Psi Chi

Psi Chi
Founded1929; 94 years ago (1929)
TypeCollege student honor society
Colors  Platinum and   Dark Blue
PublicationPsi Chi Journal
   Eye on Psi Chi
Members800,000+ lifetime
Headquarters651 East 4th Street, Suite 600
Chattanooga, TN 37403

Psi Chi (ΨΧ) is a college student honor society in psychology with international outreach founded in 1929 at the University of Kansas in the United States.[1]

Psi Chi is one of the largest honor societies in the United States, with more than 1,160 chapters. Psi Chi has more than 800,000 members from chapters in the United States, Canada, and multiple other countries.[citation needed] Notable members of the organization include B.F. Skinner, Philip Zimbardo, Jon Stewart, and Phil McGraw.[2]

Psi Chi is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies and is an affiliate of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science.[1]


Psi Chi was founded by Frederick Howell Lewis and Edwin B. Newman, psychology students at the University of Kansas. Lewis and Newman first thought of a national organization for psychology students while working on research late one night in 1927.[1] Over the next two years, they wrote to psychology faculty and students at various universities and formed discussion groups with other students. Psi Chi's first official meeting was on September 4, 1929, at the Ninth International Congress of Psychology.[3] Psi Chi's original name was Sigma Pi Sigma, but it was learned that the name was already in use by an honor society in physics. "Psi Chi" was chosen as the honor society's official name at its second annual meeting in 1930 because of the name's similarity to the word "psychology".


Membership is open to undergraduate, graduate, alumni, and faculty members who make the study of psychology one of their major interests and who meet the minimum qualifications according to Psi Chi's Become a Member webpage,[4] which is based on the Society's Constitution.[5] Membership is attained through application and acceptance at the local chapter level. Psychology majors who attend two-year junior or community colleges may join Psi Beta, Psi Chi's sister society.

Awards and grants[edit]

Psi Chi rewards its members annually with over $400,000 in various awards and grants programs.[6] In addition to awards and grants, Psi Chi began its first scholarship program in the spring of 2015. Undergraduate and graduate scholarships are now available.[7][8]

Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research[edit]

Psi Chi publishes a quarterly peer-reviewed journal featuring original research conducted by undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty mentors. To increase dissemination across the psychological community, all articles are available free online. The journal is indexed in EBSCO, and in PsycINFO, a database service of the American Psychological Association with over 3 million records of peer-reviewed scholarly literature.[9]

Eye on Psi Chi Magazine[edit]

Psi Chi also publishes a quarterly magazine, which features career and graduate school advice, updates in popular areas of psychology, and special announcements to keep readers connected with the organization. Notable authors and distinguished interviews include Robert Sternberg,[10] Susan Fiske,[11] Anthony Greenwald,[12] Florence Denmark,[13] and Phillip Zimbardo.[14] All Eye articles are available free online.[15]


Psi Chi members may attend national and regional conventions, held yearly.[16] Some chapters provide information on graduate study in psychology and assist members in the graduate school application process. Tutoring, community service, and social events are also common activities of Psi Chi chapters.[17]

Structure and governance[edit]

Psi Chi, a federally recognized, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is governed by the board of directors.[18] The board of directors is composed of three presidents (President, President-Elect, Past-President), six regional vice-presidents (East, Midwest, Rocky Mountain, Southeast, Southwest, West), and an executive director. The presidents and regional vice-presidents are elected by Psi Chi chapters.

Regional vice-presidents serve two-year terms and may serve up to a total of two consecutive terms (four years). Regional vice-president elections are held in odd-numbered years for the Eastern, Rocky Mountain, and Western Regions, and in even-numbered years for the Midwestern, Southeastern, and Southwestern Regions.

President candidates must have served at least one full two-year term as a regional vice-president. If elected by chapters to become president, the candidate becomes the Society's President-Elect for one year, President the following year, and then the Past-President the year after.[5]


The Psi Chi Headquarters fulfills the needs of the society as directed by the leadership of the board of directors. Headquarters staff are composed of an executive director, director of membership and development, director of communications, director of finance, and director of information systems. As needed, the board of directors creates new staff positions to help better meet the needs of and provide benefits to members of the society.

The title of the "executive director" position has changed over the years: secretary-treasurer (1929–54), executive secretary (1954–68), executive director (1969–91), executive officer (1991–2003), chief operating officer (2004–present).

Executive directors[edit]

Ruth Hubbard Cousins (born May 21, 1920) was one of the society's most famous executive directors, serving for more than 33 years (December 1958 – October 1991). She died on January 11, 2007.[1]

After Cousins retired as executive director, Kay Wilson (born September 21, 1939) took over as executive officer (the title changed, but her position still functioned as executive director) from October 1991 until her death in June 2003, of cancer.[19]

When Kay Wilson died in 2003, the national council reviewed the position of executive officer and decided to split the position's function into two positions: "rector" (a new position with broader outreach and strategic planning functions) and "executive officer" (the position with office management functions that had been in place since the beginning). A search began in 2003, and Virginia Andreoli Mathie, who had been a professor of psychology at James Madison University (Virginia), was hired as the first executive director in the newly created position. She began on July 1, 2004, and served until June 30, 2008. Dr. Mathie was responsible for coordinating with other psychological organizations, long-term strategic planning, and assisting universities applying for a Psi Chi chapter.[20]

Beginning July 1, 2008, Martha S. Zlokovich, from Southeast Missouri State University and a former Psi Chi national president, began serving as Psi Chi's second executive director.[21] Dr. Zlokovich served for 15 years until her retirement.[22]

Psi Chi's third executive director, Dr. Marianne Fallon, began on August 1, 2023. [23]

Paula Miller, who was the organization's previous membership and awards director (1997–2003), was hired as the executive officer in 2003, and served in that position managing the Psi Chi Headquarters in Chattanooga, TN until 2007. In March 2007, Lisa Mantooth, formerly of the Cleveland, Tennessee, Red Cross Chapter, began as executive officer and served through November 2009.[24]

In 2010, Michele Rumpf continued in the executive officer role but the title changed to Chief Operating Officer.[25] She served until 2015. Martha S. Zlokovich, PhD, was named interim chief operating officer in the fall of 2015.

Distinguished members[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Davis, Stephen; Wertheimer, Michael (2000). An Oral History of Psi Chi: The National Honor Society in Psychology. Chattanooga, TN: Psi Chi. ISBN 0970645406.
  2. ^ "Distinguished Members". Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  3. ^ Howell, Frederick (Fall 2014). "Message From the First Historian of Psi Chi". Eye on Psi Chi. Psi Chi. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Become a Member". Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Psi Chi Constitution". Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  6. ^ "Awards and Grants". Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Psi Chi Undergraduate Scholarships". Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Psi Chi Graduate Scholarships". Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  9. ^ "Psi Chi Journal of Undergraduate Research". Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Producing Tomorrow's Leaders--In Psychology and Everything Else". Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  11. ^ "Mapping Social Groups (and Stereotypes) With Susan T. Fiske". Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  12. ^ "Some Implicit Assembly Required With Anthony Greenwald, PhD". Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  13. ^ "Myths of Aging". Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  14. ^ "Fostering the Heroic Imagination: An Ancient Ideal and a Modern Vision". Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  15. ^ "Eye on Psi Chi". Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  16. ^ "Psi Chi Regions". Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  17. ^ "Chapter Service Projects". Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  18. ^ "Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology".
  19. ^ Current and Past Members of the Psi Chi National Council (Fall 2003). "Remembering Kay: The Psi Chi National Council". Eye on Psi Chi. Psi Chi. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  20. ^ Andreoli Mathie, Virginia (Summer 2008). "A Farewell to Psi Chi". Eye on Psi Chi. Psi Chi. 12 (4): 5. doi:10.24839/1092-0803.Eye12.4.5. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  21. ^ Zlokovich, Martha (Fall 2008). "Planning for the Future of Undergraduate Education in Psychology". Eye on Psi Chi. Psi Chi. 13: 5. doi:10.24839/1092-0803.Eye13.1.5. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  22. ^ Cannon, Bradley (Summer 2023). "Looking Back on a Legacy. Interview With Outgoing Executive Director Martha S. Zlokovich". Eye on Psi Chi. Psi Chi. 27: 44–47. doi:10.24839/2164-9812.Eye27.4.44. Retrieved 7 August 2023.
  23. ^ Sleigh, Merry (Summer 2023). "Leading Into the Future: An Interview With Dr. Marianne Fallon". Eye on Psi Chi. Psi Chi. 27: 4. doi:10.24839/2164-9812.Eye27.4.4. Retrieved 7 August 2023.
  24. ^ Miller, Paula (Winter 2007). "Farewell Psi Chi". Eye on Psi Chi. Psi Chi. 11 (2): 3. doi:10.24839/1092-0803.Eye11.2.3. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  25. ^ "2010-11 New Leaders for PSI CHI" (PDF). Eye on Psi Chi. Psi Chi. Summer 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Wertheimer, Michael (2004-02-07). "Psi Chi Reaches 75: The Youth Psychology Beacon Celebrates an Illuminated History". APS Observer. 17 (2).

External links[edit]