South Dakota State Tau Chi

South Dakota State University
Brookings, SD 57007

Charter Date   March 6, 1961

Chapter No.   71

Advisor   Dr. Gregory Michna

Chapter Status

Annual Chapter Reports

South Dakota State Tau Chi

Through the efforts of Professor John F. Sandfort, Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and two members of the Alpha Omega Chapter-at-large, Gerald Wigdahl and Wayne Wight who had been initiated by the Minnesota Gamma Chapter, a meeting of qualified high scholarship students in Mechanical Engineering was held early in the fall of 1960. The purpose of this meeting was to prepare a petition for a chapter of Pi Tau Sigma. Favorable action was taken by the National Council and the chapters so that the installation of the South Dakota State Tau Chi Chapter took place on March 6, 1961 under the direction of National President D. S. Clark and Vice-President E. K. Springer.

The Tau Chi Chapter immediately became active in many capacities. Among these are participation in the high school recognition day and in the Engineers' Open House.


ANNUAL SUMMARY REPORTS

2021-2022 Dylan Dulas, President

The South Dakota State Tau Chi Chapter’s activities, we were thankfully able to start getting back to the activities that we held pre-COVID. The chapter worked to continue its help sessions that were routinely held throughout the year and moved back to in person sessions. Throughout this year, multiple events were held which included Statics review sessions, FE Review sessions, a Freshman/ Sophomore mentorship program, and chapter meetings. In order to help students with the Statics course, review sessions were set in place and held before exams these students would encounter throughout the semester. The goal of these sessions was to help students gain clarity on complicated subjects, expose them exam scenario questions, and help them review the covered topics. During these sessions a turnout of around 35-50 students was expected. As for the format of these sessions, the students were given an exam scenario problem, then given an allotted time of around 10 to 15 min to solve the problem. Following this time, a Pi Tau Sigma member would then work through the problem at the front of the room, utilizing feedback from the class, as well as providing tip on how to best approach
the problem. Once all problems were worked through, the Pi Tau Sigma members would stick around to answer more specific questions that any of the students may have.

Another big event the Tau Chi Chapter holds throughout the year are the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam review sessions. The sessions were set in place to assist refreshing students on the materials that will be covered in the FE Exam. This is largely aimed at Seniors who are required by SDSU to at least attempt the FE Exam. For these sessions the topics ranged across the subjects seen within the FE exam. Within these sessions, professors were contacted an allotted around a one-hour time slot. Though this time is not nearly enough to cover all the information that will be on the FE exam, these sessions aid in assisting the student to get an idea and refresher of the content covered within the exam, along with tips and tricks how to better prepare themselves for the day of the exam.

A new event that was started up this year was a peer mentoring program aimed at pairing Pi Tau Sigma members with incoming Freshman students. This idea was brought up through an Honor Society presidents meeting that was held every other week. The existing program that the Pi Tau Sigma mentoring was framed after was put on by the Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) Honor Society who pairs their honor society members with sophomores and freshman. It was determined by the Pi Tau Sigma Officers that only freshman will be targeted for this first year to gauge interest as well as gain a better understanding of how to run the mentoring program and gain tips for the continuation of the program in years to come.

2020-2021 Thomas Martinson, President

Each semester began with an initiation ceremony for new members. These meetings also doubled as chapter business meetings, so in addition to the initiation rituals and the following social hour, there was an informative business meeting as well as a vote for the pertinent business items. The main business items at the spring meeting were electing new officers and submitting nominations to the College of Engineering for teacher- and advisor-of-the-year.

Due to the restrictions placed by the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the usual activities that the chapter would have usually held did not take place. In a typical year, a couple of social events, such as a get-together around the holidays or an early semester picnic, might happen to generate interest in the chapter for non-members and camaraderie between members. Additionally, the chapter is responsible for cleaning a section of the highway near Brookings, so there is typically an opportunity for members to volunteer in that way, but likewise that program was put on hold due to COVID.

After last year’s positive experience, our chapter continued guided review sessions for Statics students before each exam. These sessions were led by members of our chapter and lasted approximately one hour. This program continued to be very successful, and attendance this year was approximately 40-50 students per session. These review sessions were held in-person but also live-streamed via Zoom.

The chapter is responsible for coordinating the review sessions for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam each semester. This involved asking professors and lecturers to lead 12 different sessions, each according to their own specialty, as well as reserving the rooms and advertising for the sessions to ensure that students are aware of the opportunity.

In past semesters, the chapter has provided tutoring services for students on Wednesday evenings for two hours. Courses covered in these tutoring sessions ranged from basic introductory level physics courses to more advanced courses such as thermodynamics and fluid mechanics. Each member was required to be at 2 of these review sessions throughout the school year. An exception is made if a member assists in leading the Statics or Mechanics of Materials review sessions. Unfortunately, these sessions were discontinued due to lack of participation but they may be continued if the officers deem it appropriate.

One tradition is to send the incoming president to the National Pi Tau Sigma convention each year. Since the convention was virtual this year, both the sitting and the incoming presidents attended and were able to participate in the sessions and the business matters that occurred.

An exciting new development this year was the beginning of regular meetings between the Pi Tau Sigma president and the presidents of the other engineering honor societies. These meetings have been helpful for sharing ideas and planning collaborative events between the clubs. Some examples of ideas that were shared were a 1-on-1 mentoring program, a Sophomore-of-the-Year award, and collaborative volunteering opportunities.

Picture of the Fall 2020 initiation group
Fall 2020 initiation. *designates new member
Top row, left to right: Thomas Martinson, Cody Blocker, Makiah Stukel, Tony Kleve
Bottom row, left to right: Andrew Beckman*, Vince Riley*, Spencer Brandsrud*, Ryan Albrecht*, Sara Broad*, Jordan Von Seggern*, Garret Huumala*, Paul Koistinen*

 

Picture of Fall 2020 makeup initiation
Fall 2020 makeup initiation. *designates new member
Left to right: Cody Blocker, Tony Kleve, David Brumels*, Thomas Martinson

 

Picture of Spring 2021 makeup initiation
Spring 2021 makeup initiation. *designates new member
Left to right: Cody Blocker, Mason McDonald*, Thomas Martinson

 

Picture of Spring 2021 initiation
Spring 2021 initiation. *designates new member
Top row, left to right: Mukesh Roy, Vince Riley, Cody Blocker, Tony Kleve, Ryan Albrecht
Bottom row, left to right: David Brumels, Riley Calhoon*, Dylan Dulas*, Thomas Martinson

 

2019-2020 Makiah Stukel, President

We started off this academic year by organizing review sessions for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam. The officers worked with ME faculty to schedule 12 review sessions covering each of the main topic areas of the exam. Each session lasts approximately one hour and the professor leading the session goes over the essential information needed to be successful on the specified portion of the exam. These review sessions occur once at the beginning of each semester.

To give back to our community, our chapter organized a Thanksgiving food drive for the Brookings Food Pantry. This food drive was held the week before students left for Thanksgiving break. Posters were created and hung around the engineering college to inform other students about our event. As a group, we were able to collect various nonperishable food items and donate them to our community food pantry.

After last year’s positive experience, our chapter continued guided review sessions for Statics students before each exam. These sessions were led by members of our chapter and lasted approximately one hour. This program continued to be very successful, and attendance this year was approximately 40-50 students per session. These review sessions have been so helpful to students that the instructor reached out and asked our chapter if we would like to host review sessions for Mechanics of Materials (the sequel to Statics) at the request of his students. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, these will start during the Fall 2020 semester.

Before the end of the Fall semester, our chapter hosted a Holiday party to relieve some stress before finals week. Members of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society were encouraged to come as well. At this event, hot chocolate and cookies were provided while we all engaged in some holiday themed games – Holiday Family Feud and Jeopardy. This event was a fun way to get members together and build a stronger between the two engineering honor societies on campus.

Each semester, we provide tutoring services for students on Wednesday evenings for two hours. Courses covered in these tutoring sessions ranged from basic introductory level physics courses to more advanced courses such as thermodynamics and fluid mechanics. Each member is required to be at 2 of these review sessions throughout the school year. An exception is made if a member assists in leading the Statics or Mechanics of Materials review sessions.

Junior chapter member Thomas Martinson attended the national convention at the Rochester Institute of Technology campus in Rochester, New York. At the national convention, he was able to talk to other members while engaging in social events, lab tours, and the famous Autodesk competition. The convention, as always, proved to be an invaluable experience. As the incoming President for the 2020-2021 academic year, Thomas will be able to take what he learned from the national convention and implement some of these ideas, activities into our chapter next year.

Fall 2019 initiation. Top row, left to right: Ruhit Sinha, Ryan Twedt, Nicolas Runge, Makiah Stukel, Brooklyn VanDerWolde, Anna Fasen, Gregory Michna, Hafid Satyanto, Matthew Poppy. New members bottom row, left to right: Cody Blocker, Joey Eickman, Sam Brunkow, Joshua Gross, Thomas Martinson, Tony Kleve, Austin Noble, Madison Mingo
Fall 2019 initiation. Top row, left to right: Ruhit Sinha, Ryan Twedt, Nicolas Runge, Makiah Stukel, Brooklyn VanDerWolde, Anna Fasen, Gregory Michna, Hafid Satyanto, Matthew Poppy 
New members bottom row, left to right: Cody Blocker, Joey Eickman, Sam Brunkow, Joshua Gross, Thomas Martinson, Tony Kleve, Austin Noble, Madison Mingo

 

Spring 2020 initiation. Top row left to right: Makiah Stukel, Brooklyn VanDerWolde, Gregory Michna, Cody Blocker. Second row from top, left to right: Thomas Martinson, Daniel Sharp (new member), Evan Steers (new member). Third row from top, left to right: Andrew Hoffman (new member), Mukesh Roy, Tony Kleve. Bottom Row: Hussein Shata.
Spring 2020 initiation. Top row left to right: Makiah Stukel, Brooklyn VanDerWolde, Gregory Michna, Cody Blocker. Second row from top, left to right: Thomas Martinson, Daniel Sharp (new member), Evan Steers (new member). Third row from top, left to right: Andrew Hoffman (new member), Mukesh Roy, Tony Kleve. Bottom Row: Hussein Shata.

 

2018-2019 ElHussein Shata, President

The Pi Tau Sigma mission is to strive to create better engineers through commitment to academic excellence and dedication to service. We, at the South Dakota State Tau Chi Chapter, pride ourselves in the core values of integrity, service, and leadership. From that perspective, we strive to serve the mechanical engineering department and the Brookings community with any possible way.

We started off this semester by adopting guided review sessions for Statics that we offered before each exam, led by members of our chapter. The sessions are held three times a semester and six times a year. This new program has been very successful as most review sessions contain about 40 students. To track our progress with these review sessions, we asked the instructor of the Statics course and asked for feedback. He stated that before every test, the students ask when the next review session will be.

The Pi Tau Sigma group worked in conjunction with Tau Beta Pi in maintaining six miles of interstate highway I-29 with the Adopt-A-Highway program. Each semester we pick up trash in the ditches near the highway for four miles. Combining forces with Tau Beta Pi was beneficial as we were able to work alongside other engineering students both socializing and cleaning up the highway.

Each semester, we provide tutoring services for students on Wednesday and Thursday evenings for two hours. Courses covered in these tutoring sessions ranged from basic introductory level physics courses to more advanced courses such as thermodynamics and fluid mechanics.

For the past three years, the chapter has organized review sessions for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, specifically designed for mechanical engineering students. The review sessions included main Mechanical Enginneering (ME) topics like thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, statics, heat transfer, .. etc. The officers worked with ME faculty to schedule 12 review sessions covering each of the main topic areas of the exam. The complete set of the review sessions are held once each semester.

Junior chapter members, Makiah Stukel and Brooklyn VanDerWolde, attended the national convention at the Colorado State University campus in Fort Collins, Colorado. At the national convention, they participated in an Autodesk competition for creating a mobile device that could be used in one of NASA’s mission for a moon camp. The convention proved to be an invaluable experience by providing a great opportunity to meet students from all over the country, discuss chapter matters and activities, and gain a better sense of the organization on a national scale. As the incoming President for the 2019-2020 academic year, Makiah will be able to take what she learned from the national convention and implement some of these ideas, activities into our chapter next year.

Finally, our chapter is responsible for the Student's Choice Award that is awarded each year to one ME faculty member. The award is based on their excellence in overall instructional effectiveness as seen by the students. It seeks to honor one faculty member whom the students believe has made a meaningful impact on student learning, development, and academic experience. The award is based entirely upon the vote of the ME student population.

2017-2018 Cody Reed, President

As in previous years, the organization offered peer tutoring sessions to provide an additional resource for students. The Pi Tau Sigma group worked in conjunction with Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu engineering honorary societies to provide tutoring services for students on Wednesday and Thursday evenings for two hours. Courses covered in these tutoring sessions ranged from basic introductory level physics courses to more advanced courses such as thermodynamics and fluid mechanics.

For the past three years, the chapter has hosted review sessions for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, specifically tailored for mechanical engineering students. The officers worked with ME faculty to organize 12 review sessions covering each of the main topic areas of the exam. The complete set of review sessions was held in both the Fall and Spring semesters. These efforts have led to a promising improvement in students’ test results.

Our chapter maintains six miles of interstate highway I-29 with the Adopt-A-Highway program. Each semester we pick up trash in the ditches near the highway. This activity allows Pi Tau Sigma members to provide a service to the Brookings community while also enjoying the bonding time between members. We held the cleanup event in the Fall semester but were not able to do it in the Spring, due to weather.

At our mechanical engineering department’s annual banquet, each of the department’s organizations, including Pi Tau Sigma, presents an overview of their group to inform others about their intent, participation, and membership opportunity. This year, chapter President, Cody Reed, presented for Pi Tau Sigma on the chapter’s highlights from the past year.

Finally, senior chapter member, El Hussein Shata, attended the national convention at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, on February 23-25. The convention proved to be an invaluable experience by providing a great opportunity to meet students from all over the country, discuss chapter matters and activities, and gain a better sense of the organization on a national scale. As the incoming President for the 2018-2019 academic year, El Hussein will be able to take what he learned from the national convention and implement some of these ideas, activities, and service opportunities into our chapter next year.