A group of students, faculty and staff pose for a photo after being inducted into Beta Beta Beta, the National Biological Honors Society.

Penn State Schuylkill installed in TriBeta National Biological Honors Society

Promoting scholarship in the biological sciences.

By: Susan C. Andrews
Twenty-four are inducted in campus ceremony

SCHUYLKILL HAVEN, Pa. — Just as Location-Location-Location is key to real estate, so is Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta) to college biology. On April 14, 2017, Penn State Schuylkill was installed into the Theta Chi Theta Chapter of TriBeta, the National Biological Honors Society. The objectives of the society are to “promote scholarship in the biological sciences, to promote the dissemination of biological knowledge and to encourage research.”

Quentin Moyer, inaugural president of Schuylkill campus’ TriBeta chapter, said, “The installation of a TriBeta chapter at the Penn State Schuylkill campus is a milestone for our young biology program. Our inductees are conducting high-quality research both in the laboratory and in the field.”

Other leadership positions will be held by Duncan Noble, vice president; Alyssa Hatter, secretary; Kaitlin Alemany, treasurer; and Marla Stoner, historian. Brenna Traver, assistant professor of biology, serves as the faculty adviser. In total, 23 students and one faculty member were inducted into TriBeta.

David Royer, District II director from Lincoln University, officiated at the Schuylkill campus chapter installation, discussing its purpose, and inducting new members who repeated the TriBeta pledge. He also detailed the significance of the components appearing on the Society’s shield-shaped crest, which is surrounded by a coiled serpent around a skull with the name of the organization engraved below. Beta Beta Beta originates from the Latin for acorn, eagle and fish that each connote a particular aspect of life — the sky, the earth and the sea. The colors for the society adorning the shield are red and green. The red rose, the society’s flower, is commonly referred to as the American Beauty.

Darcy Medica, director of academic affairs at Penn State Schuylkill, praised the hard work of Traver, who was recognized as campus adviser of the year, and others in bringing TriBeta to campus. Medica served as the event’s keynote speaker and chronicled her career path with its many twists and turns at several universities that brought her to her current position. Above all, the nugget of wisdom that she shared with students regarding their future was the hope that they would pursue a career doing what they loved.

Schuylkill campus historian Marla Stoner said, “This is a great opportunity for any student interested in biology. I am beyond proud to be a part of a National Biological Honor Society.” She continued, “Penn State Schuylkill has offered me so many opportunities and the installation of Theta Chi Theta is now another great thing this campus has to offer for incoming students.”

Once inducted, the students received a decal of the coat of arms and the TriBeta key, a membership card with their membership number and status (regular or associate), a certificate, and a keychain with the TriBeta key engraved on it. Regular members also receive a two-year subscription to BIOS, a peer-reviewed journal specifically for members' undergraduate work; and red-and-green honor cords to be worn when members graduate. Members also have the opportunity to present their research at the District and National Conventions.

Prior to becoming a chapter of TriBeta, Schuylkill campus’ Biology Club actively increased its presence and activity over the last two years. At the 2017 Campus Involvement and Leadership Awards, the Biology Club won the Exceptional Lion Award for Student Organization of the Year. The club members volunteered both on and off campus and enjoyed various activities, including hikes, trips to museums, and an overnight trip to Powdermill Nature Reserve.

The campus’ first formal TriBeta activity was Earth Day 2017. Vendors from the community presented their businesses and discussed how they are contributing to the sustainability of our planet.  Penn State Schuylkill is the fourth Penn State campus to begin a chapter of TriBeta, the oldest biological honor society in the nation.