Sigma Xi recognizes Alison Williams, Princeton chapter

June 16, 2005 8:27 a.m.

Sigma Xi has honored a Princeton faculty member and the Princeton chapter of the scientific research society.

Alison Williams, a lecturer in chemistry, has been selected as a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer. The Princeton chapter has won a Chapter Outstanding Program Award for its CONNECT-ED program, which reaches out to K-12 science educators.

Williams was selected based on the quality of her research and for her ability to communicate her insights and excitement to a broad range of students, faculty and the public. During her two-year term, which begins July 1, 2006, she will have the opportunity to give talks at colleges, universities and research laboratories.

Williams, a graduate of Wesleyan University (B.S.) and the University of Rochester (M.S., Ph.D.), has been a member of the chemistry department since 2003. She joined the department after two years as the director of studies at Princeton's Wilson College.

Williams leads a research team investigating the properties of nucleic acids in terms of their local chemical structure and environment. She is a member of the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, and has spoken extensively on enhancing the role of women and minorities in science.

The award for CONNECT-ED recognizes both Princeton and Rider University, which jointly operate the program. Scientists and engineers from Sigma Xi team with K-12 teachers to develop science and mathematic units so that other teachers can better understand content and connections.

The teams will present their work during Quest workshops on Princeton's campus July 11-18. The workshops are designed to enhance teachers' knowledge through hands-on laboratory experiments and field experiences and to acquaint them with ideas to use in their classrooms.

Sigma Xi is an international honor society of nearly 65,000 research scientists and engineers in more than 100 countries who were elected to membership based on their research achievements or potential. Some 200 members have received the Nobel Prize. More than 500 Sigma Xi chapters are located at colleges and universities, government laboratories and industry research centers around the world.