Describe 2-3 specific leadership experiences which have prepared you to serve as an International Officer.
I have been fortunate to have two separate leadership experiences that have prepared me for the role as Division III Vice President. These experiences include: serving as the Illinois Region President this past year and also serving on the Illinois Central College Board of Trustees as the Student Trustee, for the past two years. Both of these experiences have contributed to the development of my personal leadership philosophy.
As Illinois Region President, I have been surrounded by a strong network of Phi Theta Kappa members. I’ve had a first-hand look at how chapters and regions work together to accomplish great things. I participated in the International Honors Institute in Philadelphia, PA. During the Honors Institute, I received intensive training on the Honors Study Topic and learned how to fulfill my role as a Regional President. Throughout this year, the Illinois Region Vice Presidents and I have planned and coordinated many events, including an event to help with the Washington, Illinois Tornado Relief Effort, which is near my hometown.
Within my role as Student Trustee, I represent the concerns and affirmations of a diverse and growing student body, helping to find solutions to common issues while also making myself accessible to students who need assistance. I have learned to connect with my peers on many different levels and how to demonstrate quality leadership through integrity. Whether I am in the Mathlab, in class or simply walking the halls, I readily seek to serve my peers and the world with a similar attitude many of us champion as Phi Theta Kappa members.
Beyond giving back to the organization, what is the primary reason you are seeking International Office?
My reason for running is to share the mission of Phi Theta Kappa and spread my passion as a servant leader. Phi Theta Kappa has been a life changing opportunity, allowing me to transcend any expectation I had previously set for myself. I have spent many hours studying and researching as an engineering major; but, most of what I have learned has been outside of the classroom through my involvement within my chapter and region. I have broken through barriers and believe it’s important to share those experiences with others. I want to use my experience as a testament of what Phi Theta Kappa is doing in my life, and what Phi Theta Kappa can do for others!
Phi Theta Kappa has challenged me to think outside the box, grow as an individual, and serve my community. Through academic research and analytical rigor, I have explored the implications of the Honors Study Topic in modern society and have developed project management that are meaningful and used I have used these skills to serve others. Through the 5-Star Competitive Edge, I’ve grown as an individual, but more importantly learned to help others grow by understanding that true leaders use their skills to help develop other leaders. I’ve gained valuable insight into how I can be a better student and citizen in our society. The 5-Star Competitive Edge program should be continuously shared as resource for learning, and as an international officer, I will be the one to do it!
I have served as a Chapter Officer, as well as Regional Officer, and want to continue growing as an International Officer. If given the opportunity, I will use my experiences at the chapter and regional level as a foundation of understanding, affording me the opportunity to connect with the members of Phi Theta Kappa. Being an International Officer is a collective experience and certainly one I intend to share with everyone.
In your opinion, what is the most important issue facing community college students today?
As we move further into the 21st century, it becomes increasingly vital that as college students we complete our credentials to achieve professional status. The greatest challenges facing community college students across the world are completing their credentials, gaining experience, and adding value to the workforce. Through education we can accomplish this; however, education alone cannot provide us with the opportunities necessary to gain experience. In order to attain this experience, we must ambitiously pursue new opportunities and sharpen our skills every step of the way.
These are challenges Phi Theta Kappa and the Community College Completion Corps expect to meet. These are not local or state challenges; these are issues facing every community college student across the world. Colleges and universities are seeking new programs and new methods in order to bridge potential gaps. However, bridging these gaps starts with us, the students. WE must face an increasingly competitive global economy; WE must answer these challenges, but how?
As students we understand these challenges to the fullest extent. Phi Theta Kappa and similar organizations are here to help, as students we need to leverage the resources provided in order to gain an advantage. Certificate programs within colleges are on the rise, offering students the ability to acquire multiple or advanced skills sets. These programs are often industry specific giving students the flexibility to finish sooner, and enabling them to gain experience. This is one of the many possible answers.
As Phi Theta Kappa members – and as students – these challenges are real, but we must be the ones to face them. As author Malcolm Gladwell said in his book Outliers, "If you work hard and assert yourself, and use your mind and imagination, you can shape the world."
Honors Study Topic Essay
Deep in the heart of every explorer lies the passion to explore the world around them. Curiosity alone is not merely enough to propel them toward a new frontier. Invariably, among every great explorer is a meaningful quest; a quest with a timeless effect which serves as a force to make the world – and its people – better. In His book Man’s Search for Meaning, author Victor Frankl claims, "It does not really matter what we expect from life, but rather what life expects from us."
Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mother Teresa are al classic examples of individuals who searched for purpose within their lives and transcended through their work. This is perhaps the most valuable feature of an exploration, the meaningfulness behind it. This type of exploration often begins with someone thinking from the inside out and asking one simple question. Why? As Phi Theta Kappa members, we often start here when creating and building our projects. If we can answer this one simple question through research, then we validate the notion of there being more beyond the spirit of exploration which will propel us forward.
Likewise, we must actively engage ourselves in a creative process to answer this question. The answer may be simple; it may be complex, but in any case it requires us to utilize our imaginations. We achieve this through envisioning the consequences of our exploration. As we explore the world around us, we must start by asking ourselves why, creatively imagine the consequences, and proceed with purposefulness. By embracing these features we are certain to propel ourselves forward to the next great frontier.