Senior Abby Beach Receives Alpha Chi Chapter Member of the Year Award

Abby Beach, ’20, recently received the highest honor an Alpha Chi National Honor Society member can earn: the Dr. Patricia Williams Member of the Year Award. The national honor recognizes an outstanding officer, senior leader or other Alpha Chi member who is worthy of recognition.

A biochemistry major, Beach served as Alpha Chi chapter president this year. Dr. David Jones, president of the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society and professor of Psychology at Westminster, says Beach is a stellar chapter leader.

“Abby led the chapter service effort to raise funds for Alpha Chi’s national philanthropy, Reading is Fundamental, and directed the efforts of a team of students in Alpha Chi’s National Collaborative Research Project,” Jones explains.

Beach adds that the competition was a first for the Westminster Alpha Chi chapter. A team composed of five students put their heads together and delved into the anti-vaccination movement to present extensive research in the themed “Cultures of Conspiracy” virtual conference.

“The anti-vax movement is something that each member of our team feels very strongly about,” she says. “We feel our research is very poignant at this time.”

Beach manages to answer interview questions from her home in Lexington, MO, between finals and other end-of-year demands. In reflecting on her senior year, which was disrupted suddenly by COVID-19, Beach adds that she will miss the support of Jones and faculty sponsors Drs. Natasia Sexton and Kali Wright-Smith.

But there isn’t much time for reflection — Beach will begin medical school this fall at the University of Missouri-Columbia through the Bryant Scholars Program. As a Bryant Scholar, she will be part of the Rural Scholars Program, which will provide her with unique opportunities in rural Missouri locations throughout the duration of her medical school years.

Beach reflects with hope about her future. She says, “As someone who has seen firsthand the health needs of rural communities in Missouri, I look forward to being able to help fill that void.”

Founded in 1922, Alpha Chi recognizes the top 10 percent of seniors and top 5 percent of juniors in all academic disciplines. For more information on Alpha Chi, please contact

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.