Initiation and Award Ceremony Celebrates TriBeta Students

May 11, 2018


TriBeta logoThe Randolph-Macon College Biology department held its annual initiation ceremony on May 1, 2018 for its Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta) students. TriBeta is an honor society dedicated to improving the understanding and appreciation of biological study through scientific research.

R-MC's TriBeta chapter, chartered in 1945, is co-advised by Biology Professors Grace Lim-Fong, Traci Stevens and Stephanie Coster.

Excellence in the Classroom and Beyond
At the ceremony in Copley Science Center, 53 students were initiated into the TriBeta Society, and six students received special awards.

Stevens says, "It was exciting to see so many outstanding biology students gathered together to celebrate their accomplishments. Many of the students honored have not only excelled in the classroom but have also conducted original research projects and/or interned in their areas of interest."

The following biology majors were presented awards:
Ryan Ott '19 was presented the William Neal Cunningham Award, which was established in memory of William Neal Cunningham '68 by his family, friends and classmates. Cunningham, an outstanding student and a nature-lover and outdoorsman, was killed in action in Vietnam. The award is given to a student who shares Cunningham's goals of academic achievement and love of the outdoors.

The Watts Scholarships in Biology were established through an endowment from Dr. Stephen H. Watts, Class of 1896. Watts attended medical school at the University of Virginia and served as chair of the Department of Surgery. The Watts Scholarships in Biology are awarded to students who have distinguished themselves through personal achievement and who show great promise for future endeavors. Amie Little '19 and Sarah Cimring '19 were awarded Watts Scholarships.

The Biology Research Awards recognize outstanding achievement in and dedication to biological research. Tara Balasubramanian '18, Steven Neal '18 and Garrett Peak '18 were presented Biology Research Awards.

New this year is an award established to honor R-MC Biology Professor Emerita Elsa Falls, who attended the gathering.

Ryan Ott '19 received the Elsa Q. Falls Scholarship Award, which is given to a rising senior engaged in laboratory or field research in the Department of Biology. An endowment in the Virginia Academy of Science Trust will fund this new award. The endowment was established in 2018 with a gift by Arthur W. Burke Jr. to honor Elsa Q. Falls, R-MC associate professor emerita and former president and long-time supporter of the Academy.

Biology Professors Chas. Gowan and James Foster, who worked with Falls, spoke about her dedication to science and to students before presenting the award to Ott.