WPI Tau Tau
Worcester, MA 01609
Charter Date March 8, 1959
Chapter No. 68
Advisor Dr. Sarah Wodin-Schwartz
Troubled with the lack of an honor society for students of Mechanical Engineering, several students and faculty members gathered together in the spring of 1958 and informally founded the Worcester Polytechnic Institute Mechanical Engineering Honor Society. Under the direction of Professor Leslie C. Wilbur, they petitioned the National Council for a chapter of Pi Tau Sigma. The W.P.I. Tau Tau chapter was formally installed March 8, 1959 by Vice Presidents Joseph W. Bunting and George B. Thom.
The latest project of the society was a professor evaluation. Students at the end of their courses would evaluate the professor in three areas: preparation, knowledge of the subject and ability to convey the subject clearly and concisely. It is hoped that this will benefit both professor and student.
ANNUAL SUMMARY REPORTS
2019-2020, Kalani Picho, President
Our chapter has been gradually increasing in membership and broadening our impact on campus over the past academic year. A main focus of our service has been to provide tutoring sessions to assist students in core ME classes on campus. Our efforts have been expanded with the addition of the Tutoring Chair executive position added last year, a role that is focused on coordinating these sessions. We have expanded the number of classes and ME professors that we support, which has increased our presence in the ME community.
In order to strengthen our executive board, we added a new role this year: Business Manager. This officer is responsible for filling in for other exec board members that are off-campus and temporarily accepting their duties. This will ensure continuity in executive board presence each semester, as many WPI students choose to study abroad during their junior year. This position is also a great way for members to gain experience in different executive positions.
While on-campus in the Fall, our chapter held a social event to restore a PTS landmark. Our campus has a cement monument depicting the PTS Key located outside of our ME department building. The Key had become worn down and was no longer recognizable to students passing by, so we decided to restore the monument by holding a Key painting social. We had good member turnout for the social, and we were proud of the restored monument. It is now more noticeable outside the ME building and provides a better image for PTS on campus.
With the transition to online classes in the middle of the Spring semester, our chapter shifted our activities to an online format. We continued to offer tutoring by shifting our session to Zoom, and held virtual socials including online Pictionary and Trivia games. These events helped our members to stay connected despite social distancing and continue to remain active in the ME community.
The ME department held two online chat sessions in the Spring in order to give prospective students a chance to remotely connect with ME faculty and learn about the ME program. Our chapter assisted ME professors and admissions representatives during these sessions by answering questions and sharing student experiences in the ME program. Our members were happy to help, and we had a strong PTS presence at both sessions. The prospective students at the sessions were engaged and seemed to value the opportunity to talk with current students about academics as well as the culture at WPI. These sessions were a great opportunity to promote WPI’s ME department as well as PTS, and to support our ME department during the challenging shift to online admissions.
Fall Initiation: November 5th, 2019
Spring Initiation: May 4th, 2020
2018-2019 Malachi Nelson, President
In the past few years the WPI Tau Tau chapter has been very exclusive and quiet, and our presence was not noticed much around campus. The chapter therefore voted to reduce the requirement from the top 10% of the mechanical juniors and seniors to the top 12.5% of the junior class and 20% of the senior class to match Tau Beta Pi’s requirements. The more inclusive requirements made for a much larger and more diverse initiate class, and nineteen new initiates entered the club in the spring initiation. This has resulted in more members attending events and service opportunities.
The main service that the WPI Tau Tau chapter has provided to our school is providing tutoring services to peers in some of the core mechanical engineering courses. These include statics, stress analysis, fluid mechanics, and thermodynamics. During these sessions the members of PTS gather for a few hours and help any students that need additional help in these subjects in an informal, one on one setting.
A new service that we provided this year was a course scheduling help session for underclassmen. WPI offers a very flexible schedule for the mechanical engineering major with many engineering electives in addition to the core classes. Many of our members graduate with a master’s degree in four or five years or with several majors or minors and can help underclassmen navigate the multitude of options to make their education as efficient as possible. This event was a resounding success and even had members from the aerospace and civil departments coming in for help.
This year we also partnered with the mechanical engineering department to provide lab tours and information sessions to accepted students. In the past the mechanical engineering administration staff has provided these tours, but they noticed our increased activity this year and requested that we provide the tours, so the students and parents are more comfortable and get a student’s perspective and stories.
In addition to increasing the membership in the club, we added two new executive positions to our chapter. We added a tutoring chair whose sole responsibility is to plan the tutoring sessions and work with the professors teaching the classes to acquire material to go over with the students. We also added a social chair to plan events and activities so we could have more and better planned events to make the club more fun.
This year our entire graduating class reported receiving a full-time job or acceptance into a graduate education program. 75% of the class took jobs from a variety of companies while 25% are continuing their education. We also have laid plans to start a strong PTS alumni relationship to provide advice and exclusive interview opportunities to try to make being part of the club a benefit as well as a service opportunity.