Candidate Profile: Christina Urbina

Christina Urbina

Candidate Interview

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

CollegeFish is a very influential benefit of being a Phi Theta Kappa member. At Internationals in San Jose I learned that this tool would be open to all students by the end of the summer. Appreciating how important this tool is for finding universities that are relevant to specific education goals of students, our Xi Pi officer team decided to implement CollegeFish. I was assigned the task of presenting this valuable information tool to Advising and Administration for their consideration.

Jennifer Blalock, the Chief Student Support Officer for CollegeFish, provided me with fliers, pens, and various knickknacks that we could use to promote CollegeFish on our campus. Therefore, equipped with boxes of Ike (the CollegeFish mascot) and with my CollegeFish t-shirt on, I approached every advisor and described the benefits that CollegeFish has to offer our students. They decided to implement CollegeFish into orientations. We addressed how important CollegeFish is for every student at an Executive Staff meeting with Dr. Holden, the President of Polk State College, and her staff, in which we gained full support. I have also trained the TRiO S.S.S. advisor, who I work with as a work study, how to help her students create an account. Our chapter hosted workshops with Jennifer Blalock. CollegeFish is still being spread everyday by our student body. I am even called the CollegeFish Girl in the advising office.

I helped coordinate and facilitate our chapters Honors in Action event this year. Everything went well until fall semester started. At that time we went from a full officer team to two officers and myself. At this point, I worked with the remaining officers to facilitate the events the best we could. I then enlisted the President of Polk State to help move forward even though we did not have the man power. She helped me procure our guest speakers. I walked the school with our officers and advertised by word of mouth, fliers, and newspaper articles. We had over 150 attendees at the forum from all over central Florida. I know if I had panicked that the other officers would have lost direction. I held it together and we produced a highly successful event for the students, faculty, and community members alike.

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

The reason I am seeking International Office is to expound my experiences as a leader. I have already earned five star within the Xi Pi Chapter, five star within Competitive Edge, and I am the Regional Awards officer. Within the chapter I have held the office of VP of Leadership and I am currently the President of Xi Pi chapter. I help others implement the scholarly ideal that makes up the foundation of Phi Theta Kappa, which are scholarship, service, fellowship, and leadership. Through helping members and officers I have grown as a leader. With this experience I will get the opportunity to impact others on a grandeur scale. Getting this opportunity will enrich my life.

This position gives me the chance to meet many fellow Phi Theta Kappa members and share what I have learned. With just the experience of running for this office, I am creating new growth for myself and for those around me. I sincerely believe that every experience is a chance to grow, not only as a person, but as a leader. Being able to show who I am as a person to my fellow Phi Theta Kappa members gives me great pride in who I have become. This opportunity will shape and mold my future with endless possibilities. I believe that everyone is given an opportunity but unless less they take it, they have gained nothing. Phi Theta Kappa has given me more than just experiences, they have shown me that we are a family. We support, encourage, teach, and learn from each other. That is what I hope to achieve through this endeavor.

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

Most students do not have advisors that walk them through everything, but they should. I have heard from many students that they felt lost and unprepared when they left for University. This is a problem that must be solved if we are to continue to complete our degrees. I work with the TRiO student support services at Polk State. They walk their students through the associate level process and transfer process step by step. TRiO takes them to Universities so that the students can see the difference between a public and private. They help them choose a University and put their registration package together for each University they are applying for. The program gives them the information that will leave them feeling assured and confident. Students need help transitioning into a University, that way the student's know what to expect once they arrive.

There is a lack of communication between the advisors and the student's. They do not have to be seen by an advisor every semester, but they should. Hands on advising can make a difference in completion numbers. Our students want to complete their degrees but become easily lost in the process. If our advisors are helping them, they will not take classes they don't need. This will insure that they don't go over the credit limits for financial aid. I have seen the benefit of doing this first hand within the TRiO program. Their students are fully prepared when they leave for University. They know what to expect and how to get help. Their advisors have prepared them for the obstacles they will face at a four year University. Unfortunately only certain students qualify for the TRiO. That leaves the majority of the student body unprepared for the challenges they will face when they reach the University level. In my opinion all students should have access to this type of advising, resources, and knowledge.

Honors Study Topic Essay

What Propels Us From Curiosity to Exploration of a Frontier?

Throughout history, the trend is evident that competition fuels our curiosity and propels us to explore new frontiers. Curiosity might whet the appetite but competition provides motivation to explore. Many examples of this can be found in the history of our country.

In the mid-1800's, city folk heard that there was vast, untouched, fertile, and beautiful land in the west. The quest to discover the unknown propelled many to explore that land. They traveled across the United States determined to be the first to get land of their own. For many it was a fresh start at a new life. They competed, not only to get there first, but to get the best land with the most acres. People packed everything they owned and drove their wagons across the United States to be the first to stake their claim on the new land.

With the advancement of technology allowing humans to travel further distances, scientists began pushing for first-hand planetary studies. The United States decided to send a man to the moon to explore this new frontier and it sparked a race to be the first to get to the moon and explore the virgin territory. The main concern of the United States was to achieve a lunar landing before the Soviet Union. In preparation, both countries built shuttles to send astronauts into space, nevertheless with great pride, on July 21, 1969 the United States won the race.

Competition seems to be the root of exploration and with these examples, it is apparent that every one of us is fueled by it. Even through our endeavors, it is the will to compete that drives us to be the first to create new things and make new discoveries.