Regional Grants Awarded to Develop Leadership, Build Honors in Action

Regional conferences and projects are getting a $110,000 boost from Phi Theta Kappa Headquarters in the form of regional grants.

Twenty-two of the 29 Phi Theta Kappa regions will receive grants of $5,000 each. The funds will be used to supplement costs for conference programming and regional projects that will directly impact students. View the list of regions receiving grants.

“Our regions are hosting some incredible events and doing some really amazing work, and we’re happy to support them in their efforts,” Phi Theta Kappa’s Vice President of Membership and Student Engagement Dr. Susan Scaggs said. “Getting engaged on a regional level means our students have the ability to make a real difference beyond their college campuses.”

The grants can be used for regional conferences that take place during the 2016-2017 academic year. Many regions plan to use the funds to bring in expert speakers to address a particular Honors Study Topic theme. Below are four examples of how these grants will impact a region and its Phi Theta Kappa members.

Alabama’s Leadership Conference

Each year the Alabama Region conducts a statewide Honors in Action project, with each chapter selecting one or two members to serve on the regional research team. The capstone event for this project is the Honors in Action Leadership Conference, which brings all ideas and participants together for a panel discussion, small group sessions and outdoor team-building exercises and to determine if any further action is needed on the project itself.

To strengthen the leadership development training, the region will use its grant to secure a keynote speaker that can move its members into action as leaders and inspire them to become more globally responsible and aware.

“Our regional Honors in Action project allows students to grow as scholars as they complete research and facilitate activities that invite collaboration with numerous organizations in their communities,” Regional Coordinator Nora Lee said. “As they develop and strengthen leadership skills, they are learning to work with a diverse team to become responsible servant leaders in their colleges and communities.

“It is our hope that by being able to financially invest in a high-quality motivational speaker, we will provide a lasting impact that ripples through our region and results in more chapters being a part of this experience.”

Building Programming in the Indiana Region

The Indiana Region is all about development: they’re focusing on a robust membership campaign; they’re hosting a statewide Commit to Complete event this fall; and they’re helping more chapters achieve a Five Star status.

The region plans to divide its grant between its Fall Honors Conference and the Spring Regional Conference. In the fall, the intent is to bring in a speaker who can discuss strengths-based leadership or an equivalent program in line with the honors conference’s focus on Honors in Action and leadership development.

For the spring conference, the region hopes to secure a speaker who can focus again on leadership as well as on future opportunities for Phi Theta Kappa members.

“Leadership development is something that is not addressed in the curriculum of our community colleges, particularly Ivy Tech, so it is our intention to build and continue a legacy of excellence,” Regional Coordinator Leo Studach said. “By equipping our students with the needed leadership tools to be effective chapter leaders and community leaders, we will continue to build our programming with this grant and build our leadership base among our students.”

Middle States Completes Week

The week of October 17-21 has been dubbed Middle States Completes Week and will feature coordinated statewide completion initiatives in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Washington, DC.

The week will begin with a kick-off event on Saturday, October 15. Morning programming will promote chapter and college events taking place throughout the coming week.

Afternoon programming will focus on Honors in Action in general and on the Middle States Regional Honors in Action Project in particular. The region will use its grant to fund C4 supplies for all of its chapters and to secure a keynote speaker for the Honors in Action presentation.

“Providing workshops on completion events will assist chapters in implementing their own,” said Regional Coordinator Pattie Van Atter. “Likewise, providing a regional Honors in Action Project may assist a chapter that is not ready to implement their own but would like to be a part of a regional project.

“And, Middle States Completes also works to increase Phi Theta Kappa awareness.”

The region also hopes the added engagement through Middle States Completes Week will lead to more chapters achieving Five Star Status on an international level and Gold Status on a regional level.

Food Sustainability in New England

The New England Regional Honors in Action Project is researching and addressing food sustainability in Worcester, Massachusetts, home of Quinsigamond Community College, the site of the region’s fall conference. The region hopes to secure an environmental speaker to speak on sustainable neighborhoods and communities.

The action aspect of the project is helping build a greenhouse for Worcester on the Quinsigamond Community College campus. It’s a way for the region to work together in fellowship to create a sustainable environment for the students and families living in the Worcester area, and it will allow the students to put what they learn in the conference portion into action.

Regional Coordinator Michelle Coach also hopes this regional Honors in Action Project will serve as an outline for how individual chapters can plan and complete projects. Regional officers will start the work, and then conference attendees will be brought into the research and action aspects, creating an overall Honors in Action experience for the students.

“It has been many years since New England has done a regional project, and we want this next regional conference to be service and research driven so the students leave the conference inspired, driven and ready to complete their Honors in Action projects.”

Motivate Your Members with Enhanced Membership

Phi Theta Kappa alumna Tam Nguyen was actively involved in the Alpha Alpha Rho Chapter during her time at Lone Star College-North Harris in Texas. She served as a chapter officer and completed the Five Star Competitive Edge program and the Leadership Development Studies program, earning Enhanced Member status in her chapter.

Her hard work paid off, as she was recently named the Outstanding Junior at the University of Houston’s Cullen College of Engineering, where she is a mechanical engineering student.

“I always try to put in my best and avoid doing just the minimum to get by,” Nguyen said in a Cullen College article about her.

The Alpha Alpha Rho Chapter uses its Enhanced Membership program to increase participation among its members. It also allows members to learn more about the opportunities available to them as Phi Theta Kappa members.

“We find that the tracking form also helps when it is time to apply for scholarships and for letters of recommendation,” chapter advisor Laura Dupree said. “Teamwork increases, and it helps members learn about leadership. Ultimately, sometimes it helps recruit officers too.

“Really it is easy and only requires some participation and documentation.”

Any chapter may offer an Enhanced Membership Program, and there are no official requirements from Headquarters for setting one up. The Alpha Alpha Rho Chapter uses a point system and rewards participating members who earn 30 points in one semester.

Points are earned through simple things like attending a weekly chapter meeting, wearing a Phi Theta Kappa shirt to the meeting, volunteering at chapter events and serving in leadership positions. Students may also earn points by engaging in Phi Theta Kappa programs: completing a CollegeFish profile, reaching Five Star Competitive Edge status, completing the Leadership Development Studies Program, submitting scholarship applications, researching Honors in Action topics and helping implement Honors in Action and College Projects.

Points are also awarded for traveling to workshops, conferences and conventions with the chapter.

“We also have a section for other opportunities designated by the advisors for times when something unique comes up,” Dupree said. “Recently when the flood hit Houston, we gave points to members helping with the relief effort Phi Theta Kappa headed up and for donating certain items. Over 300 people were served that week.”

Members can achieve Enhanced Member status multiple times during their time at the college. The first time they complete the program, they are given free honor cords for graduation. The second time — reaching Continued Enhanced Membership status — they receive a free tassel, and the third time they receive a free stole.

They’ve also had members become Master Enhanced Members, meaning they hit the requirements for Enhanced Membership four semesters.

Enhanced Members also earn special perks. Only Enhanced Members may travel using chapter funds with the chapter unless it is their first semester. And, Enhanced Members are given a free ticket to the college’s annual Student Life Awards ceremony, and they receive a certificate for the efforts.

Nguyen’s campus engagement through the Enhanced Membership program led to multiple awards and recognitions. She received the Phi Theta Kappa Outstanding Member Award for commendable service and leadership and the Phi Theta Kappa Living with Victory Award for completing Students Helping Students Training.

She also received a Peer Leadership Award for tutoring and mentoring multiple first-time college students and was presented the Lone Star Leadership College Award.

“From a fairly reserved and quiet student, Tam found her wings and soared at Lone Star College-North Harris,” Dupree said. “Clearly she continues to reach greater heights at the University of Houston in the Cullen College of Engineering. There is no stopping her now, and it will be very interesting to see what she does with her doctoral degree in mechanical engineering.

“The role that the Alpha Alpha Rho Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa played for Tam was truly transformational, just as it is for many other students.”

Nguyen continues to be actively involved at Cullen College. In 2015, she received a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship at the University of Houston, and she is currently the president of the Society of Asian Engineering Students.

Read more about other Enhanced Membership programs.

Photo courtesy of the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering: Carlos Landa

Raise Money, Inspire Leaders at Relays For Life

Phi Theta Kappa chapters raised more than $65,000 for the American Cancer Society through participation in Relay For Life events in 2015.

This is the 13th year Phi Theta Kappa chapters have partnered with the American Cancer Society to participate in Relay For Life events. Chapters have raised more than $3.8 million for the organization since 2002, making this the longest and most robust partnership the nonprofit has had with a member-based organization.

The American Cancer Society recently announced the Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative, which will provide grants to expand the adoption and implementation of 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free policies on college campuses across the nation. Grants will be funded to campus organizations like Relay For Life committees. The deadline to apply is Monday, May 30.

The Top 10 fundraising chapters were recognized at NerdNation 2016. Now, some of our successful chapters and alumni associations are sharing what they’ve learned to help you raise money and engage your members.

Alpha Nu Omega — $7,776

The Alpha Nu Omega Chapter from Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) in Pennsylvania raised the most money in 2015 at $7,776, but they didn’t do it alone. Participation from all five college campuses as well as area alumni helped them take the top spot.

Eighty chapter members, 22 alumni, 10 HACC faculty and staff members and around 40 friends and family members participated in the chapter’s Relay For Life campaign. The chapter formed six teams — one for each campus plus one for alumni — and participated in four Relay For Life events.

“Being that we have five campuses spread out across Central Pennsylvania, we needed to present our members and alumni with options,” said alumnus Michael Shoemaker.

The bulk of the funds were raised through private donations, silent auctions, bake sales and item sales at the events. The alumni team also raffled off a $500 VISA card, a custom-designed queen-sized quilt and nearly 30 gift baskets.

“You have to be persistent,” he said. “You’re going to hear the word ‘no’ a lot. You can’t take it personally, and you can’t let it put you in a place of feeling defeated and wanting to quit.”

The Alpha Nu Omega Chapter sees Relay For Life as more than a simple service project — Shoemaker said involvement does wonders for a chapter’s team-building skills.

“Through participation, the chapter will identify leaders, allow them to grow in their leadership roles and be able to analyze what worked and what didn’t,” he said. “The chapter will also need to research their local events, look into population spending habits and see what worked at other local events and prior Relay events.”

Shoemaker said it’s important to treat your volunteers with respect. Use a personal touch in your requests for donation, allow people to share their stories and think positively. And of course, have fun.

“A chapter is helping an amazing cause, and they should be having fun while doing it,” he said.

Alpha Mu Tau — $4,004

The Alpha Mu Tau Chapter from Collin College in Texas raised just over $4,000 with a team of 20 participants. 2015 was their sixth year to take part in a Relay For Life event.

“The fight against cancer and the overall Relay For Life event is a noble cause to support and work alongside of in order to make an everlasting impact for future generations and families,” said Angelica-Jasmine Bates, Alpha Mu Tau’s Vice President of Service. “Our chapter offered our services and had a memorable experience with the mentality that we are all capable of making a difference for others.”

Over the years, Alpha Mu Tau has held bake sales, hosted give-back nights at local restaurants, raffled off donated goods from local businesses and sold henna tattoos. They also ask local businesses to sponsor them by making a donation in exchange for putting their company name on the back of the team’s official t-shirt.

Relay For Life events have helped the Alpha Mu Tau Chapter engage with the local community and become more visible. Chapter members have formed close bonds amid their passion in finding a cure for cancer. Participants have watched their small donations join with others to make a big impact.

“Each and every one of us holds a seed of potential to be that difference and leave an impact on others,” Bates said. “The smallest things could become the most influential and be of great importance to someone else.”

Alpha of Ohio Alumni Association — $1,409

For the Alpha of Ohio Alumni Association, participating in Relay For Life events is a way to show current members that they support their efforts and to stay involved with their community.

“It’s a way of being grateful for the gifts you’ve been given,” said alumna Angelia Greenawalt. “There are many students that cancer has touched, so seeing us work so hard to eradicate it gives hope to many.”

Nearly all of the Alpha of Ohio members have been touched in some way by cancer, and the group participates each year in a Relay in Grove City, Ohio.

Alpha of Ohio accepted donations for the team at their table in the Marketplace of the 2015 Ohio Regional Convention. Their alumni members also donated money, and a variety of fundraisers were held, including yard sales and bazaars. The group also sold bracelets and ribbons throughout the year, and they sold various items at the Relay event.

David Kwong is Bringing the Magic to Honors Institute

David Kwong has taken two nerdy obsessions and turned them into one pretty cool career.

He’s an illusionist who studied the history of magic at Harvard University. He’s also a veteran puzzle creator and has constructed crossword puzzles for the New York Times, the LA Times and other national publications.

He marries the two obsessions with what has become his signature trick: he constructs an original crossword puzzle with a hidden message in front of a live audience. Watch him do it.

“I found my voice,” he said in a 2013 interview with the LA Times. “And that voice has landed me these major feature films and corporate engagements. Now it’s very clear: I’m bringing something new to the art form. I’m not your birthday party magician in a purple suit.”

Kwong will bring his particularly puzzling illusions to the 2016 Honors Institute, June 20-25 at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, where he will show us how we can all solve problems, find order and make situations work.

His fascination with magic began as a child when he watched a simple trick performed in a pumpkin patch — and saw that his parents were stumped. He taught himself the basics with a children’s magic set and sleight-of-hand books.

After Harvard, he worked briefly in marketing for HBO before moving to Hong Kong, where he performed magic at corporate parties and cocktail hours. He then relocated to Los Angeles to work as an archivist for magician and actor Ricky Jay.

Kwong then followed his passion for film to DreamWorks, where he worked as a member of the animation story department. When he was asked to consult on a string of magical films — including “Now You See Me,” “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” and “The Immigrant” —he saw a unique opportunity to make magic his full-time gig.

He formed the Misdirectors Guild, a group of magicians who consult on film and television projects that need expertise on illusion and subterfuge. He brought his puzzle expertise along too, serving as a puzzle consultant for television and film, such as “The Imitation Game.”

Don’t miss this magical experience — register for Honors Institute by May 27.

For the Beta Delta Chi Chapter, It’s Personal

The Beta Delta Chi Chapter from Cabarrus College of Health Sciences in North Carolina had a 91 percent membership acceptance rate in 2015 — by far the highest in the entire Society — putting them at the top of Phi Theta Kappa’s 2016 President’s List.

The President’s List was announced in April and is a ranking of the top chapters by membership acceptance rate.

Yes, Beta Delta Chi is a small chapter from a small school, but there are lessons behind their success — and they’re surprisingly simple.

Perhaps most importantly, faculty and staff members at the college actively encourage their students to become Phi Theta Kappa members. Chapter advisors Zinat Hassanpour and Tiffany Brunson are in key roles to promote the chapter — Hassanpour chairs of the Associate of Science Degree program, so nearly all of the approximately 600 students at the college must take her courses.

Likewise, Brunson is an instructor in the nursing program — one of the largest programs at the college — which puts her in front of many eligible students as well.

“We see the students in and out of the classroom, so we’re able to make more of a personal connection with them than anything else,” Hassanpour said. “Everybody knows everybody.”

When Hassanpour gets her list of eligible students each semester, she shares it with all department and program chairs at the college so they can see which of their students are on the list. She and Brunson also make sure their fellow faculty members know the benefits and opportunities available to Phi Theta Kappa members.

“The program chairs of the other departments are really instrumental in encouraging their students to join Phi Theta Kappa if they are eligible and to become active,” Brunson said.

The chapter has moved away from sending letters to eligible students and instead relies on emailed invitations and word of mouth. They also switched to online acceptance, which they said is more convenient for the students.

They recruit new members twice each semester. They draw a crowd to their orientation meetings with free food and use the opportunity to give a PowerPoint presentation on the benefits of Phi Theta Kappa membership. The chapter maintains an active Facebook page, and the officers run a community on Canvas, the school’s online learning platform.

Current members promote the chapter heavily to their peers, and the chapter tries to select officers that represent each of the different academic programs on campus.

One other personal touch: Hassanpour personally delivers certificates and white roses to new members who weren’t able to come to the induction ceremony.

The chapter also participates in all college events and designs its service projects to appeal to the college community as a whole. Past projects include Hats for Hope, Project Graduation and a Big Brother-Big Sister mentoring program.

“The fundraisers that we host tend to get the entire college involved, which increases visibility as well,” Brunson said.

See the 2016 President’s List and look for stories about other chapters on it coming soon.

13 Opportunities to Learn More about Honors in Action

You already know Honors Institute offers a unique look at the Honors Study Topic, How the World Works: Global Perspectives, through keynote speakers and seminar group discussions. The weeklong event also provides a breakdown of the Honors in Action program itself through a series of optional Educational Forums.

Educational Forums will be held Tuesday, June 21, and Friday, June 24, to give you an in-depth look at the Honors in Action program overall and then to take you “Beyond the Basics” of research, awareness and more.

We hope you’ll join us for one of these special presentations that are designed for chapters of every size and experience level. There are multiple options during each time frame. Here are the topics and schedule (please note that this is subject to change):

Tuesday, June 21

2:30-3:25 p.m.

1. “Honors in Action 101” — introduction and overview
2. Using the Honors in Action Rubric
3. Beyond the Basics — Honors in Action Research

3:40-4:50 p.m.

1. Beyond the Basics — Honors in Action Exercise of Leadership and Leadership Development
2. Beyond the Basics — Action, Awareness and Advocacy
3. College Project Best Practices
4. International Honors Certificates

Friday, June 24

2:30-3:25 p.m.

1. International Honors Certificates
2. Best Practices and Problem Solving — Outreach and Collaborating with Others
3. Coaching Honors in Action

3:40-4:50 p.m.

1. Beyond the Basics — Honors in Action Reflective Practices
2. Best Practices and Problem Solving — Creating Strong Honors in Action Projects in Small Chapters
3. Using the Honors in Action Rubric

The 2016 Honors Institute is June 20-25 at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. Spots are filling up fast —the regular registration deadline is Friday, May 27. See the full schedule, view the speaker lineup and reserve your spot.

Following Honors Institute, we will begin a weekly series on The Reach blog focused on these session topics to refresh what you learned and share the information with those who were unable to attend.

Twice as Nice: Secrets of the 2016 Most Distinguished Chapter

The Alpha Rho Mu Chapter at Lone Star College-Tomball in Texas left NerdNation 2015 in San Antonio on top of the world — the small chapter had been named the 2015 Most Distinguished Chapter.

But much work was ahead. The entire officer team was graduating, and the chapter would have to start from scratch.

New officers were in place, and their training was underway. Plans for the Honors in Action Project and College Project were in initial stages.

It would be a long road to NerdNation 2016 in National Harbor, but they would again leave on top. The Alpha Rho Mu Chapter was named the 2016 Most Distinguished Chapter, a title that has been given to a chapter in back-to-back years only three other times.

“It was thrilling, surprising and humbling,” said chapter advisor Dr. Rebecca Tate. “I don’t think our officers expected it. I never expected it.

“We realize the competition is fierce. Phi Theta Kappans are the best of the best, and there are amazing advisors who are much, much more experienced at coaching than I am. So it was very humbling, and everyone was very grateful.”

Building Excellence

The Alpha Rho Mu Chapter has an acceptance rate of about 10 to 15 percent. They induct about 100 students each semester, and they average between 20 and 40 students per meeting.

Engaging prospective members begins at the first orientation — they hold four each semester. A slideshow of photos from the year’s events plays, and Tate provides a list of all four-year colleges in Texas that offer transfer scholarships to Phi Theta Kappa members.

The induction ceremony itself is a way to introduce new members and their families and friends to the benefits of membership, Phi Theta Kappa programs and the chapter’s service projects. Successful Phi Theta Kappa alumni speak about how the organization changed their lives, reaching students on a level they can relate to.

“We have found that the best way to engage members is to give them a significant role in selecting projects,” chapter president Charles Kivlehen said. “When they feel that projects are important, and those projects resonate with their personal interests, you get a lot of motivated and engaged members eager to contribute.”

Extensive scholarship workshops are held throughout the school year. Service projects are selected based on member feedback, so they’re projects the students are inherently interested in.

“They discover there’s more to being a student than a classroom,” Tate said. “What you do outside the classroom is just as important.”

Communication is key: weekly meetings, bulletin boards on campus, extensive emails, member surveys, a website, social media and videos work together to engage members and the entire campus.

“We also have our Most Distinguished Chapter banners displayed in the common area on campus where other students can see them,” Tate said.

Developing Chapter Leaders

Tate and her co-advisor, Dr. William Simcik, identify potential chapter officers in early spring. Interested students shadow current officers, attend meetings and assist with the induction ceremony rehearsal. Once officers are selected, they meet one-on-one with their predecessors.

“Every member of this year’s officer team started out as a provisional member and embraced the ideals of the Society before we had even been inducted,” Kivlehen said. “Phi Theta Kappa brings out the best in members, and we feel that the sooner any given student becomes invested in the Society and the success of the chapter, the greater the benefit for them and for the chapter.”

Two officers — usually the President and the Vice President of Scholarship — are selected to attend Honors Institute along with Tate.

“To me, bringing students to Honors Institute is one of the most important things an advisor can do,” she said. “I feel the success of both 2015 and 2016 are directly related to Honors Institute.”

Tate and the officers attend all general sessions, seminar group meetings and breakout sessions; and in their free time, they find a quiet spot on campus to compare notes and brainstorm about the Honors Study Topic themes and potential research questions.

“Honors Institute really gets them focused on the academics,” she said. “It’s wonderful inspiration for them.”

The officer team will continue to meet throughout the summer as they research the Honors Study Topic and narrow their focus to one of the themes. And, they will begin studying the Hallmark Award rubrics to ensure their projects align with the Hallmark applications.

“The people at Headquarters who created the programming know that the rubrics, which are lists of elements, skills and outcomes that they’re looking for, create meaningful projects,” Tate said.

The Projects

For its Honors in Action Project, Alpha Rho Mu researched frontiers of cancer treatments, concluding that the most promising frontier was Immune Checkpoint Blockade (ICB), a little-known form of immunotherapy available through clinical trials at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) in Texas and other National Cancer Institutes around the country.

“There’s a real lack of awareness of immunotherapy — people don’t even know to ask about it,” Tate said. “But when it works, it’s a cure.”

The chapter hosted an awareness seminar focusing on this treatment and targeting cancer patients, their families and friends, medical personnel and the public. Dr. James Allison, the discoverer of ICB and the 2015 recipient of the prestigious Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award and Dr. Padmanee Sharma, oncologist and Scientific Director of the Immunotherapy Platform at MDACC, spoke to more than 400 people at the event.

Clinical trial packets, which included steps for navigating the MDACC website, a list of National Cancer Institute locations across the country where these trials are available, and a pamphlet describing the stages of clinical trials, were made available to all attendees.

The College Project was designed to extend the G3 (GRIT, Growth and Greatness) campus initiative into the community. The goal was to promote future college enrollment and lifelong success, and the focus was on at-risk high school-aged residents of a local foster care facility called Boys and Girls Country.

“Many of the children come from homes in crisis and have at-risk backgrounds,” Tate said. “Because many of these children have never thought about college, we wanted to get them on the college campus in some way.”

Chapter members started with social interactions like regular pizza parties and talked to the students about their college experiences. Next, the students were brought to campus for a study skills seminar and a tour.

A community service aspect was added, where the teens, chapter members, and faculty and administrators from the college worked together to make fleece blankets for residents of an Alzheimer’s care facility.

The final piece was a nine-week tutoring program, half of which took place at Boys and Girls Country and the other half on campus.

“These students went from thinking they couldn’t go to college to thinking they could be in an honor society,” Tate said.

The Takeaway

In the end, the Alpha Rho Mu Chapter doesn’t focus on awards. They prepare early and prepare well, and they choose projects their members, their campus and their community have a vested interest in.

“Keep your focus on what makes Phi Theta Kappa great: meaningful service,” Kivlehen said. “If you put your efforts into the betterment of your colleges and communities, then you will naturally become competitive in the chapter rankings.”

Bonus: Check out NerdNation 2016 through the eyes of the Alpha Rho Mu Chapter, including the moment they were named Most Distinguished Chapter for the second year in a row. Watch the video.

Why You Should Grow Your Chapter This Summer

Who says you can only enroll new members in the spring or fall? Adding Phi Theta Kappa’s Summer Enrollment Option allows you to add new members as soon as they’re eligible and keeps fresh, friendly faces in your chapter year round.

We’ve got five reasons for you to consider the Summer Enrollment Option:

1. Opening summer enrollment provides increased access and opportunity to qualified students on your campus.

2. Students may have missed out on accepting membership in previous semesters, and for some, summer may be their last chance.

3. Students may be eager to start enjoying membership benefits ASAP, such as completing Five Star Competitive Edge over the summer.

4. Achieving a high acceptance rate over the summer may bring your chapter closer to earning REACH Rewards.

5. It’s an opportunity to continue the momentum year round on your path to Five Star Chapter Plan success or to reinvigorate your chapter by adding new members.

Interested? Great! Here’s how you do it.

First, load a list of eligible students. For chapters that are part of the Headquarters Membership Recruitment Campaign (MRC), invitations will only be sent out via email during the summer.

We can also send email invitations for those chapters that are not part of the MRC. Log in to; click “My Society;” click “Eligible Students” and then check the “Allow Invitations from Headquarters” box. Once you check the box, your eligible students will receive the invitation email within five to ten minutes, allowing them to instantly pay and accept membership. They will also receive a “last chance” reminder message three days before your summer enrollment period ends.

No need to organize a special induction ceremony. Students accepting membership over the summer may participate in a future induction ceremony and/or orientation if they continue their enrollment on your campus.

Headquarters staff will be available all summer to assist should your students have any questions. We highly recommend that advisors send an email to pre-notify eligible summer students. This can be done on the Phi Theta Kappa website.

Questions? Email

Ainissa Ramirez: Science Evangelist

When she was just 4 years old, Dr. Ainissa Ramirez knew she wanted to be a scientist, inspired by an African American girl on the PBS science show “3-2-1 Contact.”

She didn’t know any scientists personally, and none lived in her working-class New Jersey neighborhood. Still, she held a deep love of learning and was in the library every day after school.

“Being exposed to new people and new ideas gives you an opportunity to find out more about yourself, about what you like and what you don’t like,” she wrote in a TED-Ed Blog post. “Seek out role models, and follow that path until a better one presents itself.”

Ramirez will present the Freeman Lecture during the 2016 Honors Institute, June 20-25 at Wake Forest University. The Freeman Lecture is sponsored by Drs. Joyce and Janice Freeman, Phi Theta Kappa alumni who currently serve on the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation Board of Trustees.

Ramirez studied materials science and engineering at Brown University and then received her Ph.D. from Stanford University. She conducted award-winning research at Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, in Murray Hill, New Jersey, before joining the faculty at Yale University as an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science.

In her time at Yale, she directed the award-winning science lecture series for children called Science Saturdays and hosted two popular-science video series called Material Marvels and Science Xplained.

MIT’s Technology Review magazine named Ramirez one of the world’s 100 Top Young Innovators for her contributions to transforming technology. She has written more than 50 technical papers, she holds six patents, and she has presented her work worldwide. She co-authored Newton’s Football: The Science Behind America’s Game and authored Save Our Science: How to Inspire a New Generation of Scientists.

Ramirez now works as a science evangelist committed to improving the public’s understanding of science. She gave an impassioned TED Talk in 2012 that called for science education to be reformed — rather than memorization, we should be teaching children to solve problems and think for themselves, she argued.

“Children need to explore and to discover,” she said in the talk. “This is how you innovate; you fail your way to your answer.

“Scientists fail all the time; we just brand it differently. We call it ‘data.’ ”

Read more about Ramirez in this Q&A on the TED blog.

Don’t miss Dr. Ainissa Ramirez and the other extraordinary Honors Institute keynote speakers. Register by May 27 to save your spot.