PTK Catalyst: The Experience of a Lifetime

Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Philippe Schicker, International Vice President for Division 4.

If you have attended Phi Theta Kappa’s biggest celebration before, describing it to someone who hasn’t is a challenge. With PTK Catalyst 2019 coming up so soon, I will try my best to outline some of the highlights that await you while giving some insights from someone who experienced last year’s event as an International Officer candidate — a truly special way to attend.

If I had to describe it in just a few words, I would use the comparison that was made to me when I first heard about the event: A long weekend that provides thought-provoking competitions, Educational Forums, and elections, coupled with a party with the excitement factor of a Beyoncé concert, all as a gathering of dedicated people from across the country that puts political rallies to shame.

With nearly 4,000 students, professors, advisors, college presidents, and industry partners in attendance, the annual event in April promises to not only allow chapters from throughout the nation to interact, share ideas, and have fun together, but it is also the celebration of the accomplishments of over 300,000 community college students.

This year, from April 4-6, America’s best and brightest will gather in Orlando, Florida. Here are some tips on how to make the most out of your PTK Catalyst 2019 experience.

Seek out chapters from a different part of the U.S.

Chapters all throughout the country have fun and innovative ideas on how to have chapter meetings (or parties, as they are sometimes referred to), work on Honors in Action and College Projects, and build strong chapter bonds. Interact and exchange your ideas with people you might not otherwise meet.

Attend an Educational Forum and watch the speech competitions and Scholar Bowl

Outside of the general sessions, there is an abundance of events going on throughout the weekend. Watch and cheer on your peers in the speech competitions or learn something exciting and new during one of the many Ed Forums.

Have a grand time at Disney World

Being in Orlando this year opens up the opportunity to adventure through the magical world of Disney with your chapter and newfound PTK friends. Just make sure you’re back for the General Sessions. 😉

Stop by the Transfer Fair & Career Exhibitors

Again this year, there will be countless four-year universities in attendance that all want you. Stop by their tables and talk to them, and there is a good chance you’ll find a college that has previously not been on your list. For the first time this year, we will also have career exhibitors for all of our workforce students. Get out there and make some connections with potential employers.

Get to know the International Officer Candidates

Every year, PTK Catalyst serves as the election for the new set of International Officers. While the candidates come from all across the United States and sometimes even from all over the world, they share one commonality: the desire to give back and serve this Society that has given so much to each and every one of us. Go talk to and get know them, as five of them will represent you the coming year. Hopefully, you will even get inspired to run the following year.

Enjoy Yourself

Whether you are a candidate, a host for an Ed Forum, a competitor, a helper, or just plain overwhelmed by the many events going on at the same time, PTK Catalyst is a time for celebration, and I am confident that it will be memorable. I remember campaigning a year ago and the stress that came with that, but I am glad that I also made sure to actively step back and cherish the moments I shared with fellow Phi Theta Kappans.

PTK Catalyst 2019 is a bittersweet event for me. On the one hand, I cannot wait to see my friends from all over the country, share stories, and watch everyone’s hard work pay off during the Hallmark Awards Gala. On the other hand, this means that my year as an International Officer is over, and serving has truly been an honor.

Nevertheless, I am excited and you should be too! Take advantage of all the opportunities that are there for you, meet new people, and most importantly have a fantastic time.

See you in Florida!

Two Clicks to Scholarship Dollars: Scholar Snapp & PTK Connect

Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.

As a Phi Theta Kappa student, two of the biggest challenges you face when looking at transfer opportunities are lack of time and money. Scholar Snapp, an initiative of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, helps solve those problems by enabling you to reuse your information from one scholarship application to another. With the recent integration of Scholar Snapp, PTK members have the opportunity to automatically apply for scholarship opportunities through PTK Connect. And with the creation of a Scholar Snapp Profile, you can unlock access to thousands of additional scholarship awards.

Learn more about Scholar Snapp in this brief Q&A, featuring Kevin Byrne, Managing Director, US Programs, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.

How does Scholar Snapp work?

Scholarships are a great way for you to get money for college, but filling out applications can be extremely time-consuming. You can spend hours re-entering the same information from one application to the next. Name. Address. Phone number. Email. Another essay to write. Repeat.

With Scholar Snapp, we’ve lessened that burden to help you save time by reusing your application details from one application to another. This isn’t just basic information like name and address, but essays, transcripts, and more. Rather than re-entering the same information over and over, you can fill out one application and simply import it into another application using your Scholar Snapp Profile.

When you start the next application, you can sync with Scholar Snapp to import all your application fields. Two clicks, a quick review, and you’re ready to go!

How does Scholar Snapp support transfer students?

Transfer students make up 38 percent of all students in higher education, yet you are often on your own when it comes to navigating the process — including accessing the financial aid you need to pay for college. We are proud to collaborate with Phi Theta Kappa to broaden the opportunities available to community college students nationwide. Through PTK Connect, members can “snapp” their Scholar Snapp Profile into scholarship applications or save completed fields to a new profile, and use it for scholarships outside of PTK Connect, saving you even more time.

In the future, Scholar Snapp will be integrated into Phi Theta Kappa’s membership process. When a student becomes a member, they will be automatically considered for the scholarship program – so no one misses out on the opportunity to access more than $46 million in scholarship awards!

Members of Phi Theta Kappa can also access a range of other quality scholarship opportunities through Look out for the Scholar Snapp symbol to find the applications that are Scholar Snapp enabled — which means a completed application is just a few clicks away. And for those programs that are not Scholar Snapp enabled, because of your robust profile information from PTK Connect, you’ll be able to see other scholarship programs that more closely match your educational plans. Learn more about how to get started at

Four New Scholarship Programs Announced

The scholarship offerings from Phi Theta Kappa keep getting bigger — we’ve just added FOUR new scholarship programs, including one from Walgreens for pharmacy tech students.

And, even better: applications for all of them are open now! Check out the details for all four new scholarship programs below.

Walgreens Pharmacy Technician Certification Scholarship

This scholarship is for PTK members who are enrolled in Allied Health or Pharmacy Technician programs and intend to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam. Up to 65 scholarships of $130 each will be awarded to cover the cost of certification exam fees.

The application is open year-round, and winners will be selected twice a year, in the spring and the fall. Complete the application by May 3 to be considered for the first round of awards.

To be eligible, students must:

  • Be currently enrolled in Allied Health or Pharmacy Technician programs through December 2019;
  • Be an active PTK member in good standing; and
  • Be eligible to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam in the semester following the award.

Financial need, demonstration of career goals, academic rigor, and community service may be considered in the selection of scholarship recipients. Learn more and apply now.

Bonus: If you’re coming to PTK Catalyst April 4-6, you can meet with Walgreens representatives in Marketplace and talk with them about career pathways and opportunities. Be sure to bring your resume!

TEK Productions Scholarship

If you’re majoring in fields leading to careers in production and/or event management, then this scholarship is for you. One $500 scholarship will be awarded this first year.

To be eligible, students must:

  • Be enrolled in a minimum of six semester credit hours (or nine quarter credit hours);
  • Be a member of PTK in good standing;
  • Be enrolled at least part-time in an associate, certificate, or bachelor’s degree program in the semester following application; and
  • Hold temporary or permanent residency in the country of the college the student is attending or possess a visa considered appropriate by the college.

You must be majoring in production, event management, theater, performing arts, graphic design, video editing, stage management, or have a similar major. Applications must be completed by May 3 at 5 p.m. CT. Learn more and apply now.

Ronny J. Coleman Fire and Emergency Services Leader of the Future Scholarship

This scholarship honors Ronny J. Coleman, retired state fire marshal for the state of California, who is widely known as a certified fire chief and a master instructor in the California Fire Service Training and Education System. A scholarship of $1,000 will be awarded.

Students must have completed at least 50 percent of coursework in an associate degree public safety program at a regionally accredited college by June 2019. Eligible public safety programs include fire science, fire technology, emergency medical services, fire and emergency services administration, community risk reduction, fire engineering, fire prevention, or public safety education.

To be eligible, students must also:

  • Be enrolled in a minimum of six semester credit hours (or nine quarter credit hours);
  • Be a PTK member;
  • Hold a minimum 3.5 GPA; and
  • Hold temporary or permanent residency in the country of the college the student is attending or possess a visa considered appropriate by the college.

Students may not be a pre-major or certificate student.

Applications must be completed by May 3 at 5 p.m. CT. Learn more and apply now.

Pacific Region Transfer Scholarship

This scholarship is for students in Phi Theta Kappa’s Pacific Region: Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands. Up to two $1,000 scholarships will be awarded each year, and scholars will be recognized at the Pacific Regional Convention.

Eligible students:

  • Must be a Phi Theta Kappa member;
  • Must be currently enrolled at a two-year college in the Pacific Region;
  • Transfer to a senior institution in the Pacific Region in the next fall semester; and
  • Must be eligible for the Guistwhite or Hites Scholarships.

Learn more and apply now.

View all PTK scholarships.

Transfer Nation: Episode 3

Transfer Nation is a podcast made by transfer students, for transfer students. In episode three, David and Carol talk Dr. Blake Ellis, Associate Vice President of Outreach and Engagement for Phi Theta Kappa, about Transfer Edge and many other transfer-related topics.

Continue reading

We Are PTK: Bermuda Chapter Advisors

Phi Theta Kappa will soon add another country to its international roster. On March 21, the new Beta Chi Upsilon Chapter at Bermuda College will induct 15 members.

“It’s important to recognize scholarship, and through PTK, we have a unique opportunity at Bermuda College to institutionalize this,” said Dr. Lisa Osborne, co-advisor of the new chapter. “Through the launch of PTK at Bermuda College, we are pioneers who are promoting academic excellence and helping students develop their leadership skills.”

Lisa grew up in Bermuda and is a first-generation college graduate. She received an associate degree from Bermuda College before completing a bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree in the United States. She’s the director of the Academic Resource Centre at Bermuda College.

She and fellow advisor Nikkita Scott were approached by Bermuda College’s Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Phyllis Curtis-Tweed about starting a PTK chapter on campus.

“We took the ball and ran with it,” Lisa said. “When I completed the Five Star Advisor course, I recognized just how valuable it would be for our students and our campus.

“I’m most excited about helping students develop their academic and leadership skills and fulfill their potential.”

Bermuda College is the only institution physically located on the island that offers open access to higher education. The island is located about 600 miles off the coast of the Carolinas.

Nikkita said that, like many community colleges, Bermuda College struggles with the perception that a two-year college is less prestigious than a four-year. Yet, for the majority of students on the island, it is the only option for those pursuing a next step or a second chance.

“So, in addition to becoming accredited by (the New England Association of Schools and Colleges), PTK is further proof that our students have the opportunity to reach for and demonstrate excellence,” she said.

Nikkita was also born in Bermuda but moved at age 2 to Halifax, Nova Scotia, as her parents pursued higher education. She returned to Bermuda at age 7, only to leave again 10 years later for her own education. She lived in Europe, Canada, and the United States before returning to the island nearly 20 years ago. She is the director of Counseling and Student Activities at Bermuda College.

To achieve anything beyond an associate degree or certificate, students in Bermuda must leave the island to study elsewhere, just as Lisa and Nikkita did. Then, as international students, they have limited options for scholarships, grants, and employment to help pay for college.

Opportunities through Phi Theta Kappa could help with those challenges.

“I’m in the midst of working through the Five Star (Advisor) curriculum, and what has caught my attention the most are the opportunities around the Honors in Action Projects and case study opportunities,” Nikkita said. “It appears to be a wonderful opportunity to engage our students by expanding their thinking and understanding of the world beyond the 21 square miles that is Bermuda.”

Lisa and Nikkita have been busy preparing for the upcoming chartering and induction ceremony. Amanda Karpinski, 2017-2018 International President and current Alumni Representative on the PTK Board of Directors, will be the guest speaker.

“Everyone is eagerly anticipating this groundbreaking event,” Lisa said.

Photo of Bermuda College by Cherie J. Richardson