The Delaware Valley Chapter of SRA was founded in September 2007 and received Board approval in October 2007. It is headquartered in Philadelphia, PA and is composed of SRA members from eastern Pennsylvania, northern Delaware and central and southern New Jersey. Its primary mission is to bring SRA training to the back yard of the many colleges and universities in the Delaware Valley area that surrounds Philadelphia. In addition to training, the chapter also organizes social networking events so that SRA members in the area can meet, exchange ideas, and acquire professional development tips. The chapter holds annual conferences in the spring and social networking events several times a year. Membership in DVCSRA is restricted to those who are members of SRA. A one year affiliate membership is included in the chapter annual conference fee and entitles the attendee to eBlasts from the headquarters office. eBlasts keep you informed of upcoming SRA events, opportunities to volunteer, calls for papers for a full year, and allows members to stay in the know. In addition to eBlasts, affiliate members will receive eConnections which is the SRA electronic newsletter.
Getting Started: How the Delaware Valley Chapter Began
It happened in Quebec at the Newcomer's Reception. I was quietly looking over the cheese display when I heard a woman say "Northeast Section, so am I, I'm Anne Martella, Drexel University. You are?" As I turned to her she looked at my name badge and repeated my name, paused for a moment and her face suddenly lit up with that enthusiastic look I've now become so familiar with. "I know you; she said we worked together a few years back when you transferred a grant to my institution. Everything was done via phone and emails so we never actually met. It's a pleasure to finally meet you". Anne and I continued our conversation through out the rest of the Newcomer's Reception and on through the Opening Reception. This was Anne's first SRA meeting and since this was my sixth she had lots of questions about SRA. Over the next three days each time I ran into Anne she was more and more excited about SRA. During one of those encounters Anne asked if there was a Philadelphia Chapter, she would like to get more involved with this wonderful organization. I told her to the best of my knowledge there wasn't and her reply was "then we should start one". I agreed with her but said I had no idea how to go about it. She responded "then I think you should find out, I'll help you". I said "Ok, I'll look into it."
The Quebec meeting ended and both Anne and I returned to our busy lives and jobs. Several weeks later I got an email from Anne asking if I'd found anything out yet. I responded No, I haven't but I would get to it soon. Anne's enthusiasm after the Quebec meeting didn't dampen and she wrote a few weeks later. By this time the e-blast announcing the Northeast Section Meeting in April in Newport Rhode Island had come out and I had noticed that there was a session being offered titled "How to Start an SRA Chapter". By this time I had just volunteered to run for NE Section Treasurer and much to my surprise had been elected. I wrote back to Anne that I would go Section Meeting and attend the session and get back to her with the information. At the Newport meeting I met one of SRA's staunchest supporters, Shirley Hill, now retired from the University of Pennsylvania but still coming to both Section and International meetings. I told Shirley I was thinking about starting an SRA Chapter in the Philadelphia area and she thought it was a great idea. Shirley accompanied me to the session, "Starting an SRA Chapter" and we were talking in the hall on the last day of the meeting when another woman passing by with a suitcase noticed my name badge and stopped and introduced herself as Donna Jones-Walsh of Drexel University College of Medicine. She said she had heard that I might be starting a chapter in the Philadelphia area and would like to get involved. She gave me her card and said to contact her and off she went. After retuning to Philadelphia I contacted Anne and told her what I had learned and we decided to forge ahead. I also contacted Shirley and Donna and said we needed to have a fact finding meeting to see if there was any interest in the local area for a chapter, but first we needed a place to hold our meeting. Donna immediately volunteered the use of the Drexel University College of Medicine's Board Room. So we set a date in September to meet and had the International Office send an e-blast about when and where we were holding the meeting. The evening of the meeting arrived and as I took the elevator up to the 19th floor Board Room I began to wonder what I had gotten my self into, I knew nothing about running an SRA meeting let alone a chapter. Much to my surprise twelve people arrived that evening. Many of the major Universities in the Philadelphia area were represented: Drexel University, Drexel University College of Medicine, Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Thomas Jefferson University, and the University of Delaware. Before the end of the meeting I was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and support for a local chapter. Soon after that first meeting, the new chapter paper work was submitted to International and our request for chapter approval was put on the agenda for the Board Meeting the be held in Nashville. At the Nashville meeting we held a second chapter meeting where we had a great turnout and I was again impressed by the enthusiasm. Within a few weeks after Nashville, with the help of Laurie Henry of Temple University Health Science Center a date was set and a meeting site was obtained. The chapter planning committee has met almost every month since then and a super program was developed, speakers obtained and, most importantly a caterer was hired. After all what's an SRA meeting without good food! I continue to be overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of not only Anne, Shirley and, Donna but everyone who has been involved it starting the Delaware Valley Chapter. Thank you Alex Sheppard; Ann Marie White; Anne Martella; Diane Omdal; Donna Jones-Walsh; Evelyn Ford; Janet Dustman; John Wellenbach; Laurie Henry; Marie Scheb; Marie T. Batchelor; Mark Dorfman; Rachel Coates-Knowles; Shirley Hill; and Trudy Riley. We did it! And to think it all started at the Newcomers Reception in Quebec.
Chapter Founding Member