SGSC Hosts Phi Theta Kappa Fall Regional Conference
By: Amy Hancock
External Affairs Coordinator
South Georgia State College (SGSC) recently hosted the annual Fall Regional Conference for the Georgia Region of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. Official hosts were the Alpha Rho Omega Chapter (SGSC’s Waycross Campus) and the Kappa Sigma Chapter (SGSC’s Douglas Campus). Chapter advisors are Amy Hancock and Ame Wilkerson.
The two-day event was held in the James M. Dye Student Services Building on the Waycross Campus. Chapters from across the State of Georgia were in attendance as well as Ms. Ebonee Carpenter, former Phi Theta Kappa International Officer and alumna of Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla. Carpenter is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in sociology at the University of Mississippi and stays active with the Phi Theta Kappa organization. The conference began with a time of fellowship for attendees followed by a welcome and opening remarks from Frank Malinowski, regional coordinator for the Georgia Region. The guests were treated to a southern barbecue by the host chapters.
The guest speakers for the evening were the Science Fiction and Fantasy Club members from SGSC’s Waycross Campus under the leadership of advisor Ellen Dyal. The students shared the different genres of science fiction and fantasy ranging from comic books to anime and how it relates to the ways people express themselves. The presentation tied to the Honor Study Topic theme for Phi Theta Kappa, “Quests for Human Expression.” Members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Club took part in the remainder of the activities as guests of the Alpha Rho Omega chapter.
Small group sessions were held and led by Justin Jones and Carpenter. Carpenter spoke to the groups about the basics of Phi Theta Kappa and how each one could be involved in the projects on their own campuses. Jones, current regional officer for Georgia and chapter president at Georgia Highlands College in Rome, Ga., did an overview of scholarship processes and hints for writing successful scholarship applications. The evening concluded with more fellowship time among the attendees.
As students and advisors gathered for the second day of the conference, Malinowski gave the annual State of the Region report and the International Headquarters Update, which was followed by the traditional Roll Call of Chapters.
Carpenter was the speaker for the next general session. She shared with the attendees about her journey from chapter member to international officer and the benefits Phi Theta Kappa offers to them as well. She also walked them through the new Phi Theta Kappa website and her profile on CollegeFish, a transfer scholarship website. Through this website, Carpenter was able to search for the transfer college that best fit her needs, which she found to be the University of Mississippi. She was also able to search and apply for additional scholarships besides those offered through Phi Theta Kappa. Carpenter led a discussion on how to do a College Project and an Honors in Action project, two parts of the requirements for becoming a Five Star Chapter. This became the catalyst for the next activity, which is known as the Honors in Action Lightning Round. The attendees were divided into groups, and they went through a shortened version of planning and implementing an Honors in Action project. At the conclusion of the activity, each group shared their project ideas.
Following lunch, students and advisors traveled to the Okefenokee Swamp Park for a boat and train tour followed by a presentation from environmental specialist Kathi Murray. The group was able to see and touch turtles and other animals native to the Swamp. The visit to the Swamp related to the Honors Study Topic, “Exploring the Natural Environment,” and it was the conclusion of the Fall Regional Conference weekend.
Headquartered in Jackson, Miss., Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society is the largest honor society in higher education with 1,285 chapters on college campuses in each of the United States, Canada, Germany, the Republic of Palau, Peru, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions. Nearly three million students have been inducted since Phi Theta Kappa’s founding in 1918, with approximately 131,000 students inducted annually.
TOP PHOTO: (L-R) Kolby Kicklighter (Blackshear, Ga.), Aaron Moore (Blackshear, Ga.), Destiny Smith (Hoboken, Ga.), and Ronesea Styles (Waycross, Ga.) from the Alpha Rho Omega Chapter. Chris Lopez (Douglas, Ga.) and Mariana Guerrero (Nicholls, Ga.) from the Kappa Sigma Chapter receive recognition for hosting the Fall Regional Conference for the Georgia Region of Phi Theta Kappa along with Phi Theta Kappa advisors Amy Hancock and Ame Wilkerson.
MIDDLE PHOTO: Representing the Georgia Region of Phi Theta Kappa were chapters from the University of North Georgia, Atlanta Metropolitan State College, Georgia Military College (Columbus and Fairburn Campuses), Georgia Perimeter College (Decatur Campus), Georgia Highlands College, Darton State College and South Georgia State College (Douglas and Waycross Campuses). Attendees wore green and gold ribbons to show support for the Alpha Sigma Upsilon Chapter at Umpqua Community College in Oregon after the recent tragic shooting on that campus.
BOTTOM PHOTO: Members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Club on South Georgia State College’s Waycross Campus were the keynote presenters for Friday night’s session. Front row (L-R): Kalena Black (Waycross, Ga.) and Lauren Durrance (Blackshear, Ga.). Back row (L-R): Club Advisor Ellen Dyal (Baxley, Ga.), D.J. Carter (Waycross, Ga.), Kevin Nguyen (Waycross, Ga.), Rahkeem Armstrong (Blackshear, Ga.), and Michael Squires (Blackshear, Ga.).