Six students will soon be inducted to Pi Sigma Alpha, a very prestigious honor society.
Pi Sigma Alpha is an honor society for students involved in areas regarding political science and government. Valparaiso University’s chapter of the honor society is known as Beta Nu. Compared to other honors societies both in Valpo and across the country, Pi Sigma Alpha stands out for a special reason.
“We are the Beta Nu chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honorary Society, which was founded in 1920,” said Shelby Topping, administrative assistant to the department of political science and international relations. “It is the only college level honor society for scholars of political science and government affairs. Today, Pi Sigma Alpha thrives on 800 campuses across the United States, and membership is recognized as a symbol of academic excellence.”
The students following students have recently been initiated: senior political science and history double major Joshua Felty, junior political science major Natalle Kezy, junior international relations and geography double major Keith Nagel, senior international relations and economics double major Caroline Pratt, senior political science major Hilary Van Oss and senior international relations and French double major Natalie Wilhelm.
In order for students to qualify for Pi Sigma Alpha, they must maintain a general grade point average of 3.25 or higher, maintain a grade point average of 3.40 or higher in political science courses and must to complete at least ten hours of coursework in political science, with one of those courses being a 300 level.
Topping and Dr. Jennifer Hora, associate professor of political science and international relations, work with the honor society.
Hora has been the PSA advisor since the spring of 2007. Her work with the group includes hosting viewing parties for debates, elections and State of the Union addresses, as well as reading day relaxation dinners.
Hora was also inducted to Pi Sigma Alpha when she was an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire.
Topping provides administrative support that combines with her work as an administrative assistant.
Topping, Hora and current members are excited to welcome their new members into the honor society.
“Professor Hora and our current members are delighted to welcome and congratulate the six new members,” Topping said. “This is one of the few times that we’ve hosted a fall initiation as the usual induction ceremony occurs in the spring. We had several interested students this fall, so we decided to move forward with a new member invitation. We will still gather for our larger, more formal ceremony in the spring, where we enjoy a nice meal and a keynote speaker.”
On campus, Pi Sigma Alpha helps to keep students informed on politics, voting and current events.
“Pi Sigma Alpha co-sponsored Voting Made Simple in 2016,” Topping explained. “We brought in NPR correspondent Michael Puente as our keynote speaker, registered voters and our biggest help, supplied absentee voter request forms and helped students fill those out and mail them.”
For these six students, initiation is an important event, and their membership will benefit them long after they’ve graduated from college.
“Membership in Pi Sigma Alpha is for a lifetime and allows members to join a network that included former president Bill Clinton, former Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist, former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw and a cadre of other successful political science graduates.” Topping said.
The initiation will take place for the new members on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 5 p.m. in the Lumina Room of the Arts and Science Building.