Sigma (Pi at-Large Chapter)

Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Pi Chapter: students wearing honor chords

Sigma logo: Global Nursing Excellence

Congratulations to the Fall 2022 Pi at-Large Chapter Inductees! 

Established at UMSON in 1959, the Pi Chapter of Sigma (also known as Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing) is one of the oldest and largest chapters in the world.

Ethel Palmer Clarke, Class of 1906, is credited with being the "mother" of Sigma Theta Tau at UMSON. 

The purpose of the Pi Chapter is to honor those who have achieved high academic success and support scholarship and research at all levels in the School.

Visit the Pi Chapter webpage on

It’s not always about what happens to you, it’s how you overcome it. Crohn's disease has tried to break Pi at-Large Chapter member and DNP student Rachael Stein down many times, but with the help of other nurses along the way, she refuses to let it stop her. She shared her story with Sigma for its Sigma Stories initiative.

Spring 2022 inductees of UMSON’s Pi at-Large Chapter of Sigma.

Inductees reciting the oath.

Pi at-Large Chapter grant recipient Joan Ejiofor-Okoli, BSN, RN, presenting her research.

Pi at-Large grant recipient Kathryn Heacock, BSN, RN, CCRN, CFR, presenting her research.

Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Bill and Joanne Conway Dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing, receiving the DAISY Nurse Leader Award, presented by Cynthia Sweeney, DNP, RN, CNOR, NEA-BC, FAAN, president of Pi at-Large Chapter.

About Sigma Theta Tau

Society Mission

Developing nurse leaders anywhere to improve health care everywhere.  

Society Vision 

Connected, empowered nurse leaders transforming global health care. 


In 1922, six nurses founded the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) at the Indiana University Training School for Nurses, which is now the Indiana University School of Nursing, in Indianapolis, Ind., USA. The founders chose the name from the Greek words storgé, thárros, and timé, meaning "love," "courage," and "honor." STTI became incorporated in 1985 as Sigma Theta Tau International Inc., a nonprofit organization with a 501(c)(3) tax status in the United States.


STTI membership is by invitation only to baccalaureate and graduate nursing students who demonstrate excellence in scholarship. Nurses who exhibit exceptional achievements in nursing can join via the Nurse Leadership option.

Additional facts about our membership:  

  • STTI has more than 135,000 active members.
  • Members reside in more than 85 countries.
  • 39 percent of active members hold master’s and/or doctoral degrees; 51 percent are in staff positions; 19 percent are administrators or supervisors; 18 percent are faculty/academics; and 12 percent are in advanced practice.
  • There are roughly 500 chapters at approximately 695 institutions of higher education throughout Armenia, Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, England, Ghana, Hong Kong, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon , Malawi, Mexico, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Swaziland, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
  • STTI communicates regularly with more than 100 nurse leaders who have expressed interest in establishing chapters globally, including those in Chile, China, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, India, Ireland, Israel, Germany, Jamaica, Jordan, New Zealand, and Spain.  

More information on Sigma Theta Tau.

Join Pi at-Large Chapter

Sigma Theta Tau International's philosophy of membership eligibility is based upon the purposes of the Society. Membership is rewarded for achievement of the membership criteria of Sigma Theta Tau International. Awarding membership encourages, fosters, and actively supports further professional development, thus promoting nursing scholarship, leadership, creativity and commitment to nursing, fulfilling the purposes of the Honor Society. Members are inducted to encourage and recognize superior scholarship and/or leadership achievement in nursing. Membership is conferred solely on the basis of specified eligibility.

Undergraduate Students must:

  • have completed half of the nursing curriculum;
  • have at least a GPA of 3.0 (based on a 4.0 grading scale);
  • rank in the upper 35 percentile of the graduating class; and
  • meet the expectation of academic integrity.

Registered Nurse Students must:

  • have completed 12 credit hours at current school;
  • have completed half of the nursing curriculum;
  • have at least a GPA of 3.0 (based on a 4.0 grading scale);
  • rank in the upper 35 percentile of graduating class; and
  • meet the expectation of academic integrity.

Graduate Students (Master's and Doctorate) must:

  • have completed a quarter of the nursing curriculum;
  • have at least a GPA of 3.5 (based on a 4.0 grading scale); and
  • meet the expectation of academic integrity.

Nurse Leader Candidates must:

  • be legally recognized to practice nursing in his/her country;
  • have a minimum of a baccalaureate degree or the equivalent in any field; and
  • demonstrate achievement in nursing.

Apply Now

Current UMSON students will be invited to join Sigma.

Nurse leaders may submit a Nurse Leader Membership Application.

Grants and Scholarships

Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) Pi Chapter offers a number of research grants and scholarships to the members of the chapter. The intent of these grants and scholarships are to support the mission and vision of STTI by advancing world health and celebrating nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service. 





Apply Now

STTI -Pi Chapter  
Doctoral Student Grant Award
Annual, due July 1* Awarded August 15
any Pi Chapter member who is a doctoral student in a PhD, DNP, or other doctoral program $1,500 Guidelines and Application (Word)
STTI -Pi Chapter
Scholarly Presentation/
Travel Award
Two awards each fall and spring semester. Submit four weeks prior to event. any Pi Chapter member, one presenting author for podium or poster accepted through peer-reviewed process (may not have received an award in the past three years)The award recipient must acknowledge STTI Pi Chapter as part of their presentation and present at Pi Chapter's annual business meeting. $400 per award
(max $1,600/year)
Guidelines and Application (Word)
STTI - Pi Chapter
BSN Scholarship Senior Practicum Poster Awards
Two awards (one at each UMSON location) during fall and spring semesters  UMSON students only; at least one co-author of the poster must be a chapter member or is being inducted that semester $100 per award
(max $400/year)

*The following applies to ALL research and practice grant awards:   

  1. For investigators at the University of Maryland, School of Nursing (UMSON), you must complete the online form from the Office of Research.
  2. Award funding is contingent on receiving IRB or IACUC approval.
  3. Award recipients must present at STTI Pi Chapter’s annual business meeting (travel awards included). 

Pi at-Large Chapter Leadership

Board Members* and Committees 2023-2024


Leadership Role

Paul Thurman, PhD, RN, ACNPC, CCNS, CCRN


Mary Evans, DNP, RN

Vice President*

Jessica Pitzer, BSN, RN


Mary Golway, MSN, RN, NPD-BC


Vanessa Fahie, PhD

Counselor, Baltimore - Graduate*

Claire Bode, DNP, CRNP

Counselor, Shady Grove*

Melissa Torres

Co-Chair, Chapter at-Large LHAAMC At-Large*

Wendy Penny, MBA, BSN, RN

Co-Chair, Chapter at-Large LHAAMC At-Large*

Tamara Hill, DNP, CPNP-AC

Chair, Governance Committee*

Juliana Wildey, MSN, RN

Chair, Leadership Succession Committee*

Dorna Hairston, PhD, RN, NEA-BC

Chair, Research & Scholarship

Claudette Clunie, MSN, RN

Chair, Publicity/Digital Communications

Renee Franquiz, DNP, RN, CNE

Chair, Key Award Committee

Veronica Amos, PhD, CRNA, PHCNS-BC, FAANA

Co-Chair, Membership

Jennifer Goldsmith, MSN, RN, NPD-BC

Chair, Program Planning and CE

Pi at-Large Chapter Archive

Pi Chapter History:

Scrapbook of Pi Chapter History 
Created by:
Charlotte Seckman, PhD, RN-BC, CNE, FAAN
Past President/Archivist


Resiliency, Health, and Well-Being: A Lecture Series to Support Health Care Providers
hosted by Pi at-Large and Nu Beta at-Large Chapters of Sigma

Mind the Gap: Preparing Nurses to Practice with Resilience and Integrity 
March 4, 2021
Presented by:
Cynda Rushton, PhD, RN, FAAN 

The State of Nursing in the World: The Value of Infusing Joy
Sep. 21, 2020
Presented by:

Ric Ricciardi, PhD, MS '91, RN
President of Sigma

Fall 2020 Virtual Induction Materials:

Upcoming Events