The Lone Star College-Tomball chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the international honor society for two-year colleges, was named 2015 Most Distinguished Chapter this weekend at the International Phi Theta Kappa convention held April 16-18 in San Antonio. Recognized for the success of their year-long College Project and Honors in Action initiative, the Most Distinguished Chapter award is the pinnacle of success for any PTK chapter and demonstrates the incredible success of the group’s service projects this year.
Going into the convention, LSC-Tomball’s PTK chapter, Alpha Rho Mu, had already been awarded several significant distinctions. The chapter’s officers were selected as a Distinguished Chapter Officer Team for their demonstration of an exceptional atmosphere of teamwork, leadership, and enthusiasm. Two officers, Heba Ramadan and Jorge Torres, were chosen from a pool of 450 nominees as Distinguished Chapter Officers. Stephanie Moore was selected as a Distinguished Chapter Member and Dr. Rebecca Tate, LSC-Tomball English professor and PTK advisor, was named Distinguished Advisor. “Accomplishments such as these of our student and faculty leaders exemplify the educational experience at LSC-Tomball,” said LSC-Tomball president Dr. Lee Ann Nutt.
The purpose of Phi Theta Kappa is to recognize and encourage the academic achievement of two-year college students and to provide opportunities for individual growth and development through participation in honors leadership, service, and fellowship programming. Key components of this programming are the annual College Project as well as the Honors in Action project. Alpha Rho Mu’s College Project, which used as its theme “Find a Way or Make one,” emphasized the importance of having GRIT and a growth mindset when working to achieve a goal. The application to educational success was an important one, but the project soon steamrolled and the PTK students realized their message of perseverance was applicable to all facets of life.
“Presenting our ‘Find a Way’ project to the residents of Boys and Girls Country (a non-profit organization in Hockley where at-risk urban youths reside in a peaceful, rural setting) allowed us to show the kids we were just like them and therefore our success can certainly be theirs,” said Jorge Torres. “Grit and a growth mindset instill the discipline and confidence to accomplish a great many things in life.”
The College Project resulted in many service activities throughout the year including making blankets for cancer patients at the underserved Katy branch of Texas Children’s hospital; participation in the ‘Light the Night’ Woodlands Walk for which chapter members raised over $4000 for leukemia and lymphoma research; hosting two on-campus blood drives; and participating in the Tomball Elementary math and Science Night. “I have never seen a team that devoted to a project in my life. Each member brought their own skills and talents to the table, and it was the perfect mix,” Heba Ramadan said.
Honors in Action is part of PTK’s programming that encourages chapters to develop a multi-faceted service project that combines academic research and analysis, leadership development, action in service or in advocacy, collaboration, and reflection in order to address an identified need in the community. This year’s Phi Theta Kappa Honors Study Topic, “Frontiers and the Spirit of Exploration,” encompassed nine interdisciplinary themes, and Alpha Rho Mu chose and researched “Health and Medicine as Frontiers” as its theme, focusing on the frontier of integrative medicine.