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

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!