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.



2023-2024 Celina Ricaurte (President)

The Massachusetts Phi Theta chapter, representing the Pi Tau Sigma community of the University of Massachusetts– Amherst, has experienced significant growth this past academic year. 

This is the first year in which the chapter has hosted two induction events, one in the fall semester and one in the spring semester. We believe that this increased frequency of inductions, coupled with informative announcements of the chapter before class lectures typically taken by juniors, has successfully helped spread awareness of the chapter on campus and in turn increased the number of inductees we were able to welcome. 

We still believe that there is a lack of knowledge and awareness of the Pi Tau Sigma chapter on campus and there is an established goal to improve upon that by continuing to make (more) announcements at the beginning of class lectures prior to inductions and by hosting more events on campus to make our presence more visible and known. 

Regardless, we are extremely proud and grateful to witness a total of 17 new inductees this past academic year (pictured below) in comparison to the 6 inductees welcomed during the 2022-2023 academic year. This is even a bigger testament when in comparison to the total membership count of one member prior to the 2022 Spring Induction. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the chapter was in a null state, but following the 2022 Spring Induction, Massachusetts Phi Theta has seen an upward trend in membership and it is a goal of ours to continue to expand. We believe that in this past academic year we have made the changes necessary to greatly help facilitate that.

As the chapter becomes more active on its own campus, we aim to continue being active on the national level as well, as this is the second year Massachusetts Phi Theta has sent members to attend the Annual National Convention. The chapter President and Vice President were happy to attend and participate in the events and networking opportunities with new and familiar faces. 

As Massachusetts Phi Theta moves forward, the chapter as a whole has committed to doing what it can to foster growth and awareness of the chapter on campus. We have made executive decisions like increasing membership fees to increase flexibility in funds that will allow the chapter to be more inclusive in events and better able to host activities. We have also set a standard for how officer positions are elected and are happy to have set up a full board of positions for the upcoming academic year including a new President and Vice President, and a Secretary and Treasurer. 

We believe that this 2023-2024 academic year has marked a significant upward trend for Massachusetts Phi Theta! 


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Our Fall Induction Inductees: Tamer, Cade, Maeve, Sean, Reid and Nicholas.


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Our Spring Induction Inductees: Alejandro, Jeff, Ryan, Ben, Arya, John, Benjamin, Marisol, Tara, Sarah, and Caroline.


2022-2023 Molly Fabrizio (President)

Pi Tau Sigma-Umass represents the national mechanical engineering honors society. This year our president and vice president were proud to represent the University of Massachusetts Amherst at the annual national conference hosted around the United States each year. Our chapter has been focusing on growth and involvement across campus and at nationwide events.This past semester, Pi tau sigma represented the University at the national conference hosted by Auburn in Alabama. This was an incredible opportunity where we learned about the organization's long standing credentials and traditionals in addition to gathering a list of potential meeting ideas. Our chapter plans on hosting a meeting every other month to help to increase our organizations awareness as well as setting our members up for better opportunities in the future.

Different from prior years, moving forward Pi Tau Sigma-Umass plans to initiate biannually, rather than annual initiation dates. In addition we will be hosting our officer elections in the fall semester instead of the spring semester so that our officer board will have an opportunity to reach out to previous position holders before their graduations in hopes to facilitate a higher efficiency of information retention. Through doing this, we hope to welcome as many new members as possible. With the voices of members new and old, our chapter grows in more ways than one. Together we will cultivate ideas to grow to further the credibility of engineering as well as the Umass pride. We are only able to do what we do with influences from the student body. The future is looking bright for Phi Theta!

2021-2022 Molly Fabrizio (President)

The 2021-2022 academic year was still quite an unprecedented year on campus with restrictions still in place due to Covid-19. In correspondence with this and the fact that there was only one member currently in the chapter due to a lack of new members initiating in past years, the chapter was unable to accomplish much outside of inducting six new members and electing new officers this Spring. 

Our new officers are planning on doing more advertising through the College of Engineering to increase the number of future inductees. We are planning on reaching out to all sophomores, juniors, and seniors via email so they become more aware and familiar with our organization, and so that when it is time to send invitations for another induction, we can expect more responses/acceptances. We believe there were only six inductees this past year because other invited students must not be aware of the benefits and recognition Pi Tau Sigma provides. We are also planning on tabling at the college’s fair so we can further this awareness of the chapter among the campus community and answer any questions any potential future members might have. 

We look forward to continuing a partnership with UMass’ Joint Engineering Student Societies (JSES) helping co-host events, but we also look forward to hosting our own events like meet and greets, game nights, and study group sessions. This year we will also host a meeting to decide what other goals should be established in regards to community service and fundraising for the upcoming year. 


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!