Clemson Alumni Distinguished Professor of Psychology June Pilcher is among the newest cohort of fellows for Sigma Xi. The organization was designed to reward excellence in scientific research and to encourage a sense of companionship and cooperation among scientists in all fields. The Fellow of Sigma Xi distinction is awarded on a competitive basis to members who have been recognized by their peers.
“To me, Sigma Xi represents what is best about science; an all-discipline, inclusive group of scientists who enjoy exchanging ideas, learning from other scientists and applying science to our daily lives and our effort to understand humanity’s place in our world,” said Pilcher. “Becoming a fellow of Sigma Xi is a distinct honor. I hope that my work can help advance Sigma Xi goals and help others understand the value of an all-discipline scientific honor society.”
Pilcher was selected for her distinguished accomplishments and thirty years of dedicated service to the Bradley University and Clemson University chapters of Sigma Xi, as well as serving in leadership roles and giving attention to succession planning.
Pilcher has volunteered for Sigma Xi in a number of ways since she was nominated for membership in 1994. Most recently, she served as a Distinguished Lecturer for Sigma Xi.
“That was a unique opportunity to share science with other scientists in a wide range of fields as well as with the public in many different settings such as NPR and retirement homes,” Pilcher said. “Serving as a Distinguished Lecturer reminded me how many scientists are doing really good research at many different types of universities.”
Since joining the Clemson faculty in 2001, she has been awarded multiple honors including the 2011-12 Fulbright-Freud Scholar at the University of Vienna and the Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna, Austria and in the summer of 2017, she was a Fulbright Specialist in Public/Global Health at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and the University of Oulu in Oulu, Finland. She was recognized as a Fellow in the Association of Psychological Science in 2010 and as a Fellow in Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society in 2022. She served as a Jefferson Science Fellow at the U.S. Agency for International Development in Washington, D.C. during the 2018-2019 academic year. Pilcher has been the principal investigator on research grants cumulatively worth more than $2 million.
Pilcher’s research is broadly based on causes of stress and stress mitigation techniques. She believes that doing research that is directly relevant to the human condition and daily life is paramount.
“When I consider the next step in a research project, I am always thinking about how the findings could be applied in the workplace or on college campuses and generally in life,” Pilcher said. “I feel very fortunate that I have had the freedom to seek out different types of research projects here at Clemson while working with outstanding collaborators, undergraduate students, and graduate students.”
Some of her team’s recently published research has focused on social isolation and sleep habits during the COVID-19 quarantines. This project examined sleep times and sleep habits from all over the world during the quarantines and reported on how social isolation can negatively affect sleep in many people. The team has also recently published a study on decreasing sedentary behavior in high school students. Most high school students are required to be sedentary in classes for hours each school day. That can be difficult for anyone to do but perhaps particularly for younger people. Many of the high school students reported enjoying the opportunity to use a stationary bicycle during their reading classes. The team also found that using the stationary bicycle during their classes did not negatively impact their performance on their standardized tests.
Pilcher, along with the other 9 fellows, will be recognized during the inaugural International Forum on Research Excellence (IFoRE) taking place November 3–6, 2022 in Alexandria, Virginia.
The Department of Psychology is a part of the Clemson University College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences (CBSHS). Established in 2016, CBSHS is a 21st-century, land-grant college that combines work in seven schools and departments – Communication; Nursing; Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management; Political Science; Psychology; Public Health Sciences; and Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice – to further its mission in “building people and communities” in South Carolina and beyond.
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