Lowell Phi Epsilon
Lowell, MA 01854
Charter Date September 24, 1982
Chapter No. 126
Advisor Dr. Kari White
Through the effort of several ambitious mechanical engineering students and the cooperation of the Mechanical Engineering Department, the University of Lowell was honored by the installation of the Lowell Phi Epsilon Chapter of Pi Tau Sigma. These outstanding students petitioned the National Council of Pi Tau Sigma for a chapter early in 1982. After the Council's approval, the Lowell Phi Epsilon chapter was formally installed on September 24, 1982, with the initiation of 42 charter members and two honorary members.
The Lowell Phi Epsilon Chapter provides tutoring for undergraduate students taking mechanical engineering courses. Phi Epsilon also works successfully with the A.S.M.E. in organizing social activities and events which promote the mechanical engineering profession. The goals for Phi Epsilon are: making mechanical engineering course evaluations, evaluating and rating mechanical engineering professors, and setting up a course description file for undergraduate students.
ANNUAL SUMMARY REPORTS
2022-2023 Alana Smith, Fall President and Justin Cormier, Spring President
The 2022-2023 year was another great year for the Lowell Phi Epsilon chapter of Pi Tau Sigma. We started out the year with an entirely new E-Board with seven new members taking on leadership roles across the fall and spring semester. Four former E-Board members from the 2021-2022 cohort took on graduate advisor roles within the E-Board and provided valuable guidance. Twenty-seven new members were initiated.
This year, the E-board focused on maintaining the success of our 2021-2022 year, while hosting new events for our chapter. One such reason for our success is our close relationship with the Mechanical Engineering Department and the College of Engineering. The chapter was able to maintain such a relationship by having members volunteer during our Open Houses and Welcome Days throughout the school year, giving potential mechanical engineering students and their families tours across the campus and our various facilities. We also continued to host peer advising for students every semester, which proved successful for both the students and our chapter members. Our chapter and the department collaborated on events throughout the year as well, such as our big end-of-the-year Spring Splash dunk tank event, and our Student vs. Faculty dodgeball game.
One of our biggest achievements as a chapter this past semester is our enhanced relationship with the university’s Lawrence Lin Makerspace. At the beginning of the school year, our chapter sought to increase our connections with the Makerspace, which mainly took the form of volunteering. Throughout the semester, we helped organize, set up, and run stations and activities in Makerspace’s seasonal events. This led to their support in our Spring Splash event, which even featured the manager of the Makerspace in our dunk tank who was a fan favorite.
Our dedication to service has been a core pillar of our chapter, and we are happy to have expanded our volunteering and outreach this year. We tested our idea for a program in mentoring first year students in engineering this year – and although we did not end up running the program due to lack of participants, we gained valuable ideas. The college of engineering released SPLASH (Student Proctored Learning and Accountability Study Hall) in the spring, where Pi Tau Sigma students maintained a presence by volunteering on Wednesday nights. In this program, our members provided guidance and encouragement in problem solving, and we envision this could also be a place to provide drop in mentoring to students. This fall, we used our popular mini-cornhole event from last year as an outreach event to introduce high schoolers from the Lowell Boys & Girls Club to engineering. We plan to continue to provide outreach events to the community to welcome the next generation of engineers.
Our chapter would like to thank our dedicated members, E-Board, graduate advisors, and outstanding chapter advisor for another fantastic year. We would like to thank the Mechanical Engineering Department, College of Engineering, and Makerspace for their support.
2021-2022 Isabella Chan, President
This year was a very exciting year for the Lowell Phi Epsilon chapter of Pi Tau Sigma. This year was our first time back on campus after being fully virtual for over a year. This year the E-board welcomed four new members to join last year’s President and Vice President in leading the society. Two of these new members joined in entirely new positions which we added to spread out the increasing amounts of work that come with our society growing so quickly. Their addition to the leadership team was instrumental in our success this year.
This year the Executive board focused their efforts again on furthering the society’s membership and presence, but also highlighted the importance of celebrating members and the greater campus community for their hard work especially amongst a pandemic, and the importance of serving the mechanical engineering department on campus. Membership efforts were again proven successful and the society grew to over ninety members this year.
In the past few semesters, the chapter had focused strongly on rebuilding. This year we found ourselves able to transition out of the rebuilding phase and into a future focused sustaining phase. We found greater purpose for our society in serving our mechanical engineering department, engineering college, and the greater campus community. With this purpose in mind, the chapter assisted at numerous Open Houses and Welcome Day’s over the year and served as tour guides for potential mechanical engineering students and their families. Additionally, the chapter supported the department in many of their events by attending, encouraging attendance, or helping to plan and run the event. Some of these events include the Halloween costume and trebuchet contest, and the students vs. faculty dodgeball and volleyball tournaments.
This partnership proved mutual and the department and even the engineering college dean’s office helped to plan and fund many Pi Tau Sigma events like the Holiday Ugly sweater contest, the March Madness miniature cornhole tournament, and the big end of the year Spring Splash. Additionally, we continued our popular biyearly peer advising nights which continue to be a successful night for both the mechanical engineering student advisees and the Pi Tau Sigma member advisors. We were very excited to return this event to the in-person forum so we could return to offering all our attendees some delicious snacks. In addition to these events, we hosted an intramural softball team to play in the spring intramural slow pitch softball league at our university. The team was a great success and the future Executive board is looking forward to starting more Pi Tau Sigma intramural teams in the future.
This year was a year of great growth and celebration for our chapter. It has been so rewarding to see our efforts to grow the society pay off. With a very strong presence on campus, we can now begin exploring even more opportunities for our members. We are very excited to see what the future holds for Lowell Phi Epsilon.
2020-2021 Isabella Chan, President
This year was a difficult year for programming for Lowell Phi Epsilon. Our University continued with remote learning throughout the entire academic calendar, very few students lived on campus, and all in person gatherings and activities were suspended. Additionally, this year the Executive Board welcomed three new members into the President, Vice President, and Treasurer positions. The new Executive board was tasked with not only the struggles of adapting to their new roles, but also doing so while amongst a global pandemic.
Our Executive board decided to focus their goals on increasing membership and the chapter’s presence on campus. This was achieved through making connections with the University’s Mechanical Engineering department’s secretaries and social media head. We used these connections to help spread the word about the virtual events or opportunities we were hosting for Mechanical Engineering students. The department secretaries and social media head would email and post the infographics and posters we made for each of our events to the entire department and on the departments social media pages.
Additionally, we found that there was a great disparity between those who are qualified for membership and those who seek membership. In order to remedy this, our executive board decided to send out personal emails in addition to the invitation email. In these emails, the executive board detailed their personal experiences as members of the society and explained why they thought membership in the society is advantageous. We believe that these efforts were quite successful as we were able to nearly triple our membership this past semester.
Every semester we host a peer advising night giving the mechanical engineering community the opportunity to connect and have a conversation with underclassmen on course recommendations and advice while moving through their pathway. However, this year we were unable to hold this event normally, and instead had to adapt it to meet the expectations of a virtual world. We were able to gain high attendance at the four sessions we held through our connections with the department.
In normal years, Lowell Phi Epsilon volunteers at the Engineering Department’s “Welcome Day” assisting with tours, information booths, and answering prospective students and family questions. However, this year our assistance was no longer needed as the entire event was held virtually. We look forward to continuing to volunteer for this event and similar events on campus this upcoming semester when we will return to full in person programming.
This year, we decided to host a virtual game night as a way for our new members to get to know each other and have a relaxing night before the stress of finals. It was a very fun and successful night that offered a more laid back activity in which our members could participate.
This year, although challenging, was very successful and productive for our chapter. We believe we were able to reach our goals of increasing both our membership numbers and our presence on campus, and we cannot wait to further these efforts when we are back on campus this fall.
2018-2019 Alex Frankel, President
The Lowell Phi Epsilon chapter of Pi Tau Sigma had a very successful year hosting and participating in many campus wide events promoting community engagement, volunteering, and school pride. Our two biggest events were our first annual Pi Tau Sigma “Info Night” and our participation in UMass Lowell’s Accepted Students Welcome Day. The info night hosted on March 27, 2019 provided an engaging environment where members were able to network with other Mechanical Engineering students, give and gain advice on potential professors, and help coordinate course schedules together. The “Info Night” was held during the advising period, the week before students chose classes, in order to introduce our members to their peers and expand their network, as well as offer each other some insight about upcoming courses. This not only helped introduce them to their classmates but helped them pick the best schedules and professors and many even planned study groups for the future semester.
UMass Lowell’s Accepted Students Welcome Day was also a huge success as our Pi Tau Sigma chapter fully staffed the mechanical engineering departments’ tour guides and were able to provide practical knowledge and personal insight to prospective students on behalf of the Mechanical Engineering department. Our members and officers guided them on their tours around campus, introduced them to our beautiful labs and exciting clubs, and advertised Pi Tau Sigma to the students and their families. This year was the first time we participated in this event and it is something we will continue to do for the school for many years to come. The chapter’s participation was an integral component to the successful operation of the event for the Mechanical Engineering department. The administration expressed their significant appreciation to all of our members who participated and assisted with the event. Our chapter’s engineers are not only the best and brightest our university has to offer but they are also articulate and personable, and are the best people we have to represent our great university and their Mechanical Engineering department. We look forward to continuing our involvement with the UMass Lowell community and expanding our outreach beyond the campus.
This year Lowell Phi Epsilon held one initiation in the spring and initiated 56 new members. The reason for the unusually large initiation class was due to some poor presence and outreach in the previous years, thus many eligible seniors did not have the opportunity to join while they were juniors. All undergraduates in the Mechanical Engineering Department that met the criteria outlined in the Pi Tau Sigma constitution were sent an invitation. We were granted permission from the board of directors to initiate a number of last-term seniors due to the extenuating circumstances.
The main initiation ceremony was held on April 28th, 2018 and had over 100 initiates and guests in attendance. We initiated 49 undergraduate members and 1 honorary member. The ceremony was held in one of the auditorium-style lecture halls in Ball Hall on the University of Massachusetts Lowell campus. Coffee and snacks were catered at the ceremony with help from the Mechanical Engineering Department. The make-up initiation ceremony was held on May 5th, 2018 and was for students who were on co-ops, study abroad, or otherwise could not make it to the main initiation ceremony. We initiated 6 undergraduate members during the make up initiation ceremony
Due to a combination of a change in faculty adviser, the mechanical engineering department office moving, and no active member volunteering to be an officer, the Lowell Phi Epsilon chapter did not hold any activities during the 2017-2018 year. The current group of officers were recruited in mid-March 2018 and the focus was to hold an initiation and to establish chapter protocols to ensure that the chapter would not fall into disrepair again. As part of this process, we purchased a new chapter roll book, consolidated all chapter material in the faculty advisor's office, and set up an account with the universities’ Student Activities Office to handle all financial matters.
We also made plans for events that we wanted to hold next year. We talked with the mechanical engineering department about how we can increase our presence on campus and what role they would like us to fill in the coming years.
When we sent in our chapter regalia order form this year, we were alerted by the Secretary-Treasurer that he did not have any record of an initiation performed by Lowell Phi Epsilon since 2015. The officers figured out who was initiated in 2016 and 2017 and submitted registration forms for the missing initiations when we submitted the Spring 2018 registration form. We will be mailing out those students certificates and membership cards during the summer.