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 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, after one year, the Phi Theta Chapter is growing strong. They have had two official induction ceremonies making total membership approximately 170.

2018-2019 Martin Mija (President) 

For the academic year of Fall 2018 – May 2019 the Phi Theta Chapter of Pi Tau Sigma did not
organize any formal events outside of the initiation. Seven members were inducted on February
28, 2019 in the formal initiation ceremony. Pizza and soft drinks were served which encouraged
the new members to hang around and get to know the leadership council. One student was
inducted in a separate ceremony on March 7, 2019. The new membership is committed to the
values of Pi Tau Sigma and are eager to contribute to the success of the chapter at The University
of Massachusetts Amherst.

There were efforts to gather members for community service and social events but
unfortunately, due to the busy schedule of the members, an event was not able to put together.
Considerable effort was put forth towards coming up with ways for the chapter to contribute to
the overall well-being of the Engineering Program and the University as a whole. These ideas
will be passed down to next year’s leadership so that the work that was done this year is not wasted.
Chapter advisor Professor Nonnenmann suggested a mechanical engineering Family Feud night.
The activity would feature questions with topics ranging from academic knowledge to professor
characteristics and personality traits. Similar to the show, one hundred students would be
surveyed for each question and their answers tallied up to provide for a points scheme of the
show. This event would help to reward students who are heavily involved in the academic
program of mechanical engineering as their classroom knowledge and professor relations would
tailor well to their success in the game. The event could as have a fundraising portion and help to
fund new computer equipment and potentially future events for the chapter.

The chapter also intends to have events in the future which are with other engineering
honor society chapter such as the civil, electrical, industrial department. These events would
encourage a sense of community within the entire College of Engineering and help to extend
students relations beyond just the mechanical department. The departments could get together to
put on events for just the honor societies such as a social to reward those who were initiated to
the societies. To boost the college as a whole Pi Tau Sigma could put on tutoring sessions for
other mechanical students and collaborate with the other honor societies to provide tutoring for
more general and earlier engineering classes. The contributions by Pi Tau Sigma to their fellow
students would help to encourage student success and lift the program up as a whole.

The Phi Theta chapter is set up for success for the Fall 2019 - Spring 2020 academic year
and years beyond that. The membership base is growing and is expected to in future years as
well. The future students will be chosen based on the same criteria as this year which will
ensure that the Phi Theta chapter membership is held to a high standard for initiation. Chapter
participation in formal events is only expected to increase in future years and so is the
contribution of the chapter to the engineering and UMass community.