Devynne M. Johnson
A sorority many have never heard of, has been established and active for over 50 years. Beta Beta Beta, better known as Tri- Beta, was established in 1922 and is an honors society for undergraduate students.
Tri-Beta’s mission, according to Beta Beta Beta honors society publication, is to, “ improve that understanding and appreciation of biological study and extending boundaries of human knowledge through scientific research.”
Previous interview with Professor Driskill, who is a professor in the biology department, was intended to give a voice to the covert world of the sciences and research. Many of what is known is only the surface of a tremendous iceberg, for which society only grazes the surface.
During the interview, he briefly spoke about Tri-Beta and his affiliation, which for him, was not as interesting as I found it to be.
Professor Driskill contested, “Tri-beta is what took me into teaching, and I used my learning experiences to become a better teacher. A lot of professors did not have the experience to teach students that don’t have all the background knowledge.”
He was referring to not just his learning experiences while in school, but also his learning experiences while in Tri- Beta. Hearing all of this was so intriguing to me, that I found myself having so many questions that will soon be revealed and answered.
I have come to realize how unaware some people are of the science world, with all of the conspiracy theories and folklore that follows anything which has yet to be transparently uncovered; having an eyewitness to dispel this is quite valued in my experience.
Now on to Tri- Beta, what is it, how did it start and, what was the experiences of a member who participated in Tri- Beta 50 years later.
Q: How Long did you participate in Tri-Beta?
A: Two years: from the time of induction (as a rising junior) until graduation.
Q: Who nominated you specifically to be in Tri-Beta, and did you have a ceremony when brought in?
A: Nominations were made by faculty within the Biology Department. We were not told, by whom we were nominated.
Q: If you had a ceremony, what was it like and what did it entail?
A: As I recall, the ceremony was quite formal and rather stilted. I don’t remember too many details (It was over 50 years ago.), but do recall that it involved a long procession, candles, a scripted induction process and a few remarks by University administrators and departmental faculty.
Q: Are you still at all affiliated with Tri-Beta today?
A: Membership is lifelong, but unlike fraternities and sororities, there are no ongoing interactions or reunions.
Q: When did you leave Tri-Beta, if you are no longer affiliated?
A: “Active” involvement ended for everyone upon graduation.
Q: What did you do while in Tri-Beta?
A: We took in a few of field trips (to Wallops Island VA, NJ Pine Barrens, Philadelphia Zoo, Longwood Gardens and the Philadelphia Flower Show). We also sponsored a few service projects such as tutoring services, food drives and the cleanup of local natural areas.
Q: What did you like most about Tri-Beta?
A: The activities – they provided opportunities for taking a break from the rigors of the academic routine while experiencing fun and fulfilling experiences.
Q: Did you have a mentor while in Tri-Beta?
A: Faculty mentors were available within the department (if a student worked/volunteered in a research lab) but these relationships were not directly linked to tri-Beta membership.
Q: How did Tri-Beta get you into teaching?
A: There was no direct link – other than the fact that membership in the organization correlated with a strong interest in the field (of biology).
Q: Would you recommend that students join Tri-Beta?
A: As with many honor societies, the presence of chapters on a campus varies from institution to institution. DSU does not have a chapter, but if there was one, I would most certainly recommend that students join.
Thanks to professor Driskill, we all were able to do a deep dive into the unknown and maybe inspire a new honors society on campus for Biology students. Hopefully this helped to shine more light on the intricacies that come with the Biological field and other sciences.