By Brandon Bierer
UPPER BURRELL, Pa.- For many Engineering students, simply passing their classes is a difficult but rewarding task; however, for some students, nothing but the highest grades will do. These students invest vast amounts of time to their studies and make many sacrifices in their personal lives, all for the pursuit of knowledge and the hopes of a lucrative career. Often unsung, these diligent young people always strive to do their best, with little immediate pay-off. However, on Mar. 24, the best and brightest of Penn State New Kensington’s Engineering students were brought together for a special ceremony to honor their achievements.
Tau Alpha Pi is a National Honors Society for Engineering Technology students who are, on average, in the top 5% of their class. This means that to be invited to join, one must maintain a grade point average of 3.5 and have at least 24 earned credits. For current students at Penn State New Kensington who met these requirements and accepted their invitation into this exclusive group, an initiation ceremony was held on Mar. 24 in the Art Gallery.
This year’s ceremony began by ushering new members Samantha Polons, Jacob Visnesky, Kriss Bookwalter and Corey Zell to the front of the gallery to pledge to the group. As acting Secretary for the group, Visnesky was inducted in as an officer by President Brandon Bierer. Faculty advisor Joan Kowalski then welcomed the initiates and congratulated them for their success. Afterwards, President Bierer, Vice President Stephanie Powell and Secretary Visnesky in turns read from the official Tau Alpha Pi initiation document, asking members to uphold the group’s values of high achievement, tenacity and determination. With all members promising to commit to these virtues, President Bierer officially welcomed Polons, Bookwalter and Zell to the group. These newest members received with their membership an official certificate of membership, a Tau Alpha Pi Seal that will be placed on their diploma and a student membership to the American Society of Engineering Education, a group devoted to furthering the development of Engineers.
After the initiation of new members, guest speakers Dr. Arlene Hall, Director of Academic Affairs, and Ronald Land, Electromechanical Engineering Program Head, spoke to the group. Dr. Hall praised all members, new and current, for their accomplishments and spoke of the benefits of honor societies for students in search rewarding careers. Land followed her by asking the group to submit advice on improving Tau Alpha Pi nationally and then read an inspirational poem by Mother Theresa titled “Do It Anyway”.
The speakers were given a round of applause, and Joan Kowalski retook the podium. She adjourned the ceremony by thanking everyone for coming and welcomed everyone to stay for refreshments. All members stayed briefly afterwards and enjoyed a break from their studies; however, with papers to be written and difficult engineering problems to be solved, the group soon departed, taking with them not only a membership in an exclusive society, but also with the knowledge that hard work does pay off.