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MSJC's National STEM honor society inducts 10 students into new chapter


MSJC's Phi Sigma Alpha Chapter of NSTEM inducted 10 new members this Spring 2021 semester! This chapter was founded in the semester of Fall 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. We were the first to establish our chapter, Phi Sigma Alpha, of the National STEM Honor Society at our college for the benefit of all STEM students. As in our name, we represent the "Minds of Coordinated Action and Excellence" at Mt. San Jacinto Community College.

Chapter President and Biochemistry Major, Mahak Tiwari, had the vision of creating an NSTEM chapter at MSJC for the benefit of not only our STEM majors at our college but our community overall. Since then, we worked with passionate students and clubs to provide our community with quality events, STEM speakers, and presentations that inspire all minds by getting them engaged and igniting excitement about STEM topics.

Phi Sigma Alpha chapter members

On April 14th, we kept true to our mission to recognize student achievement by holding our very first induction ceremony that marked the first part of their journey into their STEM careers! An enormous milestone for an Honors Society in an online environment. We celebrated and praised each other for meeting our rigorous standards of excellence in their coursework and classes.

We invited five esteemed members of our community to impart their wisdom and encourage them to continue their journey ahead. Biology Professor and Chapter Advisor, Dr. Shauni Calhoun, best sums up our challenges we have experienced through this whole process of establishing ourselves and navigating a new environment: “We started last fall semester during the pandemic, so of course we were fully online. I think that's pretty incredible in itself what we've managed to do during these times, and in these circumstances.”

Eugene Perry, Enterprise Applications Engineer for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, was one of many guests who eloquently described what comes next: “The best you can do for yourself at this stage of your career is to know and understand what makes you happy. You'll have to balance that with the opportunities that are available, relative to your knowledge and real-world experience, do not be discouraged, because you lack the ladder, enjoy your journey and make certain that you treat people the way you yourself want to be treated.”

One of our own chapter advisors and SJC Biology Department Chair, Michael Plotkin, shared his wonderful thoughts for this part of our careers: “This is a great achievement and I hope it proves to be simply the beginning and not a goal in itself, but a springboard towards bigger and better things in your future.”

MVC Biology Department Chair, Nick Reeves, spoke from his heart about his STEM story and the benefits of serving your community: “I definitely think that a lot of us could benefit from the joy of service, and I encourage all of you to serve your NSTEM Chapter. I think you will discover that you get a lot out of being part of a scholarly community like NSTEM and the more you put into it, the greater the benefits.”

We feel strongly that the words of the National STEM Honor Society President, Ken Hecht, best summarize our future plans for this chapter: “I’m going to encourage you to think not only about your own program and about the things that you're doing, but I also want you to think about reaching back and helping those that are younger than you, to understand this continuum, and to get excited.” Ken Hecht, President of the National STEM Honors Society

We invite the entire Mt. San Jacinto College Community and surrounding communities to watch our ceremony and feel encouraged to bring their diverse perspectives to MSJC’s Phi Sigma Alpha Chapter of NSTEM!