FROM THE PRESIDENT
The duties of a Sigma Xi president are varied, ranging from installing new chapters and attending committee meetings to presiding over the Annual Meeting and composing editorials for American Scientist. This last message of the presidential year, however, will reflect upon other activities of this year that are meaningful to me and that I would like to share with fellow members of our Society.
My presidential year began on July 1 on a small ship in Glacier Bay National Park. I was representing the Society on Sigma Xi's Alaskan Expedition. On that particular day, at one time, those of us on the expedition saw sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions, 20 different species of birds, three humpback whales and two killer whales; then we proceeded to visit close-up the Grand Pacific Glacier, which was actively calving—dramatically shedding its face with thunder and waves—the Johns Hopkins Glacier and a number of other glaciers; and finally, we saw black bears and mountain goats. Most of those who were with me on the ship were members of Sigma Xi and were wonderful companions as well. This Alaskan Expedition is only one of a large number of Sigma Xi–sponsored expeditions that occur in exotic parts of the world.
In November Sigma Xi held its Forum and Annual Meeting in Minneapolis. The 1999 Forum, "Reshaping Undergraduate Science and Engineering Education: Tools for Better Learning," was one of the very best in a long series of excellent forums sponsored by Sigma Xi in conjunction with the Annual Meeting. In a series of panels and workshops, those in attendance shared their experiences, concerns and knowledge about the newest approaches for providing undergraduate science education at colleges and universities. A comment often heard from those in attendance was that they could hardly wait to return to their campuses to begin using the teaching techniques that were presented.
In March a group of Michigan Sigma Xi members from industry and academia met with U.S. Representative Dale Kildee (D-Flint) as part of Sigma Xi's nascent Science Advocacy Program. One purpose of this program is to make available to members of Congress the extensive knowledge and experience of Sigma Xi members. I had previously attended meetings with Representatives Vernon Ehlers (R-Grand Rapids) and John Conyers (D-Detroit). In all three visits the Congressmen enthusiastically welcomed the Sigma Xi contingent and had specific suggestions as to how Sigma Xi might be of assistance to them in their work as legislators.
In mid-May a group of Sigma Xi members will attend the International Science and Engineering Fair to judge multidisciplinary, team science projects carried out by students from many different countries. I have been judging science fairs for more than 30 years, an activity shared by many Sigma Xi members. It will be my role this year to present first- and second-place Sigma Xi awards to those students whose projects are judged most meritorious.
Exploring remote and romantic parts of the world with wonderful companions, sharing the invaluable learning experiences associated with Sigma Xi's annual forums and other programs, providing knowledge and education to legislators, and encouraging and rewarding the accomplishments of the young in science and engineering are all activities in which every Sigma Xi member can participate. Although having had the opportunity to serve as President of Sigma Xi has been a great honor, it is the opportunity to join friends and colleagues in activities such as those described above that makes me truly grateful that I am a Sigma Xi member.
Peggie J. Hollingsworth
President, Sigma Xi