Illinois Alpha

University of Illinois
Urbana, Illinois

Charter Date   March 16, 1915

Chapter No.   1

Advisor   Dr. Surya Pratap Vanka

Chapter Status

Annual Chapter Reports

Illinois Alpha

Pi Tau Sigma had its beginning in the year 1915 when a group of upperclassmen in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Illinois planned an honorary fraternity for mechanical engineering students. They organized "to foster the high ideals of the engineering profession, to stimulate interest in co-ordinate departmental activities, and to promote the welfare of its members."

A. F. Barron and R. C. Maley, both of the class of 1915, and O.C.K. Hutchinson of the class of 1916 were the leaders. These men received the encouragement and advice of Professors C. R. Richards, B. W. Benedict, G. A. Goodenough, and O. A. Leutwiler, who expressed the opinion that such an organization could foster co-operation between students and faculty and promote worthwhile student activities. The original charter was approved by the Council of Administration of the University on March 16, 1915.Illinois Alpha Chapter has continued to perform these functions since its inception.
 

ANNUAL SUMMARY REPORTS

2021-2022 Kamden Damrow, President

The Illinois Alpha chapter is continuing to maintain active involvement in campus participation and community involvement. Coming out of covid restrictions, we have broadened our activity while remaining inside of the restrictions set by the relevant authorities. While keeping with our long-held initiation requirements, we were able to initiate three members in both the fall and the spring.

SERVICE

In order to raise money for nonprofits in our community, Illinois Alpha has partnered with ASME to host multiple fundraisers throughout the year. The two main ones were held through Domino’s and Krispy Kreme, where a portion of purchases were donated directly to Big Brother Big Sister of Champaign County

Our STEM days at the local grade school have slowed down due to covid regulations. To compensate, we have begun a youtube video series to teach kids about STEM concepts from the comfort of their own homes. We were also able to host one STEM showcase near the end of the year in April.

Illinois Alpha also created two exhibits for our 100th annual Engineering Open House at UIUC. This year we created a scale trebuchet and showed off our drone from the PTS national convention. 

SOCIAL

Keeping with tradition, Illinois Alpha continued its biweekly happy hours to provide members a fun break at the end of the week. We similarly hosted other social events throughout the year including bowling nights, a bar crawl, and our annual PTS pig roast.

NETWORKING AND PERSONAL ADVANCEMENT

Professional networking came in the form of our general meetings throughout the year. We met with a number of companies like Caterpillar, Monolith, and World Wide Technology. This allowed us to connect members with internship and job opportunities at these respective companies, as well as learn more of the intricacies of them and their future plans.

The Illinois Alpha Chapter also helped to host the Mechse Forum in the fall. At this event, PTS connects students of the Mechanical Science and Engineering Department with relevant leaders and advisors in the department. This allows students to raise concerns and ask questions about the state of the department and the direction that it is heading in the near future.

This year, Illinois Alpha offered an additional opportunity to its members to learn about opportunities available to them on campus. We hosted a research talk, where multiple senior members and graduate students from PTS presented on their own research. They also gave strong advice on how to get involved with research on campus and its many benefits.

With the PTS national convention being held so close in Chicago this year, we were able to bring many more members to this excellent networking event. The entire design team that worked on the drone for the national competition was able to attend!

Going forward, we hope to continue to build and expand on our recent successes. We are expecting an even better year in 2022-23!

 

2019-2020 Jason Golden, President

Throughout the years, the Illinois Alpha chapter of Pi Tau Sigma has maintained a constant presence on the UIUC campus through our various service, social, and personal advancement activities. This year we welcomed 8 initiates in the fall. Due to Covid-19, the spring initiation has been postponed until the two weeks of the fall semester, where 13 initiates are expected to be inducted.

SERVICE

Illinois Alpha holds a 6 day long barbeque each semester to raise money for charity. The fundraising barbeque provides affordable lunch outside of the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory. This year, we raised about $400 in the fall for the United Way of Champaign County and had made tentative plans for our spring charity barbeque following spring break. 

Additionally, our chapter spearheads an initiative to educate local elementary school children about engineering principles at the Booker T. Washington Engineering Club. Two days a week over 6 weeks of a semester, members visit Booker T. Washington Elementary School to lead children in creative and informative STEM activities.

Illinois Alpha exhibits at Engineering Open House every spring, showcasing our projects built throughout the year. Unfortunately due to Covid-19, Engineering Open House was cancelled. 

SOCIAL

Every year our chapter hosts biweekly happy hours and holds two bar crawls per semester: one with other departmental organizations and the one of our own. Additionally, we hold numerous socials, such as game nights, study hours with snacks, and broomball with other societies. In the fall, we picked apples at a local orchard and co-hosted a homecoming tailgate with ASME. Though the spring semester was cut short, we still enjoyed a few socials with members and initiates.

NETWORKING AND PERSONAL ADVANCEMENT

Illinois Alpha organizes meetings with various companies throughout the year to provide our members with access to representatives so that they may make connections and receive career advice and opportunities. Companies that visited us this year included 3M, Autodesk, Brindley Engineering, Caterpillar, ExxonMobil, McDermott, and Vesuvius.

Additionally, we held a graduate student panel, consisting of current graduate students in our department to answer questions from students interested in graduate school and academia, and a department wide forum, consisting of department faculty, directors, and advisors for students to raise questions and concerns. We also had the opportunity to hold a panel for distinguished alumni prior to our department’s award ceremony.

Illinois Alpha also provided workshops for members to enhance professional, technical, and interpersonal skills. Throughout the year, we hosted workshops from Autodesk about generative design, the Illinois Leadership Center about conflict management, and Engineering Career Services about acing interviews.

Our chapter also fields three project teams every year. This year our project teams worked on fixed-arm trebuchet, a marble run showcase, and a robot to compete in the Midwest Robotics Design Competition. These projects are usually showcased at EOH every spring. We hope we can refine and perfect these projects and present them next year during EOH.

We’re excited and prepared to be back next year!

2019 Fall Initiation
Fall 2019 Initiation​​​​​​

 

2018-2019  Alexandra Baumgart, President

Throughout the years, the Illinois Alpha chapter of Pi Tau Sigma has maintained a constant presence on the UIUC campus through our various service, social, and personal advancement activities. This year we welcomed a total of 27 initiates, 11 initiating in the spring and 16 in the fall.

SERVICE

Illinois Alpha holds a 6 day long barbecue each semester to raise money for charity. This year, we raised about $600 in the fall and about $1000 in spring for the United Way of Champaign County. Additionally, our chapter spearheads an initiative to educate local elementary school children about engineering principles at the Booker T. Washington Engineering Club. Two days a week over 6 weeks of a semester, members visit Booker T. Washington Elementary School to lead children in creative and informative STEM activities.

Similarly, we hold Family Engineering Picnics which are science fairs in which families can participate in demonstrations designed to instruct young students in STEM principles.

Illinois Alpha exhibits at Engineering Open House every year as well, and this year was no different. These events are open to the public, and designed to showcase to younger students what engineers can do! This past year, Illinois Alpha showcased a materials project, a creative design project, a ballista project, and a robot to compete in the MRDC robotics competition.

SOCIAL

Every year our chapter hosts biweekly happy hours and holds two bar crawls per semester, one with other departmental organizations and the other on our own. Additionally, we hold numerous social events, such as game nights, study hours with snacks, and broomball with other departmental societies. In the fall, we took a trip to the local apple orchard. We also held a pig roast in the fall and smaller cookout in the spring, roasting the meat on a spit of our design.  Our exec board loves planning for this all-day event and feasting on the rewards of our labor.

This year, we also hosted UIC for a day-long event that included a Rube Goldberg design challenge, a tour of John Deere facilities, and a cookout. We hope to continue similar collaborative events in the future.

NETWORKING AND PERSONAL ADVANCEMENT

Illinois Alpha organizes meetings with various companies throughout the year to provide our members with access to representatives so that they may make connections and receive career advice and opportunities. Companies that visited us this year included Exelon, Caterpillar, Shell, 3M, Kimberly-Clark, Sandia National Laboratories, SpaceX, Thyssenkrupp, McDermott, Cummins, and Whirlpool.

Additionally, we held a graduate student panel consisting of current graduate student PTS members at Illinois to answer questions from students interested in graduate school and academia.

Our chapter also fields four project teams every year. This year we created a penny crusher, a ballista, a materials project demonstrating the properties of Nitinol, and a robot for the Midwest Robotics Design Competition. Our robotics team was able to compete for the first time in a few years!

We’re excited to see what next year brings!

 

2017-2018 Jack Lund, President

Throughout the years, the Illinois Alpha chapter of Pi Tau Sigma has maintained a constant presence on the UIUC campus through our various service, social, and personal advancement activities. This year we welcomed a total of 46 initiates, 26 initiating in the spring and 20 in the fall.

SERVICE

Illinois Alpha holds a 6 day long barbecue each semester to raise money for charity. This year, we raised about $1500 for the Brother’s Brother Foundation in the fall to assist with hurricane recover and about $1500 in spring for the United Way of Champaign County. Additionally, our chapter spearheads an initiative to educate elementary schoolers about engineering principles called Booker T. Washington Engineering and Technology Club. Two days a week over 6 weeks of a semester, members visit Booker T. Washington elementary school to lead children in creative and informative afterschool activities.

Similarly, we hold Family Engineering Picnics which are science fairs in which families can participate in demonstrations designed to instruct young students in STEM principles.

Illinois Alpha exhibits at Engineering Open House every year as well, and this year was no different. These events are open to the public, and designed to showcase to younger students what engineers can do! This past year, Illinois Alpha showcased a fluids project, a creative design project, a catapult project, and a robot to compete in the MRDC robotics competition.

SOCIAL

Every year our chapter hosts biweekly happy hours and holds two barcrawls per semester, one with other departmental organizations and the other on our own. Additionally, we hold numerous social events, such as game nights and potlucks. We also held two pig roasts throughout the year. We bought a pig from our university’s meat salesroom and roasted it in an oven of our design.  Our exec board loves planning for this all-day event and feasting on the rewards of our labor.

NETWORKING AND PERSONAL ADVANCEMENT

Illinois Alpha organizes meetings with various companies throughout the year in order to provide our members with access to representatives so that they may make connections and receive career advice and opportunities. Companies that visited us this year include P&G, Cummins, Vesuvius, Caterpillar, 3M, Ford, Kimberly-Clark, Rolls Royce, Chrysler and others.

Additionally, we held a graduate student panel consisting of current graduate students at Illinois to field questions from students interested in academia.

Our chapter also fields four project teams every year. This year we created a creative project using a gearing system and vacuum to create a showcase similar to an arcade claw, a catapult, a fluids project which demonstrated how a non-newtonian fluid behaves under shear stress, and a robot for the Midwest Robotics Design Competition.

We’re excited to see what next year brings!