Honor societies provide opportunities for students

Honor societies provide opportunities for students

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SAM LEONE/ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH/MCT

A total of 17 different honor societies at Boise State provide undergraduates, graduates, and professors an opportunity for scholarships and career advancement.

A majority of these honors societies are local chapters of larger, national organizations geared toward specific majors ranging from Construction Management to Radiology. A few societies broaden the spectrum to include all majors and include significant community service efforts.

“It’s good to just be involved with what you’re passionate in, whatever that may be,” freshman international business major Lauren Williams said. 

Williams is the president-elect of the Honors Student Association.

Although laden with financial aid and networking opportunities, many of these organizations face significant barriers to entry because they include membership fees.

The national construction management honor society, Sigma Lambda Chi (SLC), requires a $55 payment prior to induction. But the honor society’s president, junior construction management major Austin Fricke, believes the networking opportunities are worth the payment.

“It’s well recognized within the industry of construction,” Fricke said, “It’s a good way to get your name out there with future jobs.”

Honor societies like SLC and Eta Kappa Nu, the electrical and computer engineering honor society, encourage membership from students studying a common major. Eta Kappa Nu, though a relatively small academic fraternity, partners with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), according to Eta Kappa Nu president Blake Rapp.

Rapp is a second year graduate student studying electrical and computer engineering.

“If they’re an engineering student, they’re probably going to be looking for a job in the engineering field,” Rapp said. “IEEE is probably more recognized [in the engineering field] than some of the other purely academic honor societies.” 

Eta Kappa Nu is a unique academic fraternity because it can induct undergraduates, graduates, and professors.

The Honors Student Association (HSA) and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) include students from different majors, with focus primarily set on academic achievement and community involvement.

Acen Hansen, a junior Kinesiology major, is actively involved with both HSA and NSCS. Hansen is the Vice President of Public Relations for NSCS.

While the two programs are similar, there are some stark differences relating to proximity and size, at the local and national level. For example HSA has more members on campus than NSCS, but NSCS is a larger national organization.

“If you pay tuition and you’re enrolled in the Honors College, you’re a member of HSA,” Hansen said. “I think the lack of the membership fee is a big reason there are more members in HSA than NSCS.” 

With NCSC, Hansen reports participating in larger community service activities, like sponsoring the Boise Glow for Cushing 5k and attending an annual NSCS leadership conference in consecutive years. HSA, events, by contrast, tend to stay closer to campus.

“Because HSA is tied with the Honors College, they do more on campus,” Hansen said. “The Honors College faculty is able to work really closely with HSA student leaders.”

Aside from academic achievement and major-specific societies, honor societies like Gamma Beta Phi primarily focus on community service, while still considering academic excellence.

Junior Harmonee Teng sophomore psychology major, vice president of Gamma Beta Phi.

“While we have a GPA requirement, our actions are focused on community service,” Teng said via email. “We encourage our members to plan, create, suggest their own community service and then we, as a society, support that community service project.”

Teng, also a member of HSA participates in campus honor societies for the purpose of active participation in community service.

“Collectively, our services creates a positive reputation of students at Boise State not only for our community but also at a national level,” Teng said.

you don’t talk about scholarships? make sure to include that