Honors at Iowa and Phi Eta Sigma
Honors societies are selective organizations that invite students to become members based on high levels of achievement. They offer a variety of opportunities for their members. Prominent among these are recognition for leadership experiences, scholarship competitions, and service activities. The University of Iowa Honors Program has a long historic association with the honor society Phi Eta Sigma, to which students are initiated as freshmen.
This honors society started in 1923 to celebrate outstanding scholarship by freshmen for the purpose of promoting excellence in scholarship, mind, body, and character by beginning college students of superlative promise. The University of Iowa established the forty-ninth chapter of Phi Eta Sigma in 1945. There are now more than three hundred fifty chapters in institutions of higher learning nationwide. Learn more about the benefits and eligibility of the organization.
Phi Eta Sigma emphasizes honor for students of high distinction. Here at the University of Iowa, it has long supported a Dunlap Collegiate Scholarship each year for a third-year member of great achievement in Honors at Iowa. Also in collaboration with the University of Iowa Honors Program, the Iowa Chapter of Phi Eta Sigma presents the John Briggs Award each May to its graduating senior with the top grade point average as well as the annual Briggs Phi Eta Sigma scholarship.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What will be my responsibilities if I join this group?
A. Once invited, all it takes to join and be a member is to register online as directed and to pay the one-time only national dues. We hope you will also come to the induction ceremony, brainstorm activities at our spring organizational meeting, apply for scholarships, and attend events.
Q. Is this a sorority or fraternity, and is this group affiliated with the University of Iowa or is it national?
A. Not a sorority or fraternity—an honor society, both national and local. The University of Iowa Phi Eta Sigma is a local chapter of a national honor society.
Q. How are scholarships distributed? Are they need or merit based?
A. Merit based.
John Briggs Award
The Honors Program presents the John Briggs award, a cash prize, to the senior member of the University of Iowa chapter of Phi Eta Sigma with the highest grade point average on the largest number of graded hours at the University of Iowa. The award will be presented at the Honors Commendation Ceremony the Friday of spring finals week.
During her time at the University of Iowa Meredith majored in music and minored in chemistry while following a pre-medical track. Outside of school, Meredith has enjoyed volunteering at Emerson Point Assisted Living and the UIHC patients’ library, working as an usher at Hancher auditorium, and working as a research assistant in Dr. Ferhaan Ahmad's cardiovascular genetics laboratory.
"I would encourage any incoming student to listen to their heart when deciding what path to take. Don't be afraid to embark on a new or unconventional path. If you are passionate about what you are doing everything will work out in the end."