Phi Theta Kappa Students Help Achieve the Dream of College Completion

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Eight Phi Theta Kappa students from Oregon community colleges were invited to participate in the recent Achieving the Dream Kickoff, aimed at guiding community college administrators toward the goal of increasing college completion on their campuses.

Phi Theta Kappa Members

Phi Theta Kappa members attend Achieving the Dream Kickoff

The kickoff event for Achieving the Dream's 2012 Cohort was held June 10-13 in Portland, Oregon. Achieving the Dream is a nonprofit group located in Silver Springs, Maryland, focused on improving graduation rates for community college students. The group targets the college's administration and gives them the support and resources they need to raise graduation rates.

"This is the first time we've had students involved in the kickoff," said Mia Ramos, Achieving the Dream's Assistant Director of Programs for New Colleges. "It was incredibly inspiring to see the energy and the motivation of these students behind this initiative."

Participating in the kickoff were Mari Cobb, Patty Neary and Justin Roth, Tillamook Bay Community College; Dean Dier, Megan Romero and Maggie Towel, Klamath Community College; and Jessica Roden and Lacy Timlick, Columbia Gorge Community College.

The students participated in a board game developed by Achieving the Dream to emulate the experience of the college student. Ramos said the presence of the students brought a new perspective to the kickoff, inspiring both Achieving the Dream officials and community college administrators to think even more about student engagement. As Phi Theta Kappa members, these students were already involved with completion efforts on their college campuses through the Community College Completion Corps initiative, a grass-roots campaign aimed at encouraging their college's students to commit to completing a college credential.

"We wanted students who are more involved with the work that's being done at their college," Ramos said. "As a Phi Theta Kappa (alumna) member, I knew Phi Theta Kappa students would be the best students for us to work with."

Ramos also served Phi Theta Kappa as International Vice President for Division I.

Achieving the Dream leads a network of nearly 200 institutions, more than 100 coaches and advisors and 15 state policy teams - working throughout 32 states and the District of Columbia - to help 3.75 million community college students have a better chance at completing their degree or certificate. The 2012 Cohort added 26 community colleges to this network.

College administrators participating in the cohort meet with leadership and data coaches to help determine their achievement gaps.

Learn more about the Community College Completion Corps and how your chapter can participate online at cccompletioncorps.org.