Meet the International Officer, ACA Candidates

PTK Catalyst attendees will decide elections in key leadership positions for the coming year: 2017-2018 International Officers and the Association of Chapter Advisors Secretary for Division 4.

Get to know the candidates for each position, and then join us for PTK Catalyst April 6-8 in Nashville, Tennessee. Register today.

2017-2018 International Officers

Twenty-nine PTK members are vying for the five International Officer positions. An International President and International Vice Presidents for each of the Society’s four divisions will be elected.

These are the highest positions of leadership for students in Phi Theta Kappa. Learn more about serving as an International Officer.

See the candidates:

During PTK Catalyst, candidates will participate in a live Candidate Caucus, sponsored by Cengage, on Thursday, April 6, at 3 p.m., and then in a Political Rally that evening at 9:30. Voting delegates—one member from each chapter in attendance—will then vote online in the primary election.

See full voting details and other opportunities to meet the candidates here.

The 10 Candidate Finalists—two for each position—will be announced live during the Second General Session on Friday, April 7, at 10 a.m. Each of the finalists will receive a $500 International Officer Finalists Award, provided by the Oberndorf Family Foundation, for making it to the final round.

Candidate finalists will return to the stage during the Third General Session on Friday afternoon to deliver speeches on Theme 5 of the 2016/2017 Honors Study Topic, How the World Works: Global Perspectives, Beauty and Vulgarity. Specifically, they will answer the question, “What do changing global classifications of beauty and vulgarity convey about how the world works?”

Voting delegates will again vote online, and the 2017-2018 International Officer Team will be named during the Hallmark Awards Gala on Saturday, April 8.

Delegates—we strongly encourage you to participate in an Educational Forum exclusively for you on Thursday, April 6, at 1:30 p.m.

Association of Chapter Advisors Secretary

Advisors attending PTK Catalyst will elect a Secretary representing Division 4 to the Association of Chapter Advisors (ACA).

All PTK chapter advisors are members of the ACA. The ACA Board consists of four advisors—one from each of the Society’s four divisions—elected to serve as liaisons between advisors and Phi Theta Kappa headquarters staff. Officers begin in the position of Secretary and progress to Vice Chair, Chair and Immediate Past Chair, and they serve four-year terms.

Nominations for this position were accepted earlier this year. The two candidates are:

  • Michelle Gietl, Associate Regional Coordinator of the Rocky Mountain-Cascade Region and advisor to the Alpha Sigma Xi Chapter at Columbia Gorge Community College in Oregon
  • Myriam Moody, advisor to the Alpha Pi Epsilon Chapter at Southwestern College in California

All advisors attending PTK Catalyst, regardless of their division, will vote for this position. Polling will open at 2 p.m. April 5 and close at 10 p.m. April 7. Each attending advisor will receive an email from containing a link to online voting. See full details.

Advisors at PTK Catalyst without email access may use one of the computers at the Voter Registration Booth near convention registration to access their email and cast their votes. The Voter Registration Booth hours are:

  • April 5: 2-6 p.m.
  • April 6: 8 a.m.-11 p.m.
  • April 7: 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Get to know PTK Catalyst Speaker Jamie Hyneman

A native of Marshall, Michigan, Jamie Hyneman admitted to being a “problematic kid,” who hitchhiked around the country when he was 14. After graduating from a high school in Columbus, Indiana, he earned a degree in Russian linguistics from Indiana University.

Hyneman pursued odd jobs, working as a certified dive master, machinist, and animal wrangler before starting a career in special effects work. One of his first jobs was on the set of Top Gun, although he didn’t receive a credit for it. He went on to provide special effects in commercials and served as an animatronics technician in a number of films.

In the mid-90s he created a combat robot and entered the Robot Wars competition with future Mythbusters co-host Adam Savage. Hyneman also started his own special effects company, M5 Industries.

MythBusters sought to test the legitimacy of popular assumptions through special effects tests and experiments. Using the scientific method, the co-hosts recreated the “myth” and showed it to be true or false.

The show quickly became one of the most popular programs on the Discovery Channel, running for 14 seasons before the departure of the two co-hosts.

Now, Hyneman and Savage are moving forward as executive producers for a brand new, as of yet untitled CBS TV series, which will combine action-adventure themes with realistic engineering and science.

Hyneman is also working on full-scale naval vessels for the United State and developing robots for fighting wildfires.

Whether it’s his the new television series or creating a brighter tomorrow through technology, Hyneman is sure to continue his stay in the limelight for the foreseeable future.

Learn more about him and the other speakers for PTK Catalyst 2017 online and register today! Regular registration ends on March 14.

These Universities Make Transferring Easy

These colleges are among 65 recognized as members of Phi Theta Kappa’s Transfer Honor Roll for transfer excellence.

Eastern Michigan University

Like many others contemplating transfer, Washtenaw Community College student Connor Rivera was perplexed as he tried to figure out the next steps in his academic journey and career path.

“Advisors from Eastern Michigan University (EMU) were extremely friendly and helped me understand the MACRAO agreement, which allowed me to save money and transfer my classes to a four-year university,” he said. “Transferring to EMU was the greatest decision of my life.”

The Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars & Admissions Officers (MACRAO) partners with all 28 Michigan community colleges to ensure transfer agreement and resources.

EMU also offers transfer services such as peer to peer mentoring, a transfer club, transfer positions in student government and drop-in office hours. In addition, the essay requirement is waived for PTK members seeking entry into EMU’s honors program.

“Transfer students are very successful at Eastern Michigan University with degree completion, grade point average, and involvement on campus,” said Colleen Kibin, Assistant Director of Community College Relations. “Phi Theta Kappa members have an opportunity to be involved in the Honors College and are eligible to apply for our Phi Theta Kappa scholarships.”

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC), launched its Passport Program in 2010 to assist transfer students.

Candidates offered admission to this bridge program were identified from the UNC freshman applicant pool as students who would benefit from transitional services prior to enrollment. Selection is based on high school grade point averages that fall slightly below UNC freshmen class average but are in alignment with North Carolina community colleges’ measurements for success and placement.

NCCC Pathways provides specific guidance to transfers at North Carolina’s 59 community colleges. Pathways are tailored to each major at UNC and provide community college course equivalencies.

McKenna Jane Smith recently transferred from Piedmont Community College to UNC utilizing the Passport Program.

“My first year I focused more on my classes than anything else,” she said. “It was an adjustment from CPC, but by the spring semester I had all A’s and B’s in my classes.”

Ohio University

Ohio University’s (OU) STEP plan allows students enrolled at any of Ohio’s 20 community colleges to develop a personalized pathway that aids in the seamless completion of an associate and bachelor’s degree, including in-person academic coaching.

“OU and Clark State Community College work together to develop detailed transfer guides, said Clark State Provost Dr. Amit Singh. “Students, parents and academic advisors utilize these transfer guides to make solid decisions about course and major selection.”

Through the OU Transfer Ambassador program, current transfer students write notes and participate in social media communications with prospective students in addition to serving speakers on community college visits.

Terra State Community College graduate Katie Harmon is now a senior at OU.

“My transfer process was a very pleasant one, and I found ease with every part of the process,” she said, adding that she was able to get an up close look at OU during a transfer student visit day.

“My experience was also made easier by having the option of living in a residence hall with a floor of all transfer students,” Katie added. “I made friends with other transfer students and felt at home with the support I received from Ohio University.”

Loyola Marymount University

A transfer from Moorpark College, Jamie Meugniot is now a marketing major at Loyola Marymount University (LMU).

“Transfer was intimidating at first, but LMU hosted transfer-specific events that were a key resource in my transition,” he said. “From faculty and staff, to my peers, I experienced an outpouring of support and genuine care.’

Now Jamie helps other transfer student as an orientation coordinator and president of the Transfer Friends organization on campus

LMU also offers a transfer living community and peer mentoring program to ease the transition.

“At LMU, where transfer students make up 20 percent of our undergraduate population, we have made a decision to invest our resources in recruiting and enrolling the best transfer students in the world,” said Thomas A. Gutto, Director of Transfer Enrollment. “What better partner than PTK?”

See all recipients of the Transfer Honor Roll online, and visit for additional transfer information.

Spring Break? Nah…Spring Scholarships!

Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Sydney Pemberton, International Vice President for Division 3.

Are you a Phi Theta Kappa member? Do you plan on returning to community college in the fall? Are you interested in free money? Well, do I have a deal for you!

The Spring Scholarship Application is now open! That means it’s time to get out your gold stars and show your stuff. The entire application is important, but there’s one place you really need to focus: the scholarship essays.

Scholarship essay writing is not easy, so here are just a few tips that will make the application process…easy? Well, less difficult.

1. List your achievements. I don’t know about everyone else, but I have the hardest time writing about myself. (Let alone making it sound worthy of award). What I have learned to do is create a word document and write down everything I have done, whether it was job positions, extracurricular activities, or community service. Having an outline of your accomplishments makes the writing process easier and helps you see how and where you stand out. If you need some help, check out this template.

2. Get a head start. I get it—we are scholars, busy doing scholarly things. Getting a jump start on the scholarship process will only make your life easier, and it’ll help you avoid the “one size fits all” essay that’s written when you run out of time. You really want to put the time and effort into this one to make it great; besides, this may be your only chance to win thousands of dollars.

3. This is all about you. When you do start writing, don’t forget that the purpose of this essay is to convince the scholarship providers that you’re the student they’ve been dreaming of. The evidence is in the details, so don’t hold back—this is your time to gloat about how awesome you are! Don’t be shy about sharing the specifics of your impact: how many, how much & how often.

4. Find an editor. No, spell check does not count. Take your essay to a good proof-reader, whether it’s a parent, English professor, or your friend who likes to think they are the grammar police. Even some of the best-studied and passionately written essays can be derailed by spelling errors, awkward sentences, or those times you get a little comma happy. You’ve spent so much time looking at your words, it’s easy to miss basic mistakes.

Scholarship essays are the biggest components of your application, but they can also be the biggest headache. Remember these tricks when you begin your application, and you could be on your way to earning big scholarships. Please just make sure your name is spelled right.

More than $250,000 is now available on the Spring Scholarship Application. The app closes May 2 at 5:00 pm CST.

Apply for Spring Scholarships Now Through May 2

As a first-generation college student, Rachel Diaz initially thought the only way she could be successful was by attending a prestigious four-year university, preferably out of state.

“As I realized how expensive this would be, I began looking at two-year community colleges in my area that would provide the high-quality education and extensive hands-on experience I needed without putting too much strain on my family’s finances,” Rachel said.

Miami Dade College brought her the education and success she was seeking; and thanks to the $5,000 Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education award administered by Phi Theta Kappa she received, she kept her family’s budget in check. Now, she has advice for other Phi Theta Kappa members looking for scholarship funds.

“I would tell students to look at other documents or applications they have written, look back on emails, pictures taken throughout the year and any other resources to remind them of what they’ve done and help describe the impact of their efforts on and off campus,” Rachel explained. “It brings back a fresh perspective on their past efforts and makes them easier to write about.”

She also keeps a notebook of quotes and articles she has enjoyed and looks back to it to spark inspiration for answering questions.

“I found this particularly helpful for applications like Phi Theta Kappa’s and for college essays as well,” Rachel said. “Many times, it is easy to get writers block, especially when having to describe yourself, and I found this to be a good refresher to remember the things/people that I like and look up to.”

The Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education is just one opportunity available to members on Phi Theta Kappa’s Spring Scholarship Application, which is now open through May 2. Members can apply for more than $250,000 in scholarships.

The scholarship programs on this application are primarily geared toward students with less than 36 credit hours, and they support the completion of associate degrees. The programs include

The Spring Scholarship Application will be available through Tuesday, May 2, at 5 p.m. CT.

Other Opportunities

The Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship application will open on March 14th. This scholarship helps Phi Theta Kappa members overcome unanticipated financial barriers preventing the completion of their first associate degree or certificate while enrolled at the two-year college.

Up to eight one-time scholarships of $1,000 each will be awarded in spring 2017.

The deadline to apply is Tuesday, May 2 at 5 p.m. CT.

The Hurst Review NCLEX® Scholarship recognizes Phi Theta Kappa members enrolled in nursing degree programs with up to 25 scholarships of $250 to cover the NCLEX® exam fee and a passcode for a free subscription to the premier Hurst NCLEX® Review.

The deadline to apply is March 17.

Visit the Scholarships page to view all scholarship opportunities available for Phi Theta Kappa members.

Register Now for Honors Institute 2017

Registration for the 50th annual Honors Institute is now open! Join us June 5-10 at Loyola University’s Lake Shore Campus in Chicago.

Honors Institute is a five-day conference that brings together members, advisors and alumni to closely examine the Honors Study Topic, How the World Works: Global Perspectives. Throughout the week’s general sessions, internationally and regionally recognized scholars will address the topic from various academic disciplines. Speakers will be announced soon.

“Honors Institute is the ultimate honors programming experience,” said Susan Edwards, Phi Theta Kappa’s Associate Vice President of Honors Programs and Learning. “It’s an intimate, informative and educational experience that leaves a lasting impact on all who attend.”

What to Expect

Each general session presentation is followed by a Seminar Meeting, a small-group discussion led by experienced facilitators—Phi Theta Kappa advisors who have been selected as Faculty Scholars.

As part of the scheduled programming, you’ll participate in a City as Text outing to investigate Chicago neighborhoods with their seminar groups. Each group will then present what it learned about How the World Works during a general session.

The week will also feature educational forums on various aspects of Honors in Action and College Projects. Planned social gatherings allow you to get to know fellow Honors Institute participants.

New this year is Friday’s Explore More! Day. No formal activities are planned so you can further explore the Chicago area.

“Honors Institute is a trip like none other you’ll experience as part of Phi Theta Kappa,” said Lionel Barzon III, a member of the Sigma Lambda Chapter at Calhoun Community College in Alabama who served as a Social Media Intern during the 2016 Honors Institute. “It’s intimate enough to challenge you personally in ways you never imagined, yet broad enough to expand your personal network of close friends and global perspectives.

“If you are presented with the opportunity to travel and be a part of Honors Institute, take it. You’ll never regret it, but you will forever cherish it.”

Be sure to read Lionel’s blog post, “5 Things You’ll Experience at Honors Institute,” for a first-hand look at what you can expect.

Registration and Travel Details

Honors Institute tuition is $895 per person and covers lodging in a campus residence hall, all meals on campus beginning with dinner Monday night, June 5, and ending with breakfast on Saturday, June 10 (except Friday’s Explore More! Day), and the Honors Institute program. Space is limited to 500 participants and is on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration ends May 12.

Commuter registration is available for Chicago-area members and advisors. The commuter registration fee is $600 and covers the Honors Institute program. This registration is also limited.

On-site check-in is from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT on Monday, June 5. Plan to arrive on campus by 4 p.m. CT on Monday, June 5, for the first general session at 6:30 p.m. You may check out as late as 11 a.m. CT on Saturday, June 10.

If you plan to arrive early or stay later, you must make off-campus accommodations.

Question? Email We look forward to seeing you in Chicago!