Sigma’s Iota inducts new members, prepares to celebrate 70 years

Sigma Theta Tau International’s Iota at-Large chapter, based at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, welcomed 100 new members and their guests this week. At the ceremony, the students were inducted, signed the chapter’s induction book, and received purple and white honor cords to wear with their regalia. They join the more than 40 VUSN faculty and countless alumni who are part of the organization.

Dean Jeffries (third from left) with Iota At Large board members Robbie Panepinto, Jessica Walker and Bob Wilkinson

Iota at-Large chapter, which includes members from the Vanderbilt School of Nursing and the Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia, is part of Sigma, a larger, worldwide nursing honor society with a focus on scholarship, leadership, and service.

An invitation to membership is considered one of the most significant honors for nursing students. “Iota provides many opportunities for leadership locally, regionally and within the international organization,” said Assistant Professor Julie Perry, PhD, RN, who currently serves as membership chair.

Students who have completed at least one-quarter of their program and who have a 3.5 GPA are invited to join. The group helps members become nursing leaders through networking, education, scholarships and recognition.

“Sigma has been invaluable to my nursing career,” Perry said. “It has helped me achieve local and national leadership opportunities and further my scholarship with funding. I enjoy working with colleagues who have similar goals. I’ve been able to attend a biennial conference as a delegate, which has afforded me the opportunity to network with nurses around the world.”

When it was established in 1954, Iota was the eighth chapter created. Today there are more than 600 chapters worldwide. Over the years, the chapter has grown and changed to meet the needs of its members.

Two newly inducted Iota At Large members

“I have been able to participate in the growth of the chapter including being involved in its transformation from a Vanderbilt chapter to becoming Iota at-Large, which serves Middle Tennessee,” said Assistant Professor Robbie Panepinto DNP, RN, who joined in 2006 and now serves as treasurer. “In the past few years, Iota at-Large chapter has increased support of scholarship inside and outside of the VUSN community. We also support many local community nonprofits, such as Ronald McDonald House, Plant the Seed, Mercury Court, Meals on Wheels and so many more.”

Panepinto said she enjoys the networking and volunteer opportunities.

“Attending Sigma conferences and serving as delegate has been an opportunity for networking and gaining knowledge from around the globe,” she said. “My community experience with Sigma and Iota at-Large chapter has been beneficial in my career and personal growth, and the growth of my students.”

On May 1, Iota at-Large will mark 70 years as a chapter and celebrate its collective membership of 6,377 nursers since it was first chartered. To honor the organization’s 70th year, the group will decorate VUSN with marquee lights and balloon arches before welcoming members and guests from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Atrium.

Iota at-Large has received the Chapter Key Award and Showcase of Regional Excellence Award for outstanding achievement in Connection and Collaboration, Philanthropy, and Advocacy.

Other VUSN faculty in leadership with the organization include: Assistant Professors Jessica Walker, DNP’17, MSN’15, PMHNP-BC, (secretary), Brittany Haskell, DNP, MA, MSN’14, PMHNP-BC, CNE, and Letizia Smith, DNP, MSN’07, (leadership succession committee), Associate Professor Mary Lauren Pfieffer, DNP, MSN’11, CPN, (leadership succession committee chair), Hannah Kester, DNP’16, MSN’14, (director) and Assistant Professor Ty Williams, DNP’12, MSN’03, RN, ACNP-BC, FNP-BC, CNE, (counselor and governance committee member). Current president is Bob Wilkinson, MSN’96, MBA. Faculty may join at any time. Learn more >>

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