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Sigma Phi Omega

The International Academic Honor and Professional Society in Gerontology

Dr. Amanda Sokan, Chapter Advisor

Alpha Delta Omega Chapter Advisor
Amanda E. Sokan, PhD, MHA, LL.B
Assistant Professor

Sigma Phi Omega (SPO) is the International Academic Honor and Professional Society in Gerontology. Created in 1980, SPO focuses on the multifaceted vista of aging, promoting “scholarship, professionalism, friendship, and service to older persons”, and recognizing excellence in gerontology and aging.

Alpha Delta Omega is University of Arizona’s SPO chapter, created in March 2022 with the goal of creating a common platform where eligible members of the UArizona community involved in aging and gerontology (study, research, practice), can come together to learn, connect and serve. SPO is made up of chapters, (currently more than 50 chapters worldwide), with each chapter determining how to execute SPO’s goals in their jurisdiction. As a new chapter, we are seeking persons with vision, passion, and enthusiasm to help create a vibrant chapter that promotes engagement and growth among its members, in the service of older persons in our community. We will induct new members into our chapter in Fall 2022.

Membership in SPO signals commitment to aging and gerontology, which can be expressed in many forms. It also opens the door to engagement and collaboration, locally and further afield. For students and professionals alike, it provides a space to interact and network with those who share similar interests, and participate in regional, national, and international conferences. Members and chapters are also eligible for SPO awards that recognize contributions to undergraduate and graduate education experiences or the contributions of professional members to the well-being of older adults, including awards for service projects (chapter), video contest (chapter), and student papers.

UArizona students currently enrolled (as major or minor) in a gerontology or aging studies program, or related fields are especially welcome. (Related fields: a concentration in gerontology or aging studies within a discipline or professional degree program other than gerontology). To be eligible, students must have completed a semester in their program, have overall grade point average of at least 3.30 (undergrads) or 3.50 (grads) on a 4.0 scale, and a commitment to leadership and achievement in gerontology/aging/their related fields of professional study. Student membership fee is $30 per year (includes SPO Pin)

The Alpha Delta Omega chapter of SPO at the UArizona was established by Amanda Sokan, PhD, MHB, LL.A, assistant professor in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. She encourages your participation!

For more information, email Chapter Advisor, Dr. Amanda Sokan at

Sigma Phi Omega (SPO), the international academic honor and professional society in gerontology, was established in 1980 to recognize excellence of those who study gerontology and aging and the outstanding service of professionals who work with or on behalf of older persons. The formation of a society provides a much needed link between educators, practitioners, and administrators in various settings where older persons are served.

The goals of SPO are achieved primarily through activities of local chapters, and secondarily through efforts of the national office and officers. Local chapters serve as links within their respective communities to promote interaction between gerontology educators, students, alumni, and local professionals. The chapters provide opportunities for personal and professional interaction, sharing of concerns, discussion of issues, and service activities.

SPO seeks to promote scholarship, professionalism, friendship, and services to older persons, and to recognize exemplary attainment in gerontology/aging studies and related fields

Why become a member Of Sigma Phi Omega?

  • Members associated with excellence in the field of aging
  • Members identified (e.g., on resume, at graduation with medallion & cord) as having academic excellence
  • Members provided with opportunities for leadership (e.g., board membership – local and national)
  • Members provided with opportunities for additional recognition of academic excellence (via President’s Paper award)
  • Members provided with opportunities for participation in and recognition of civic engagement (via volunteering, service projects, service-learning, association undergraduate and graduate service awards)
  • Website and news updates keep members/ chapters connected and provide an avenue for sharing ideas (e.g., activities, fundraising, etc.)
  • Members gain opportunities for networking both locally and nationally, as well as career building and mentorship
  • Students can graduate with honors and the opportunity to purchase cords and medallions to wear with regalia at graduation
Membership Eligibility

Student Membership

The student membership includes students at the following academic levels:

  • Undergraduate Associate of Arts Degree and Baccalaureate Degree Candidates in gerontology/aging studies or related fields. (Related fields means a concentration in gerontology or aging studies within a discipline or professional degree program other than gerontology);
  • Graduate Degree Candidates. Candidates for graduate degrees in gerontology or related field of study;
  • Certificate in Gerontology/Aging Studies Candidates. Certificate programs may be at the associate of arts, baccalaureate or graduate levels.

Undergraduate Students must meet the following criteria for membership:

  • Currently enrolled in a gerontology or aging studies program leading to an associate of arts or a baccalaureate degree or award of a certificate or other credential in gerontology. The student can be majoring or minoring in gerontology to qualify.
  • Enrolled in the second term (or later) of declared gerontology studies.
  • Undergraduate students must have an overall grade point average at least 3.30 on a 4.0 scale
  • Shown capacity for and commitment to leadership and achievement in gerontology and their related fields of professional study

Graduate Students must meet the following criteria for membership:

  • Currently enrolled in a gerontology or aging studies program leading to graduate and professional degrees and/or professional certificate programs in gerontology/aging studies
  • Completed the equivalent of not less than one full academic term of courses as approved by the degree-granting institution;
  • Graduate students must have an overall grade point average at least 3.50 on a 4.0 scale
  • Shown capacity for and commitment to leadership and achievement in gerontology and their related fields of professional study

Faculty Membership

The faculty membership includes faculty involved in teaching, research, and service in the field of aging in institutions of higher education.

Professional Membership

The professional membership includes those who:

  • Possess at least an associate degree
  • Were elected into the society while they were students or did not have a chapter to affiliate with while they were in school
  • Exemplify high standards of professional service to older adults

Professional members have all the rights and privileges of active membership including the right to vote and hold office.

Emeritus Membership

The Emeritus member shall include those who have retired from their career OR have a minimum of 15 years paid membership into SPO. Members wishing to apply for Emeritus status shall complete an Emeritus application and submit it to the Board for consideration. Emeritus membership dues go toward the President’s Paper Award.

Designations of Emeritus membership include:
Emeritus Member and Emeritus Fellow. All former Board members, Chapter Presidents, and Chapter Advisors will receive the Emeritus Fellow designation. All other members will receive Emeritus Member status upon Board approval. Members granted Emeritus status shall be designated as Emeritus Member or as Emeritus Fellow by the Board after reviewing the members Emeritus Application.

Sigma Phi Omega Awards

Service Project Award 

$200 Prize to Chapter

The Service Project Award recognizes service-learning experiences and projects by professionals, undergraduate or graduate students, and/or faculty who are members of an SPO Chapter. The service projects are designed to positively impact both older adults and SPO Chapter members. Projects can include academic service learning, curricular service learning, co-curricular service learning, or professional contributions.  SPO Chapter members (faculty, staff, or professionals) self-nominate for the award. 

Learn more about this award, including how to apply.

President’s Student Paper Award

$200 Prize to Award Recipient

The purpose of the SPO President’s Student Paper Award is to recognize outstanding research and writing by an SPO student member. The award will be presented at the Annual SPO Business Meeting and Awards Ceremony. This is held in conjunction with an annual meeting of a gerontology-related association. 

Learn more about this award, including criteria and how to apply.

Celebrate Aging Video Contest Award 

$200 Prize to Chapter

SPO members should use their creativity to say something about aging or gerontology in a video of 5 minutes or less. Possibilities are endless but may include videos designed to inform about particular aging issues, attract students to the study of gerontology, or celebrate aging in some way. Submissions will be evaluated on the quality of communication, creativity, relevance to the mission of SPO, and adherence to the official rules. 

Learn more about this award, including official rules and how to apply.

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