16 Students Inducted into Engineering Honor Society Tau Beta Pi

tau beta pi group 2023

Sixteen School of Engineering students were inducted into the national engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi in March. Associate Dean Daniel Burkey, pictured at right, serves as UConn’s TBP chief advisor.

By Olivia Drake, Written Communications Specialist

In high school, Justin Coe always had a knack for math and science. So, when he began thinking about college, the University of Connecticut’s School of Engineering became top-of-mind.

Now a rising junior, Coe is pursuing a materials science and engineering major and minor in manufacturing.

“At first, I was unsure of which discipline I wanted to pursue,” Coe recalls. “I actually was first enrolled in biomedical engineering, however, the more I was exposed to other disciplines at UConn, I eventually switched to MSE because I really loved the hands-on work within the major, especially metallurgy and failure analysis.”

Justin Coe

Justin Coe is one of Tau Beta Pi’s newest initiates.

Coe—who holds a cumulative GPA of 3.96—is among 16 UConn students recently inducted into the prestigious engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi (TBP).

Founded in 1885, TBP is the nation’s second-oldest academic honor society and recognizes those who have “conferred honor upon their Alma Maters by distinguished scholarship and exemplary character as students in engineering” and who “foster a spirit of liberal culture in engineering colleges.” The creed of Tau Beta Pi, adopted in 1991, is “Integrity and Excellence in Engineering.”

The Connecticut Beta Chapter at UConn is among 255 collegiate TBP groups nationwide and will celebrate its 75th anniversary in January 2024. To be eligible for membership, students must be a junior by class standing or older. Juniors must be in the top eighth of their class, and seniors top fifth of their class.

For the year of 2021-2022, those eligibilities ranged from a 3.875-4.0 cumulative GPA for juniors, and 3.865-4.0 GPA for seniors. “These are the typical ranges and they’ve only varied by plus or minus 0.1 GPA points for the past few years,” said mechanical engineering major and TBP Chapter President Jarred Drickler-Bourgart.

The initiation ceremony, held in March, was attended by Drickler-Bourgart, a UConn junior; Daniel Burkey, Associate Dean, Castleman Term Professor in Engineering Innovation, and associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering; Natalie Turco, Tau Beta Pi District Director; Kanisha Desai, chemical and biomolecular major and UConn Chapter Treasurer; and others. 

The new inductees include Coe; mechanical engineering majors Daniel Andrade, Dax Avery, Alexandra Calabro, Dwaritha Ramesh, and Benjamin Roy; chemical and biomolecular engineering majors Jacob Crow, Thanasi Dimopoulos, and Cristian Rodriguez; materials science and engineering major Christian Sabatini; civil and environmental engineering majors Carson Kehmna, Daniel Parillo, and Devin Rhoads; computer science and engineering major Sabrina Schlusselberg; environmental engineering major Louis Spencer; and environmental engineering and computer engineering double major Dominik Kulis.

“We’re extremely proud of our newest Tau Beta Pi inductees,” said Burkey, who serves as UConn’s TBP chief advisor. “Their dedication to academic excellence and passion for engineering is a testament to their exceptional character and potential for greatness.”

Tau Beta Pi badge in front of the Castleman Building

The TBP badge resembles a watch key in the form of the bent of a trestle.

While community service isn’t a requirement of UConn’s TBP membership, Burkey noted that several initiates are deeply involved in engineering-related extracurriculars. Coe, for example, is secretary of both the UConn Material Advantage (UCMA) Student Chapter and UConn Foundation Metal Working Club, and he’s also a member of the UConn Woodsmen Team and Werth Innovation Zone Maker Mentors. In addition, Coe will be a teaching assistant next fall for the MSE II course, and he’ll be attending the Institute of Materials Applications and Testing (IMAT) conference in October as a Heat Treating Society Strong Bar competitor. “That will involve heat treating a steel bar that has proficient bending strength as well as ductility,” Coe said.

Like Coe, new TBP initiate and rising senior Andrade aspired to pursue engineering during his senior year in high school. “I wanted something challenging, so engineering [at UConn] was an easy choice for me,” said Andrade, who holds a 3.96 GPA. “I enjoy the fast pace and challenging course load that some of the engineering courses have to offer.”

Formerly a member of UConn’s Student Branch of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Andrade now focuses specifically on research. His work involves using an Analytical Target Cascading method to create an optimal system design.

The official emblem of the TBP—“the bent”—is monumented front and center of the Francis L. Castleman Engineering Building on the Storrs campus. This badge, which resembles a pocket watch key in the form of the bent of a trestle, is presented to TBP inductees as a wearable pendant and is frequently engraved with the member’s last name, chapter, and class.

“Being a member of Tau Beta Pi is an incredible achievement,” Burkey said. “I look forward to seeing what these students will contribute to the field of engineering in the future.”

For more information, email uconntbp@gmail.com.

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