Phi Theta Kappa/IPSLEI Award $2,000 in Public Safety Scholarships

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Jackson, MS – Two criminal justice majors from Arkansas State University-Mountain Home and Delgado Community College in Louisiana have each received $1,000 scholarships from Phi Theta Kappa and the International Public Safety Leadership and Ethics Institute (IPSLEI).

Patricia Esperon

Roxanne Skal

The Richard L. Resurreccion Public Safety Scholarship Endowment provides scholarships exclusively to Phi Theta Kappa members who demonstrate potential for or involvement in public safety services while enrolled in a regionally accredited associate degree public safety program.

IPSLEI Scholar Patricia Esperon did not have an easy start in life, living with a mother who was a mentally unstable alcoholic while her father was in prison. By the time Esperon ran away from home at the age of 16, she had attended 12 different schools.

“I spent the next few years trying to unlearn the cycles of strife that I had lived with for so long,” she said. Today Esperon has been married for 12 years, is the mother of two children, has run successful small businesses, and is active in her church and community.

Through parenting their adopted son who had previously suffered abuse, Esperon and her husband now serve as therapeutic parents and family coaches, helping adopted children and their parents who are struggling with building new relationships.

A Phi Theta Kappa member who has earned a 4.0 grade point average at Arkansas State University-Mountain Home, Esperon plans to pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice and psychology, hoping to build a career helping those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Fellow IPSLEI scholarship recipient Roxanne Skal is a Phi Theta Kappa member at Delgado Community College in New Orleans, where she maintains a 3.88 grade point average. She describes her college education as the “next phase of her life” after raising four children as a single mother on a poverty-level income and facing a brief bout with alcohol and drug dependency. Through her challenges, Skal said she has gained a variety of skills and knowledge and has spent the past nine years spreading her message of recovery to others.  

“I have decided that working with others to recover their lives is the most worthwhile endeavor I can pursue,” she said. “I have survived, and the best use of my experiences is to use them to encourage others to not only survive, but thrive.”

In the past year she has completed substance abuse counselor training and two sessions of training for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). She hopes to earn a bachelor’s degree and to eventually develop counselling programs that address rehabilitation and education.

In 2012 the International Public Safety Leadership and Ethics Institute (IPSLEI) partnered with Phi Theta Kappa to establish a scholarship endowment to be named in honor of Dr. Richard L. Resurreccion, Professor Emeritus of the College of Health and Human Services at California State University, Long Beach. A member of the IPSLEI Board of Directors, Dr. Resurreccion has 47 years of teaching experience in the first responder field at the secondary, two-year college, military and university levels.

For more information on the Richard L. Resurreccion Public Safety Scholarship, contact Phi Theta Kappa's Scholarship Programs department at scholarship.programs@ptk.org, 601.987.5741, or visit ptk.org/become-a-member/scholarships. For more information on how your can contribute to the scholarship endowment, visit ptk.org/foundation.

The International Public Safety Leadership and Ethics Institute was developed to bring the concepts of leadership and ethics to the forefront of an individual's career, rather than waiting until a person is promoted into a supervisory position. This program is based on the belief one need not be a supervisor or manager to understand leadership principles and contribute to the leadership process. A cornerstone of the program is that effective leadership skills and influences are needed at all levels of the organization. This program utilizes the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Leadership Development Program as a foundational component to the learning process.

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest honor society in American higher education with nearly 1,300 chapters on college campuses in all 50 of the United States, Canada, Germany, the Republic of Palau, Peru, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions. More than 2.5 million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 135,000 students inducted annually.