Candidate Profile: Megan Giles

Megan A. Giles

Candidate Interview

Describe 2-3 specific leadership experiences which have prepared you to serve as an International Officer.

During my first year as a Phi Theta Kappa member I served as a Chapter Officer holding the position of Executive Vice President. Our chapter went through many changes that year including losing our advisor of 26 years. We had an inexperienced executive board and brand new advisors. Throughout that year we worked double time, figuring things out on the go. Trying to write hallmarks with the advice of only a few who had been there before was exhausting! In the course of that time I saw many people walk away when things got tough. I also saw the other side. I saw the alumni that did not have to be at these meetings, sharing with us their knowledge of Phi Theta Kappa. I saw the advisors scrambling to get information to inquiring members. That was the first time that I really saw myself leading. I stayed to be a part of the change. There were only a few of us and it made me aware of how much influence one person can have. Being a chapter officer taught me to lead by example. I feel that this has prepared me to serve as an International Officer because I know that officers need that push most at the chapter level. I would love the chance to give to other officers this support.

Campaigning for regional office showed me the hard parts of leadership roles. People look to leaders for answers and sometimes the questions are hard. Instead of coming into a situation with an idea of how I am going to handle it, stepping out on a Regional level taught me to come in with an open mind and listen to a problem. Only after listening fully can you start to devise a plan of action. A lot of changes took place in my mind about leadership that weekend. I realized that leaders were not simply people who knew everything and did everything correctly. Effective leaders are leaders who find out what needs to be done and serve that need.

Beyond giving back to the organization, what is the primary reason you are seeking International Office?

Attending Phi Theta Kappa conferences and conventions had a huge impact on my life. Receiving advice from highly respected individuals allowed me to make some positive changes. I would like to have the chance to share my Phi Theta Kappa story with others. As a Communications major, I love to write or speak out about things I feel are necessary. This organization breathes life into students who may not have any other support group. Many students come from a family or circle of friends where no one else is attending college. This makes it difficult to express your hopes, your goals and your workload to your friends and family. The International Officer team gets to meet many new people and welcome them in as Phi Theta Kappa members. The Officers inspire hope in our members.

In your opinion, what is the most important issue facing community college students today?

An issue community college students are facing today is that they fail to take a leadership role in their own college experience. Students should meet with advisors and figure out a schedule that really works for them. Get advised on financial aid and how it works. Take advantage of scholarships. Many students fail to do this because they are in a rush to get through school. They take on too many credits and drop classes due to failing grades. A student may start to see a shift in their career path but keep traveling down the road planned because it is an easier route. During the exploration of our College Project in 2012, we met many former students who left college prior to graduation because they were confused by which classes they still needed. One girl even had enough credits to graduate but did not understand how to apply for graduation! She left our C4 event that day with the knowledge that she had her degree. If students get more involved in their experience, it can save time and money down the road. This is a problem that can be easily fixed with the support of college faculty and administration. It is a situation that Phi Theta Kappa addresses while striving to educate students on all of the opportunities before them.

Honors Study Topic Essay

Curiosity is part of human nature. People read books and watch shows about places they have never been. We keep the corner of our eye fixed on a person acting abnormal in public, waiting for something new to happen.

Crossing the line from curiosity into exploration is when we stop watching and take action. This move toward action is often inspired by love. It is the love of an organization or cause that makes us seek leadership positions. It is the love of a child, family member or friend that makes us demand new ways of thinking surrounding disease. Love makes it easier for us to take this leap of faith, where fear still exists, but the pull of the love is much stronger. In fact, while love pushes us into action, fear is the great dividing line between curiosity and exploration. If we are afraid of something we find countless excuses of why we cannot do that thing. We often say, "I can’t." When we do things out of love we usually say, "Why not try?" The fear of rejection, of embarrassment, of failure, become second. The possibility becomes first.

John Lennon said: "There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love." He was absolutely right.

Looking inward, we need to discover which force is strong inside of us. If you live a life ruled by fear then you may never explore those areas where you could make a difference. Replace that fear with love and anything is possible. If we do this within we create self-confidence. If we do this for others we create a support system for their explorations.

Let love defeat fear. The world need more explorers armed with understanding to propel us forward.