New Transfer Scholarship: Plymouth State University

Plymouth State University in New Hampshire is the latest four-year university to offer a transfer scholarship exclusively to Phi Theta Kappa members. It joins more than 850 colleges and universities in offering more than $37 million in transfer scholarships.

PSU is located in central New Hampshire at the “gateway to the White Mountains and the Lakes Region,” in the picturesque town of Plymouth. The college is minutes away from ski resorts, lakes, and parks and only two hours from Boston.

The college’s annual enrollment is approximately 4,100 undergraduate students. PSU offers a student-focused learning environment built on its Integrated Clusters approach (more below).

Ten scholarships of $1,000 each will be awarded to Phi Theta Kappa members. Learn more about PSU in this brief Q&A.

Are there other transfer scholarships that could be stacked with your Phi Theta Kappa award?
Yes, at the time of admission, Plymouth State awards transfer students a merit-based scholarship of up to $10,000. Additionally, PSU offers the New Hampshire Transfer Student Fund, an endowment that provides funds for New Hampshire residents transferring to Plymouth State University. Criteria includes application for or accepted current full-time student status and minimum 3.0 GPA. The PSU Office of Financial Aid will determine the award recipient. No application is required.

What other opportunities are available for transfer students at your institution to assist them in successfully transitioning from community college?
All transfer students will receive credit evaluations and degree planning and will stay in contact with their admission counselor until the student has had a chance to meet and begin work with their faculty advisor. PSU is committed to giving transfer students the same exceptional service traditional first-year students receive.

In your opinion, what is one of the most impressive things about your college?
Our Integrated Clusters approach to education. PSU partners with regional partners to provide every one of our student’s hands-on learning opportunities so that when they graduate, they have a leg up on the competition in the job market. Our students not only get an education in their discipline, but they get an education in how to work across disciplines and in the real world. No school will better prepare students for post-graduation success like PSU will.

Are there any special events or deadlines on your recruitment calendar that you would like to share?
PSU works on rolling admissions. Our application opened on August 15 and stays open until May 1: Plymouth.edu/apply. We also offer 1:1 transfer advising throughout the year — visit Plymouth.edu/visit to sign up.

Find more transfer scholarships at CollegeFish.org.

I AM PTK: Haley Hughes

Haley Hughes is often the only female student in her classes at State Technical College of Missouri. She is a student in the Precision Machining Technology Program, and she previously completed the Outdoor Power and Sports Technology Program (now Powersports Technology).

“Being a girl is something that I hope will be more common in the mechanics field one day,” she said. “Every time I start a job, I will have to fight every day to prove that I belong in the shop.”

Haley has more than proven herself at State Tech, where she is an accomplished award winner in her field. As a Phi Theta Kappa member, she serves as her chapter’s vice president of scholarship, and she is an officer in the Missouri Region.

She has won four gold medals at SkillsUSA state competitions in Missouri. She also received a gold in the 2017 SkillsUSA national Power Equipment Technology Competition, and a bronze in the 2018 SkillsUSA national Motorcycle Service Technology Competition.

At the state level, Haley was the only woman competing in her categories. Nationally, there were only three or four girls competing alongside her.

Haley is also among the inaugural Coca-Cola New Century Workforce Pathway Scholars. This new scholarship from Phi Theta Kappa and The Coca-Cola Foundation recognizes the top student in each state planning to go directly into the workforce. Winners receive $1,250 to help complete their associate degree or cover the costs of certification exam fees, tools, or anything else students might need to start their career.

“Receiving this scholarship in its first year and being a female mechanic, to me, is quite special,” she said. “It means I am good at what I do.”

Haley’s interest in mechanics started when her family began racing Sea-Doo jet skis during the summer. She helped her father modify their Sea-Doos to make them faster and higher-performing.

Her dream is to do this for a living, whether it’s through owning her own shop or working for someone else. She’s adding the machining degree so she will be able to make her own parts, which are typically expensive and hard to come by.

In this world, too, she’s in the minority. She can think of only five other women who race in her same circuit.

Still, Haley hasn’t been discouraged. She moved to Woodstock, Georgia, this past summer to work with a professional drag boat racing team. As she prepared to move, she sent resumes to mechanic shops in the area and was offered a job by a shop owner who was a PTK alumnus.

In the end, she didn’t accept the position, but she said she’ll be sharing this example with her classmates this fall when Phi Theta Kappa invitations go out. Many of them qualify for membership, but few of them accept.

“I’m going to need every advantage I can to get a job and keep it,” she said. “When you’re looking for a job and nobody is hiring, you may find that one employer who was in PTK or who knows what it is and will put your resume at the top of the stack because it has PTK on it.”

Haley’s PTK membership was made possible through a Golden Opportunity Scholarship, which covers the international membership fee of $60. She attended PTK Catalyst 2018 in Kansas City in April, and she visited PTK Headquarters, the Center for Excellence, in Jackson, Mississippi, this summer for training with her fellow regional officers.

At State Tech, she is co-leading a College Project to end sexual harassment on campus, where the male-to-female student ratio is approximately 5.4 to 1. She worked with college administrators to ensure faculty and staff are communicating in class that harassment will not be tolerated, and counselors are speaking in each of the college’s programs about what constitutes harassment.

The fall semester just started August 21, and Haley said she’s already noticed a change.

“Without Phi Theta Kappa, I don’t know if I would be doing something like this College Project and making a difference on campus,” she said. “I get to make this much of a difference in my school because of the Golden Opportunity Scholarship.”

Advisors: Nominate a deserving eligible student to have their international membership fee paid by the Golden Opportunity Scholarship today! The deadline is October 24.

New Initiative: When We All Vote

As Phi Theta Kappa members, we often stand out on our campuses as servant scholars and leaders who are plugged into our local communities. This shared sense of civic responsibility is why we are excited to announce a new partnership with When We All Vote, a non-partisan and non-profit organization aimed at registering as many new voters as possible by the November mid-term elections.

Spearheading this national organization is a powerful and impressive group of co-chairs: Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monáe, Chris Paul, Faith Hill, and Tim McGraw. These influencers are using their voices to make sure others know the importance of voting, and we are proud to do the same.

We ask each of you to join us in this initiative. When We All Vote will host a national Week of Action September 22-29, where volunteers from across the country will host voter registration events. We would love to see at least one PTK chapter in each state host an event during this week — but we know we can do better than that.

We challenge every chapter to host at least one voter registration event between September 22 and September 29. It can be as organized as your chapter setting up a table with information, or as casual as your members helping their close friends and family get registered.

The Week of Action happens to coincide with PTK’s Fall Awareness Week, so you can participate in both events at the same time. This would also make a great last-minute College Project, so get your college administration involved.

How to Get Started:

  • Visit the When We All Vote website, where you can register to vote, sign up as a volunteer, and find events near you. You’ll also find a list of dos and don’ts for a successful voter registration drive, and the Events toolkit offers a comprehensive guide to getting started.
  • Be sure to register your event. We’d love to keep a count of how many PTK chapters are participating, so please fill in “Phi Theta Kappa-[Campus]” in the “Organization” section.
  • Because every state has different registration deadlines and guidelines, be sure to visit the website of your state’s Secretary of State prior to hosting an event.
  • When We All Vote will share important information on its Facebook page regarding live events and trainings. The next one, which will focus on the events held during the Week of Action, will be held during the first week of September and we will follow up with more details. An online training was held August 16 and gave a broad overview of the program. Watch it HERE.
  • We’ll share posts, photos, and more on PTK’s official social media sites that you can pick up and use to promote your own voter registration events.

Approximately 21 percent of Americans who are eligible to vote are not registered. Let’s work together to sign them up, and then let’s encourage them to exercise their right to vote in the mid-term elections in November and in all future elections. As civic leaders on our campuses and in our communities, let’s do our part to make sure all voices are heard.

Only a handful of votes decided our fate as International Officers, and surely the same has happened to you and your chapter or regional officers. You are a part of that handful of votes. You decide.

Now, think bigger. Think at a national scale. It’s simple, but it’s true: When we all vote, we can change the world.

Elda Pere, Won Joon Kang, David Parker, Carol Comer, and Philippe Schicker
2018-2019 International Officers

Skills You Gain in the Five Star Advisor Plan

Advisors — have you checked out the Five Star Advisor Plan yet? Four levels are now available, and the fifth one will be released soon.

This self-paced plan is for all advisors, regardless of how long you’ve served. It isn’t just “what an advisor does” — although that’s in there, too! This plan will teach you a wide range of skills that you can put to use beyond PTK.

Let’s take a by-the-level look.

Level One: Finding Your Chapter’s Members

You aren’t only learning how to find new members; you’re also learning how to

  • Develop and execute a communications plan to reach these students
  • Promote and market an international organization
  • Identify student needs and match them to opportunities and benefits
  • Ensure diversity in a large group
  • Plan and host a large-scale event
  • Promote student success among marginalized groups, such as incarcerated students

Level Two: Engaging Your Members and Identifying Officers

What will you learn as you engage members and select officers? How to

  • Identify and nourish leadership potential in others
  • Develop operations for a group of people and a strategy for effectively communicating them
  • Set a goal and develop a plan for achieving it
  • Motivate others
  • Put together and lead a successful team
  • Conduct effective meetings
  • Mange conflict through appreciative inquiry

Level Three: Participating in Regional and International Programming

Becoming engaged on the regional and international levels brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. In this level, you’ll learn to

  • Support service learning
  • Connect and collaborate with peers at other colleges
  • Develop a travel budget and organize a trip for a group
  • Organize a campaign for an elected office
  • Increase awareness of the importance of diversity and inclusion
  • Promote the development of soft skills by students

Level Four: Developing Student Leaders

You’ll be able to offer unique support all the students at your college. Learn how to

  • Promote student success
  • Coach students through the transfer process
  • Equip workforce-bound students for career success
  • Help students craft effective scholarship applications
  • Support international students
  • Develop a project to solve or fulfill a need on your campus
  • Understand bystander strategies to prevent discrimination

Level Five: Supporting Undergraduate Research and Building Administrative Support

Ready for the final level? It’s coming soon, but here’s a preview — you’ll learn how to

  • Build collaborative partnerships with campus and community leaders
  • Utilize social media more effectively
  • Be a better marketer
  • Support undergraduate research
  • Shape civic-minded scholar-leaders
  • Engage student success stakeholders
  • Guide students through competitive awards processes

If you’d like to master these skills and more, start the Five Star Advisor Plan today!

I AM PTK: Kyleigh Kinsella

Kyleigh Kinsella walked into her first college classroom in August 2017 at age 16. She had completed homeschooling courses less than a month before and quickly fell in love with the challenges of college classes.

Kyleigh began homeschooling when she was in ninth grade. Though she enjoys learning, she had become bored with school and was no longer stimulated by her classes. Homeschooling allowed her to move quickly through the subjects that came easily so she could spend more time on more challenging work. That was the best part, she said, and it prepared her for college.

“The independence of homeschooling helped aid my time management skills to take on all of my college courses,” she said. “I was able to work at my own pace but still had to meet deadlines.”

According to the National Home Education Research Institute, there are approximately 2.3 million homeschooled students in the United States. Their research has found that homeschooled students typically score higher than public school students on standardized academic achievement tests and above average on the SAT and ACT.

Kyleigh is attending Cayuga Community College in New York, where she joined Phi Theta Kappa in the spring of 2018. She begins the nursing program this fall, and she’ll graduate in spring 2020 — at age 18 — as a registered nurse. She hopes to work in the emergency room.

“When opportunity knocks, you have to open the door,” she said. “I was honored to receive an invitation to be part of such a scholarly group of students.”

College hasn’t completely been without its challenges, though. Because of her age, she is afraid to try out for sports teams on the college level. Initially, she even kept her age a secret.

One day, her Anatomy and Physiology classmates — who had nicknamed her “The Smart Girl” — were talking about driving, high school, and their senior years. Kyleigh sat there quietly. As they looked to her to join the conversation, she admitted that she was only 16 and had only recently received her driver’s permit.

“I was a little embarrassed, but they kept my secret for me and made little comments about how I was so young but so smart,” she said. “That gave me a boost of confidence.”

Though she’s a self-described “social media junkie,” Kyleigh is enjoying the in-person social aspect of college — hanging out with others between classes, going for donuts, and taking walks on the campus’ nature trail. She has reconnected with old friends and made many new ones.

Outside school, Kyleigh is a certified interior and exterior firefighter who serves with the Mottville Volunteer Fire Company in New York. She plans to add “emergency medical technician” to her resume as well.

She races dirt bikes, and she’s an avid snowmobiler — she volunteers for the Weedsport Winter Wanderers Snowmobile Club. She also volunteers at a daycare.

Kyleigh isn’t the first younger-than-average student to attend college, and she knows she won’t be the last. As her second year begins, she’s feeling more comfortable and confident, and her advice for other young students is simple: “Be yourself. In college, nobody judges you.”

Share your I AM PTK story with us at news@ptk.org.

4 Proven Recruitment Tips

The Alpha Sigma Zeta Chapter at Onondaga Community College (OCC) in New York has watched its member acceptance rate increase over the last few years. Chapter advisor Dr. Annie Tuttle attributes this to a few key things, including old-school, in-person communication. Below, she shares what’s working for her chapter.

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

We send an email at the beginning of each semester to eligible students, letting them know they are eligible to join PTK. We try and put PTK on their radar right away and help them learn about the many benefits of membership, including college benefits like early registration for classes, access to our PTK Lounge, and travel opportunities.

Our college has different windows for class registration, meaning different groups of students are able to register on different days. PTK students are eligible to register for classes on the first day that registration opens. This helps PTK members pick the classes they want and that fit best with their schedules.

Further, we send personalized emails to both the student’s college and personal email, usually once a week, advertising leadership opportunities, scholarship trainings, volunteer opportunities, and upcoming meetings. Eligible students receive these emails even before they join, which we believe helps students get excited about joining.

Also, our invitation is old school, sent via USPS and signed personally (by hand!) by our provost, and our induction ceremony is well-attended and special. Last year, we had 120 inductees attend. This helps students see that PTK is something that our college values.

In addition, our college president tells all Presidents’ List honorees in her letter to them that they should look into becoming a member of Phi Theta Kappa. These are students who earned a 3.7 to 4.0 that semester. Our email and phone number are listed in the letter, and we always get around 50 to 60 inquiries about PTK soon after the Presidents’ List letters go out.

I think one of the reasons we have seen such an increase in our acceptance rate is that we have partnered with the OCC Foundation to help students join PTK. Our students only have to pay $11 to join PTK, and our OCC Foundation pays the rest. This has helped eliminate the financial barrier to join PTK. We are so appreciative of the Foundation and thank them every chance we get.

We also require students to turn in their applications in person. This helps students know that this is an actual organization that they are joining, with real people leading the way. The students have to come to our suite to ask questions and accept membership.

Our PTK student leaders have office hours so many of the inquiries are addressed by students. We believe strongly that the personal connection has helped us grow our chapter and the number of students who are actively involved in our chapter.

When I began working with PTK, we had only three to four active members, and they served as our chapter officers — they were the entire chapter. We now have 19 members on our OCC PTK Leadership Team and over 50 members who take part regularly in our chapter activities.

Our college has also been beyond generous in creating a PTK/Honors Suite. In our suite, we have a conference room, student lounge, and advisor offices. This has given our chapter a home on campus.

As I mentioned, each member of our PTK leadership team holds one office hour a week in our lounge, so there is often a student available to answer questions and work on projects. When eligible students see our suite, they get excited to join. It is a place they can study, get to know other members, or just relax between classes.

In general, these four recruitment tips have worked for us, and hopefully they will work for you:

1. Personal connection is best. Students are looking for a place to belong and to meet other students, faculty, and staff that they can connect with. Make your correspondence local, from your college email. It helps if students learn about PTK from your advisors, administrators, and student leaders.

2. Make your mark on campus. On Mondays, we wear PTK. Students earn a shirt by attending induction or completing a service opportunity. Our PTK shirts have helped us get our name out in the campus community, which helps increase membership.

3. Create campus perks. PTK headquarters offers awesome incentives to join, but create a few more on your own campus. At OCC, we have priority class registration, lounge access, monthly leadership and service opportunities, and monthly pizza! Helps students see that there are perks both at the international and local level.

4. Partner with your Foundation or administration. Ask for financial assistance from your college to help students join PTK. Our chapter has worked hard to prove to our college that PTK benefits students, and we are so fortunate to have them support us in the form of paying the majority of students’ PTK membership fees. College budgets are increasingly tight and getting tighter by the day, so even if this is not feasible at your college, ask administration for just a little help. Maybe they can offer one or two scholarships or help you create a program where faculty or staff sponsors a student’s registration. It can’t hurt to ask, and every little bit helps!