Reflecting on Honors Institute 2018

Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Philippe Schicker, International Vice President for Division 4.

Last week, Phi Theta Kappa held its annual Honors Institute for members across the country. This year, students got to enjoy general sessions, seminars, and the hunt for knowledge at the beautiful campus of Villanova University. The campus itself is marvelous, more closely resembling a medieval castle than a university, which led to a lot of walking during the week.

My fellow International Officers and I arrived one day early to help with preparations, learn to get around the school, and, most importantly, be there to greet guests as they arrived. While we spent significant amounts of time rehearsing to make sure that the general sessions went flawlessly, we also had time to share joyful moments with likeminded Phi Theta Kappans.

Apart from David and Carol, who had the opportunity to attend last year’s Honors Institute, it was our first time. Each of us walked away energized and excited about the future of Phi Theta Kappa.

During the first general session, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz inspired us all with his analysis of people and ideas using big-data trends to explain and uncover areas in life where people might be bending the truth. Throughout the week, all speakers brought Phi Theta Kappans closer by challenging our view on the world and asking us to think critically about innovative ways of tackling old problems. These discussions electrified students both in their seminar groups and across the Villanova campus.

One of the most refreshing aspects of Honors Institute was that the seminar groups were incredibly diverse. Phi Theta Kappa tried to mix up regions, chapters, and friend groups, forcing everyone to step out of their comfort zone and immerse themselves in discussions with strangers.

At the end of the week, it was beautiful to see that these groups that initially had very little in common grew into close-knit, family-like groups after a week of passionate discussions about current topics. It did not matter whether one was a Regional Officer, Chapter Officer, member, or International Officer, or whether one was a traditional, non-traditional, or international student — everyone was treated with equal respect.

These discussions could never have happened without the brilliant help of our amazing faculty scholars. Barbara Ebert, an alumnus and the Faculty Scholar leading my group, was incredibly inspiring.

In my conversations with other attendees, I heard from so many members who also loved their Faculty Scholar. Honors Institute was a place to grow, surrounded by old and new friends with a common goal of developing ourselves to become better and more knowledgeable leaders to, in turn, become examples throughout the country and at our own campuses.

Honors Institute 2018 was my very first time attending an event like this and, compared to PTK Catalyst 2018, was a much more intimate one. I will not only cherish the moments there but more importantly will be able to look back at the amazing people I had the chance of meeting and the skills I was able to gain. If it is possible for you to attend in the future, you will not regret going!

To Increase Membership, Communication Counts

During its spring conference, the Indiana Region celebrated a few milestones: At least six chapters increased membership by 5 percent or more, and more students completed Five Star Competitive Edge than in the previous seven years combined.

We asked Regional Coordinator Dr. Leo Studach to tell us how the region achieved these highpoints. In both circumstances, it was clear — consistent communication was key.

(Editor’s Note: The following was written and submitted by Dr. Leo Studach. It has been edited for clarity.)

Increasing Membership

Over the past two or three years, usually at our regional summer planning meeting, we take time to discuss and share strategies for effective recruitment. Also, the regional officers are encouraged to maintain good communication with their assigned chapters, and occasionally they will touch on this topic.

Finally, regional officers over the past few years have been incredibly supportive when it comes to induction ceremonies. Already this year we’ve visited 15 or 16 chapters, and that shows chapters and their new members we are committed to making PTK a stellar experience.

A few chapters choose to do summer recruitment for two reasons. One, students who are new or returning to college have the opportunity to join PTK right away; and second, these students have the opportunity to engage with the chapter on projects or attend our summer planning event.

Even as campuses are quieter in the summer, that may mean your PTK members have fewer classes — and this means the opportunity to meet, plan and fellowship before the fall rush!

The 2018-19 regional officers are setting a goal for a 5 percent increase in regional membership. It’s a lofty goal, but working together and maintaining consistent communication with our members, we think it can be achieved.

Competitive Edge

Sustaining regular communication across a region is incredibly important to engagement, particularly when it comes to attendance at regional conferences and regional programming. With a sustained push from our 2017-18 regional officers, we had 18 of our 24 chapters in attendance at the spring regional conference.

Even more impressive was a record number of chapter members and advisors completing Competitive Edge. Not only does communication count when it comes to engaging students, we also know those soft skills are critically important in the workplace.

So how did the Indiana Region see this record Competitive Edge completion? First, direct contact with chapter officers. Each year, during our spring officer training session, Indiana Regional Officers select four or five chapters and maintain regular communication with their assigned chapters. They remind students and advisors about upcoming programming opportunities, regional conferences, and, of course, Competitive Edge.

Second, they held sessions at local campuses and had breakout sessions at our regional events. A sustained effort counts. Third, those who complete Competitive Edge are recognized at the Spring Regional Convention and also challenged to pass along their enthusiasm for Competitive Edge.

Practicing soft skills like effective communication and etiquette are super important when it comes to the classroom, going for a job interview, and seeking promotions. Competitive Edge gives you that and more — and it’s a great learning experience.

International Student Finds Family in PTK

Alessandra Chimienti always looked up to people who left their home countries to travel or live abroad and learn a new language, but she never thought she’d be one of them.

She grew up in a small town in Puglia, in southern Italy. After earning the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in education with highest honors, she realized the job opportunities in Italy at that time were low. This was her opportunity for an adventure.

A few years earlier, her aunt and uncle, Stefania and Roberto Ciccarelli, had bought her a plane ticket to the United States to open her eyes about the great possibilities the world offered. During the trip, she fell in love with California; as she now thought about changing her life, that love came back.

Alessandra enrolled in a cultural exchange program and came to the United States in 2014 to work as an au pair for a family in Oakland, California. There was just one problem — she didn’t speak English.

International students often face unique challenges when they move abroad to continue their education. The language barrier is just one of them; it’s also expensive, and it can be difficult for them to earn scholarships. Still, Alessandra was committed — she wanted to study business, so she started learning the language.

The fast pace of American life suited her. She immediately loved the family she worked for, who represented a role model and a strong support for her. However, due to the language barrier, the first six or seven months were lonely. Alessandra volunteered as a tutor for two years in an elementary school, making a lot of new friends. She took intensive English classes, and she watched a lot of Netflix with the subtitles on.

“It’s incredible how volunteering gives you even more than you give to others,” she said. “Mentoring was a wonderful experience.”

In 2016 Alessandra decided to continue her education and enrolled at Berkeley City College. But when a friend joined the Phi Theta Kappa chapter at Merritt College, also in the Peralta Community College District, she transferred. She was fascinated by the idea of being part of an honor society.

She now faced a three-hour round-trip commute to school, but she felt like she was joining an organization she’d been part of for years.

“They welcomed me,” she said. “They didn’t care about where I was from nor about my accent. They just cared that I was trying to be the best person I could be.

“It was the beginning of a completely new version of college for me. I wasn’t just a foreigner anymore; I was part of a community.”

Spurred by her advisor, Barbara Dimopoulos, Alessandra became treasurer of the Beta Theta Lambda Chapter in 2017. The loneliness she had felt as an international student began to fade.

“In PTK, I felt like part of something bigger,” she said. “More than a chapter, it felt like a family to me. I am very grateful to Barbara, her husband Bill, and all the officers for supporting me, inspiring me, and for playing such an important role in my life.”

Alessandra’s network widened. Her affiliation with PTK helped her find a job in the business services department under Dr. Dettie Del Rosario, who quickly became a mentor. Now she was putting to use the skills she was learning in her classes.

Financially, though, Alessandra was struggling. Tuition for international students can be six times higher than for in-state students. A common misconception about international students is that they all come from wealthy families, she said, but that often isn’t the case.

“A big percentage of the international students I meet have a hard time paying for college,” she said. “Most of them left their countries because they were going through tough times and wanted to improve their lives.”

Alessandra had used up most of her savings to pay for school. Despite her job, she needed scholarships, which can be difficult for international students to get. She turned to her advisor, Barbara, for help.

Barbara wrote Alessandra six letters of recommendation for scholarships offered by the college. Alessandra paired them with recommendation letters from Dettie and with the ones available for members on ptk.org. For the first time, she received two scholarships, allowing her to finish her education at Merritt.

“I know for a fact that her recommendation letters were a big part of it,” Alessandra said. “Even if my grades were very high, I had never gotten a scholarship before. I couldn’t have had it without PTK.”

Despite the difficulties, Alessandra graduated in May with three degrees and three certificates in business — all with a 4.0 GPA. She was named valedictorian of her class at Merritt and gave the commencement address at graduation. Her mother came from Italy to be there for the special occasion.

The Peralta Community College District has a large international student community and hosts a separate commencement celebration for its international students. Alessandra was valedictorian among those students as well and spoke at their ceremony.

“I want international students to know that if I did it, they can do it,” she said. “Some people I met at college came from very tough beginnings. Seeing their determination inspired me, showing me that my ‘only’ problem was the language, and a language can be learned.”

Alessandra now lives in San Francisco and plans to seek an MBA. Her circle continues to grow — she has founded a community for people in her area originally from South Italy. It started with just two members and now has more than 150. A violinist in the group was also a PTK member in college.

Alessandra said PTK improved her life significantly by giving her a strong support system, something that can be key for international students. She encourages other international students to look for the PTK chapters on their campuses and to get involved with them.

“Being a PTK member gives you a network to lean on if you need it, and it opens doors for what you want to do next,” she said. “PTK had such a positive impact in my life both personally and professionally, and I’m sure it will help me again in the future.”

I AM PTK: Dr. Lillie McCain

Dr. Lillie McCain, former advisor to the Alpha Omicron Iota Chapter at Mott Community College in Michigan, has been a driving force behind Phi Theta Kappa’s Leadership Development Studies Program.

She was born in Teoc, a small community in Carroll County in the Mississippi Delta. A descendant of slaves owned by the family of Arizona Senator John McCain, she became an outspoken figure in the Civil Rights Movement.

She marched for desegregation. She was arrested. And, in her senior year of high school in 1968, she decided to attend a previously all-white school.

“I was being burdened by the idea that I’d put so much energy into the desegregation movement and then I didn’t go,” she said. “It’s not something I’ll forget.”

At 6 feet 1 inch tall, McCain had been a basketball player at her old school. Now, she couldn’t play. At the pre-prom dinner, she was seated with the teachers, not her classmates. The prom itself was held at a private, segregated club, so she could not attend.

Still, she held her head high. She attended Tougaloo College, a historically black university in Mississippi, where she continued to protest. Her experience was published in Seventeen magazine. Then, she attended graduate school in Kansas — an all-white school — and completed her studies as a psychology major.

It was during this time McCain said she mellowed out. She knew that if she wanted to truly live, she couldn’t continue to harbor anger and hostility.

McCain was offered a job at Mott Community College in 1975. At 23 years old, she was a full-time psychology professor — some of her students were older than her. She felt lost, so she took leave and joined the military. She didn’t quite “find herself,” but she did learn a lot.

“It taught me to appreciate the freedom of expression as a professor, and the confidence it placed in me helped me to develop a way to teach my students in a way they could grasp,” she said.

McCain returned to Mott in 1980 and was “transformed from a lecturer into a teacher.” A few years later, her office partner, the Phi Theta Kappa advisor, asked her to come to Mississippi to PTK Headquarters for leadership training. There, she met Dr. Jo Marshall, now-president of Somerset Community College in Kentucky, and kicked off more than 20 years of co-facilitating the Leadership Development Instructor Certification Seminars.

Hundreds of college faculty members and administrators, as well as leadership development professionals, have been certified to teach Phi Theta Kappa’s Leadership Development Studies curriculum under the direction of McCain, Marshall, or both.

“I absolutely enjoy the process,” McCain said. “I love working with people to help them help themselves. Each experience helps me to see myself a little differently.”

She refers to those she certifies as her “colleagues” rather than her students, and she views herself as more of a facilitator. She structures her sessions in a way that encourages participants to naturally start revealing their strengths and weaknesses to themselves.

And with each session, McCain still gets excited.

“It becomes very personal for the person participating and, very often, gratifying,” she said. “My approach in my own classroom changed. It made teaching more meaningful.”

McCain is now retired from teaching, though she continues to facilitate Leadership Instructor Certification Seminars. She lives in South Carolina where she sings in a community chorus and works part-time for the Social Security Administration, reviewing files for those whose claims have been denied due to mental health issues.

Don’t miss your opportunity to become certified to teach PTK’s Leadership Development Studies Program on your campus. Register today for this summer’s certification session, July 9-12 at the Center for Excellence in Jackson, Mississippi.

How to Conduct Academic Research

Summer is the ideal time for your chapter to start planning its Honors in Action Project. This is an opportunity for you to use real-world problem-solving skills to develop an in-depth, action-oriented project based on your research of a theme of the Honors Study Topic, Transformations: Acknowledging, Assessing, and Achieving Change.

Remember: you are studying your chosen theme as it relates to the overall Honors Study Topic. The overarching question listed for each theme references the topic, Transformations, and can help you focus on both.

The action part of your Honors in Action Project is the culmination of the work you begin this summer. But it all begins with the research.

Academic research can be a rewarding undertaking, but it can be hard to know how to get it right. The advice below was pulled from Competitive Edge videos and outlines how exactly you should conduct academic research.

Why Research?

Learning to conduct research is one of the most crucial skills you develop in college. Regardless of whether you transfer to a four-year college or enter the workforce directly, you’ll need to know how to access, evaluate, and use various forms of information.

This involves critical thinking, which is consistently listed among the attributes employers seek, along with excellent writing and oral communication skills and the ability to work cooperatively in groups — all of which can be gained through participation in an Honors in Action Project.

Critical thinking is defined as “the mental process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, analyzing, applying, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion.” Essentially, you’re being asked to consider the aspects of an issue that are of vital importance. It’s the first step in your academic research.

Getting Started

Critical thinking begins by selecting and narrowing your topic — in this case, the theme of the Honors Study Topic you wish to explore. Define the boundaries of what you want to examine, and select a part of that topic that can be successfully addressed in a project. Frame your question or questions well; you need to be specific enough to filter out unhelpful information.

Next, you think critically by reading critically. Be sure to use a variety of sources — there’s no substitute for a good academic library. Even if you are looking at a timely topic, good academic books will help you contextualize and ground your research into a larger historical framework. Academic articles will offer a more current take on your research questions.

Overall, be sure to evaluate your sources carefully. In general, there are three types of research sources: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Primary sources are original material — a painting by Monet, letters by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., notes taken by a clinical psychologist.

Secondary sources are interpretations and evaluations of primary sources. They are not evidence; rather, they are commentary and discussion of evidence — an article critiquing Monet’s painting, a website on Kings writings, a magazine article about the psychological condition.

Tertiary sources consist of information, a distillation, and collection of primary and secondary sources — the ArtStor database, the encyclopedia entry on the Civil Rights Movement, the textbook on clinical psychology.

Be sure to brush up on the difference between academic and non-academic sources. A newspaper or even a TED Talk could be a great resource, but it should be considered a starting point. PTK Catalyst 2018 speaker Amy Cuddy, for instance, has a wonderful TED Talk that gives a glimpse into her work, but she goes into much more detail about her research, analysis, and conclusions in her book.

Types of Academic Sources

An academic source is written by a professional in a given field. It is often edited by the writers’ peers and may take years to publish. Most reputable academic books will be published by academic publishers such as university presses.

Periodicals also make great sources, but you need to know the differences among popular, trade, and scholarly periodicals. Popular sources are meant to inform and/or entertain and include sources like Time, Vogue, Rolling Stone, USA Today, and Psychology Today. While popular periodicals are typically not appropriate for academic or professional research, they may occasionally contain information that is useful when paired with other, more credible sources.

Trade journals provide information and support for a specific trade or field of study. They can provide a good combination of popular and scholarly sources, but use them carefully and sparingly to ensure credibility in your research.

Scholarly journals share research done by academics. They are the most credible because scholars must cite their research sources. To be sure you’re using the most credible sources, look for those that are peer-reviewed.

Try to diversify your sources in terms of who wrote them, when they were written, and what slant they take on your questions.

Online Resources

Approach Internet research with great caution, and ask hard questions about who generated the source and whether it is compelling. That said, you can still find scholarly resources on the Internet.

The Google Scholar search engine searches only for scholarly books and articles. It can lead you to resources such as WorldCat, a free and public catalog of more than a billion items available from more than 10,000 libraries worldwide. It’s even available as a mobile app.

Online databases such as EBSCO, GALE, and JSTOR can connect you with a range of credible academic sources like eBooks, government documents, conference proceedings, and articles from periodicals.

What Now?

As you work through your sources, ask probing questions. Don’t just compile the thoughts of others; put something of yourself into your work. Develop your own argument, and use your sources to bring your argument into the larger academic conversation.

From the moment you begin your research, stay organized. Develop a simple but effective system of recording your sources, and use it consistently. This is where journaling can be especially helpful.

Also, don’t conduct your research in a vacuum. Show drafts to your advisors and peers, and welcome their feedback. You will produce more lively, dynamic work if you work with others during this process.

Finally, have fun with your project! Research doesn’t have to be a grim task. Quality academic research will open new worlds to you and defines the difference between Honors in Action and simply action.

Special thanks to the following current and former Phi Theta Kappa advisors for preparing the Competitive Edge videos on which this post is based: Dr. Ken Kerr, Dr. Liesl Ward Harris, Jeff Edwards, Lisa York, Dr. Sauda Smith, and the late Margo Hamm.

Trustees Award Nominations Due Aug. 29

Members of the Board of Trustees at Mohawk Valley Community College in New York attend Phi Theta Kappa induction ceremonies on campus and support the chapter’s College Completion Days. The Board funds travel for the chapter, advocates for the recognition of award-winning members, and assists students with networking and job searches.

“This group of 10 volunteers is dedicated, diligent, and engaged with the college and with our chapter,” Lambda Beta chapter advisor Stephen Frisbee said in the award application. “They come from various businesses, industries, and organizations in the community and are excellent ambassadors for PTK and the college.”

Does this sound like your college’s Board of Trustees? Then nominate it now for the 2018 Board of Trustees Hallmark Award! Applications are due August 29 by 5 p.m. CT.

This award recognizes Boards at a postsecondary institution with an active PTK chapter that demonstrate strong support for its local chapter and the greater Society. Up to 10 awards will be presented during the Association of Community College Trustees’ Annual Leadership Congress, October 24-27 in New York City. Winners will be notified in early September.

The Board at Mohawk Valley was among the four winners of the inaugural Board of Trustees Award. Other winners were the Boards from Labette Community College in Kansas, Renton Technical College in Washington, and Texarkana College in Texas.

A Board of Trustees’ support can take on many forms. Some, like the one at Labette Community College, allocate funds from the college’s general fund to the PTK chapter. Members participate in chapter fundraisers and recognize the chapter and its students during monthly board meetings.

At Renton Technical College, the Board provides free stoles for new PTK members to wear at graduation. It also approved the creation and funding of new membership scholarships for those who can’t otherwise afford the fees.

“Our college’s supportive and affirming Board of Trustees has been our most consistent advocate in these formative years of developing leadership opportunities and growing our Phi Theta Kappa chapter,” advisor Jessica Supinski wrote in the application. The Beta Phi Delta Chapter was chartered in the spring of 2014.

The Board at Texarkana College encourages its PTK members to serve as ambassadors for the college at community events, giving great exposure to the chapter. The Board also enlists the chapter to help research and solve difficult issues facing the college, such as low enrollment among Hispanic students and the mental health challenges college students often face.

The Board also credits its PTK chapter with the college’s high completion rates. In 2017, the college ranked first among all Texas community colleges in student completion rates, at 39.2 percent. Board members participate in chapter events that encourage college completion.

“The chapter began C4 signing events in 2011, and the Trustees constantly refer to these ongoing events as the catalyst that changed the culture of the college to a focus of completion,” Zeta Sigma chapter advisor Mary Ellen Young wrote in the application. “Through the encouragement of the Trustees, Phi Theta Kappa members are currently involved in a state initiative, 60x30TX, in which members will use the same C4 initiatives to create a culture of completion in the community.”

Thank your Board of Trustees for its support — nominate it for a Board of Trustees Hallmark Award today!

PTK Offers Second Chances, New Opportunities for Incarcerated

On a warm day this past November, 46 inmates from Limestone Correctional Facility (LCF) in Alabama walked single-file into a meeting room and took seats down front. Their all-white jumpsuits were a stark contrast to others in the room dressed more formally.

Yet, they were the honored guests — they were being inducted into Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Watch the full ceremony, or check out the highlights.

“To even be considered for this and then to be in prison and to be recognized like that, it’s special,” said Jacob Woodlee, an inmate at LCF. “It means a lot to me.

“It just shows that people up here, they care about their communities by reinvesting in people that are going to get out again one day, and trying to give us the tools that we need to be able to succeed, and showing us that there is a better way to live life and that we can do it.”

In early 2017, the Phi Theta Kappa Board of Directors unanimously voted to extend membership to those who are incarcerated or on parole. It was a decision borne from the mission of PTK and the colleges it serves: to increase access to membership and its benefits and opportunities by closing equity and inclusion gaps. In short, Phi Theta Kappa would become a partner to these students as they seek second chances.

The news excited members and advisors across the country, but it struck a particular chord with two advisors: Necia Nicholas, then-advisor to the Sigma Lambda Chapter at Calhoun Community College in Alabama, and Martha Petry, advisor to the Alpha Rho Lambda Chapter at Jackson College in Michigan.

Necia was well-familiar with LCF. It was in her community, and she had often visited the prison to purchase plants from its horticulture program.

“They have such a great educational set up at LCF,” Necia said. “I kept seeing these students who were so knowledgeable, so well-behaved that I knew there had to be potential there. When the (PTK) bylaws changed, I thought, ‘Here’s our opportunity.’ “

Necia and her chapter began putting the pieces into place, and it truly became a community effort. Calhoun administrators, faculty, staff, and students donated enough money to cover the $60 international fee for all 46 inductees. Local and regional membership fees were waived.

More donations helped pay for food for a reception for the new inductees.

Sigma Lambda also looked for ways to get its newest members involved in PTK programs. They provided print-outs of the Honors Program Guide and pieces of the Leadership Development curriculum, and plans are in the works to share materials from Competitive Edge, PTK’s online professional development program.

When inmates needed basics like books, the Sigma Lambda Chapter collected more than 1,500 for them.

“It was an honor to help make membership a reality for these deserving students,” Sigma Lambda co-advisor Ragan Chastain said. “Some of these guys have no support from family, and it was amazing to invite them to join our PTK family.”

Calvin Rice has been in prison for 18 years, since he was 25. Now at 43, he encourages his fellow inmates — and everyone else — to complete their education. He’s been getting up at 7:30 each morning at LCF to take classes.

“It’s all about change,” he said.

Change and opportunity, regardless of whether the inmates will be paroled or will remain in prison for the rest of their lives.

“If PTK can offer them resources for success or even a different way of thinking, it gives them confidence,” Necia said. “They realize people believe in them and that they are worthy of the time and monetary investment.”

Nearly 120 inmates have been inducted into the Alpha Rho Lambda Chapter at Jackson College since the change in Phi Theta Kappa’s bylaws. Fifteen induction ceremonies have been held since spring 2017 — three each at five different facilities.

The college is one of 67 colleges and universities across the country participating in the Second Chance Pell pilot program and offers courses through its Prison Education Initiative (PEI). This spring, for the first time, former PEI students now out on parole walked in the graduation ceremony at Jackson College.

Martha Petry, the Alpha Rho Lambda advisor, had taught in the Michigan Department of Corrections prisons for several years and was familiar with the academic excellence of the PEI students. She was eager to bring Phi Theta Kappa and its programs and benefits to the incarcerated students.

The Alpha Rho Lambda Chapter has provided print-outs of the Competitive Edge program to its PEI members. So far, more than 30 inmates have completed levels one, two, or three of the five-level program.

Martha has also compiled other academic resources for the inmates, such as scholarships available at specific colleges and schools that offer correspondence courses.

“We’re trying to create the same kind of equity and access for PEI students that our students on campus have,” she said.

Three groups attend each induction ceremony: those to be inducted, those recently inducted, and those eligible to join. At a recent ceremony, inmate and new member Dennis Skinner asked to address the crowd. He wanted to start a service project and had heard of a sick boy whose dying wish was to receive 100 Christmas cards.

Dennis asked his fellow inmates to ask their families to send the boy a card. The audience was moved, and so was the Alpha Rho Lambda Chapter, which also decided to participate. The boy ended up receiving more than 500 Christmas cards, and Dennis was named the chapter’s vice president of service.

“Becoming a member of PTK validates all of the hard work that I have put into my studies each semester,” he said. “I now feel as if I am a part of something much larger than myself, and I am committed to doing all that I can to represent PTK to the best that I can.”

Back in Alabama, 22 more members were inducted in spring 2018. In April, an LCF officer team was created, and they are currently working on two fundraising projects to pay for future members. The horticultural department at LCF is donating plants, and many of the guys are donating crafts they have made for a silent auction.

Though Necia is now working at Pensacola State College in Florida, she remains passionate about the work the Sigma Lambda Chapter did and continues to do with the students at LCF.

“This was one of the best things I’ve ever been a part of in my life,” she said. “It was by far the most meaningful endeavor I’ve been involved in with Phi Theta Kappa.”