Phi Theta Kappa will soon add another country to its international roster. On March 21, the new Beta Chi Upsilon Chapter at Bermuda College will induct 15 members.
“It’s important to recognize scholarship, and through PTK, we have a unique opportunity at Bermuda College to institutionalize this,” said Dr. Lisa Osborne, co-advisor of the new chapter. “Through the launch of PTK at Bermuda College, we are pioneers who are promoting academic excellence and helping students develop their leadership skills.”
Lisa grew up in Bermuda and is a first-generation college graduate. She received an associate degree from Bermuda College before completing a bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree in the United States. She’s the director of the Academic Resource Centre at Bermuda College.
She and fellow advisor Nikkita Scott were approached by Bermuda College’s Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Phyllis Curtis-Tweed about starting a PTK chapter on campus.
“We took the ball and ran with it,” Lisa said. “When I completed the Five Star Advisor course, I recognized just how valuable it would be for our students and our campus.
“I’m most excited about helping students develop their academic and leadership skills and fulfill their potential.”
Bermuda College is the only institution physically located on the island that offers open access to higher education. The island is located about 600 miles off the coast of the Carolinas.
Nikkita said that, like many community colleges, Bermuda College struggles with the perception that a two-year college is less prestigious than a four-year. Yet, for the majority of students on the island, it is the only option for those pursuing a next step or a second chance.
“So, in addition to becoming accredited by (the New England Association of Schools and Colleges), PTK is further proof that our students have the opportunity to reach for and demonstrate excellence,” she said.
Nikkita was also born in Bermuda but moved at age 2 to Halifax, Nova Scotia, as her parents pursued higher education. She returned to Bermuda at age 7, only to leave again 10 years later for her own education. She lived in Europe, Canada, and the United States before returning to the island nearly 20 years ago. She is the director of Counseling and Student Activities at Bermuda College.
To achieve anything beyond an associate degree or certificate, students in Bermuda must leave the island to study elsewhere, just as Lisa and Nikkita did. Then, as international students, they have limited options for scholarships, grants, and employment to help pay for college.
Opportunities through Phi Theta Kappa could help with those challenges.
“I’m in the midst of working through the Five Star (Advisor) curriculum, and what has caught my attention the most are the opportunities around the Honors in Action Projects and case study opportunities,” Nikkita said. “It appears to be a wonderful opportunity to engage our students by expanding their thinking and understanding of the world beyond the 21 square miles that is Bermuda.”
Lisa and Nikkita have been busy preparing for the upcoming chartering and induction ceremony. Amanda Karpinski, 2017-2018 International President and current Alumni Representative on the PTK Board of Directors, will be the guest speaker.
“Everyone is eagerly anticipating this groundbreaking event,” Lisa said.
Photo of Bermuda College by Cherie J. Richardson