ASU awarded Best Chapter Award from national honors society

Arizona State University's Delta Theta chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honors Society, has been awarded a Best Chapter Award for 2020-2021.

This is the third year the ASU chapter has earned this award since 2017.

“We’ve had really fantastic student leadership organizing events that cater to student interests,” said Mark Ramirez, associate professor and faculty adviser. “We also made changes to how we reach out to eligible students who want to join Pi Sigma Alpha, which led to a dramatic increase in our membership.”

The Pi Sigma Alpha Honors Society awarded ASU this achievement in large part because of the chapter’s successful events and student professional development opportunities provided during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ASU political science and philosophy major Timothy Donnelly, who is also currently chapter president, said initially he pursued the honors society for professional purposes but found it to provided much more than that.

“The people are all similarly invested in their achievements and are happy to help each other succeed,” Donnelly said. “I came in not expecting much and getting back so much that it shocks me how lucky I am to have decided to jump in and join.”

In September, ASU’s Pi Sigma Alpha hosted two School of Politics and Global Studies faculty — Director and Professor Magda Hinojosa and Principal Lecturer Gina Woodall — for a live virtual Q&A discussion on women, politics and leadership.

Later that fall, they hosted former U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, distinguished dean fellow with The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, for an event discussing U.S. government.

The Pi Sigma Alpha student leadership welcomed new students to the honors society in their fall 2020 induction ceremony toward the end of the semester. Although most of the event was virtual, Anjelica Miller, the chapter president at the time, hosted a photo booth on the sixth floor of Coor Hall to personally welcome new students.

The ASU chapter also provided students a chance to work on their career development. They held multiple LSAT webinars and information sessions on graduate schools and other career paths.

According to Donnelly, students should consider joining Pi Sigma Alpha as a way to establish a connection with other students and to take advantage of the support the national office gives in the way of scholarships, networking, professional development and research opportunities.

“We are a political science honor society, and politics can be polarizing at times — but all of our members are respectful of each other political ideologies, and we approach any disagreements from a position of kindness, caring and curiosity,” Donnelly said.

Donnelly also wanted to encourage students, even if they are not currently eligible for full membership, to get involved as an associate member. Although students would not get access to all the honors society has to offer, he shared that it is a good place to start.

“Being an associate member is a good way to make friends within the political science major and really get a feel for Pi Sigma Alpha as a whole,” he said.

Ramirez echoed the benefits of being involved.

“The best part of being the chapter adviser for Pi Sigma Alpha is getting to know a new cohort of students each year,” Ramirez said.

Membership to the Delta Theta chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha at ASU is open to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in programs of political science. For more information, visit the chapter page on the School of Politics and Global Studies website.

Matt Oxford
moxford@asu.edu