Auburn chapter of Pi Tau Sigma hosts international convention

Published: Mar 31, 2023 9:00 AM

By Gracie Barranco

The Auburn University Chi chapter of Pi Tau Sigma (PTS), the mechanical engineering honor society, hosted the organization’s 101st annual international convention March 17 -18. The purpose of the international convention was to provide a time for in-person collaboration between officers and leaders from each chapter to improve Pi Tau Sigma as a whole. The convention saw more than 100 students from all over the country in attendance.

The organization committee responsible for the popular event consisted of Nicole Licavoli, junior in mechanical engineering and PTS President; Megan DeVoe, senior in mechanical engineering and PTS Vice President; Chella Rossel, senior in mechanical engineering; Brynn Bartholomew, senior in mechanical engineering and Brooks Roney, senior in mechanical engineering. The committee created a budget and agenda for the convention after which they proposed both to Mechanical Engineering Department Chair Jeffrey Suhling and Steven Taylor, interim dean of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.

After the proposal was approved by the dean and department chair and accepted by the national PTS board last May, the student committee worked hard to obtain sponsors, create design competitions, brainstorm breakout session ideas and organize the logistics of transportation and hotel accommodations.

“I am very proud of our students for organizing and holding an extremely successful convention that showed off the best of Auburn mechanical engineering, the college of engineering and Auburn University,” said Rick Williams, PTS faculty advisor and senior mechanical engineering lecturer. “I heard nothing but positive comments from the attendees. We received great support from our many volunteers with presenting our labs, which included tours of the Design and Manufacturing Lab, 3D Printing Lab, Biomechanical Engineering Lab, Nuclear Power Generation Systems Lab and the National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence.”

Pi Tau Sigma is open to juniors and seniors in Mechanical Engineering who are in the top 25% of their class. Auburn has had a chapter since its charter in 1940. This was Auburn’s first time hosting the international convention.

The convention featured opportunities for students to network with industry professionals and seek advice about career development. Students also had an opportunity to participate in design competitions in which they created things like strong paper towers and balloon-powered hovercrafts.

The featured keynote speakers included John Andrews, the Plant Farley Plant Manager at Southern Nuclear and J.D. McFarlan, the Chief Engineer Vice President at Lockheed Martin, both Auburn mechanical engineering and Pi Tau Sigma alumni.

“I’m very proud of what my team accomplished,” said Megan Devoe. “A couple of attendees asked me about my experience and how they could get involved with research or grad school at Auburn, so I feel confident that this event had a positive impact on the students who attended and on Auburn by bringing high-performing mechanical engineering students to tour the campus.”

As the international honor society for mechanical engineers, Pi Tau Sigma members are chosen on a basis of sound engineering ability, scholarship service, leadership and integrity. The Pi Tau Sigma mission is to strive to create better engineers through commitment to academic excellence and dedication to service.

Media Contact: Cassie Montgomery,, 334.844.3668

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