Last weekend, four Newman students traveled to Kansas City along with Board of Trustees president Larry Heck, Ph.D., to attend the triennial convention for Pi Gamma Mu.
Pi Gamma Mu is the international honor society in social sciences and is directed by a board of trustees consisting of members from around the country. Students Rachel Adducci, Daniella Buedden, Peggy Frazier and David Reed represented the Kansas Theta Chapter, which is one of the five chapters in Kansas.
Heck said that the main focus of the triennial convention is on the students who attend.
“This is a way to honor students who have distinguished themselves in their scholarship, especially in the social sciences,” Heck said. “It provides an opportunity for that recognition to be continued but also to exercise the work that academics do.”
The structure of the convention focused on the three pillars of Pi Gamma Mu: academics, service and leadership. Throughout the convention, students represented various disciplines in the social sciences.
One aspect that Adducci especially enjoyed, she said, was the opportunity for students to present research papers or poster presentations to accomplished authors and individuals working in the same fields that the students one day hope to pursue.
“The environment was professional but also really supportive,” Adducci said. “We met so many successful individuals who were genuinely interested in our lives, and we received a lot of feedback in regard to our plans after graduation. After this last weekend, the honor society felt less like an addition to my résumé and more like a community.”
Heck said one of his favorite aspects of the convention was listening to the students.
“It’s wonderful to see the kind of research that our students have been up to and to hear them present it,” Heck said. “They were just very stimulated and interesting, and it just made me exceptionally proud of what students accomplish.”
This year, the Newman Pi Gamma Mu board consists of president Daniella Buedden, vice presidents Peggy Frazier and Makaylah Perkins, and secretary Rachel Adducci.
Buedden said she encourages other students in Pi Gamma Mu to attend this conference in the future.
“It was a good experience attending a professional convention,” she said. “It offers a lot of insight into areas to further your studies as well as tips for graduate school and how to be active in your own Pi Gamma Mu chapter. Plus, Dr. Heck is the current president of the organization so it was cool to get to see him in action with the society and to represent Newman in the process.”
Senior David Reed added, “I think (the convention) is an excellent way to meet new and different people from various disciplines within social science. It helps you step out of your comfort zone both socially and academically and can also be an excellent way to network.”
Heck said he was very pleased to have the four students attend the conference this year.
“They represented Newman well, they attended all of the sessions and were very engaged,” he said.
This May marks the 45th anniversary of the Kansas Theta chapter. Heck said he is particularly grateful to Tarcisia Roths, ASC, for initiating the process of getting a charter in 1973.
“I think we have had a terrific history as a chapter,” Heck said. “I hope we can do something special to acknowledge her in the spring.”