Gannon Professor Named President of National Biological Honor Society TriBeta
Posted: December 21, 2016
Paleontology isn't the biological specialty of Steve Ropski,
Ph.D., but it provides a convenient metaphor for his experience
with Beta Beta Beta "I was an officer of TriBeta as a student at
Gannon University when dinosaurs were on the earth," Ropski said.
"It all started there."
It certainly didn't end there as Ropski, professor of biology,
was named president of the national biological honor society at its
44th National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota in June. TriBeta's
more than 670 chapters in 12 districts throughout the United States
and Puerto Rico count a membership in excess of 6,500. Ropski's
connection to TriBeta began nearly 40 years ago, and for 20 years,
he had served as director of the Northeast-3 district that
comprises some 40 chapters at colleges and universities in
southwestern New York, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Ropski and Gannon University are well known by the national
organization, which has twice selected Gannon as the site of its
national convention. In addition, Gannon's Theta Omega chapter has
won TriBeta's annual Lloyd M. Bertholf Award as the outstanding
chapter in the country four times since 1962.
So when the outgoing TriBeta president called to say, "let's
talk about doing this," Ropski was happy to respond. "When you have
involved and committed students and have organized and handled the
conventions well, they must have thought I'd make a good
organizer," Ropski said. Organizing will be a large part of his
duties in his two-year term. "To some degree, I'll be
troubleshooting, Ropski said, "and you have to work with the local
chapters that organize the biennial conventions."
Ropski sees service as TriBeta's main purpose. "At Gannon, our
chapter has conducted blood drives, staffed tables for organ donor
programs, and served as judges for science fairs at local schools,"
he said. Encouraging and supporting research by students is also an
important goal for TriBeta, which awards research grants. "Many of
our students at Gannon have been lucky to receive those, and we've
had students' undergraduate research published in 'Bios,' the
journal of TriBeta," Ropski said.
"I'm humbled that they have the confidence in me to do this
job," Ropski said, "but I'm confident that after being an advisor
and having organized two conventions, I can bring a new perspective
to TriBeta-not necessarily better-but new. I want to ask how it
might benefit students if we did things in a different