Co-President Trio Leads Lambda Pi Eta in its 30th Year at CCI
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the charter of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Alpha Gamma chapter of Lambda Pi Eta, which is the National Communication Association’s official honor society. For three decades now, outstanding students in the School of Communication Studies have been acknowledged for their excellence by being invited to join the only honors society that specifically represents their field.
“Students don’t always get that recognition for their strong performance and outstanding work, and this is a way for the faculty to recognize those achievements. It’s also a boost to the students to be able to put that on their resumes,” said Emily Paskewitz, associate professor at the School of Communication Studies and advisor for the Alpha Gamma chapter.
Another benefit it brings to students is another touchpoint to network with faculty and students in their field, something that senior Cassidy Bayer said was a compelling reason for her to join Lambda Pi Eta. As a transfer student from the University of California, Berkley, where she was an athlete swimmer, Bayer was looking for opportunities to meet others in her chosen field of study.
“I think it’s important to put yourself out there and get to know professors and faculty. I wanted to be more committed to finding a niche of people outside of athletics, so I thought that joining Lambda Pi Eta would help me with that,” she said.
Bayer is co-president of the chapter along with her fellow seniors and friends Avery Urquhart and Tessa Levy. Paskewitz fostered the idea of the three working together to lead the chapter after they all expressed interest in running for president, and the trio enthusiastically agreed.
“They are so much fun. I had them all in my research methods class last spring and all three of them are high energy, bubbly, and they work together so well and it’s amazing watching them work as a team because they all have their strengths that they bring to the table,” she said.
It’s been a fun experience thus far for the students, as well, said Avery, who has enjoyed the sense of community the organization creates.
“It’s such a great community of students, it’s a little smaller than some organizations so it really fosters that community within CCI, and you get to know your professors better and it provides great networking opportunities,” she said. “Just the ability to interact on a deeper level with professors and get to know them better on a one-on-one basis has been great.”
Being co-president with two friends she’s made during her time at the school has just been an added bonus. The three students all met early on in communication studies class where they tended to be the most talkative ones there, causing them to gravitate towards each other and eventually strike up a friendship that only grew as they continued to have courses together.
“We ended up being the most talkative people in class and fed off each other and became a group. We’ve had multiple classes together since then,” said Levy.
While Lambda Pi Eta exists mostly as a way to recognize students for their work and doesn’t host as many activities, the trio is hoping to elevate the organization’s profile and encourage other students to join when they’re invited. They’ve gained a lot of value from interacting with other honors students and the faculty that they wouldn’t have otherwise had without their membership in the group.
“There’s not very many honors societies for communication studies other than Lambda Pi Eta and I like to be the face of that and communicate to my community its importance,” Levy said.