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UT Tyler Alpha Chi Chapter Receives Top Honors at Convention

March 30, 2012

Media Contact:  Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.565.5769 or 903.539.7196 (cell)

The University of Texas at Tyler’s Texas Alpha Xi Chapter of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society received a 2010 – 11 Star Chapter Award during its annual convention in Baltimore, Md., Suzanne Pundt, UT Tyler senior lecturer in biology and chapter sponsor, announced.

The chapter was one of only eight from Region II to have earned the society’s designation, which is given to Alpha Chi chapters across the nation that hold outstanding achievement throughout the academic year. Region II includes Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and part of Texas. 

Psychology major Felicia Mirghassemi of Houston also received the Region II Edwin W. Gaston Scholarship as well as the National Alfred H. Nolle Scholarship for her paper titled, “Conversational Reciprocation Among Strangers, Acquaintances and Friends.” 

This is the first time a UT Tyler chapter member has won at both levels of competition.

Chemistry major Ciera Ward of Tyler was an alternate for the National Benedict Fellowship for her paper “Surface-modified Nanoparticles from Acoustic Emulsion-polymerization.”

Other student presenters with their paper were Kristina Vardemon of Tyler – “Marketing to Portugal: Business Considerations,” David Flanders of Tyler  – “Entomopathogenic Fungi and their use as Biopesticides” and Samuel Flanders of Tyler – “Deep Brain Stimulation as a Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease.”

Pundt currently serves as the Region II secretary/treasurer and member of the National Council of Alpha Chi. Dr. James Koukl, UT Tyler associate professor of biology, serves as assistant sponsor. Both also served as session-presiders and judges.

The convention featured scholarly, creative and artistic presentations by more than 230 students and a national literacy project that provided books to Reading is Fundamental.

UT Tyler’s Texas Alpha Xi Chapter donated 30 new books and $48 to RIF. The books were collected from new chapter members inducted last fall.

The Alpha Chi Honor Society has some 300 chapters in 45 states and the District of Columbia. This year marks the 90th anniversary of its founding, and the 400,000th member was inducted this spring.

Alpha Chi is a coeducational society whose purpose is to promote academic excellence and exemplary character among college and university students and to honor those who achieve such distinction. As a general honor society, Alpha Chi admits to membership students from all academic disciplines. A member institution, which must be a regionally accredited, baccalaureate degree-granting college or university, may invite to membership no more than the top 10 percent of the junior, senior and graduate students.

For more information about UT Tyler’s Alpha Chi chapter, contact Pundt, 903.566.7274 or spundt@uttyler.edu.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of almost 7,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.
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