Unlike the National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society (SNHS) is a bit narrower in its focus. Like other specific honor societies (foreign languages, English or math honor societies), SNHS concentrates on a specific subject: the sciences. The Prospect is here to give you the low-down on this important and wonderful honor society.
SNHS was created in 2000 in response to the need for scientifically literate people in this changing, technology-dependent world. SNHS attempts to encourage science in schools across the country. Its goals are, according to the official SNHS website: “encourage scientific thought, advance students’ knowledge of science, communicate with scientific community, aid the community with its comprehension of science, and encourage scientific knowledge.”
Membership requirements vary from school to school, but overall requirements include being a junior or senior in high school, enrollment in advanced science courses, and a 3.5 GPA overall and at least a B+ in all science courses. Some schools adjust these member requirements, requiring specific AP courses or a specific number of them, or allowing sophomores to be in the club.
After becoming a member, you are held to certain expectations. Members must be involved in a research project of some sort (at some schools, this requirement is more lax). Also, they have to maintain their GPA and participate in community service involved with science. There is often a minimum hour or point requirement, ranging from 10 hours to 50 hours (set by your own chapter). Members must pay dues, obtain a pin and a cord to wear at graduation.
In my school’s new SNHS club, we are still working out the basics and getting the club functioning; however, we still work on projects and community service projects. We participate in fun local elementary and middle school science nights, encouraging children to be interested in science. Going to elementary school nights and putting on demonstrations (DNA extraction, fossils, paper planes, or density) for kids is one of my favorite activities to do. The little kids get so excited, grossed out, and interested in science, and I love getting these kids interested in science. Once, I extracted DNA with kids and when they saw the mucus-looking DNA from the strawberries, some said “wow that’s so cool,” while others said “that SNOT is inside of us?!”
Within our own school, SNHS encourages science and science learning as well. We tutor our fellow students in the sciences, and conduct science related projects in the school. For instance, right now, we are trying to establish fish tanks in our room to eventually have a fish tank for the school to view in the main office. We have a little plant cart we use to grow vegetables. In addition, at my school, we have a research requirement, stating that everyone in the club must be involved in a research project to present at our schools’ symposium.
Another thing we do in SNHS are science lectures. We have local scientists come and speak about their research and their entrance into science, encouraging us. These scientists do amazing work in neuroscience, technology, and medicine. Also, we attend similar lectures at local science institutions and centers of research. We’re even trying to get involved at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in the spring!
SNHS is a perfect club to join if you are a future scientist, someone interested in science, or just someone who wants to learn about fascinating ideas while helping your community! If your school doesn’t have a chapter yet, find an adviser and a few interested friends (see our guide to starting a club) and start one up! Good luck and make your SNHS chapter wonderful!