(Special to westernkansasnews.com)
DODGE CITY, Kan. — Membership in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society goes beyond recognition of academic success and a bullet point on a resume.
While membership in Phi Theta Kappa does come with high academic standards – PTK requires a minimum 3.5 grade point average – it also implies that a student recognizes the value of leadership and service.
Seven new members of Dodge City Community College’s Kappa Psi chapter of PTK received their Golden Key during an induction ceremony in the DC3 Boardroom Tuesday evening, Dec. 4.
PTK members are eligible for millions in exclusive scholarships and grants, as well as opportunities to build the honor society’s four hallmarks of scholarship, leadership, fellowship and service. Perhaps as important as anything, active participation in PTK builds personal connections with a network of like-minded people.
DC3 Vice-President of Academic Affairs and PTK Advisor Jane Holwerda noted that PTK membership is meant to encourage fellowship with others of similar scholastic inclination. PTK members who actively participate in the society’s leadership events and conferences not only learn skills in organizational, planning and implementation activities, but they do so with their peers.
“Fellowship is a key component to Phi Theta Kappa,” Holwerda said. “They’re getting the opportunity to hang out with similar, goal-oriented people who have similar values.
“When you’re a student with real career and academic goals, it’s very important to have a community of peers you can share the frustrations and the successes with.”
New Honor Society members inducted Tuesday are: Bernard Alvarenga, Alexis Juarez, Gustavo Lemos Borba, Kathryn Ludlam, Ruth Mendez, Aneth Morales Canales, and Kyle Wolnik. Ludlam and Morales are the chapter’s All USA/All Kansas nominees.
“These students represent some of the best we have here at Dodge City Community College,” said Dr. Harold Nolte, DC3 president. “They’re all smart people, and being a part of PTK is one of the smartest thing they’ll do.”
DC3 Trustee Dan Reichenborn was the guest speaker. Reichenborn, a retired lifelong educator, supported the college’s PTK chapter by donating some of the proceeds from his pumpkin patch during Halloween.
“The students who are active in PTK are very impressive,” Holwerda said, “not just academically, but in their personality and speaking ability and their overall presentation.”
Members of Kappa Psi traveled with Holwerda to Grand Island, Neb., in September for a PTK Leadership conference – which, along with the requisite networking and leadership activities, included a challenging ropes course that developed comradery and trust, and a trip to St. Jude’s Children Hospital to that reinforced the ever-present need for service.
The fellowship-building and service focus are two of many ways PTK works to expand the perspective of its members, according to Holwerda. She said conferences feature a diverse array of expert speakers whose presentations are as much tacit life lesson as direct instruction.
“They tend to be people with a lot of experience and background in their fields, but they give students useful life advice,” Holwerda said.
“PTK very much broadens your horizons in a practical, tangible way.”
PTK conferences also emphasize development of abilities beyond job skills and knowledge – the soft skills that employers say are increasingly hard to find: communication, critical thinking, professional etiquette, conflict resolution, and adaptability, among others.
Honors In Action conferences are designed to students in research-based community service projects. The Kappa Psi students are currently working on a theme promoting art and culture.
Dodge City Community College Kappa Psi members meet weekly to discuss service and leadership activities, as well as to catch up on personal lives and swap advice for their shared academic travails.
As members of PTK, they are eligible for some of the more than $37 million in transfer scholarships available exclusively to society members. They also have the chance to serve as chapter leadership – an important component of PTK membership.
Current Kappa Psi officers are Sammy Newberry, president; Alexandra Valdiva, vice president Leadership & SGA representative; Christopher Ahumada, chair of Fellowship; Ruth Mendez, chair of Scholarship; Luz Cobian Lepe, chair of Service; Cecilia Wiser, secretary; Aneth Morales Canalez, social media reporter.
Kappa Psi enlisted a total of 18 new members this semester. New Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society members inducted Dec. 4 are: Christopher Ahumada, Bernard Alvarenga, Rebekah Crockett, Kerri Fellers, Natalia Granados, Ryan Hascall, Gabriella Jimenez, Alexis Juarez, Brett Koehn, Gustavo Lemos Borba, Kathryn Ludlam, Brenda Marquez, Ruth Mendez, Aneth Morales Canales, Crystal Putnam, Jardin Sanchez Equihua, Erin Smith, and Kyle Wolnik.
PTK is an internationally-recognized honor society for two-year colleges with more than 2 million members in 1,250 chapters around the world.