Perseverance and passion

Steffanie Shrum-Hills earns Phi Theta Kappa’s Orlowski Award


Ben Bolstrum, Managing Editor

Schoolcraft nursing student and former Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Omicron Iota Chapter President, Steffanie Shrum-Hills, has been chosen to receive the 2021 annual Orlowski Award in recognition for her work within the community. The Orlowski Award is a well-known and respected accomplishment within the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) organization due to the weight the honor holds with it.

The awards namesake, Steve Orlowski, was once a national officer of the Theta Omega chapter prior to the organization expanding to international levels. Orlowski attended Wilbur Wright Community College and his tenure as national officer ran from 1986 to 1987. His time at PTK was unfortunately cut short after being diagnosed with leukemia and passing soon thereafter. Ever since, PTK has chosen to honor his memory by creating the award in his name. When this commendation is given to someone, it represents his or her passion, spirit and dedication to the community. Recipients of this award are granted a medallion commemorating the occasion and a stipend of $1,500.

“I have never been more shocked, honored, humbled and overjoyed to be recognized for an award in my entire life,” explains Shrum-Hills. “The Orlowski Award is what I, and many others, consider the most meaningful individual award in all of Phi Theta Kappa.”

This is a prestigious accomplishment for Shrum-Hills, who also realizes the gravity of the award and does not take her experiences for granted.

“That is why no one “wins” the Orlowski [Award.],” states Kevin Braden, who contributes funding for the award. “You can’t campaign for it, you can’t compete for it, and it’s definitely not a contest. The only way to receive it is to be yourself and let a group of people — your fellow candidates — see what the true spirit of Phi Theta Kappa looks like through your heart.”

It is this reason that Shrum-Hills was chosen. The community of PTK saw her as the perfect representation of the organization and the most eligible person to carry Orlowski’s honor.

“The friendships and memories I made will stay with me forever and I am truly grateful for the entire experience,” Shrum-Hills states. “I want to thank the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Schoolcraft College, and the Omicron Iota Chapter for their continuous support and allowing me to make a difference not only on our campus and throughout the nation, but also in me and my daughter future.”

Community is the heart of PTK, and the Orlowski Award is the perfect capsule to showcase individuals who exhibit the skills and attitude of a model member. As the organization continues to grow, members within it will as well.

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