DiversiFive Files: We are PTK

Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Jay Fritts, International Vice President for Division 2.

Phi Theta Kappa is overflowing with diversity. Every single one of us has a unique story that has developed us into the person we are today.

Through our new campaign, I AM PTK, we can share Phi Theta Kappans’ stories all across the nation. That is what I want to do right now — I want to share with you three unique stories about three different individuals I have met while being a part of Phi Theta Kappa.

Kien Truong is an international student from Vietnam. He came to America when he was 17 because he wanted a better education; however, there was a problem. He didn’t know how to speak English. Although this was a difficult obstacle to overcome, Kien did not let it stop him from trying to further his educational career.

With grit and determination, as well as help of his fellow teachers, advisors, and friends, Kien was able to overcome his language barrier and is now able to speak almost fluently in English. He attends Portland Community College in Oregon where he serves as vice president of his chapter, and he serves as the student representative on the Board of Trustees of his college.

“Phi Theta Kappa taught me the value of teamwork and how important it is to serve others,” he said.

He plans to major in international relations for his undergraduate and educational leadership for his master’s degree.

Adam Mowdy is a traditional student that attended Meridian Community College in Meridian, Mississippi. He lives in a very small town with a population of a little less than 2,000. After high school, Adam decided to enroll straight into a university for two reasons:

  1. He wanted to move away from his small town and become an “independent” (how everyone does in the movies).
  2. He did not want to go to a community college because he believed in the negative “13th and 14th grade” stigma that is associated with community college.

After spending two weeks at Mississippi State University, though, he decided to come back to his small town of less than 2,000 to attend his local community college in Meridian, Mississippi. Why? He said he just didn’t feel at home at the university and decided he was not yet ready to become completely independent.

So, he spent his first two years at community college. He told me it has been the best decision he has made in his life.

“Because of community college and Phi Theta Kappa, I was able to experience things I would have never gotten to do if I stayed at a University,” he said.

And now he is back at a university on a full-ride scholarship hoping to pursue a degree in accounting, surrounded by his closest friends, and he is more prepared to take on college than ever before.

Chelsea Reimer is a first-generation, non-traditional student from Brenham, Texas. Before attending Blinn College, the local community college in Brenham, she worked for the Department of Defense for the United States Army in Fort Drum, New York.

After 4 years of working for the department, she realized she would not progress any further in life without an education. So she decided to leave the department to move back home and become the first in her family to attend college.

Chelsea was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa when she received enough credit hours to join. She did not just join, though; she made the decision to get involved.

“Phi Theta Kappa is an organization where whatever you put into it is what you will get out of it,” she said. “PTK teaches its members to be the best that they can be, and at the end of the day, we are all family.”

She now serves as the District V Vice President for the Texas Region and is dually enrolled at Texas A&M, pursuing a degree in accounting.

Phi Theta Kappa is full of diversity. We are filled with people of different races, backgrounds, and religions. We are traditional students, returning adults, veterans, and international students. We are future doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, nurses, welders, and so much more.

Each of us has our own individual story to tell the world, and each of us has a different dream we want to pursue.

We all have certain things in common, though. We all value the importance of education, we all have a drive to succeed in whatever we do, and we all know that Phi Theta Kappa can change lives. We are PTK.

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