Massachusetts Phi Theta

University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003

Charter Date   December 7, 1940

Chapter No.   129

Advisor   Dr. Stephen Nonnenmann

Chapter Status

Annual Chapter Reports

Massachusetts Phi Theta

Thanks to the co-founders, Professor William Goss and Professor Kenneth Picha, the Phi Theta Chapter of Pi Tau Sigma was established. The executive council granted permission to the University of Massachusetts on October 7, 1983. There were originally 79 charter members - many of whom were distinguished members of the mechanical engineering faculty at the University of Massachusetts.

According to the Phi Theta Chapter's founding advisor, Kenneth Picha, the purpose of the fraternity was to give the outstanding students in mechanical engineering the recognition that was long overdue, because previously there were not enough mechanical engineers enrolled at the University of Massachusetts to meet the criteria, and a charter could not be established.

Today the Phi Theta Chapter is growing strong. Under the advisement of Professor Nonnenmann, the chapter is seeking out new ways to engage with the growing engineering department at UMass.


2019-2020 Madeline Scott (President) 

By all accounts, the academic year of Fall 2019 - Spring 2020 has been a wild time. The Phi Theta chapter here at UMass Amherst had planned two formal initiation ceremonies, only for unforeseen circumstances to delay the Fall ceremony past the end of the semester, and completely cancel the Spring ceremony. Because of this our chapter is mainly comprised of continuing graduate students. Based on the interest we had in the canceled ceremonies we are expecting to induct many new qualified members come this Fall.

Other than the induction ceremonies this year the Phi Theta chapter has been introduced into a partnership with the Joint Engineering Student Societies (JSES) at UMass; a group comprised of the leadership of the roughly 25 student engineering organizations on campus. Through this partnership we hope to provide more opportunities to our members and be better able to serve the College of Engineering at UMass by engaging with other clubs for new events and activities.

In partnership with JSES the Phi Theta chapter helped host a pre-career fair breakfast / meet and greet this Fall with company recruiters attending a College of Engineering career fair later in the afternoon. Many of the other engineering societies and clubs on campus participated in the breakfast, as well as a large portion of the junior class attending the Fall fair.

We had also hoped to host a “fun night” before finals to give everyone a break. We intended to host it at a local roller-skating rink with pizza and snacks. However, due to the cancellation of in-person classes at the end of this year, it never happened.

Going forward into next year we are looking forward to more volunteering engagement opportunities through JSES such as the Women in STEM day they host in partnership with the Society of Women Engineers on campus, and various game nights and K-12 STEM engagement programs.

We also are looking forward to perhaps hosting more events on our own, particularly having members attend the national Pi Tau Sigma yearly convention. We have also been tossing around the idea of a college of engineering family feud night to foster better connections in the college. This could be something set up online through a video chat service with professors as the participants with some upper classmen, and other students viewing; it would probably be more fun in person, but we are exited that there is a possibility to help unify the college virtually if we don’t end up on campus.

As we move through the summer of 2020 the leadership team of the Phi Theta chapter is working together to figure out what our chapter’s activities will look like pending the decision of our university to open for in-person classes. We are hoping that even if we are not all back on campus in the fall, we will be able to host an online initiation ceremony for all those interested and qualified to join us!