Tau Sigma is the only honors group created exclusively for transfer students.
When Lauren Sustad felt homesick during her first year of college, she texted her friend Geena Bruno from back home on Long Island. Bruno had recently transferred to Adelphi University to study communication sciences and disorders—the same field Sustad was interested in pursuing.
With Bruno’s encouragement, Sustad decided to transfer to Adelphi too because it was close to home, it offered her major and she already felt connected. Bruno continued to mentor Sustad, encouraging her to join the Tau Sigma Transfer Honor Society. Sustad transferred from Hartford University; Bruno from SUNY Cortland.
Tau Sigma is the only honors group created exclusively for transfer students. Unlike other honor societies that focus on passion and excellence in a particular subject, Tau Sigma acknowledges the successes of students who all share one common experience.
That experience produces strong bonds among the chapter’s members. “Tau Sigma has enabled me to connect with other transfer students,” said Genna Giordano ’16, a graduate of Adelphi’s Accelerated B.S. in Nursing program who came from Fordham University. “I loved talking to other transfer students about their experience and the stories that led them here.”
To be eligible for Tau Sigma membership, transfers must be full-time students with a 3.5 GPA after their first semester at Adelphi. Once inducted, members become eligible for both national and University-level scholarships.
Bruno, a senior who will serve as Tau Sigma’s 2016–2017 president, hopes to replicate her positive transfer experience for newcomers. “Tau Sigma gave me confidence by providing a smooth transition,” she said. “I met so many new friends and gained leadership skills, which created a positive transfer experience.”
As president, Bruno plans to continue the informal mentoring program the previous executive board established. Giordano, who had been treasurer, said, “Our e-board connected transfer mentors to incoming students, allowing opportunities for students to ask questions about the process and talk about how they’re adjusting.”
Tau Sigma’s benefits stretch beyond Adelphi’s campus. Leaders in Adelphi’s chapter have the opportunity to attend the annual national conference, where they meet with other transfer students from around the country to develop leadership and social skills and build strategies for their local chapter.
Kathleen Rickard ’14 represented Adelphi at the 2013 national convention, where she met members of all ages and backgrounds from across the country. She transferred to Adelphi from St. Joseph’s College to complete a second bachelor’s degree (in nursing) after 20 years in the New York City Police Department. Her experience in Adelphi’s chapter and at the national conference helped her connect with others who shared her experience and point of view. “I learned that many successful members of society transferred during their college careers,” she said.
Leslie Fazin ’10, now a creative digital content specialist for Canon USA, still reaps the benefits of Tau Sigma membership. “Honor societies like Tau Sigma show prospective employers that you’re a dedicated student—academically and personally,” she noted.
Membership in Tau Sigma is “a great résumé builder,” Bruno said. For one thing, she pointed out, it “helped me get a Jaggar Community Fellows internship” in the summer of 2016.
Kerry Sweeney, due to graduate in Spring 2017 as a nursing major, also feels that her membership will have a positive impact on future bosses. “It shows employers the hard work and dedication put into your studies,” said Sweeney, who came from Nassau Community College.
Fazin, who switched from Suffolk County Community College, said that, besides its appeal to future bosses, her time in Tau Sigma helps her look back at her Adelphi experience with pride and affection. “It’s an incredibly supportive organization that helps transfer students not only feel welcomed by their new campus but also be surrounded by other students making the same transition,” she said. “Being part of Tau Sigma helped me feel important—and recognized—as a transfer student.”
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