International honor society of science and engineering chapter to be installed at RU

Sigma Xi logo

Radford University will join elite company on Tuesday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m. in the Hurlburt Student Center Auditorium.

RU will become a host institution for a chapter of Sigma Xi, the international honor society of science and engineering, with an installation ceremony that will feature Provost Sam Minner and Cristina Gouin-Paul, Sigma Xi’s Mid-Atlantic regional director. Mary Lee Jensvold, associate professor of anthropology at Central Washington University and its primate behavior and ecology program, will deliver the Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecture. The event is free and open to the public.

The installation will be the culmination of an initiative by Donna Boyd, eminent professor of anthropology and co-director of the Radford University Forensic Science Institute (RUFSI), to bring a chapter to campus. The chapter’s nineteen founding members represent the RU College of Science and Technology (CSAT), Waldron College of Health and Human Services and area businesses.

Sigma Xi is a 125-year-old international scientific organization of scientists and engineers, whose research spans the disciplines of science and technology. More than 200 Nobel Prize winners have been Sigma Xi members.

“The establishment of this chapter is a faculty-driven initiative that will enhance the university’s efforts and reputation in scientific and technological original research,” said CSAT Dean Orion Rogers. “The founding membership has established a new tradition of academic excellence to inspire our students who engage in research as part of their undergraduate work as RU joins a select academic community.”

The Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecture will be about Jensvold's work with chimpanzees that communicate with sign language. Her studies, begun in 1986, include conversational behaviors, private signing, phrase development, chimpanzee-to-chimpanzee conversation, imaginary play and artwork by chimpanzees. Active in improving conditions for captive chimpanzees and public education about them, Jensvold has also investigated the animals' caregiving practices and zoo visitor effects on them.

Sep 10, 2014