Giving Students a Lifeline to Completion

Peggy Hicks, Anthony Bernal, and Alicia Diggs have something in common. They were all bright students struggling to stay in college until Phi Theta Kappa’s Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship cleared the obstacles in their path to completion.

Of the $90 million in scholarships available to PTK members, the Oberndorf Scholarship is the only one that specifically helps students complete college credentials despite personal challenges that could derail their education plans. Up to 15 $1,000 Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarships are awarded annually.

The scholarship was created by the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation and the 2011-2012 International Officer Team and is named for benefactors Rosemary and Lou Oberndorf.

“At a community college, we know it doesn’t take much to throw (students) off the track to completion,” Lou said. “Completion is critical to me. Completion is the signal to the world that you’ve achieved something, and it will stay with you the rest of your life.”

These three students share how the scholarship kept them on track to complete degrees and pursue their dream careers.

Peggy Hicks

Peggy Hicks worked as a bookkeeper and office manager while raising her family but looked forward to going back to school to earn a college degree. She enrolled in nursing school at Lone Star College, and just when she thought everything was going perfectly, her husband filed for a divorce.

Peggy was the president of her PTK chapter, a recipient of the Student Life Leadership Award, and an inductee in the Texas District IV Hall of Honor; yet she had reached a financial breaking point. Her annual textbook bill was $1,200 aside from tuition and expenses. The prospect of dropping out in her second year — when she was so close to the finish line — loomed over her.

That’s when Peggy received an Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship, which covered the cost of her expensive nursing textbooks for the next semester. She went on to earn her LPN nursing degree and is now living her longtime dream — working as a registered nurse in the intensive care unit at OakBend Medical Center in Richmond, Texas.

“At 49 years old, I’ve experienced quite a bit in my life, but some of my most treasured memories revolve around my involvement with Phi Theta Kappa,” Peggy said. “It allowed me to perfect my leadership skills, gave me the confidence to know that I can achieve anything I set my mind to, and I made lifelong friends who have become an extension of my family.”

Anthony Bernal

At the beginning of 2013, Anthony Bernal was serving as PTK’s Delaware President of the Middle States Region and pursuing a degree at Delaware Technical and Community College when he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Even though he had a Pell grant and a job, the money he saved for school was quickly being eaten away by medical expenses.

But thanks to an Oberndorf Scholarship, Anthony completed degrees in both computer-aided engineering technology and mechanical engineering technology. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Engineering degree at Widener University in Pennsylvania.

Anthony recently finished second place in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers conference sponsored by Nissan.

“We were asked to create a new or enhance a current comfort feature in an automobile,” he said. “As a result, I got three job interviews (with Nissan, GM, and John Deere) and received a verbal commitment from Nissan to work for them as soon as I graduate.”

Alicia Diggs

For Alicia Diggs, an accounting major at Northeast Texas Community College, the Oberndorf Scholarship was truly a lifeline. She maintained a 3.9 grade point average on 18 hours of classwork while helping her 13-year-old son fight ossifying fibroma, a condition that produces bone lesions in the jaw. Alicia spent countless hours driving him to various doctor’s appointments and studying in hospital waiting rooms. The medical expenses also took a toll on her budget.

With the help of the Oberndorf Scholarship, she completed her associate and bachelor’s degrees and earned a master’s degree in taxation from the University of North Texas. Alicia is now working as an accountant in Lafayette, Louisiana.

“I feel life is like a deck of cards you are dealt,” she said. “My cards haven’t been the greatest, but I play them to the best of my ability for my children and myself.”

Are you a member who is facing a hardship that is standing in the way of your college credential? Apply now before the Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion application closes on May 1.

Why Membership Really Matters

More than 123,000 students became Phi Theta Kappa members in 2017. By doing so, they’ve increased their chances for completing a college credential, earning a scholarship, gaining valuable leadership experience, and entering the workforce a step ahead of the rest.

For many students, Phi Theta Kappa membership is the first affirmation of what they can achieve. But it’s also more than that — they are instantly propelled into a supportive community of scholars invested in their success.

“Phi Theta Kappa has made my college experience one hundred times better,” said member Andrew Schumacher. “I have made many great friends; it’s like a family who is there to support you.”

PTK membership is critical to student success and completion. The average member receives $2,500 in transfer scholarships to assist with degree completion, plus access to Society programs that promote personal growth.

And while the national completion rate of students attending an associate degree-granting college hovers around 38 percent, 91 percent of PTK members complete an associate degree and/or transfer to a university to complete a bachelor’s degree.

In other words, PTK is a big part of the completion conversation — and we’re moving the needle on student success. Membership is an advantage that as many students as possible should have as they enter the workforce or transfer to a four-year college.

“Membership leads to higher completion rates among members, more scholarships, and more opportunities to engage with peers and faculty,” PTK President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner said. “PTK should be a part of the student success portfolio of each college.”

Knowing a vast majority of conversations about membership occur on college campuses, PTK is recognizing and investing in chapters that find creative ways to make sure every student who has received an invitation has the opportunity to gain the benefits. The REACH Rewards program incentivizes chapters to increase their acceptance rates by giving them free graduation stoles. See the full list of 2018 REACH chapters.

The chapters get free graduation regalia and a larger, more active membership. The colleges see their graduation rates increase and more scholarship dollars come into their institutions. The members have their lives changed.

“In almost no time, PTK has revolutionized the way I understand leadership, and how I understand myself as a leader,” said member Freedom Martin. “If not for PTK, I wouldn’t recognize the importance of going for broke and trying your hardest to achieve as much as possible.”

Why Service Matters

Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Kristi Peters, advisor to the Tau Mu Chapter at Enterprise State Community College in Alabama.

Phi Theta Kappa is based on four hallmarks: leadership, scholarship, fellowship, and service. We have added our Honors in Action (HIA) Projects to enhance the scholarship aspect of our organization. This project brings many opportunities for leadership development.

This HIA process is certainly unique and truly what sets us apart from other groups and leads to a deeper understanding of academic topics. This makes our group a true honor society, but have we lost a hallmark in the process? With so much focus on leadership development and scholarship, have we lost service?

There has been much said in recent years that we, as a society, are raising a generation full of narcissists who lack empathy and are not able to feel or appreciate feelings that are not theirs. What then becomes of these children? Often they grow up to be that boss that everyone dreads working for — that boss who makes a workplace environment toxic. This puts unnecessary stress on every employee there and often runs off good people.

For most employees this is the nightmare scenario they hope to never face, but we need to ask ourselves another question. How can we as Phi Theta Kappans help prevent these situations from ever occurring?

We are training world leaders right now in every chapter. We are giving them experiences and training to be better leaders, and we hope these experiences will, in turn, make them better bosses. However, can we make our students servant leaders without promoting the hallmark of service?

Right now we have the opportunity to help these world changers focus on the greater good and look at ways to make the world a better place. Many groups on our campus look at service projects that are probably considered “typical” school projects — host a canned food drive, clean up a mile in town, or have a blood drive. Are these things important? Absolutely they are, and without these normal community projects, many local organizations would be desperately in need!

How can we challenge our Phi Theta Kappa students to go beyond these expectations? How can we promote an atmosphere of charity in our chapter?

We, the advisors, must first model the behavior for our students to see. If our heart is not in helping others, it will be nearly impossible for our students to see the benefits.

As advisors, we must also encourage our students to get out of the mindset of these traditional projects and encourage them to find their passion. Our officer team basically sat down and threw out every community service project that was typical, and then they looked at service projects that would be different yet meaningful.

One project they tackled was to raise money to make quilts to be given to children who are on the list awaiting an organ transplant. Another project encouraged members to make octopi for babies in the NICU at the state’s children’s hospital. They also collected new and used children’s books to donate to our local child services office for the case workers to take to the children on home visits. These out-of-the-box projects have touched many lives and helped my students to see the joys of helping others.

Why should service matter to Phi Theta Kappa? We are truly training the leaders who will influence our world and who will take the torch from us when we decide to pass it on. What type of leader do we want to carry our flame?

I hope the students who take my flame will be servant leaders who think of the needs of others and ones who will give back to their communities in unique and amazing ways. I also hope I have taught them that the greatest joys we receive in life are when we give of ourselves in service to others.

PTK Catalyst 2018: What’s Your Return on Investment?

Are you on the fence about whether to attend PTK Catalyst 2018? For Dr. Glenda Colagross, Interim President of Northwest-Shoals Community College in Alabama, it’s a no-brainer.

“The first time I attended a Phi Theta Kappa convention, I remember thinking, ‘Wow! This is the like the Academy Awards for smart students!'” she said. “It is so important to make sure our students can attend this particular event because it’s a way to recognize them for their hard work and academic achievement; to allow these campus leaders to travel to a major city, which is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many of them.

“Not only am I sending my chapters, but I am riding a bus from Alabama to Kansas City with about half the chapters in the Alabama Community College System!”

PTK Catalyst 2018 will be the Party of the Century, and it may be the bargain of the century as well. For a total cost of around $800 per student (registration, lodging, and travel), what’s in it for you and your college?

See Internationally known speakers share their view of the world. Hear from Tony Award-winning Hamilton star Daveed Diggs, authors Susan Cain and Amy Cuddy, and futurist Chris Riddell, as well as PTK President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner and International President Amanda Karpinski. Listening to what they have to say may just change your life.

Planning to transfer? You’ll have an opportunity to visit with representatives from more than 100 colleges and universities at the nation’s largest Transfer College Fair. Plan to attend educational forums on our Transfer Readiness Track, such as “Transferring to a University without a Financial Burden,” “Scholarship Essay Strategies for the Socially Awkward,” and “Find the College and Scholarship of Your Dreams.”

Headed straight to work? Check out these Workforce Readiness ed forums, like “Edit Your Way to a Quality Resume,” “How to WOW in Your Next Job Interview,” and “Business Success: Is There a Secret Formula?”

Either way, you’ll have a job someday. Get ready for it in the Soft Skills Track, which will feature subjects such as “Developing Your Personal Brand,” “How to Learn Anything and Study Successfully,” and “Leverage PTK Skills to Pay the Bills.”

Want to take your college’s chapter to the next level? Learn from the masters in the Leadership Development Track. They’ll cover topics like “Honors in Action: New and Improved,” “Developing Strong Teams,” and “Hallmark Awards in Depth.”

Are you an advisor looking for professional development opportunities? Don’t miss these ed forums especially for advisors, including “Using Your College’s Learning Management System to Engage Members,” “Developing a Strong Curriculum Vitae,” and “Reaching Your Chapter’s Full Potential.”

Are you an alumnus who wants to give back and keep learning? Visit with other alumni at our Coming Home Reception and attend forums like “The Joys and Challenges of Alumni Associations,” “Graduate School 411,” and “Mission (Im)Possible: Re-Engage Chapter Alumni.”

There is literally something for everyone, from “Why Coding Matters in Today’s World” to “How to Apply to Medical School.” See a complete list of the eight rounds of education forums offered at PTK Catalyst 2018. These are life skills you’ll use for years to come.

Are you an administrator who wants to be inspired by your student leaders? Come to PTK Catalyst 2018 and look on proudly as they run for International Office, receive awards for their work, and participate in the Parade of Scholars. Network with other administrators and see how your college stacks up to the competition.

Want to Join 5,000 other members to celebrate PTK’s 100th birthday? We thought so. That’s why we’ve planned two special celebrations — a casual party on Friday evening where you can join in some friendly competition, and a posh event on Saturday evening complete with dancing and entertainment.

Concerned about meal expenses? Remember, registration for PTK Catalyst 2018 covers more meals than ever before — two lunches and two dinners. Plus, you’ll find inexpensive food all around the Kansas City Convention Center. Your PTK Catalyst name badge will also get you discounts at these Kansas City businesses.

PTK Catalyst 2018 will offer unprecedented educational, professional, and career development opportunities, so we hope your college will be represented. We know your resources are limited, and so are your chapter’s, but this conference offers a tremendous value for the investment.

Consider reaching out to your college administrators for financial help if your chapter hasn’t already. The deadline for the discounted registration rate is March 28, so there’s still time to register and book your lodging. Special dietary needs? Tell us by March 23.

Know you’re coming to PTK Catalyst 2018? You can pre-order your member-designed official t-shirt now at the PTK Store and wear it at the #PTKPartyoftheCentury in Kansas City, Missouri, April 19-21.

For the latest news about PTK Catalyst 2018, follow PTK on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, and subscribe to The Reach blog.

I AM PTK: Noah Miller

Noah Miller began his college career in 2013 as a dually enrolled student making second-rate grades. But, he got another chance in 2015, when he enrolled in Lone Star College-CyFair Campus in Texas and began to excel academically.

“I had a pretty rough experience at an out-of-state university, but LSC-CyFair really turned things around for me,” Noah said. “Faculty, Phi Theta Kappa advisors, and countless administrators fight tooth and nail to see their students succeed.

“That isn’t something you can guarantee at large research-oriented schools.”

Noah started his PTK journey as a provisional member of the Beta Lambda Mu Chapter at LSC. By 2016 he had earned an invitation and started becoming the leader he is today.

Beta Lambda Mu Chapter advisor Leslie Jewkes said students like Noah are why they believe provisional membership is a good way to expose potential members to their chapter, encourage academic excellence, and groom new chapter leaders in the process.

“I recently encouraged five more students to become provisional members of the chapter in hopes they will see the good that can come from being PTK members, and that it will give them a goal to reach for as they strive to improve their GPAs,” she said.

Noah said he was intent on becoming a full member from the very beginning but wasn’t able to due to his grades.

“But, as a provisional member I had every opportunity to be involved in chapter affairs and some of the projects we were undertaking,” he said. “I couldn’t be an officer, but I was certainly able to assist in my capacity.”

After being inducted as a full member Noah was able to become a chapter officer. Taking on the role of Honors in Action Vice President for his PTK chapter and getting involved in campus life helped him feel he was a part of something bigger than himself. He also became a Student Ambassador at LSC, worked as a legal intern at the Harris County Civil Justice Center and volunteered as a debate coach at Cypress Woods High School.

At PTK Catalyst 2017, Beta Lambda Mu was named PTK’s Most Distinguished Chapter, and Noah earned a scholarship for his first-place finish in the Extemporaneous Speech Competition.

During the Texas Region Leadership Conference, he received the $500 Walter B. Cooper Memorial Scholarship. The Texas Region Alumni Association presents this scholarship in memory of Walter B. Cooper, an advisor for the Alpha Gamma Pi chapter at Austin Community College, who advised students to become well-rounded individuals in each of PTK’s hallmarks.

To Noah, the scholarship was another motivation for him to keep pushing toward his dream of a career in civic and constitutional law.

“Law is appealing to me because I have noticed that every industry and feature of our society interacts with the law in one way or another,” he said. “Public service seems exciting because you get to represent and serve others through the instrument of law and public policy.”

Noah is majoring in political science and statistics at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He recently presented at PTK’s forum, “The Phi Theta Kappa Story: Memoirs of Student Success,” at the League for Innovation in the Community College’s Innovations Conference alongside PTK President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner and Dr. Blake Ellis, Associate Vice President of Outreach and Engagement, who is also Noah’s former chapter advisor.

He will also join other PTK leaders as a panelist at PTK Catalyst 2018.

“These conversations reminded me that community college is one of the most important institutions in higher education — that to be a student or alumnus isn’t a shortcoming, but something to be proud of,” Noah said. “With student debt, economic change, and political uncertainty at a high-point, community colleges, and more specifically, Phi Theta Kappa, will play a vital role in allowing people to redefine themselves, restart, and retool.”

Military Members: Apply for College for Free

Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success.

Did you know you that veterans and those currently serving in the United States military can apply to many of our country’s leading colleges and universities for free?

That’s right! If you’re a current service member or veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, you qualify for an application fee waiver from the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success, a group of more than 140 colleges and universities that joined together to increase access to higher education.

“This is a great opportunity for veterans and for enlisted men and women — and also for our members,” said Annie Reznik, executive director of the Coalition.

The Coalition board introduced the waiver to honor the military service of veterans and encourage more veterans to apply to and graduate from college. Only four percent of all undergraduate students are veterans, and less than one-third of those veterans enroll at a four-year public or private university.

“Our hope is that this waiver will not only inspire more veterans to apply to Coalition schools, but also convey that our members greatly value their service to our country, and now want to serve them,” Reznik said. “Plus, with their excellent track record of supporting students — and the graduation rates to prove it — Coalition schools are truly smart college choices for veterans.”

We encourage you to sign up for your free MyCoalition account and take advantage of the many college-planning tools it provides, including an unlimited digital storage Locker and interactive Collaboration Space, an easy-to-use application, and a directory of informative resources on preparing for college.

Starting July 1, participating Coalition schools will accept the Veterans Application Fee Waiver through the Coalition’s online application. Learn more.

We value your service and want to see you succeed in college — and beyond.

Visit with the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success during PTK Catalyst 2018! They will present Educational Forums at 8 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. on Friday, April 20.

The Value of Recognition

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

Phi Theta Kappa’s President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner often says, “Our mission begins at recognition; but unlike other honor societies, it does not end there.” Phi Theta Kappa sees the value in recognition because when a person is recognized, not only does it create excitement, but it also motivates the individual and other individuals to rise. Recognition takes part in shaping the minds of Phi Theta Kappans, and the four hallmarks of PTK are the pillars in fulfilling this mission.

PTK leadership opportunities are available at the local, regional, and international levels. PTK provides the opportunity for you to get out of your comfort zone so you’re able to see another dimension of yourself.

Just as PTK’s mission is about recognition, it also wants to give you an opportunity to recognize your unique gifts. PTK does not end at recognition; rather, it’s the beginning of a transformation.

This year, the DiversiFive International Officer team created a pin to recognize Past Regional Officers (PRO’s). Creating a pin dedicated to PRO’s will recognize them for an amazing service to their region and to the organization as a whole.

Taking on a leadership role in PTK comes with responsibility. The tremendous work done by our past regional officers has contributed to the success of our Society.

We are proud to see this project come to fruition. PRO pins will be available for purchase in the Phi Theta Kappa Store at the end of April. Regional Coordinators — this will be a wonderful way for you to honor the work of your outgoing regional officers.

Scholarships are another way PTK recognizes students. The Spring Scholarship Application is now open for members who will still be seeking associate degrees in the fall. This is the moment to share your story. Complete the application for this scholarship because you will never know the outcome unless you try. A PTK scholarship allowed me to return to college.

Participation in Honors in Action and College Projects — and PTK’s recognition of it — has deepened members’ perspectives in ways we can’t comprehend. Growth, experience, love, and recognition in PTK is infinite.

PTK is all about fellowship, and the opportunity to be recognized by a peer is powerful in the process of an individual’s growth. PTK knows how to build you up if only you are willing to make yourself uncomfortable.

Dr. Tincher-Ladner said, “PTK membership is like a gym membership. What you put is what you get out of it.” You have the choice to either stop at PTK’s first part of the mission (recognition) or invest yourself in all that PTK offers in order to keep growing.

5 Ways to Turn New Members into Active Members

Editor’s note: This post was written and submitted by Oklahoma alumna Liz Tabak.

Congratulations, you’ve had a dynamic PTK Awareness Week and have exceeded your REACH Rewards goals! So, how do you encourage your new recruits to become active and involved members?

A great deal of your success in making sure those new members become involved will rest with the health of your chapter. Make time for regular chapter checkups like these:

  • Has your chapter used the Five Star Chapter Plan to develop your schedule and goals?
  • Does everyone — officer team and members alike — know their role and how your team intends to reach those goals?
  • Are your officers and advisors invested and engaged in their roles?
  • Does your officer team communicate well with one another and stay connected within the chapter?
  • Do you have active alumni members who can offer insight into how Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) has helped them after their community college experience?

If your chapter is running smoothly, you will have more energy to focus on those new members. Where do you go next? Here are some tips to inspire your new crew to get and stay involved:

  1. Connect with them at induction. Induction is the perfect time to show new members what your chapter has to offer. Have officers and current members attend to welcome these new members to the PTK family, and make sure they mingle with the crowd after the ceremony. Show a home video about what current members have gained from membership or create a video slideshow featuring pictures of your chapter’s “Greatest Hits” — community service activities, your regional convention and PTK Catalyst, candid shots of your chapter at meetings, and even graduates decked out in their regalia.
  1. Know your members. PTK boasts an amazingly rich and diverse membership, and each chapter has its own mix, all with their own strengths and challenges. Knowing a little about your members will help you connect and draw them into the chapter, as well as identify the best times for events and meetings. You may have seen the #PTKfamily hashtag? That family begins at the chapter level.
  1. Offer scholarship support. Many students accept membership to gain access to PTK scholarships. Not only can your chapter offer opportunities to add substance to scholarship entries, but you can also provide practical support like hosting workshops on completing applications. Some chapters reserve a computer lab on campus and offer real-time support for those completing PTK’s common application.
  1. Give members something worth their time. Scholarships and cool graduation regalia are not the only things PTK offers. College students have a lot on their plates, so give them a good reason to invest their time in your chapter. Offer workshops on developing resumes and soft skills or tackle the Five Star Competitive Edge challenge as a chapter. Offer a mentorship program or partner with campus resources and other organizations to connect members with some of the unique things your college has to offer.
  1. Use social media to stay connected. Work with your college and your advisor to create a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat to show your members what activities you’re doing and draw them in. Celebrate awards, scholarships, graduation, and other successes on social media so family and friends can also see the value of membership.

With these tips and your new members, you’re ready for success!

Liz Tabak is past president of Rose State College’s Alpha Eta Alpha chapter and currently serves as Vice President of the Oklahoma/Arkansas Region Alumni Association. She is a humanities/English major and 2018 Ronald E. McNair Scholar at the University of Central Oklahoma. Liz is excited to be in college with her two children, Christian and Kat, and her proudest Phi Theta Kappa moment was serving on the same officer team as her son.

Your Guide to PTK Catalyst 2018

Are you PTK Catalyst bound? If so, you probably have questions, and we have the answers.

Because PTK Catalyst will be a first-time experience for many of you, we’ve put together a guide for what to expect. Convention veterans, please share this guide on social media, add your insights, and assist those who may look a little lost in Kansas City.

First things first: Make sure you’re registered, and book your lodging. Special dietary needs? Tell us by March 23.

What to Pack

The most important thing to pack is comfortable footwear. The Kansas City Convention Center is massive, and you’ll be walking to and from your hotel each day.

Attire is another big question for first-time PTK Catalyst attendees. How casual or professional should you dress? Most people will be in business casual, and a few people in dressy casual. Don’t break the bank buying a whole new wardrobe; just find what you feel confident and professional in, and rock it.

You may want to opt for something dressier for Saturday’s Hallmark Awards Gala. Most people dress up for this — some even wear formal attire — but it isn’t required.

Make sure you pack any prescription medications, extra contact lenses or glasses, toiletries, and any over-the-counter remedies you might need.

Where to Go

It’s easy to get lost at a conference this large. Check a map to find your meeting room destination before setting out and allow plenty of time to get from one event to the next. Don’t be afraid to ask your fellow members for help — find strength in numbers and make a few friends along the way.

The energy at convention is electric; everyone is excited, and the sense of community and belonging is wonderful. But sometimes you might feel a little overwhelmed and need a break. Visitors and locals alike enjoy strolling near the convention center in Barney Allis Plaza, a tree-lined urban park with fountains, sculptures, and seating areas.

Also, try to get some rest during downtime so you can enjoy the events. If you have extra time, enjoy these 33 free things to do in Kansas City.

Where to Eat

With all this activity, you will need to refuel. At PTK Catalyst 2018, we’re including more meals than ever — two lunches and two dinners. Lunch and dinner on both Friday, April 20, and Saturday, April 21, are on us.

If you need to eat out in the area for other meals, you’ll find plenty of quick and inexpensive options at restaurants surrounding the convention center.

What to Buy

While you’re in the Marketplace, visit with convention sponsors and partners, shop the PTK Store, get your questions about scholarships and PTK programs answered by staff experts, and find souvenirs to take home from chapters around the world who’ll be selling various items as fundraisers.

Don’t forget to purchase your PTK Catalyst 2018 t-shirt early — these will sell out. It will soon be available online, and it’s what all your fashionable friends will be wearing.

At the PTK Foundation booth, pick up a commemorative convention pin. We’ll have one themed for PTK Catalyst, a limited-edition one celebrating our centennial, and even select vintage ones. All proceeds will benefit the Golden Opportunity Scholarship Fund. Our goal is to raise enough money to provide 300 scholarships to in-need students in the next academic year.

You may also want to pick up some bottled water to stay hydrated and some healthy snacks to take with you or have in your hotel room. Be mindful of charges to your hotel room resulting from taking food and beverages from the mini fridge. Hotel and convention center prices are usually steep, but you’ll find convenient markets/delis nearby where you can stock up. With your PTK Catalyst name badge, you can get discounts from these Kansas City businesses.

What to Expect

  1. General Sessions
    The main point of PTK Catalyst is to recognize and celebrate the hard work you’ve done all year long. The convention is divided into different segments called General Sessions. This is where you will hear from the keynote speakers, and various awards and recognitions are presented.
  2. Educational Forums
    Between these general sessions, there will be educational forums, breakout sessions, regional meetings, and more. If this sounds like a lot to keep track of, don’t worry. There’s a ton of info online, including a detailed schedule. And when you get to the convention center, you will get a lanyard and all the important information will be in a packet; there will also be instructions given at the end of each general session.
  3. International Officer Campaign
    Another facet of PTK Catalyst is the campaign for International Office. Each year members elect five students to represent them and bridge the gap between Phi Theta Kappa headquarters and the students they serve. This process involves a live Candidate Caucus and the candidates campaigning in booths set up in the Marketplace.

    Each chapter has a voting delegate who tries to visit with each of the candidates in every race and decide who to vote for. It is very important to note that every chapter votes in every race: International President and International Vice Presidents for Divisions 1, 2, 3, and 4.

  4. Transfer Fair
    If you’re planning to transfer to a four-year college, you’ll want to visit the Senior College Transfer Fairs and Lunch on April 20 and 21. It’s the largest transfer fair in the country! See a full list of participating colleges.
  5. Convention Competitions
    Enjoy the contests as members vie for the top spots in the Prepared Speech, Job Interview, and Scholar Bowl competitions.
  6. Hallmark Awards Gala
    At the very end of the convention, we have the Hallmark Awards Gala, where we’ll reward chapters for their hard work, name the Most Distinguished Chapter, and induct the 2018-19 International Officers.
  7. Two Birthday Parties
    Phi Theta Kappa is turning 100, and you’ll be the special guests at two special celebrations. Dress casual on Friday evening and join in the friendly competition with Phi Theta Kappa members from around the world. Brush up on your skills for a little human foosball, sumo wrestling, or corn hole, and be ready for some gravity-defying experiences too! Then we’ll dance the night away to music from Missouri’s best DJ.

    On Saturday evening you’ll want to dress to impress for a posh party with aerial entertainment, a prestigious band, celebrations, and a surprise ending to it all.

There’s nothing quite like PTK Catalyst. This guide will serve you well as you prepare to join us for the #PTKPartyoftheCentury in Kansas City, Missouri, April 19-21.

For the latest news about PTK Catalyst 2018, follow PTK on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, and subscribe to The Reach blog.