Find Your Competitive Edge at PTK Catalyst

The invitations have gone out for the Party of Century, so what do you do now?

Get Registered

The PTK Catalyst registration fee covers admission to Educational Forums, all General Sessions, the Senior College Transfer Fair, the Marketplace, the two lunches (Friday and Saturday), the Hallmark Awards Gala, and two dinners (Friday and Saturday). Advisors also receive admission to the Association of Chapter Advisors Meeting and Luncheon. Register by February 14 for the biggest savings!

Get There

Don’t wait until the last minute if you need to book a flight — fares will likely increase closer to your travel date. Also, be sure to check the new TSA rules on REAL ID requirements, which went into effect January 22. Visit our website for more information on parking, public transportation, and things to do during your free time in Kansas City.

Get Comfortable and Get Educated

Your PTK Catalyst 2018 schedule will be packed, so you’re going to need some rest. Convention hotels are filling up quickly, so book your lodging soon. Plan to arrive on Wednesday evening so you can attend Ed Forums on Thursday morning starting at 8 a.m.

Get Recognized

Do you have hidden talents you’d like to share? If so, you might win a scholarship in one of the four on-site competitions held at PTK Catalyst. Register by March 28 to participate in the individual job interview, prepared speech, or extemporaneous speech competitions or as a team in the Scholar Bowl.

Get Inspired

Do you have the Competitive Edge? If you participate at any star level in this online professional development program, you have earned an invitation to the exclusive Competitive Edge event at PTK Catalyst 2018, to be held from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, followed by a book-signing. You’ll have the opportunity to network with other Competitive Edge members from around the world and hear from special guest speaker Anne-Marie McCartan, the author of Unexpected Influence: Women Who Shaped the Community College Movement. Anne-Marie has worked in higher education for 40 years, many of those with community colleges at the campus and state-policy level. Most recently she served as executive director of the National Council of Colleges of Arts & Sciences. If you’ve studied PTK history, you might just recognize one of the women featured in McCartan’s book: Dr. Margaret Mosal!

Get Ready to Transfer

Thinking about pursuing a bachelor’s after completing your associate degree? If so, you won’t want to miss two Senior College Transfer Fairs at PTK Catalyst between 11:30 and 2:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. We’re expecting more than 100 college and university representatives who are interested in helping you achieve your educational goals. And, there’s a free lunch… who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch?

Join us for all the fun at the PTK Party of the Century!

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

Ozarks Technical Community College Pays Member Fees for All Eligible Students

More than 350 students became members of Phi Theta Kappa at Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC) in Missouri in fall of 2017 at no cost to them — the college is now covering all membership fees for eligible students.

It’s a move by OTC Chancellor Dr. Hal Higdon, who has set aside money in the school’s general fund. He even refunded the 100 or so students who had already accepted membership and paid their fees, back to July 1, 2017.

“With the leadership opportunities, the professional opportunities that PTK provides, I didn’t want a student to not have those opportunities if they qualify for Phi Theta Kappa because of money,” he said.

Higdon has been involved with Phi Theta Kappa for 25 years in his time as a college administrator. He previously worked at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and Alabama’s Faulkner State Community College. He also serves on the Phi Theta Kappa Presidential Advisory Board (PAB).

It was at a 2017 PAB meeting that Higdon was inspired to cover membership fees. While talking with PTK President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner and Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) Chancellor Dr. Joe May, he learned that May had set aside $100,000 in his budget to pay for PTK membership.

PTK itself sets a $60 one-time membership fee, but a one-time regional feed is also added, and individual chapters may add local fees to help cover expenses, making the average cost of induction $85. For some chapters, the cost can be over $100.

“To someone with a good job, $100 doesn’t always sound like a lot of money, but to someone in school it can be,” Higdon said. “In the big scheme of things, when you look at a college budget, this isn’t a lot of money.”

The results have already been significant. Of the 1,200 students typically invited to become PTK members in a fall semester, around 120 usually join. But in fall 2017, the chapter induced 358 new members. Co-advisor Steve Fritts expects it to only get bigger.

“We’ve already seen increased membership and visibility on campus,” he said. “On a humorous note, our biggest concern is now how to provide the induction ceremony to such large numbers, since our current venue does not accommodate such a large group. We are looking at multiple induction ceremonies.”

Around 1,700 students are usually invited to join PTK in the spring semester at OTC, and around 600 in the summer. Fritts believes the increase in membership will impact the chapter in several ways.

“The increased membership allows us more visibility on campus and no barriers for students,” he said. “The increased amount of chapter funds will allow us to take more members to Honors Institute and PTK Catalyst, as well as do more on campus.

“We hope to offer more academic opportunities for students on campus through lectures and events.”

Higdon also hopes to see an impact on the college’s graduation rate.

“We do know that students who are involved in things like PTK are more likely to be engaged, more likely to make better grades, and more likely to graduate,” he said. “It could affect the number of students going on to get a degree.”

Higdon’s decision to cover the membership fees for all eligible students is among a growing trend in community colleges and foundations offering assistance. In addition to DCCCD, Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio, Redlands Community College in Oklahoma, Montgomery County Community College in Pennsylvania, Snead State Community College in Alabama, Harrisburg Area Community College in Pennsylvania, and the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, among others, each offer some form of financial assistance to eligible PTK members.

This move has also been a way for Higdon to reward the chapter and its advisors for their hard work. The college has supported members in other ways, such as funding travel and helping with induction ceremony costs, but a decision this big sends a clear message about the impact Phi Theta Kappa membership can have on a college and its students.

“Any college president that’s not supporting their chapter, or any college that doesn’t have a chapter, isn’t serving their students in the way they should,” he said. “As long as I’m here, we’ll be doing it.”

Travel Back to the Future at PTK Catalyst

Phi Theta Kappa will celebrate its centennial at PTK Catalyst 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. One hundred years have passed since those first students took the oath of membership, but what do the next hundred years have in store for the rest of us?

Futurist Chris Riddell hopes to answer that question when he explores emerging trends in today’s hyper-connected world during the First General Session on Thursday, April 19.

He believes the world in which we work, rest, and play has changed astronomically over the last 15 years. The future is a reinvention of everything we know and anything we have ever seen. We are all witness to high-speed change on a scale never experienced before, and in ways we never thought possible.

Riddell thinks being a futurist isn’t simply about “putting your finger in the air, and saying what the future might be,” but about “authentically embedding yourself into the very space from where true innovation and disruption is taking place, analyzing future and emerging trends, and then distilling them into a clear and meaningful message.”

He advises businesses across multiple industries — including technology, transportation, manufacturing, healthcare, finance, and communications — on how to face the challenging times ahead.

Riddell has delivered his futuristic message to more than 230,000 people in over 27 countries around the world. He offers unique expertise and perspectives on the future and provides audiences with the tools, knowledge, and insights needed to turn their digital journey into a success story.

His presentation combines a unique blend of storytelling, immersive video, and thought-provoking dialogue to leave audiences inspired and energized for what lies ahead.

“The year 2050 is only 32 years away,” Riddell said. “But with the ever-accelerating rate of technological innovation and human expansion, we’re heading to a seriously brave new world at hyperspeed.”

Want to prep for his presentation at PTK Catalyst? Read his blog posts and view his recent media interviews online.

Learn more about Chris Riddell 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.is life connecting with businesses and individuals, across industries, and around our hyper connected digital world. With a insights are compelling, thought provoking and inspirational.

I AM PTK: Matt Cici

This time last year, Minnesota member Matt Cici was preparing to run for International President of Phi Theta Kappa at PTK Catalyst 2017. Matt was a finalist but didn’t win — or did he? We recently chatted with him about what he gained from the campaign experience.

1. How did you first learn about PTK?

My mom was a member of the Phi Xi Chapter at North Hennepin Community College (NHCC), and my older sister and brother followed in her footsteps. So, I had a pretty good idea it would provide me opportunities for personal and professional development that I couldn’t get anywhere else.

2. Did becoming a member of Phi Theta Kappa change your life?

Yes! I have made so many lifelong friends in addition to meeting my wife, Joehey. Implementing projects taught me leadership skills, and many of my lifelong passions were derived from or strengthened by my PTK experiences.

3. What made you decide to run for International Office?

I saw it as an opportunity to help others benefit from their PTK experience as much as I did.

4. What did you learn from the campaign experience?

It’s important to talk with members during all parts of PTK Catalyst — in the hallways, elevators, ed forums, etc. These conversations are as valuable as any end result.

I learned how to communicate effectively and work in groups. I soon realized that delegating tasks is less about assigning responsibilities and more about bringing people with you on a journey of growth.

5. Do you feel it was a worthwhile experience even if you didn’t win?

100%! You are surrounded by the most incredibly passionate people — your fellow candidates. I was awed by their talent, and I am a better person because I had the opportunity to meet them.

You become even more motivated to do great things locally because of all the members you meet. Some will become lifelong friends who see greatness in you and are there for you when you need them.

After my Honors Study Topic speech, individuals living with mental illness reached out to me. We connected, cried, and hugged. I was touched to meet many people who believe in changing the world.

6. Would you encourage others to run? If so, why?

Absolutely! You will develop soft skills, like interpersonal communication, public speaking, and team management on an entirely different level. You’ll meet people who believe in you, and that’s the most uplifting feeling you can have.

7. What advice would you give others about running?

Be yourself. Phi Theta Kappa invited you because of who you are. Let Phi Theta Kappa help you develop through these leadership opportunities. Open yourself to the possibility and give it all you have. Choose a solid campaign team — remember, quality over quantity. Find a campaign manager you would vote for if you didn’t run. Have fun. Laugh and make others laugh. Enjoy this campaign, and you’ll never forget it.

8. Are there things you learned from the campaign that will benefit you in the future?

Speaking in front of nearly 4,000 people has definitely made me feel more confident to do that again!

I learned more about what members want from each other and the Society, and I’m working with my chapter and region to implement those changes locally. You’ll develop a greater appreciation for this community of scholars that is changing the world.

Matt is a filmmaker, actor, and education coordinator for the non-profit Twin Cities Film Fest. He stays involved as an alum by managing the Minn-Kota Region’s website and social media. He and wife Joehey (also his campaign manager) have presented at regional meetings since their 2017 campaign experience.

Want to learn more about running for International Office? Take a look at our webinar. The International Officer application is due by 5 p.m. CT on February 21.

Share Your PTK Enthusiasm

Editor’s Note: This post was written by Anne McLeod, Membership Services Specialist — Division 1, and Onjalai Flake, Membership Services Specialist — Division 4. Anne and Onjalai are PTK alumnae.

Anne:

A few years ago, I attended the graduation ceremony at my college to support my friends and fellow Phi Theta Kappa members. After the ceremony, one of the members approached me and said, “If it wasn’t for you and your enthusiasm, I would never have joined PTK. I’m fortunate that I didn’t miss out on this opportunity.” This was certainly a fabulous compliment, but completely unexpected. I didn’t realize I had that kind of impact on someone.

This experience taught me two things — you never know who you may be inspiring, and your enthusiasm is contagious. Think about why you became a member. What inspired you to join? After you answer these questions, consider how your personal story might engage your chapter’s new and potential members.

We acknowledge that being enthusiastic isn’t always enough to convince others to take advantage of the life-changing benefits of membership. Does your chapter participate in New Student Orientation or club fairs? Does your chapter collaborate with other organizations on campus? If the answer is yes, you may still hear people ask, “What is PTK?”

Onjalai:

The Alpha Lambda Zeta Chapter at Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield, Connecticut, faced a similar challenge and came up with a creative way to address it. Chapter officers and members thought outside the box and approached the college’s marketing professor for advice on increasing awareness.

The professor allowed his class to revamp the chapter’s marketing approach by redesigning the chapter logo and using strategic messaging to raise awareness of PTK on their campus. It didn’t take long to notice the results. The chapter’s orientation attendance increased, and more students accepted that semester than in previous years. The chapter has continued to utilize these marketing strategies to steadily increase membership.

Here are four things to consider as you develop strategies to recruit new members this spring:

  1. Know your story — Why did you join PTK? How has it benefited you? Be prepared to share with potential members, professors, and family members.
  1. Get excited — Most of my purchases are a result of personal testimonies from someone who loved a product. Phi Theta Kappa is no different. Enthusiasm is contagious. Share the experience.
  1. Be creative — Whether it’s a taking a marketing course or recording a commercial to be featured on your campus radio station, how can your chapter utilize the resources around you?
  1. Be aware of the barriers to membership acceptance on your campus — Is it financial? Is it a misunderstanding of what PTK is or requirements for membership? Does your chapter/campus offer membership fee waivers to eligible students who can’t afford it? If you understand the barriers, you will be equipped to answer any questions that arise.

Putting these tips into action comes with a bonus — they will help you grow you as a leader and encourage you to develop and utilize soft skills that will prepare you for the workforce.

Need more recruiting ideas? Check out our recruitment toolkit online.

Top 5 Benefits of Studying Abroad

Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Envision to promote the International Scholar Laureate Program.

What type of skillset or experience can set you apart from the estimated 2 million bachelor degree holders* also seeking opportunity? The answer: a global experience.

Studying abroad gives university students the opportunity to experience something completely new, while immersing in entirely different cultures. In addition to the personal development gain, there are five core benefits to participating in a study abroad program that will give you a leg up in pursuing your dream job.

1. Experience a different culture

Study abroad programs allow you to temporarily live in almost any country. For many students that participate in these programs, it is their first time going to that host country. Having the opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone changes the way you see the world. Experiencing cultures and interacting with people firsthand that you’ve only heard of or seen in movies helps knock down some of the stereotypes that you have and broadens your horizons.

Given that you are in a completely different country with its own system, there may be certain periods of time where you may not always have access to your networks through your mobile data, Wi-Fi capabilities, etc. This can be a rewarding thing! Being in a foreign country helps you disconnect from technology in order to reconnect with the world and your surroundings, thus allowing you to fully take in your host country and ultimately the experience of traveling abroad.

2. Benefit from a new, global perspective on your field of study

Studying your chosen field or major in a different country allows you to see components of that field through a completely different lens. Many fields of study share the same issues; however, those issues may impact certain countries or communities differently. Having the ability to see those changes firsthand through the lens of your host country will enable you to see how those changes impact your country differently, providing you with a fresh perspective to tackle them head-on when you get back.

While abroad, you will have the opportunity to experience different styles of education, also enabling you to see your major or field through a new lens. Many countries don’t follow what you may view as standard education, including mid-terms, finals, pop quizzes, etc. They maintain the lecture, seminar, and small-group discussions structure and pair that with field-excursions to see and experience your field of study first-hand. These excursions will not only allow you to step into some of the top research facilities and museums, but also lends the opportunity to explore your host country’s culture.

3. Enhance employment opportunities

The world can be viewed as very small when taking businesses into consideration due to technology that allows us to constantly stay connected with people from all over the world. Many businesses now have international clients as a large representation of their portfolio. Your knowledge about how the world works paired with your international experience acquired from studying abroad gives you a leg-up in the hiring process, as employers will find that very attractive.

Employers also value candidates with cross-cultural communication skills. Learning to interact with and navigate through a culture different from your own is the perfect recipe for developing huge problem-solving skills, which is a skillset that is vital in any field. The study abroad experience presents you as the better-fit for a global workplace.

4. Discover new interests and career paths while exploring a culture/foreign country

While studying your chosen field in a foreign country, you can come across new aspects in your field that you may not have been aware of. There may be certain issues that you didn’t know existed and that are of interest to you, creating a new career path to your field. Using travel as an educational experience, you can learn how other countries work through the same issues in their field and take that learning experience back with you to collaboratively solve those issues with your peers at home.

The best thing about being in a new country is experiencing new things that may not even be available in your country. During your travel, you can explore your host country and discover what the common hobbies or traditions are by talking to the locals. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your lifelong passion!

5. Make new friends and expand your professional network

Luckily, you are not alone on this new adventure. There will be students, just like you, coming to a new country and adapting to a new way of life. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to interact with these students, whether through in-class group discussions or field excursions. Sharing this experience of a lifetime will create an unbreakable bond between you and your new friends and can ultimately lead to lifelong friendships.

From a professional perspective, forging these friendships with your peers who are also from other countries can open up a plethora of networking opportunities for the near or distant future. If you choose to travel to or work in one of your new friends’ countries, you have a contact there that you can rely on.

Study Abroad with ISLP

Convinced to study abroad? Well lucky for you, you don’t have to look too far for a program that offers a qualifying list of concentrated fields to choose from. The International Scholar Laureate Program (ISLP), offered in four different countries (Australia, China, New Zealand, South Africa), provides the opportunity for college and university students to engage in a career-focused study detailing the history and global impact of their field, while broadening their horizons in a foreign culture. ISLP offers five delegations concentrated in various in-demand fields. The delegations include: Business & Entrepreneurship, International Relations & Diplomacy, Engineering & Technology, Medicine & Science, and Nursing & Health Care.

What each delegation offers:

  • The Delegation on Business & Entrepreneurship in Australia or China, where you will explore the career options that are available in the global marketplace today
  • The Delegation on International Relations & Diplomacy in China or South Africa, where you will learn the skills necessary to succeed in the ever-changing world of diplomacy
  • The Delegation on Engineering & Technology in China or New Zealand, where you will observe professional engineers while networking with peers
  • The Delegation on Medicine & Science in Australia or China, where you will witness how advances in medicine are changing the face of health care around the world
  • The Delegation on Nursing & Health Care in Australia or South Africa, where you will gain firsthand insight into the care of patients in both modern and traditional settings

At ISLP, you will gain global experience that will set you apart from your peers. Attending ISLP will open doors for you by introducing you to new ideas, influential people, and a profoundly advantageous global perspective on your chosen career field. There are also dedicated scholarship funds set aside and offered to Phi Theta Kappa members on the scholarship page.

For more information about ISLP and its offerings, please visit the ISLP website.

*According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, there were expected to be approximately 4.5 million college degrees conferred in the U.S. in the 2016-17 academic year. This breaks down as 1.29 million associate degrees, 2.03 million bachelor’s degrees, 982,000 master’s degrees, and 209,000 doctorate degrees.

PTK Announces 2018/2019 Honors Study Topic

Phi Theta Kappa is excited to announce the 2018/2019 Honors Study Topic, Transformations: Acknowledging, Assessing, and Achieving Change, which will be the focus of the Society’s Honors in Action Program from January 1, 2018, through December 31, 2019.

This topic explores the art and science of transformation and is divided into nine themes:

  • Theme 1: Networks of Life
  • Theme 2: Economies of Everything
  • Theme 3: Politics of Identity
  • Theme 4: Dynamics of Discovery
  • Theme 5: Channels of Creativity
  • Theme 6: Visions of Justice
  • Theme 7: Powers of Connection
  • Theme 8: Worlds of Work
  • Theme 9: Systems of Belief

“We are thrilled to kick off our centennial year by introducing this new Honors Study Topic,” said Susan Edwards, Phi Theta Kappa’s Associate Vice President of Honors Programming and Undergraduate Research. “I want to thank the members of the Honors Program Council, who created subject matter that is interdisciplinary, international, timely, and action-oriented.”

The new Honors Program Guide, now available online, includes a detailed description of the nine Honors Study Topic themes, resources for further exploration, a planning rubric, and a sample Honors in Action Project. All chapters will receive a copy of the printed guide in late January, and additional copies may be ordered at the PTK Store.

Phi Theta Kappa developed Honors in Action to support its mission of developing opportunities for college students to grow as scholars and leaders. The program allows students to identify issues confronting humanity, consider ideas from varied perspectives, apply what they learn to address a real-world challenge, develop collaborative partnerships, and exercise leadership.

Chapters, advisors, and members can explore the new topic in depth through speaker presentations and Educational Forums at PTK Catalyst 2018.

Chapter research findings and the resulting Honors in Action projects may be submitted to the Hallmark Awards program for recognition during PTK Catalyst 2019. Participation in the Honors in Action program also fulfills levels of the Five Star Chapter Plan.

Remember, submissions for this year’s Honors in Action awards should be based on the 2016/2017 topic, How the World Works: Global Perspectives. Chapter Hallmark Awards are due on January 24 by 5 p.m. CT.

5 Tips for Running for International Office

Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by 2017-2018 International President Amanda Karpinski.

Running for international office is an incredible experience that I would recommend to anyone who loves PTK and wants to try something new. There is no certain type of member that is eligible to run — any PTK member in good standing can do it!

Serving as an International Officer does not require a certain major, nor does it require a prior PTK leadership position. Here are a few helpful tips to get ready for running for International Office.

1. Complete the International Office Candidate Application

Don’t wait to download the Candidate Application. You must get signatures from your college president and chapter advisor to show that you have the support of both your school and chapter.

The deadline to submit the application is February 21, so don’t wait until the day before to see if your college president or advisor is available to sign your application. Set up an appointment well in advance so you can have the opportunity to explain why you want to run for international office.

2. Write and Practice Your Honors Study Topic Speech

Each candidate running for international office is required to prepare a speech on the same theme of the 2018/2019 Honors Study Topic; however, only the 10 Candidate Finalists will give their speech on stage. Candidate applicants are required to submit a speech draft to Headquarters for feedback to ensure all speeches are academic speeches rather than traditional campaign speeches.

Before attending PTK Catalyst, practice, practice, practice! Memorize your speech to the best of your ability so you can give your best delivery. Practicing your speech in front of chapter members is a great way to get helpful feedback.

3. Build Your Campaign Team

Your campaign team — and especially your campaign manager — are the backbone of your campaign. When selecting who you want to be on your campaign team, think quality not quantity. You may choose up to 20 Campaign Team Members to wear campaign-themed costumes at PTK Catalyst, but don’t think that is the number you have to have.

Surround yourself with a team that can give PTK members a sense of your personality when you’re not at your booth. You’ll have several meetings and events to attend at PTK Catalyst specifically for International Officer candidates, and you’ll have many people to talk with in the Marketplace, so choose team members that can convey your message on your behalf when needed.

4. Create a Campaign Booth

When deciding how to design your campaign booth, don’t worry if you don’t have enough funding to create the campaign booth of your dreams — my campaign booth was made of PVC pipes, cardboard, and poster paper! Your campaign booth is an opportunity to express your personality, but it is not why members are coming over to your booth. PTK members want to have a chance to speak with you to learn who you are.

5. Be Yourself

The most important thing to remember when running for international office is to be yourself! You can’t lose if you run for international office. Every candidate goes through an unforgettable experience that will change you in one way or another.

Remember that you’re not alone! PTK Headquarters staff and the current International Officers are here to help with any questions you may have throughout your journey of running for international office. Good luck!

See the full benefits of running for international office, and apply today!

Travel the Globe & Change Your Perspective

Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Tonya Hawk, the Northeast Ohio Region District Representative and a student at the Aultman College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” — Nelson Mandela

My natural passion for learning and academic success took me across the globe to South Africa in May 2017 as a Nursing and Healthcare Delegate for the International Scholar Laureate Program (ISLP). This opportunity opened my eyes to a bigger world, and I hope to inspire others to broaden their horizons to possibilities the world has to offer.

In the classroom, there are lessons throughout an educational career that discuss cultural differences, politics, and religion; however, experiencing life in other parts of the world firsthand is the most effective way to gain a better understanding of how the world works.

I was initially skeptical of the invitation, but I investigated the information and discovered that it was a real opportunity. I had the option to choose between Australia or South Africa — I chose South Africa because I was working on a research project for HIV/AIDS in a public health course at the time, and South Africa has one of the world’s largest HIV/AIDS populations.

Before I began nursing school at Aultman College, I became interested in epidemiology and global health. I initially pursued a degree in public health at another university, however, life situations prompted me to put the degree on hold. The ISLP experience reawakened those ideas I thought were only a dream, and made my desire to gain a global perspective on health a reality.

Some things I want to emphasize about my experience are the incredibly strong believers and amazing people I was surrounded by during my time in South Africa. Being with people who had similar interests and passions that I do was rewarding.

Also, as a Nursing and Healthcare Delegate in ISLP, I was amazed at the nursing skill level in South Africa. Nursing students there are delivering babies and suturing as students. In the U.S., these are skills are practiced by doctors and advanced nurse practitioners/prescribers and are considered out of the scope of practice for ASN or BSN nursing students.

I had a moment of awakening as I realized the basic privileges we take for granted here in the U.S. They lack basic resources such as clean water and medical supplies. Healthcare professionals in South Africa call themselves “slaves to the patients” due to working 30-hour shifts three days a week and having to volunteer their time after they reach the maximum hours of payment. These working conditions are illegal in the U.S.

The strong faith in the culture of South Africa is incredible. When people are sick, they seek advice from the pastor or priest first. In the U.S. we go to a doctor or hospital. Healthcare professionals educate pastors and priests in order to relay medical education to the community in South Africa. Spiritual healers were unique to the villages of South Africa, which was interesting.

My life truly was transformed from this experience, and I hope to encourage others to take the opportunity of ISLP if it is offered. The experience is costly; however, reaching out to the community and the organizations I actively participate and engage in helped supply the means for me to afford to go.

I did a fundraiser on my own by making and raffling off a basket. I worked two jobs to bring in more income. The church I belong to helped sponsor me. I reached out to alumni of the Aultman College of Nursing and Health Sciences, where I am studying for my nursing degree.

ISLP has a scholarship available that I encourage students to apply for. I am a single mother, and I found a way to make it happen. I have an excellent support system of family, friends, and community that helped to make everything possible. When you want something, you have to work for it. Go make it happen — opportunities and possibilities are waiting on you!