Posted on December 15th in REACH Blog

An Introvert Out of Her Shell

Zoe Horne, Phi Theta Kappa member and Wake Tech Student
By Laurie Clowers, Vice President of Communications and Marketing Communications and Marketing at Wake Tech

Editorial note: This blog was originally posted here by Wake Technical Community College.

As an introvert, Zoe Horne is perfectly content taking her Wake Tech courses online from the comfort of home. And fortunately, Wake Tech has a lot to offer her: The college is a leader in online education, making Newsweek’s list of America’s Top Online Colleges for two years in a row.

In February 2022, however, Horne received an email that changed everything. She was invited to join Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the official international honor society for two-year colleges. Not knowing much about PTK, she decided to attend a virtual orientation session and liked what she heard. She learned that just having been invited to join PTK was an honor – students must have completed 12 credit hours toward a degree and have a GPA of 3.5 or above. She also learned about the doors it could open through leadership activities, potential scholarships and opportunities to meet and network with other students and faculty advisors. She registered immediately, paid the membership fee and got involved.

“I enjoyed meeting so many new people,” Horne says. “I quickly realized that I can learn so much from others instead of always going it alone.”

Horne says candidly that involvement in PTK among Wake Tech students had waned in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, when the chapter put out a call for new officers a month after she joined, she eagerly stepped up and was named vice president.

“I saw it as an opportunity for personal growth and learning,” she says. “Serving as vice president allowed me to actively participate and contribute to the rebuilding of our chapter.”

Horne helped organize chapter meetings and promoted a post-pandemic resurgence of in-person activities and events on campus, such as “Facts and Snacks.” After a year in the role, she decided to take her involvement to a new level by running for a regional office.

Organizing a full-fledged campaign gave her a chance to hone skills such as writing speeches and creating brochures, and she learned how to dress professionally and promote herself publicly. In March, she was elected vice president of the Carolinas Region, which includes North Carolina, South Carolina and Bermuda.

“I never thought I would become a regional vice president,” she says. “It has been an enriching journey of learning. Being around so many people who are successful has inspired me to become successful, too!”

As a regional officer, Horne has had the opportunity to represent the Carolinas Region at Catalyst, the annual international PTK convention in Columbus, Ohio, where she served as a voting delegate for the Wake Tech chapter in the election of international candidates. She is now collaborating on a service project with peers across the Carolinas Region.

Horne meets regularly with PTK advisors at Wake Tech to discuss chapter matters and seek guidance from advisors on activities and projects. She has assisted with training incoming officers for the Wake Tech chapter. She is also involved in planning the Carolinas Region Honors Institute, which will be held at North Carolina Wesleyan University in July. The institute will focus on leadership development and organizing the Honors in Action project, which involves research-based initiatives.

Horne plans to become a nurse practitioner in mental health, and she’s confident that her PTK leadership experience will serve her well as she works toward that goal. “The fact that I have been able to do this,” she says, “makes me want to do even more!”

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