SC State University Establishes First Biological Honor Society

Monday, June 6, 2011

Rising junior, Mollie Jenkins, was determined to fill a void for biology majors at SC State University. Upon arriving on campus, she realized a fundamental piece was missing-an honorary society that recognizes the scholarly achievements of biology students.  

After conducting several hours of research, Jenkins found an organization and gained departmental approval and support to charter the Alpha Upsilon Chapter of Beta Beta Beta. Established as SC State’s first biological honor society, Beta Beta Beta is dedicated to improving the understanding and appreciation of biological study and extending boundaries of human knowledge through scientific research. Since its founding in 1922, more than 200,000 persons have been accepted into lifetime membership, and more than 553 chapters have been established throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

“I congratulate Mollie for having the determination to initiate the charter for a national honor society in biology,” stated Dr. Judith Salley-Guydon, chairperson of the Department of Biological and Physical Sciences. “All of our other areas, for example chemistry and physics, have honor societies with the exception of biology, so this is the first and we are very proud that a student took the initiative to establish it.” 

On April 29, 2011, Dr. Steve Coggin, district director for the Southeast region of the national chapter, officially inducted 12 biology students into Alpha Upsilon, along with graduate members, Salley-Guydon and Dr. David Scott, who serves as faculty advisory for the chapter.  Newly inducted members include: Andrew Brunner, graduate; Melissa Davenport, junior-secretary; William Dumpson, senior; Mizpha Fernander, senior; CoDanielle Green, senior; Mollie Jenkins, junior- president; Samantha Jones, graduate; Peri Ligons, senior; Onika Pennant, senior- historian; Shabree Roberson, senior-treasurer; Leanna Sealey, senior, vice-president and Melinda Washington, graduate.

“This is going to be a really great honor society because there hasn’t been one here and there wasn’t a unit of scholarly cohesion for biology students,” notes Scott.  “We expect members to be high quality students while managing their own affairs with a high degree of responsibility.”

“The student society will provide a benchmark that students can work towards achieving,” according to Salley-Guydon. During their first year of existence as a charter chapter, members of Alpha Upsilon will seek to position the organization as the premier honor society to internal and external constituents. 

“The most important part of our society is to promote research and awareness in the community about biology,” says Jenkins.  “We are in the process of getting our constitution approved by the national society and one of the responsibilities I will carry is to make sure we all fulfill our responsibilities as stated in our by-laws.”

During their term, members will be encouraged to obtain internships or research-oriented positions within corporations while enrolled at SC State, in addition to completing 15 hours of community service, four of which have to be in the biology department assisting instructors or tutoring other students. Additionally, members are encouraged to publish scientific papers in the organizations’ journal, BIOS.

“Our goal is to better our department and make sure students want to do better themselves,” stressed Jenkins.  “We are going to ensure students are actually keeping up with the things that they need to do in order to be on track to success upon graduation, not just being average. We want all of our members to be outstanding.”