I recall the first time I heard about Phi Theta Kappa. Quite a funny story – I was waiting for the MTA bus, on my way to work from school – talk about a location. With my headphones on, listening to music and not in the mood for a conversation; a lady, maybe in her 40s (a non-traditional student) gave me a compliment on my bad pack. She asked me about my academics and I told her about it and she told me about joining the CCBC honors program and to also think about Phi Theta Kappa. The rest was history – I joined both and got very involved in them. I was working full time at McDonald’s at the time so I saved up the money to pay the membership fee.
Phi Theta Kappa is built under four hallmarks – Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Fellowship. In April, we were at Kansas City, Missouri to celebrate Phi Theta Kappa’s 100 years
The CEO and President of Phi Theta Kappa, Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner said that “Phi Theta Kappa’s mission begins at Recognition, but unlike other honor societies, it does not end there”. I am excited to be part of Phi Theta Kappa’s next 100 years.
Last week I inducted the new chapter officers of Chi Theta. It was bittersweet because I remember when I started my journey as a chapter vice-president and now a president. Now, the same memories come back as I look back at all the fun memories I have made here. Trust me, it hasn’t been an easy ride – with keeping the high grades, working a job and caring for my siblings – It’s been an Adventure for me.
Every semester I have students come up to me, asking similar questions – “Is the $75 membership fee for Phi Theta Kappa worth it?” I always say, think about the PTK Scholarships you could receive or the scholarships you may receive from different 4-year Universities because you are a PTK member. For instance, Stevenson University gives $18,000 and above to students with a 3.5 GPA or higher and $2,000 for being a Phi Theta Kappa member. UMBC gives $3000 etc. I always end it like this, “Even in the Real estate I don’t think that kind of return or cash back is possible.” So think about it as an investment to your future.
I always urge new members to take full advantage of this opportunity. One advice I have for anyone aspiring to serve as a leader – be yourself! Serve with an open mind and heart than see what you will become. And to…
Take a step back, look at the bigger picture, and think about the good you could contribute to the world and how much you will grow as a student, scholar, and leader. Because as Phi Theta Kappans, you can achieve much more than getting into the best college.
Every year our chapter participates in several volunteer and community service work, which is under the service and fellowship hallmark. This past year we worked on two projects – the Honors in Action project, which is an action informed by research, and the College project which focused on promoting community college completion, and engaging our current and prospective members as well as faculty and staff with Phi Theta Kappa activities and opportunities (College Fish, Five-star Competitive Edge etc.). At the 2018 Middle States Regional Convention, our PTK chapter received the regional award for Best completion award (C4) for our wok this past year.
For the Honors in Action project, our chapter investigated seven themes from which we chose one and focused on the Myth and reality of the American Dream which looked more at creating awareness for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Our project was published in the 2018 Civic Scholar, Inaugural Edition of PTK’s Journal of Undergraduate Research. Here is a link to the journal: https://www.ptk.org/Portals/0/docs/honors/civic_scholar_web_18.pdf. And for our work this year as officers, we received the regional distinguished officer team award and our chapter advisor, the distinguished advisor award.
Since Chi Theta chapter was chartered in 1971, this was the first time we ever received the DISTINGUISHED CHAPTER AWARD!
This is my last semester at CCBC and as the chapter President of PTK. As I like to say, “IT’S BEEN REAL“. A bittersweet moment again though. I will be graduating this June and transferring to UMBC in the fall to study Bio-Chemistry and after graduating with my bachelor’s degree, I intend to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Like I said earlier, for me, CCBC has been an adventure. I got inspired by the life stories of other students which helped me focus on my academics here at CCBC and serving others. For me, as chapter president, it was about growing as a leader, educating myself, my officer team, chapter members, and the CCBC community. It was about creating a welcoming, and learning environment for Phi Theta Kappa members and my fellow students.
And to my fellow Phi Theta Kappans, we are agents of change so let’s go be that, and let’s make the world better than we already do.