They are expected to get even better. Tau Beta Pi members are required to tutor and do community service, and to be active at both social events and professional seminars.
“We want members of our society to constantly enhance their education beyond the formal classroom,” said Bill Lasher, Ph.D., professor of mechanical engineering and adviser to the chapter, which was formally installed in late January.
The service requirement keeps students active on campus and in the community. Tau Beta Pi members lead tours of Penn State Behrend’s School of Engineering, one of the nation’s largest undergraduate-only programs. They assist with Math Options, an outreach program that encourages middle-school girls to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and math; and at FIRST Lego League competitions, where teams program robots to navigate custom obstacle courses.
Student interest in the honor society has been high since 2008, when a five-member planning committee began to write bylaws for the chapter. Of the 35 students who were eligible that year, 27 joined.
“We see this as a key part of our maturation process,” Lasher said. “Universities with programs much larger than ours have chapters on campus."
Tau Beta Pi was founded at Lehigh University in 1885. The society now has 540,000 members and 240 active college chapters.