Maryland Tau Mu
College Park, MD 20742
Charter Date April 14, 1956
Chapter No. 61
Advisor Dr. Peter Sandborn
During the fall term 1955-1956, Dennis P. Hanley, Chairman of the Student Branch A.S.M.E., University of Maryland contacted the National Secretary expressing the interest of students and faculty in a chapter of Pi Tau Sigma.
With the encouragement of Dr. John E. Younger, Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering and the approval of Dean S. S. Steinberg (Engineering) and Dean J. H. Reid (students), twenty undergraduates students of the Glenn L. Martin Institute of Technology, College of Engineering, University of Maryland, who qualified for membership, petitioned the National Council of Pi Tau Sigma on December 14,1955.
Upon unanimous approval of the Council, the petition was submitted to all active chapters. As soon as the three-fourths majority was recorded (all were favorable) plans were completed for the installation of Maryland Tau Mu Chapter April 14, 1956. Installing officers were President M. S. Gjesdahl and Secretary-Treasurer D. S. Clark.
The Maryland Tau Mu Chapter started immediately to foster the activities on the Maryland Campus which define the objectives of the fraternity in terms of the local needs.
ANNUAL SUMMARY REPORTS
2021-2022 - Jack Mirenzi - President
The start of the 2021-2022 academic year was marked by the university and campus life shifting to more in-person events. Yet the previous year had taught us about the convenience of online meetings as an alternative. Currently, we use a combination of both types of meetings: always preferring in-person while staying flexible to hop on Zoom meetings as needed.
During the fall semester, we attracted a sizable class of initiates. As students were returning to campus it seemed many were eager to join an established organization like Pi Tau Sigma. We had many exciting events that semester, including professional events like information sessions with MC Dean, resume critiques, and the opportunity to get professional headshots taken. In addition, we had social events such as a ping pong tournament and game nights. Each semester our Pi Tau Sigma advisor, Dr. Peter Sandborn, gives a professional lecture. His topic of choice this time was Cost Analysis which our members found to be a great bridge between Engineering, Project Management, and Business.
As we transitioned into the Spring semester the executive board added additional positions: Social Outreach Chair and Membership Chair. We also moved our communication from a few GroupMe chats to a Slack server. Our hope is that even after our members graduate they will still stay on the Slack server so that current members can reach out to them for professional or academic advice. Additionally, we have created a Pi Tau Sigma - Tau Mu LinkedIn group. This is another way to stay connected to our alums post-graduation and serves as a great way for young new members to quickly expand their LinkedIn connections and improve their networking skills.
With the Spring semester underway, we started hosting more events. Our first large event was Alumni Cup which was done in conjunction with our university’s ASME chapter. The Alumni Cup is a competition between all of the engineering departments at University of Maryland to make the most impressive Rube Goldberg Machine. This year’s goal was to inflate and pop a balloon. We chose to complete the task with the theme Around the World and created an impressive machine with 43 steps! Unfortunately, the other University of Maryland engineers brought a lot to the table and the Fire Protection Engineers won first place. Even without the victory, the event was beneficial to Pi Tau Sigma. We were able to work together with ASME and promote a strong positive image for Mechanical Engineering at University of Maryland.
There were many smaller events throughout the semester as well. Many of the social events were repeats of previous favorites: Game Night, Breakfast Resume Critique, and Movie Night. This semester Dr. Sandborn’s lecture was on Counterfeit Parts in the Supply Chain. Instead of giving the lecture himself, our advisor let his graduate student show his research on the topic, using agent-based models to predict the nature of the industry and how to combat the situation. The lecture was a great example of tackling a problem with a multidisciplinary solution, taking a problem in the engineering industry, and solving it by creating an advanced economic simulation using machine learning.
Fall 2021 Induction -
2020-2021 Lillian Mueller, President
Over the course of the 2020-2021 academic year, the students of the University of Maryland faced many hardships and challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Fortunately, the Pi Tau Sigma Tau Mu chapter was able to overcome and still hold a presence on the new and different virtual campus. Via Zoom, the chapter continued to hold regular meetings, social events, professional events, and support its members.
Beginning in Fall 2020, the chapter made various executive decisions pertaining to membership and inductee requirements. Firstly, the number of events each member had to attend was reduced for both members and inductees as events were not as frequent as in previous years. Another change that was made involved the number of faulty signatures required. As a tradition, Pi Tau Sigma members are to meet these faculty members in person and get their signature to turn in at induction. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, this was impossible as limited personnel had access to the University at the time and additionally, many students were unable to come to campus due to health restrictions and safety. Therefore, the acting board of the chapter decided to waive this requirement excluding contacting the chapter’s Advisor, Dr. Sandborn.
In addition to changes regarding membership and induction practices, a challenge for our chapter this academic year was conducting all communication and events virtually whether that be over Zoom or via email and GroupMe. This created hardship where participation and outreach was concerned. With our physical presence lacking, the chapter made sure to collaborate more with other organizations in order to boost attendance and awareness. Through these collaborations, the chapter was able to plan various professional events with companies such as Oceaneering and M. C. Dean and social events such as a virtual paint night! For paint night, we coordinated with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to send out paint kits to our participating members and paint together over Zoom.
Aside from joint events planned with other similar organizations on campus, the Pi Tau Sigma chapter held many individual events for its members such as multiple Resume Critiques, a Career Fair Workshop, various presentations and lectures by Professors associated with the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Maryland, and Virtual Game nights which featured Jackbox Games and Among Us. The chapter even participated in a Virtual Escape Room hosted by the RecWell Center on campus.
Overall, while the chapter only gained 2 inductees of the course of the 2020-2021 academic year, there is a lot to be proud of as the chapter overcame the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and made the most of our situation. Pi Tau Sigma at the University of Maryland was still able to help our members grow both academically and professionally in addition to nourishing excitement for the mechanical engineering field. Moving forward, the chapter plans to widen their outreach and continue to improve in order to adapt to its members and their professional, academic, and social needs.
2019-2020 Peter Mnev, President
In the 2019-2020 academic year, the Pi Tau Sigma Tau Mu chapter greatly expanded its repertoire of activities, with departmental service as their focal point. In the fall semester, the chapter debuted the Transfer Student Mentorship Program for its active members to participate in. This program featured several events, including a kickoff to introduce the students, various social events to provide opportunities to meet new people, and professional ones to expose them to opportunities in mechanical engineering - all under the semester-long guidance of a PTS member mentor. In addition to this program, the Tau Mu chapter continued to provide its own active and prospective members with a diverse set of events that included a workshop with GE, UMD researcher talks, and a fascinating talk about the Hubble Telescope by a NASA engineer. The Fall semester saw 8 initiates join the chapter.
The Spring semester started off strong for the Tau Mu chapter, with a number of planned events being held. One event that stood out was the annual UMD Alumni Cup - a Rube-Goldberg machine design competition among the various engineering departments at UMD, in which a large number of Tau Mu initiates and members participated. The mechanical engineering team finished second this year. Additionally, typical events like a resume critique and movie night were held in the first half of the semester. After the shift to online-learning, PTS had to restructure its approach to activities. Some ported easily to an online setting, for example the semesterly talk by the chapter advisor Dr. Sandborn was easily held in a Zoom call. Other events, in particular those related to departmental involvement were outright cancelled, like the annual Maryland Day event in which PTS wanted to table at. Since one of the chapter’s initiation requirements is the signatures of active members and other initiates, a replacement activity was needed. The chapter found a way to remedy this and the lack of departmental activities by introducing a new program in the virtual member call that paired active members with initiates based on common interests. It was successful and may be expanded in the future. The Spring semester was closed off with a large virtual initiation alongside a small makeup initiation for one member who could not attend the first one, for a total of 18 initiates.
Overall, despite the unexpected change to online activities, the Tau Mu chapter had an incredibly successful year. Active member involvement was at a record high, and a substantial number of initiates joined the chapter. This was done by giving active members more concrete and rewarding ways to contribute to both the chapter and the mechanical engineering department, coupled with better incentives. The experience with online activities, new programs, and better policies for active members will enable the Tau Mu chapter to continue strong in the 2020-2021 school year.
Fall 2019 Initiation
Spring 2020 Virtual Initiation
Spring 2020 Makeup Virtual Initiation
2018-2019 Aaron Barlev, President
Maryland Tau Mu had fantastic year of professional and social activities. The chapter continued its tradition of fostering bonds between members and encouraging networking. Signs of chapter growth were evident this year in involvement with the Mechanical Engineering Department and our large initiate class (19 in total).
Networking and Professional Advancement
Throughout the school year, Maryland Tau Mu invited representatives from the university research community to teach about a topic of their choosing. Not only are these talks informative, but they provide an opportunity for PTS members to network in a closed setting with the faculty. This year our members got an inside look at the research being conducted by several leading University of Maryland professors. To name a few: Dr. Patrick McCluskey spoke in detail about cutting-edge embedded electronics, Dr. Chandrasekhar Thamire gave the chapter an overview of his professional and academic journey, and Dr. Peter Sandborn gave the group a lesson in engineering-related finance. Maryland Tau Mu also occasionally invites representatives from companies seeking to hire Mechanical Engineers to speak to the chapter. For example, in the Fall, representatives from NAVAIR came and spoke about their roles within the company.
Maryland Tau Mu hosted some exciting social events to strengthen the bond between our members. In the Fall, a fiercely competitive Ping Pong tournament was held where a single engineer was crowned champion. The chapter also hosted a viewing of Black Panther for members who had not yet seen the film. In the Spring, Trivia Night and a casual Mario Kart tourney kept things interesting. Additionally, an inaugural joint Ice-Skating event with the University of Maryland chapter of Tau Beta Pi was successfully organized. Maryland Tau Mu also continued our tradition of holding an ice cream social every semester, which is greatly appreciated by our members.
Department Involvement and Service
The chapter held its 5th Annual Mechanical Engineering Scholarship Golf Tournament as a joint effort with the Mechanical Engineering Department. The tournament was considered a success, with a significant amount of money raised through corporate sponsorship of competing teams for Mechanical Engineering student scholarships. Maryland Tau Mu also hosted a Mechanical Engineering Award Ceremony in conjunction with the department to recognize the contributions of an outstanding faculty member, the academic success of a select few sophomore Mechanical Engineers, and the effort of two members of the Pi Tau Sigma chapter. Dr. Peter Sandborn was selected to receive the annually awarded Purple Camshaft due to his consistent and reliable support of Maryland Tau Mu. Alex Mazze and Jake Erskine were the two PTS members selected to be honored for their contributions to the University of Maryland and our PTS chapter. Additionally, the groundwork was laid to begin a transfer student mentorship program early next year between the department and PTS. In success, Maryland Tau Mu would be responsible for the assimilation and academic/social success of transfer students who come to the University of Maryland’s Mechanical Engineering Department.
2017-2018 Caesar Riveiro, Logistics Chair
The Maryland Tau Mu Chapter of Pi Tau Sigma is proud to summarize the events we hosted and were involved during the 2017-2018 school year. The event we are most proud of is the Annual Mechanical Engineering Department Scholarship Fundraising Golf Tournament. We also organized several initiate-centric events. Among them we had: S’mores night, Game Night, Resume Critique, Ice Cream Social, and several informative presentations. In addition to these events, we hosted new member initiations at the end of the Fall and Spring semesters.
For the Annual Mechanical Engineering Department Scholarship Fundraising Golf Tournament, we had to organize and plan the tournament with the help of the MechE Department. We had to contact several sponsors for the event and make sure to organize the structure of the event. Overall, we raised over $5,000 then went towards scholarships for mechanical engineering students. This event was very successful for us and showed us how dedicated our members are to this chapter.
Our faculty advisor Dr. Sandborn was of great influence for our chapter during the past year. He gave a presentation on “Technology Obsolescence” during the spring semester and also gave a presentation on “Engineering Decision Making” during the fall semester. These presentations were interesting and educational, and provided valuable insight into the engineering profession for our initiates as well as our current members. Dr. Sandborn was also able to organize a NAVAIR presentation about their company and how members of Pi Tau Sigma could join their team. Finally, Dr. Sandborn assisted in Maryland Tau Mu’s collaboration with the Mechanical Engineering Department to secure funding for renovation of conference rooms within our engineering building.
During the past year, we worked closely with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). A presentation by Stanley Black and Decker was co-sponsored by ASME and our chapter. We also share a lounge area with ASME so most of our members are also ASME members. We held most of our social events in this lounge including the Ice Cream Social, Game Night, Resume Critique, and S’mores night. These socials were required events for our initiates at the time and gave them the events points they needed for initiation. These events were also an ideal time for Tau Mu members to become familiar with one another.
With the help of our members, we restructured the active membership tracking system, and made it easier to know who is still active. In addition, we had schedule planning at least once per semester to plan out the events for initiates, as well as the duties for each board member. Finally, we hosted initiation night at the end of both semesters. We maintained all the traditions that come with initiation night, including the “fake” exam and the introduction of our secret handshake. At the end of initiation, we had food catered for all members and celebrated the new initiates. The 2017-2018 school year was a remarkable success for Maryland Tau Mu, and we are looking forward to what next year will bring.