Northern Illinois Beta Lambda

Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115

Charter Date   February 24, 2018

Chapter No.   179

Advisor   Dr. John Shelton

Chapter Status

Annual Chapter Reports

Northern Illinois Beta Lambda

In the Spring 2017 Semester, the top seven Mechanical Engineering students in each class were contacted by the Mechanical Engineering Department. The students were invited to a presentation that described Pi Tau Sigma. The presentation was given by Dr. Nicholas Pohlman, Dr. Federico Sciammarella, and Dr. John Shelton. Twelve students declared their interest and signatures were collected. These twelve students became the founding members. The new charter petition was submitted to Dr. Alex Moutsoglou. While waiting for the Pi Tau Sigma vote on the petition, a student board was organized, and Kayla Ruppe was elected president. The group of students obtained recognition from the NIU Student Association as the Mechanical Engineering Honors Society.

     The new charter petition was unanimously approved on November 8, 2017. In the Spring 2018 Semester, Ben Starcevich was elected president following the graduation of the previous president, Kayla Ruppe. Ben Starcevich and the chapter advisor, Dr. John Shelton, attended the national convention in Miami, Florida at the University of Miami. The chapter was officially inducted at the national convention on February 24, 2018 when the president, Ben Starcevich was initiated. Dr. John Shelton was inducted as an Honorary Member. Following the national convention, four additional members were interviewed and accepted. The initiation of all fourteen chapter members was held on March 21, 2018. These members, along with the president, constituted the first fifteen formal members of the Northern Illinois Beta Lambda chapter.


2018-2019 Thomas Corbett - President

     In the fall semester, Northern Illinois Beta Lambda was able to visit a local company, Precision Quincy Ovens, where a member had an internship in the prior year. They allowed us to tour their location and hold a discussion about their business and suggestions for professional development of our members. After leaving this event, the chapter went out to dinner together as a bonding opportunity. Many members from Beta Lambda also attended IMTS in Chicago this fall and was able to learn more about the current state of manufacturing, both locally and across the globe.

     For outreach in the fall semester, we had members assist at NIU’s STEAM fest, an annual event the university holds to encourage the community around NIU to learn more about science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. Additionally, Beta lambda worked with the other two engineering discipline honors societies at NIU, Alpha Pi Mu and Eta Kappa Nu, to host a table at NIU’s annual engineering picnic.

     Beta Lambda was also able to help the Mechanical Engineering (MEE) department in the fall by attending a dinner where the department talked to industry partners about what they wanted to see out of students. The members that were present for the event were able to give the student outlook on the college which the partners greatly enjoyed, and it is anticipated that this will now became an annual event for the chapter to attend.

     At the end of the semester we held our bi-annual finals cool down event with the new initiates and played several different card games, as well as working through some coloring books and small crafts.

     The chapter president Thomas Corbett was able to attend the national conference at Colorado State University. This was an excellent experience given the infancy of the Beta Lambda chapter, and meeting members of Pi Tau Sigma from all over the country welcomed many new ideas for our chapter going forward. It is the hope of the chapter that in the future more members can attend so that more people can get the most out of the event.

     Additionally, Beta Lambda was working with many other honors societies at NIU to create an Honors Society showcase event, where all the university honors societies would get together and recruit any interested students. Due to some scheduling conflicts with administration at NIU, this event has been postponed until next semester. We are greatly looking forward to participating in this event as hopefully it will interest more students and help with future recruitment.

     The final event of the semester was holding a pizza and coffee study night before finals with Eta Kappa Nu that was open to the entire college. The event was successful and served to introduce younger students in the MEE program to the organization, and we expect to also help with future recruitment.


2017-2018 Ben Starcevich - President

     Throughout the past academic year, we have hosted and taken part in several events. We have had a social outing night where we enjoy billiards and bowling. This occurs earlier in the semester in order to encourage communication and interaction between old and new members alike. Beta Lambda members also hosted a table at the NIU STEM Fest, a convention meant to increase public awareness of the sciences and encourage younger students. We have also hosted an engineering professional speech. An engineer from UTC Aerospace presented on his daily work and the challenges he faces. He also discussed the software used in thermal analysis and the simulation of heat transfer from electrical components. This presentation was helpful since it outlined the practical work in an engineering field.

     Beta Lambda also partnered with the Society of Women Engineers to organize a resume workshop in connection with the NIU Engineering Job Fair. A recruiter presented on the types of things to include and not include on a resume. He recommended several resources to help with building a resume. Members of SWE and Pi Tau Sigma were also able to review student resumes and recommend changes and improvements.

     An end of semester raffle was held for two baskets of study supplies, snacks, and small games. Tickets were sold in the engineering building as well as at a table in the university library. A coding competition was also held for members of the chapter. Coding was done in C++. The NIU computer lab was reserved to give members access to the same computers and program. Several tasks were assigned, and the competitors were given an hour to complete the coding challenges. The winner was awarded a gift card. This was a fun competition that also taught some basic coding logic.

     The chapter president, Ben Starcevich, and the advisor, Dr. John Shelton, attended the national convention at the University of Miami. The convention was an excellent resource for a new chapter. It provided access to industry professionals, introduced new software and improvements, and connected Pi Tau Sigma members from across the world. The presentation on best practices was very helpful for a new chapter.

     Five Beta Lambda members attended the regional convention held at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The event was hosted by the Alpha Sigma chapter at UIC. Several surrounding chapters were invited. A panel of alumni shared their experiences with Pi Tau Sigma and in their respective career paths. A meal was provided, and several tours were given. There were tours of the UIC Makerspace Lab, the Fluids Lab, the Additive Manufacturing Lab, and the Oxide Research Lab. Graduate students or professors clearly explained these research stations. A social event followed the tours. This regional convention helped connect Pi Tau Sigma members at nearby chapters and resulted in suggestions for future collaboration between the chapters.

     Finally, at the end of each semester, Beta Lambda holds a finals social event to take a break from studying and relax with the other members. Coloring books and card games have been among the favorite activities. This serves as the final gathering of each semester as well.