Now that the new year is upon us, I have begun to reflect on everything that I have learned since joining SIAM as the Membership Manager in July 2023. These last six months have flown by, and while I acknowledge that I still have much to learn about SIAM, I have already met many staff and community members who have taught me an enormous amount in a short span of time. I would thus like to share a little of my newfound knowledge, highlight some of the Membership team’s 2023 accomplishments, and explain their corresponding impacts.
SIAM membership is growing once again. Like many member-based organizations, SIAM membership numbers declined during the COVID-19 pandemic (presumably due to the lack of in-person conferences and events). Encouragingly, however, 2023 was the first year to show an increase in membership since the pandemic’s onset — a promising sign that the community is beginning to re-engage with the Society and take advantage of its many benefits.
Student membership in particular has experienced an auspicious increase. And why wouldn’t it? Most students can join for free! Full-time students are eligible for free membership if they are graduate students at a SIAM Academic Member Institution, involved with a SIAM Student Chapter, or nominated by any regular SIAM member. The benefits of free student membership are identical to regular student membership (regular student members only pay $25 per year), except that free student members only receive SIAM Review in electronic format and are not eligible to vote in SIAM elections.
Every type of SIAM membership—from free student membership to regular membership—offers plenty of opportunities to engage with the Society and take advantage of its many benefits and offerings. Stop by the SIAM booth at an upcoming conference for more information or to chat with a staff member. Photo courtesy of Paula White.
The formation of new SIAM Student Chapters
is partially responsible for the recent increase in student membership. 2023 saw the establishment of 14 additional chapters and the reactivation of four formerly lapsed chapters; in addition, five more applications for new chapters are currently pending. SIAM Student Chapters provide participants with invaluable opportunities to develop networks with faculty members and colleagues outside of the classroom, share ideas and research with like-minded people, learn about career prospects, and hone their leadership skills.
Regular membership numbers are also beginning to rebound. Recruitment and retention of this group have both risen in the last year, which is a great sign because regular members are among SIAM’s most engaged individuals. They routinely attend and speak at SIAM conferences, purchase SIAM journals and books and/or regularly contribute content, and join SIAM Activity Groups (SIAGs).
Unfortunately, early-career memberships have not sustained such growth, despite the plethora of benefits and discounted membership rate: a 50 percent discount on the price of regular membership for the first three years after graduation, and a 25 percent discount for the fourth and fifth years. Both students and early-career members can take advantage of SIAM travel awards for conferences, utilize the SIAM Job Board, attend SIAM Career Fairs, and access information about internships, fellowships, and other resources that help identify career opportunities.
All types of SIAM membership offer plenty of ways to engage with the organization. SIAM currently has 16 Sections in different geographical regions—11 within North America and five beyond it—including the new Northern-Central California Section. The SIAM New York – New Jersey – Pennsylvania Section launched in 2023 and held its inaugural conference in October, and many Sections reported record or near-record attendance at their annual meetings last year. Most Section membership is free and automatic for any current SIAM member who lives or works in the geographical area of the Section in question. To become involved with a SIAM Section, simply attend a Section activity or contact the Section officers in your locality.
All 23 SIAGs utilize SIAM Engage, SIAM’s online community platform where members can network with each other and share information about upcoming meetings and career prospects. Six SIAGs currently host active webinar series throughout the year, with a collective total of 34 webinars in 2023. All of these events are promoted on Engage, so be sure to join the platform if you have not yet done so. SIAM Sections will also migrate their listservs to Engage in 2024. Members can look forward to more exciting webinars and chances to connect during the year.
How can you help us ensure continued growth in 2024? Existing members can support the SIAM community and strengthen our profession in a variety of ways:
- Nominate two students for free membership. All regular SIAM members can nominate two students each year!
- Encourage recent graduates in your circles to join SIAM. As I mentioned earlier, early-career members receive a 50 percent discount on the price of regular membership for their first three years after graduation.
- Select the auto-renew option at my.siam.org so you don’t forget to renew your membership at the end of the year. Doing so eliminates renewal reminders and guarantees that you retain access to important benefits like discounts on journals, books, and conferences; access to SIAGs and Engage; and more. Just check the “auto-renew” box when you renew online and your membership will automatically renew at the end of the year.
As I have learned and hopefully made evident, SIAM has much to offer its members. I encourage you to make a New Year’s resolution to take advantage of the many opportunities to learn and grow through SIAM in 2024.
|Paula White is the Membership Manager at SIAM.