Sigma Alpha Pi Chapter: Five Years & Going Strong

Since establishing its own local chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) in July 2012, the Clarkson College Sigma Alpha Pi Multi-Disciplinary Honor Society has inducted 451 members and currently has 912 currently active members (many of whom are working to complete the induction requirements). Along with being the largest organized group of any kind on campus, it is the only honor society open to students of all majors and learning modes (on-campus and online) and also welcomes faculty membership.

Karen Abboud, Assistant Professor and Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education for the Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA) program, and Carla Dirkschneider, Health Care Business and HIM Program Director, have both served as faculty advisers for Sigma Alpha Pi since its initiation on campus. Dirkschneider advises on-campus members, while Abboud holds the unique responsibility of working with non-local members. “Our chapter is unique in that we are able to offer an online component for distance students who live more than 50 miles away from the College,” says Abboud. “It is run similar to an online course, with access to all of the same required events. This allows students to still participate in the honor society, even though it may not be feasible to travel to campus.”

One of the chapter’s induction requirements is to watch a minimum of three NSLS-hosted speaker broadcasts. These live presentations feature top authors, journalists, politicians, celebrities and entrepreneurs from across the world who anecdotally offer advice for achieving career-oriented goals. The most recent speaker was Barbara Corcoran, real estate entrepreneur, New York Times best-selling author and star of ABC's Emmy Award-winning show Shark Tank. In her live broadcast, Corcoran described what it's like to build New York City's largest real estate company and how she overcame many obstacles along the way.

Additional on-campus and online events that members participate in as part of their induction requirements include an Orientation and Leadership Training Day and three Success Networking Team (SNT) meetings that typically run in conjunction with the speaker broadcasts. The purpose of the SNTs is for members to hold each other accountable for reaching the success goals they have set for themselves. At the end of each spring semester, the chapter holds an induction ceremony for all students and faculty who have completed the induction requirements. At this point, students have reached a “sophomore” status at the College.

Aside from Abboud and Dirkschneider, current students primarily sit on the Sigma Alpha Pi Executive Board, which convenes once or twice per month to assess membership and fundraising efforts and to plan upcoming activities. Supplementary to the required events, the board tries to coordinate one community service event and one fundraising event each fall and spring semester. This semester, the chapter is excited to invite all current students and faculty to a leadership symposium focused on “change management” on March 30 from 5:30–7:30 p.m. in Howard Hall.

Faculty who are interested in attending the symposium or learning more about becoming a member of Sigma Alpha Pi can contact Karen Abboud or Carla Dirkschneider. General information and membership eligibility requirements pertaining to the chapter are available on the here.