. Out of the 18 Student Research Award applications received, 17 were funded so the chance to receive funding is very good! Many have submitted progress reports and are planning to present at the 2021 Convention. If student members from your local chapter received funding last year, please encourage them to submit a final report. That form is also available on our web site.
  • The 2021 National Convention took place on Zoom. Fifteeen chapters attended with a total of 125 registered attendees. Nine oral and twenty poster presentations were presented. It was a challenge to organize and pull off the convention virtually, however I am happy to report that the convention was a success with only a small number of technical glitches. We were all treated to an excellent keynote speech by Dr. Ellen L. Aho, an alum from the Gamma Gamma chapter at Concordia College. Dr. Aho’s presentation focused on the human microbiome as a source of new antibiotics.

 Please see the attachments to this message for details about the 2021 National Officers / Chapter Advisors Meeting. This meeting will take place virtually on November 6, 2021.  Both an invitation to this meeting and a registration form are attached.  As mentioned earlier, it is at this meeting that national officers, with the assistance of some advisors, will make decisions on student research application funding.  I will be sending out a draft of the agenda for this meeting soon.

Within the electronic mailing of this letter, you will find enclosed and / or attached information regarding: the Student Research Awards; the annual forms for reporting new officers and updating advisor information; the national office supplies’ list; and the instructions, to accompany the spreadsheet form, for reporting new members (all of these are also available in electronic form at the website).  Please be sure to spell out the day of the month (ex. Sixteenth versus 16th) to improve the appearance of the certificates.  ALSO, PLEASE DOUBLE CHECK THE SPELLING OF THE NAMES OF THE NEW MEMBERS because the certificates are prepared directly from the spread sheet that you submit. 

Please return your new officers list electronically through the website as soon as possible.  This information is needed to keep communications current.  New chapter officers are encouraged to submit their names to the Sigma Zeta email list using the link on the website.  I also encourage all of you who have not yet gone to the website to add yourself to the Sigma Zeta email list to do this now.  It’s quick and easy, and it ensures that you get regular updates and communications from other members.

The Gamma Gamma chapter at Concordia University in Moorhead, Minnesota will serve as the host for the Spring 2022 National Convention. The meeting dates are still to be announced, but will probably happen sometime during the third or fourth week in March. Please plan early to attend. At this time, we are planning to hold this convention face-to-face. However, please keep an eye on any email correspondence or announcements that get posted on our website as the situation with the pandemic continues to be fluid. Either way, I know that we can count on an exciting convention because our hosts are regular attendees at the National Conventions, and they have had several of their students’ present outstanding research over the years. Information regarding the specific details of the meeting will be coming to you from the Gamma Gamma chapter advisors, Dr. Graeme Wyllie (Past President) and Dr. Joe Whittaker (Publicist); from the national office; and via the website and e-mail list as the year progresses.

The National Office, which is located at McKendree University, is anxious to help you have a good year! I can be reached by phone at 618-537-6930 or by e-mail at sigmazetanational@mckendree.eduI look forward to working with all of you again this year!!


Robb D. VanPutte, Ph.D.
National Executive Director
Sigma Zeta National Office
McKendree University
701 College Road
Lebanon, IL 62254

2021 - 2022 National Officers

Executive Director: 
  Robb VanPutte, Beta, McKendree University

  Joyce Horton, Gamma Eta, Marian University

President Elect: 
  Joe Burnell, Rho, University of Indianapolis

Past President: 
  Graeme Wyllie, Gamma Gamma, Concordia College

  David Hahn, Alpha Gamma, Malone University 

  Joe Whittaker, Gamma Gamma, Concordia College

  Bernadine Cochran, Beta Xi, Univ. of Pikeville

  Belarmino Gonzalez, Gamma Rho, Miami Dade College

Student Representatative:
   Taylor Devine, Gamma Gamma, Concordia College

Promote Your Sigma Zeta Chapter

Chapters are encouraged to share Sigma Zeta events and milestones on your local campus and with the National Chapter. 

Sigma Zeta Student Research Awards

Sigma Zeta KeySigma Zeta members!! We encourage you to apply for the 2021-22 Research Awards. Last year 18 research proposals were reviewed at the Nov. 4 officers meeting and 17 proposals were awarded. 

Research awards are an opportunity to seek funding for your research with the expectation that you will present your research at the National Convention.  2021-22 Applications will be due prior to October 22, 2021.  Plan ahead to apply now!

Research Award Information &  Application


Fall Advisors Meeting 2021


TO:                     Chapter Advisors’ and National Officers’ of Sigma Zeta
FROM:                Robb Van Putte, Executive Director
SUBJECT:            Fall Advisors’ and National Officers’ Meeting
DATE:                 September 9, 2021

Each year the National Officers and some Chapter Advisors, who are normally within driving distance of the meeting, get together to accomplish work that is difficult to manage in the limited meeting time allotted at the National Convention.  One major item is to make decisions on the Student Research Award applications.  Last year, we awarded 18 research awards.

The National Officers greatly encourage chapter advisors to attend.  We are especially interested in your input on how the National Office can better serve your chapter.  A draft of the agenda will be posted shortly on the website.

1.  The meeting will be held on Saturday, November 6, 2021, virtually on Zoom.  The meeting is scheduled from 9 a.m. until about 5 p.m. 

2.  Even if you are unable to attend, we encourage you to submit additional agenda items or to provide comments / input to those items on the draft agenda (coming soon).  Please submit your suggestions to: Robb Van Putte (e-mail me at sigmazetanational@mckendree.edu or call me at 618-537-6930).

*Please indicate your plans to attend by either returning the attached registration form by October 29, 2021.

Thank you!


2021-22 Sigma Zeta Service Project Theme

The 2021 Sigma Zeta National Convention Service Committee selected the theme of To promote community between disciplines and to disseminate scientific information in an ethical and accessible manner both to other scientists and the larger global community.

This year’s National Service Project seeks to pull these purposes out of the abstract and place them into the realm of actionable reality. It is no longer feasible to make broad prescriptive statements of intention when so many people in our world suffer at the hands of ignorance and misinformation, and so we are going to ask every chapter to participate actively in our goal to educate. Active members have been given the opportunity to study the intricate truths of science, and have proven themselves quite capable in their individual fields of study. As such, they have a the precious ability to find the connections between their work and the work of others, and can teach the truth to those that most need it. With this in mind, we ask this of all the chapters: find a way to promote scientific literacy both on your campus and in your community. Ask around for the topics people do not understand, and band together within Sigma Zeta and between other honoraries and scientific societies to answer these questions and fight ignorance with truth and compassion. Get into your local schools and do science fairs with the kids, partner with local hospitals to provide information to patients and volunteer hours, search for the strengths in your chapter and use those internal strengths to strengthen the human family with knowledge. We can push back against ignorance if Sigma Zeta members get on the ground and teach with their fellow scientists.

Share what your local chapter is doing to promote community between disciplines and to disseminate scientific information..


2022 Convention Countdown

National Convention News

 Concordia College

2022 National Convention
March 24 - 26, 2022
Concordia College (10th Anniversary)

Keynote Speaker: TBA
Title:  TBA

Future Conventions

    2023 University of Indianapolis (75th year anniversary)
    2024 Miami Dade College
    2025 Campbellsville University
    2026 McKendree University (Chapter Centennial)

Starting a New Sigma Zeta Chapter

 Sigma Zeta welcomes the formation of new campus chapters interested in furthering the purpose of the society as stated in the mission statement:

A national undergraduate honor society to encourage and foster scholarly activity and recognize academic scholarship in the natural and computer sciences and mathematics

Steps to forming a Sigma Zeta chapter at your College or University:

  • Gather a group of science and math students and faculty interested in a science honor society for all science and math students.  Sigma Zeta includes all science and Math oriented departments, majors, and students. Especially important is one or more faculty willing to actively encourage and support your local Sigma Zeta chapter and to hopefully also become involved with the National Sigma Zeta organization.

  • Submit a new chapter application form.

Sigma Zeta Logo Items

Sigma Zeta Logo Merchandise

You asked, now order soon!
Sigma Zeta branded items available in the Sigma Zeta StoreTalk to your chapter advisor or officers to place an order for one or all chapter members.

Nalgene BPA Free 24oz Sigma Zeta Water Bottle   Sigma Zeta Insulated Cup   Sigma Zeta Sackpack


Support Sigma Zeta

Donations in support of Sigma Zeta can be mailed to:

Sigma Zeta National Science & Mathematics Honor Society
McKendree University
701 College Road
Lebanon, IL 62254

Ongoing Mission Related Needs

Visit us on Facebook

Sigma Zeta Store

Sigma Zeta Gold Pin        Sigma Zeta Honors Medallion     Sigma Zeta Covered Insulated Cup

Purchase your Sigma Zeta Honors Medallions and Pins for the academic year early. Try to order at least 30 days in advance so that you can have them when needed.  Also available are Sigma Zeta branded nalgene water bottles, tumblers, and sackpacks.

Also Available:

  • Introducing You to Sigma Zeta Pamphlet
  • History and Constitution of Sigma Zeta
  • The Sigma Zetan
  • Letterheads: $.05 / Each
  • Pencils: $.10 / Each