Alpha Nu Lambda, Clark State College’s chapter of the international honor society Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), has achieved Five Star Chapter status for the fourth consecutive year.
To reach Five Star status, Alpha Nu Lambda had to complete and report all activities related to each level in the Five Star Chapter Plan including: raising awareness about Phi Theta Kappa and the benefits of membership; conducting regular chapter meetings; spreading the word about meetings and activities with a chapter newsletter, website, social media and/or published articles in a college publication; keep a complete chronicle of the chapter’s activities; complete the chapter’s Honors in Action Project, College Project and plan for attendance at an international event or preparing a chapter entry for the Honors Case Study Challenge.
“We’ve been more accessible, having meetings virtually, and meeting students where they are,” said PTK advisor Nina Wiley, dean of student engagement and support services at Clark State. “The more involved they are in the chapter the more robust their scholarship applications and recommendation letters are. They gain phenomenal leadership skills and opportunities.”
The Chapter was also bestowed the REACH Reward for the first time.
The REACH Rewards recognizes Phi Theta Kappa chapters that achieve or exceed a 15 percent membership acceptance rate.
“Being a REACH chapter is more important this year than ever before as Phi Theta Kappa worked to support community college students in completely unfamiliar circumstances,” PTK President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner said. “Racial and political unrest and a global pandemic made 2020 the most challenging year in recent history — one that our students, chapters, and partner colleges worked exceptionally hard to overcome. Although this is a chapter award, it demonstrates that students are more focused on their futures than ever before, and their colleges are providing the opportunities to get them there — even amid a global pandemic.”
A full 91 percent of Phi Theta Kappa members will complete an associate degree or transfer to a four-year college, compared to just 38 percent of students nationally. Members have access to $48 million in scholarships — $1 million in competitive scholarships through the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation and more than $46 million in transfer scholarships to over 850 four-year colleges.
Alpha Nu Lambda also increased from three actively involved chapter officers to five.
“What is great about our officer team right now is that we have a diverse group of leaders that work really well together, and each has their own recognizable gifts,” said Wiley. “They work really smart to support each other in their roles and responsibilities and have natural leadership strengths.”
Jasmin Alford serves as the Clark State PTK chapter president.
“I decided to join PTK to challenge myself,” she said. “I wanted to be a part of an organization at Clark State to help make the institution better. At the time of my invitation to join, I was doing well in my academics and felt like I needed something more in my life. I didn’t want to regret not taking the opportunity to join, so I joined and PTK has been a life-changer for me.”
Alford said being a part of PTK changed her college experience because she does not feel like “just a student” anymore. “I feel like I belong to Clark State,” she said. “PTK has provided me with a second family. The advisors do an outstanding job keeping the members and officers involved and motivated.”
Alford was also awarded a scholarship through PTK, which assisted her with the cost of books for this current semester. She encourages those eligible and considering joining PTK to do so.
“There is nothing negative about joining PTK,” she said. “We do not require students to come to certain meetings so whatever involvement the student wants to give, then they can give it. If a student wants to join to only receive the benefits that PTK offer, that is alright as well.”
Alford said when she won her scholarship, she realized she wanted to be more involved and began attending meetings.
“Everyone was working together, and it was truly a happy feeling to witness that during all this COVID mess,” she said. “In February, I became the president, and work with some of the most amazing students.”
There are more than 40 PTK chapters in Ohio.
To be an eligible candidate for PTK, students must have completed at least 12 college-level credit hours and have a minimum 3.5 grade point average. Students pay a one-time fee of $80 for a lifetime membership. Membership benefits include scholarships; free access to Five Star Competitive Edge, a personal and professional development plan for building marketable skills and an online portfolio; increased pay grade for entry-level federal jobs; tuition discounts; and more.
“The students I have met through PTK step out of their comfort zone to shine,” said Wiley. “The potential they’ve had all along, but with just that little nudge they recognize and feel that they are making a difference. We are about building their confidence and self-esteem. We give them opportunities and they just flourish.”
A virtual spring PTK induction is being planned for new members.
Additional Alpha Nu Lambda officers include:
Vice President of Leadership: Emily Lefevers
Vice President of Scholarship: Renee Raines
Vice President of Service: Gracie Perkins
Recording Officer: Christopher Thurn