New honor society holds induction ceremony
Published: Thursday, May 10, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 11, 2012 10:05
Alpha Phi Sigma, the national criminal justice honor society, is now a part of the Plattsburgh State community. Eighteen members of the Nu Eta charter chapter were inducted May 7.
According to the honor society’s bylaws, Alpha Phi Sigma’s mission is to promote life-long learning, community service and academic excellence.
Undergraduate students interested in joining the chapter must major or minor in criminal justice, complete three full-time semesters, pass at least four criminal justice courses and earn a cumulative and major GPA of at least 3.2 to be eligible to join.
“I’m very happy that we have a chapter here to recognize outstanding students,” Robert Davis, chair of the criminal justice department said.
Chapter President Christopher Kearney said he hopes the honor society will encourage more students to major in criminal justice. Vice President Christopher Aponte shared this aspiration for the chapter.
“It’s (Criminal Justice) one of the most interesting majors on campus,” Aponte said. “There is so much to learn about law and crime.
“If more people became aware of the major, they would find it as interesting as we (Alpha Phi Sigma members) do.”
Davis said he hopes the chapter will encourage students to excel academically in order to be eligible for membership.
Chapter Secretary Dustin Mineconzo said membership in the honor society will motivate him to maintain a high GPA.
Chapter members also plan to help the society meet its goals outside the classroom.
“I hope to get as much experience as I can with the honor society,” Chapter Treasurer Zachary Stover said. “It’s great to be a part of something prestigious.”
Malinda Palmer said she believes recognition would help her acquire internships and enrollment in graduate school.
“I hope it (Alpha Phi Sigma) takes me far,” Palmer said.
Every year, their chapters of Alpha Phi Sigma submit a chapter activity report to their national headquarters, based at Florida’s Nova Southeastern University.
Kearney said members plan to arrange various informational events and community service projects.
“We’re still in the set-up stage right now, but we’re going to keep going,” Kearney said.
Mineconzo wants to see Alpha Phi Sigma strive in the future.
“I want to come back 10 years after I graduate and see that Alpha Phi Sigma is still going strong,” Mineconzo said.
Davis shares similar views.
“I hope we have an induction of worthy majors every year,” Davis said.
The PSUC chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma was the brainchild of criminal justice Assistant Professor Sharon Melzer, who is the chapter’s adviser. After she decided to bring the honor society to campus, Melzer worked with other PSUC faculty, contacted representatives from the organization’s national headquarters and sent emails to eligible students.
“The faculty is very grateful that Dr. Melzer took a leadership role in getting the chapter started here,” Davis said.
Founded in January 1942, Alpha Phi Sigma was originally the honor society of Washington State University’s police science program.
On March 4, 1976, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences voted unanimously to declare Alpha Phi Sigma the national criminal justice honor society.
In 1980, Alpha Phi Sigma became a member of the Association of College Honor Societies.
Today, more than 360 chapters represent the organization in colleges and universities throughout the nation, including Florida International University, Fairmont State College and the Texas Women’s University.
Though PSUC does not offer a graduate program in criminal justice, Alpha Phi Sigma also is open to graduate students. According to the honor society’s bylaws, graduate students must meet similar criteria as undergraduate students to become eligible. However, graduate students must have had earned a 3.4 GPA before becoming eligible. Membership also can be granted to professionals in the field, as well as faculty who work at an institution where a chapter exists.
Faculty members must work full-time at the college they intend to become inducted into. They also require at least one year of full-time faculty experience before becoming eligible.
Professionals with at least one degree in criminal justice or a related field from a regionally accredited institution require at least two years working in the field. They must earn a minimum GPA of 3.2 as undergraduates or 3.4 as post-graduates.