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Member Debra Young and the Faculty Effect

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Thirty years after graduating from high school, Debra Young stepped onto the Allen Community College campus in Burlingame, Kansas, as a college student. One of the first classes she took was public speaking, where she not only gained confidence in herself, but she was also introduced to Phi Theta Kappa.

“When the instructor briefly mentioned the benefits that the membership offered, I knew right then and there I was going to join if the opportunity presented itself,” Young said.

Engaging faculty and staff in Phi Theta Kappa chapter activities can help fuel interest in the Society and its mission, boosting membership and in turn empowering students to excel academically and complete a college credential. While the impact that members can have on promoting the benefits of Phi Theta Kappa membership should not be overlooked, Young admits that hearing about the Society from a faculty member piqued her interest that much more.

“My instructor was Karen McAdoo, and I loved her class,” she said. “She told me that if I ever receive information in the mail about Phi Theta Kappa, it was in my best interest to accept. I made a note to myself about that very thing. It wasn’t long before I was notified about my eligibility!”

Young is now a member of the Alpha Psi Theta Chapter. She received a transfer scholarship — a share of the more than $37 million in transfer scholarships offered by some 750 four-year college partners — and was named to the All-Kansas Academic Team.

Young is transferring to Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas, where she plans to seek a bachelor’s degree in general studies with an emphasis in Human Services. She and her husband volunteer with a prison ministry, and she hopes to use her education and experience to assist recently released inmates land on their feet by possibly offering temporary housing and transportation.

The empowerment Young received from Phi Theta Kappa has changed the direction of her life, and she knows it all goes back to the public speaking instructor who encouraged her to accept membership into the Society.

“There is definitely no value that can be placed upon my education, and that education coupled with a degree can never be taken away from me,” she said.