Phi Theta Kappa aims high


Omicron Iota chapter goes above and beyond

By Casey Samyn
Campus Life Editor

Phi Theta Kappa’s Omicron Iota chapter (PTK), the honor society at Schoolcraft College, held its first initiation ceremony on Sept. 22, 1966; today the group has 314 members. Over the years, the chapter has never ceased to provide opportunities for students to develop traits of leadership and service.

Students wait outside of
Photo by Nathan Gartner, Photo Editor.

The organization provides an intellectual climate for the exchange of ideas, support for the continuation of academic excellence, as well as encouragement for those involved to finish the two-year level and reach for advanced academic degrees.

Liz Powell, the Michigan Regional President, said that PTK helps “build not only confidence in yourself, but confidence in your team.”

When considering transferring to a four-year college or university, it is advantageous to include a list of activities and accomplishments other than just good grades in your application.

“I think colleges are looking for something different. They get tons of applications and having Phi Theta Kappa status really sets you apart,” said Vice President Sarah Bridges. “They’re looking for diversification in all aspects, not just academic success. They want to see you involved in the community and your school, and making a difference.”

In order to become eligible for membership, students must fulfill certain academic requirements. Eligible students must have at least a 3.5 GPA, and have already completed 12 credit hours above the 100 level. Upon acceptance, students are considered a general member, which entitles them to a professional membership certificate, a gold-plate pin with the PTK insignia, a subscription to society publications, and the honor of having the PTK status listed on their transcripts.

PTK Regional President, Elizabeth Powell. Photo by Nathan Gartner, Photo Editor.

Aside from recognition as a member of PTK, members of the honor society focus on community service. For every optional hour of volunteering a member does, they earn a quarter star; for every four hours of volunteer work completed, they earn a complete star. Once a member gains six stars, they receive $35 refund from their membership fee of $110 and they become a Par Excellence member, which makes them eligible for additional scholarships and looks impressive on a resume. The six-star members can also wear special Par Excellence honor cords at graduation.

“We, once a month, usually go down to Detroit to help in the soup kitchens to help make the meals and feed the homeless. We also clean up parks and do fundraisers,” said Omicron Iota Chapter President McKenzie Hayes.

Along with community service, the group has the early ‘Honors in Action’ study project, which helps members develop real-world problem solving skills. Being involved in this project also gives members opportunities to earn stars.

The International PTK Society sets forth a new study topic every two years. Each chapter considers the proposed topic and then decides how to approach it.

This year, “our study project’s big topic is: Frontiers and the Spirit of Exploration. We [Schoolcraft PTK] chose the frontiers of health and medicine, and within that, we are really focusing on medical 3-D printing,” said Bridges.

The topic is relevant, cutting edge and worthy of investigation. While 3-D medical printing is being used occasionally right now, PTK is aware of the great potential for the technology, which may include the ability to reproduce major human organs at some point in the future. Right now, the technique is being used for smaller items, such as printing part of a baby’s trachea. Use of the 3D printing technology could eventually decrease the need for organ transplant wait lists.

PTK also has a college project called S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely), which focuses on achieving goals and feeling proud. Reaching goals is what the group has chosen for their project. At School Daze, a banner was displayed where people could write down their career goals, going along with the idea that if someone writes down their intended goals, they are 42% more likely to achieve them, according to Dr. Gail Matthews from the Dominican University of California.

PTK is currently updating their scholarship list to include not just PTK specific scholarships, but a more general scholarship list available to those who have a 3.5 or better GPA.

Hoping to continue to grow its membership, current PTK officers want to encourage people who are eligible to join, and for those not eligible to become eligible.

For more information, visit: campus-life/student-activites/ student-clubs-and-groups/ phi-theta-kappa/.