Candidate Profile: Ebonee Carpenter

Ebonee Carpenter

Candidate Interview

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

During the 2012-2013 school year, I served as President of the Alpha Lambda Alpha Chapter. While this position required a great deal of time and commitment on my part, it also provided a great deal of reward. Prior to me becoming president, the chapter was elected Executive Chapter of the Florida Region. In this new position I was not only tasked with leading my own chapter, but also all the chapters within my region. I worked diligently with my chapter advisors and our Regional Coordinator on numerous occasions to ensure the region’s current needs were met and attainable goals were created for the upcoming year. One of the biggest challenges was getting everyone involved. One goal we created for the year was to get the region together and on the same page. My personal mission was to achieve this goal within the chapters of my own college. Hillsborough Community College has five campuses throughout the Tampa Bay area. Each campus having its own chapter, each chapter being quite territorial. Being a servant leader made this challenge more manageable and allowed me to better connect with all I met. The chapter and I collaborated with members from the other chapters to gain a better understanding of the obstacles that stood in the way of the chapters coming together. Through the face of adversity, we built connections at each campus and ultimately were able to produce an event that garnered participation from all five chapters, something we had never been able to accomplish before.

As VP of Leadership, I was responsible for developing future leaders within the chapter. I have always felt it was important to lead by example; In order to do this, one of my first tasks was to complete the Five Star Competitive Edge program. Working through the program, I discovered leadership capabilities I myself did not know I possessed. Once completed, I was ready to promote the program to others. I had gained a new wealth of knowledge that I had to share with those within the chapter. I volunteered to speak to the benefits of the program and how it would prepare students for life after community college. Additionally, I met with members before and after general meetings and at events to gauge what they felt was required of their ideal leader. I paid attention to those who shined during service projects, those who were always vocal and stepped up to offer suggestions on how to make students’ experience more enjoyable and the chapter better. I shared my experiences at community college and as a member of Phi Theta Kappa. I had the opportunity to empower and motivate others, and I did not want to let it pass me by. This opportunity allowed me to identify the potential in a person – often unbeknownst to them – and bring that out, in both members and officers alike.

For the past three years, I have worked as a Business Analyst/Project Manager for a Fortune 500 bank. In this position, I am responsible for leading projects from infancy to implementation. A part of my role is to be a liaison between my business partners on the operational side as well as those on the technology side to ensure the needs of both parties are met for each project. This is not always an easy task. Often times, each group envisions their needs being met in a manner that does not always coincide with the vision of the other group. It is my duty to keep both sides focused and on task to ensure that each project is not only implemented successfully, but also completed on time and within the costs designated by the company. Many are familiar with Phi Theta Kappa as an honorary, scholarly organization. I am aware that at the end of the day, it is also a business. A business that has to be professionally and respectfully run. My previous leadership positions within the organization, along with my real world experiences have prepared me to work hand in hand with members, officers, and advisors within each chapter as well as executives to ensure Phi Theta Kappa, the business, is managed efficiently and effectively.

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

The main reason I am seeking International Office is to continue the professional and leadership development I began when I became a member of Phi Theta Kappa. Being a non-traditional student who is already in the workforce, I did not think there was much more for me to learn professionally. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of knowledge I gained about project management, teamwork, and conflict resolution working on projects such as Honors in Action and my chapter’s College Project. By becoming an officer, I have grown much more as a leader, both within my chapter and at my workplace. I feel I have the opportunity to set a great example for those who thought maintaining this level of leadership was not possible while working full-time and supporting a family. I want to continue to break the mold and inspire others to do what many once thought could not be done.

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

The most important issues facing community college students today are staying motivated and the presence of a support system throughout their collegiate career. Being a community college student who previously attended a four-year university, I immediately noticed a difference in the treatment of incoming new students, especially freshman. At many four-year colleges, freshman students are required to stay in campus housing, many having segregated dorm buildings specifically for the freshman population. Some schools require students to take a specific curriculum of classes during the first semester or year, ensuring new students take classes together and acquire the same knowledge immediately following high school. This is not a negative thing; it creates a structured and familiar environment similar to high school that allows for a smooth transition from secondary to post-secondary school. Additionally, these young adults are able to band together while they adjust to their newfound freedom. Contrarily, this structure does not exist for students who decide to attend community college immediately following high school. While most community colleges require students’ first semester to include Freshman English, that is about the extent of class scheduling requirements. From the beginning of their post-secondary journey, students are on their own to select classes that best meet their enrollment and educational needs. Furthermore, most community colleges do not offer on-campus housing. Upon completion of classes, many students head to work or to their homes, eliminating the time to build camaraderie. Camaraderie that leads to invaluable, lasting relationships, the ones that ultimately help students stay motivated during times of distraction. Not only do these relationships assist students with staying motived, they are the quintessential building blocks for most students’ support system. Most students who live in on-campus housing have the luxury of a resident assistant or dorm monitor to turn to in times of high stress or disorder. What resource do community college students have?


Honors Study Topic Essay

“Frontiers and the Spirit of Exploration” – “What propels us from curiosity to exploration of a frontier?”

Have you ever looked at a person and wondered, “What has his or her journey been up to this point”? Or gazed at a landmark and pondered, “How did this really come to be”? Dictionary.com defines ignorance as “lacking in knowledge or information as to a particular subject or fact” (Dictionary.com, LLC., 2014). For some, ignorance is bliss. These individuals find no fault in strolling through life never questioning what the future holds or challenging ideas that do not make sense. For others, the search for truth through new frontiers is indispensable. While preparing the final sermons for his book Strength to Love, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity” (King, 1963). More than 50 years later, this statement still reigns true. It is without question the unknown fascinates us – while it is known to terrify us as well. There comes a time, however, when inquiring minds must take exploratory action. A time when we no longer conform to the ideals of others or accept the boundaries they attempt to place upon us. A time when we refuse to abandon our right to self-expression in attempts to pacify social standards and ultimately “fit in”. A time when we break through the barriers of ignorance built up against us by our families, by society, by ourselves. A time when failure is no longer an option and we commit to overcoming obstacles and propelling ourselves to new heights. A time when our restless beginnings motivate us to pursue a purposeful future. That time, my friends, is now.