Phi Theta Kappa’s 2015-2016 International President Yanik Etan was one of 33 two-year college students selected to attend the 2015 Men of Color Student Leadership Institute. The institute was held October 29-November 1, 2015, in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Presidents’ Round Table, an organization of African-American community college presidents and CEO’s throughout the United States, sponsors the annual event, which focuses on educating minority males attending two-year colleges. The group is an affiliate of the National Council on Black American Affairs and the American Association of Community Colleges.
“Not only was I motivated from the content and information shared, but I also felt empowered,” said Etan, a student at the College of Central Florida. “I felt revitalized in the sense that I was made aware of my true purpose as I continue my journey of higher education and, most importantly, life.
“This conference has rejuvenated me, greatly widened my vision and increased my knowledge on the importance of serving as a student leader in Phi Theta Kappa.”
Students were required to apply to the conference. Only 33 African-American, Hispanic and Asian men hailing from such countries as the United States, Jamaica, Ghana, Libya, Korea and Mexico were in attendance. An advisor was also required to attend with each student.
“I was amazed at the diversity with regards to various nationalities,” Etan said. “One of the most exciting characteristics about this group of attendees is that almost one-third of them were Phi Theta Kappa members.”
The institute’s student track focused on self-image, college completion and career readiness, personal health and wellness, entrepreneurship, the development of an independent nature and lifestyle, financial literacy and parenting and relationships. The attendees were also divided into small groups where they participated in a Speed Mentoring Roundtable with college presidents, who imparted three life lessons and suggested two books to read.
“It was truly a special experience to watch these presidents share with and mentor the students,” said Mia Ramos-Shirley, Phi Theta Kappa’s Associate Director of Regional and Chapter Development for Division III, who attended the conference with Etan. “What was most impressive was the transformation I saw in these young men over such a short period of time.”
Advisors attending with the students met separately to discuss societal factors affecting the success of men of color as well as programs at their respective institutions focused on initiatives for minority males.