DiversiFive Files: Three Members on Why You Should Join PTK Today

Editor’s Note: This post was written by Obinna Muoh, International Vice President for Division 3.

When you receive an invitation to join Phi Theta Kappa, maybe you doubt the organization. You feel it will be a waste. You think that the membership fee is not worth it. And you may say, “I am too busy already with work and school combined.”

In response, I want to share stories of some Phi Theta Kappa members and how Phi Theta Kappa changed their lives.

Karma Pfeiffer, Kappa Nu Chapter, College of Central Florida:

“Growing up, I always struggled with learning in school. I was diagnosed in third grade with processing disorder. Processing disorder means that I learn slowly and have anxiety. Because of this, I never felt smart or that I could be an honor student. I was never asked to be in middle/high school clubs, but now I am.

“When I received the PTK letter in the mail, I felt a great sense of accomplishment. (Former International President) Yanik Etan then encouraged me to take on a leadership role as a chapter officer. I did, and it opened up so many opportunities. I learned to overcome most of my fears.

“PTK has changed my views on the person I am. I am PTK!”

David Alex Ortiz, Mu Delta Chapter, Kansas City Kansas Community College:

“When I first joined Phi Theta Kappa, I was a completely different person. I was very shy, didn’t have many friends, and had no extracurricular activities. As time went on I made some friends who were a part of the Mu Delta officer team, and they asked if I could participate in some events for Phi Theta Kappa.

“Fast forward three semesters, and I have grown into a leadership role because of Phi Theta Kappa, which wouldn’t have been possible if not for my advisor, officer team, and the members of PTK.

“I would work on my own a lot of the time, but with PTK I feel as though I’m never alone on campus. I’m starting to see myself become a mentor to the newer students joining the college. I have experienced more than I ever thought I would: whether it be volunteering for an amazing cause, helping with my first induction, or traveling to Tennessee (for PTK Catalyst 2017) and growing with my region.

“Currently I’m an officer for Phi Theta Kappa and a Five Star Competitive Edge member. I help organize events and am working on Honors in Action. I’m eligible for many transfer scholarships, but, most importantly, I am PTK.”

Hope Timoll, Rho Beta Chapter, Harford Community College, Maryland:

“PTK truly means family to me. When I began at my community college, I was new in the state. I didn’t know anyone in the area. I went to classes and came home. I was not involved at all.

“It was the officers and advisors of my PTK chapter who reached out and truly made me feel welcome to the campus. It is truly due to their influence that I am so involved in college now.

“I began as a PTK member and am now chapter president. I am also an orientation leader and learning assistant on my college campus. My involvement with Phi Theta Kappa has connected me to so many other people that I would not have met otherwise.

“I am so grateful that I did not ignore my invitation to be a PTK member. It has much such an enormous difference. I am PTK.”

Phi Theta Kappa wants to open your mind to the fact that our deepest strength is not when we are apart, but only when we come together in ways that we uniquely can. Remember that you might be the only one standing when everyone else is seated; you might be the only one speaking when everyone else is silent; and you might be that voice that kindles what is needed for everyone to get going.

Be the reason that people have hope in this world.

Dr. Jennifer Arnold spoke at PTK Catalyst 2017 and said, “Never forget that sometimes, great things can happen when you are willing to throw caution to the wind a little bit. Take the risk and just go for it, because today is the day.”

Join PTK today.

Shhh: Susan Cain Is Bringing a Quiet Revolution to PTK Catalyst

Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, you don’t want to miss bestselling author Susan Cain at PTK Catalyst 2018.

For a self-described introvert, Susan Cain is speaking to a lot of large audiences these days — and in April, PTK Catalyst 2018 will be one of them.

Her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, has sold more than 2 million copies worldwide. Her 2012 TED Talk on the book has been viewed more than 17 million times online. Since that time Cain has given speeches, been interviewed by multiple news outlets, and published her work on the subject in a wide variety of newspapers, magazines, and online blogs.

Cain considers herself a champion of those who don’t advertise themselves — she started Quiet Revolution, an organization focused on the education, work, and lifestyle of introverts. She has worked with companies and organizations like General Electric, NASA, and Procter and Gamble better understand the strengths of their introverted employees.

In her latest book, Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts, she’s taking her message about introverts to teenagers. Though the book is written for young adults, it’s also a tool for teachers and parents.

After attending Princeton University and Harvard Law School, Cain became a consultant who taught executives how to negotiate, understanding that their anxiety was often rooted in childhood.

“In our society, the ideal self is bold, gregarious, and comfortable in the spotlight,” she said. “We like to think we value individuality, but mostly we value the type of individual who’s comfortable ‘putting himself (or herself) out there.'”

Cain will challenge PTK Catalyst attendees to capitalize on their own natural strengths, yet welcome the different leadership styles others bring to the conversation.

To learn where you fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum please visit https://www.quietrev.com/the-introvert-test/.

Learn more about Susan Cain and what’s happening at PTK Catalyst 2018. Register today!

For the latest news about PTK Catalyst 2018, follow PTK on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, and subscribe to The Reach blog.

I AM PTK: Necia Nicholas

Alabama advisor Necia Nicholas, center, with her chapter at PTK Catalyst 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Necia Nicholas, Associate Regional Coordinator for the Alabama Region and advisor to the Sigma Lambda Chapter at Calhoun Community College.

Why Join? Ask me why.

Why spend the money you’ve saved to join this honor society instead of going out to dinner or purchasing a new pair of jeans? Why give some of your valuable time each week to sit in a meeting and work hours and hours researching ways to give even more of your time and effort to benefit others, others that may never see your face or hear your name?

Why, you ask? Let me tell you a story that answers that question. Now, bear with me while I set the stage…

This story begins with a high school dropout more interested in having a good time than a good GPA. Fast forward 17 years, and find this dropout thinking, “I know I’m meant to be more than this. I’m supposed to make money and do good things.” This nagging thought became a preoccupation that led me (yes, I’m that dropout) to register for classes at Calhoun Community College with the idea of getting into the exciting, new field of computer programming.

Fast forward again, one year later: my major had changed from computer programming to forensic science to pre-law. How many times can one change their major before landing in the right spot? Finally, in a biology class, I felt at home. I remembered that 30 or so years ago, as a child, I told my friend, “One day, I will be a scientist.” The pathway now became clear, biology research it was! Get that degree, then go on for higher degrees!

So, I began taking five classes a semester to make up for lost time. My days consisted of classes and more classes, working as a lab assistant, cleaning houses for three families, and bartending three nights a week. Oh, did I forget to mention I had three kids and a husband? They rarely saw me.

After one particularly exhausting day, I got a letter in the mail from the college. My first thought was, “Oh no, what have I done now?” To my surprise, it was an invitation to join some honor society that wanted money. Ha! I wanted money too! And there was precious little of that around.

A few days later, I casually mentioned the letter to my aunt while I was dusting her living room. I went on to scrub the toilets and never gave the conversation a second thought. Life continued on: work, work, work, classes, homework, classes, study, study, oh wait…kids, husband…sleep…nah, not so much!

The next week when I went back to clean for my aunt, she gave me some cash and said, “I talked to your granny, and she is so proud of you. She thinks this honor society thing is important, so she sent this money for you to join.” I cried. She hugged me and said, “Go do good things.” So, I joined.

The following semester, I became chapter president. However, the motivation to do so was simply the scholarship awarded for holding that title. I had no idea how that $1,000 would change my life.

I had a strong, dedicated officer team that organized service projects to collect books for elementary schools and diapers, coats, and food for needy families. We tutored disadvantaged elementary school children. We served every way and everywhere we found a need that we could meet. I brought my young daughters along when I could, and they inspired me even more when I saw service through their innocent eyes. To say this was life-changing does not give justice to this experience.

So now, let’s fast forward again. I’ve just finished graduate school, a high school dropout with a master’s degree, and I am consumed with a need to continue my research into breast cancer, which has taken the lives of my aunt and mother.

I decided to teach at my former community college until I could find my dream job in research. Instead, I was hired to teach full time and soon asked to become the advisor for my former chapter. My workload did not allow me to accept and I was heartbroken.

Two years later, I was asked again. Still bad timing, so after two weeks of trying to figure out a way to accept, I had to tearfully decline again.

The third time was the charm! The offer was made and I accepted. I cried in the vice president’s office as we discussed my new duties as chapter advisor. I wanted to immediately tackle everything. I found I had so much to learn, and so I immersed myself in all things Phi Theta Kappa. I found mentors; I asked questions; I read and read and read, slowly learning the ropes.

I was loving this experience and had a knowledgeable co-advisor to guide me. Thirteen months into this, it came time to prepare for international convention, and she was unable to attend. I was terrified! I can’t take 11 students alone! I don’t know enough!

Then came the really scary part; my dear granny, who had long ago paid for me to join this organization, was dying. She passed within days of our departure for Seattle. I felt so conflicted. I felt guilty for even thinking of not being there for her funeral, but I had made a commitment to these students. How could I let them down after they had worked so hard? How could I not be there for my family and not get to say goodbye to my granny?

As I sat on Granny’s bed sobbing, my uncle came to comfort me. He put his arms around me and said, “What would your granny tell you right now?” I laughed, for the first time in many days, and replied, “Stop slinging snot, dry your eyes, and do what you promised those students. There’s nothing you can do for me; take care of them.”

It was then that I remembered how she had known that Phi Theta Kappa would play an important role in my life and that I could use this experience to help others. So, when the day came, I boarded that bus to the airport at 3 a.m. and cried as I told my sleepy officers the story of my sweet granny.

While at convention, I just kept thinking how I should be with my family. Mom and my aunt were dead, so it was my role to step up and be there. I missed my granny, but it was her support of me from many years previous that held me up during this time. While my family was burying her, I sat at the awards gala, trying to cry silent tears, hoping my grief would not be noticed by my team.

At the end of the ceremony, we all walked out of the seating area, heading toward the exit door. But they stopped, and all 11 of them encircled me in the most loving, comforting bear hug I’ve ever had. They held me and let me cry, grieve, and soak in the Phi Theta Kappa family love.

While that was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, every year, with every team, there are moments that touch my heart and change the lives of students. I get the honor and privilege to share in that.

Now, do you understand why? How can you not want to be a part of something that provides student growth and also feeds your soul? This high school dropout is now a chapter advisor, an Associate Regional Coordinator, and a proud member and alumna of an organization that changes lives!

Believe me, I’ve lived it. I’m still living it and loving it!

That’s why.

Submit your “I AM PTK” story to news@ptk.org, and we may feature it here on The Reach.

Your Timeline for College Transfer

Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Nancy Lee Sánchez, executive director of Kaplan Educational Foundation.

As a two-year college student, you may be thinking about getting a bachelor’s degree to help you reach your professional and financial goals. One of the things you may be asking yourself is “When do I start?” The answer is now!

As a Phi Theta Kappa student, you’ve already proven that you have the academic skills and leadership interests needed to apply to top colleges across the U.S. Although you may think some of these schools are out of reach, the reality is that many four-year colleges are looking for students like you. And being a PTK member may also qualify you for additional financial aid at these elite colleges.

At the Kaplan Educational Foundation, we work with community college students to help them transfer to the schools of their dreams. One of the things we hear from students over and over is that they never really understood how many amazing programs across the U.S. there are for students like them. In addition, they wish they had learned about those opportunities and started preparing for them earlier.

So, in thinking about the transfer process and what you’ll need to do to successfully transfer to the best four-year school for you, it helps to identify concrete steps to take at each stage of your education. While it’s never too late to start, getting ahead of the game will make your life much easier.

Your Timeline for College Transfer is a set of specific recommendations for what you should focus on during each of the following stages of your educational path:

  • Contemplating Transfer
  • First Year at Pre-Transfer College
  • Second Year at Pre-Transfer College
  • Transfer Application

If you’re looking at transfer schools, or even if you’re just curious about transfer, we encourage you to download the Timeline so you can put your best foot forward for transfer admissions and financial aid officers.

For a complete guide to choosing the right transfer school, getting in, and receiving the best financial aid package, check out our brand-new book, Your 2018 Guide to College Transfer.

The Guide contains 90 profiles of the top schools for transfer students in the U.S., and it highlights the best schools for veterans, students with DACA/Undocumented status, and students raising families. Each school’s profile also lists scholarship requirements and benefits for PTK members.

One last thing: never forget that top schools are looking for students like you!

New Transfer Scholarship: Indiana University Kokomo

Indiana University (IU) Kokomo is the latest four-year university to offer a transfer scholarship to Phi Theta Kappa members. Learn more in this Q&A with one of the school’s transfer admissions counselors.

Tell us about your college’s new transfer scholarship for members of Phi Theta Kappa.

IU Kokomo is now offering a $1,000 PTK scholarship (renewable for an additional year) to any student that has earned an associate degree at the time the scholarship is applied and provides evidence they are a member of PTK.

Why does your college feel it is important to offer a scholarship opportunity for members?

We want to recognize the hard work and dedication of students that earn an associate degree while maintaining an exceptional GPA.

Are there other transfer scholarships that could be stacked with your Phi Theta Kappa award?

The IU Kokomo Diversity Scholarship of $1,500 is for any student that is admitted to campus and submits a scholarship application to IU Kokomo by December 1.

IU Kokomo is proud to offer Ivy Tech ASAP graduates a $1,000 scholarship (renewable for one additional year) to be applied toward tuition and mandatory fees. The ASAP scholarship is for students that participate in Ivy Tech Community College’s ASAP program. They must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4-point scale at time of application and time of transfer; enroll full time (a minimum of 12 credit hours) at IU Kokomo in the fall semester immediately following completion of associate degree (excluding summer); be a first-time transfer student; and submit a personal statement (minimum 500 words).

The Cougar Transfer Scholarship at IU Kokomo covers the difference between the tuition rate effective the semester you joined the ABC program and the tuition when you enter IU Kokomo. If you maintain eligibility, you will receive this scholarship for four (4) consecutive semesters (excluding summer) to keep your actual tuition costs stable.

The Cougar Transfer Plus Scholarship is a competitive scholarship available to qualified ABC students transferring to IU Kokomo. Students must be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant to apply. Scholarship awards cover the cost of tuition and mandatory fees that are not covered by the student’s federal-, state-, institutional-, or privately funded gift aid (with a maximum annual award of $3,000). The scholarship is awarded for a maximum of four (4) consecutive semesters (excluding summer).

What other opportunities are available for transfer students at your institution to assist them in successfully transitioning from community college?

IU Kokomo tries to make the transfer process as seamless as possible through Transfer Visit Days. These visits give transfer students the chance to learn more about our Career and Accessibility Services, the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, have the opportunity to go on a campus tour, have lunch on campus, and finish the day by speaking with an academic advisor. We offer a limited number of spots available on each Transfer Visit Day to keep this experience as personalized as possible for our transfer students. We also provide personal visits to campus or phone appointments with advisors and the transfer counselor. Transfer students also have the option of working with our academic advisors while they finish their coursework at their current institution in preparation for transfer.

In your opinion, what is one of the most impressive things about your college?

Students have the opportunity at earning an IU degree in Kokomo. At IU Kokomo, our students receive private school benefits such as small class sizes and faculty that will know their name. Additionally, students are able to be part of a spirited campus community with plenty of opportunities to get involved, explore their interests, and meet new friends.

Are there any special events or deadlines on your recruitment calendar you would like to share?

Transfer Visit Day is a great time to see if IU Kokomo is the right fit for you as a transfer student. We warmly welcome you to visit and learn about what all we have to offer. The program begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. Please visit iuk.edu/transfervisit to see a list of our upcoming transfer visit days.

Transfer Scholarship — be admitted by May 15
Diversity Scholarship — be admitted and submit scholarship application by December 1

Find more transfer scholarships at CollegeFish.org.

Recruitment Pro Tip: Try a Provisional Program

About three years ago, the Tau Gamma Chapter at Northampton Community College in Pennsylvania needed more active members, so it started the Provisional Member Program.

“The officer team really supported it,” said chapter advisor Courtney Eger. “Many of our officers joined first as provisional members and then went on to become officers.

“These students really see the value in PTK and are a wonderful addition to our group every semester.”

Applications for the program are given out during Quadfest, an event held the first Thursday of each fall semester in the college’s Quad. It’s essentially a student club fair — each student organization puts up a table and encourages people to join. For Tau Gamma, it’s a way to encourage students who are interested in becoming members but aren’t yet eligible.

“Quadfest is one of our biggest ways to educate students about PTK and to enroll provisional members,” Courtney said. “We also held a raffle at our table to encourage signups. We gave away $25 in Flex Money that could be used in the Food Court and bookstore on campus to one student.”

A formal application allows the chapter to track the students from semester to semester. They are added to the chapter’s online community on Blackboard so they receive emails and information.

This year, 71 students signed up at Quadfest to indicate their interest; so far, 23 have turned in their provisional member application. In fact, at the first chapter meeting of the year, about 35 students attended — most of them were provisional members.

“The provisional members work hard and really help make our events successful,” Courtney said. “Since we’ve introduced it, our numbers have gone up every semester. I think the first semester we had 11 official provisional members. Our highest group so far is 30 provisional members.”

Tau Gamma offers an incentive for provisional members to participate: If the provisional attends three chapter meetings and helps at two PTK events during the semester in which they sign up, they’ll receive a $5 discount on PTK membership dues if they are eligible to join in the following semester.

The chapter has found a few other creative ways to recruit members. Advisors visit the Honors Program courses during the fall semester to pitch PTK to the students and share the scholarship opportunities.

“We target these students because they already value academic achievements,” Courtney said.

The chapter also includes a flier in bags students receive at New Student Orientation in the summer, and the headline is a real attention-grabber: “Were you an honor society member in high school?”

Share your recruitment best practices with us at news@ptk.org. Ramp up your efforts with the new “I AM PTK” recruitment toolkit.