Thursday, May 15, 2014

How to Deal With a Hot Head

by Peter Kim

Sometimes troublemakers appear in meetings and other social events. What should a chapter officer do in this situation? It is inevitable that will confront a troublemaker on some occasion. Are you going to fight with them? After attending an educational forum at the PTK International Conference on this issue, I have some ideas to help you.  What do I mean when I refer to individuals as troublemakers? An officer, who was elected but didn’t do anything during their term or a person who promised to do work but is always making excuses and being undependable are common types of trouble makers.
Most people feel uncomfortable confronting strangers and don’t know where to begin because lack of skill can make a situation worse. Therefore, a willingness to take action or start talking is the hardest part of  confronting a troublemaker. Once you decide to take action then the following tips will help you.
First, there is a power dynamic in every social relationship. It’s hard to converse with your superior because speaking with him or her is an uncomfortable situation since he or she has more power than you. So in some instances, a superior person would be a chapter president, he/she should not confront a troublemaker in every situation.  If a chapter president does that then a troublemaker will decide to flee or hide his/her true intention. Most people will show their true intention or needs while they feel equal with others like member to member but a chapter president has more authority than the general members. Therefore, neutralizing the power dynamic is the key. Make the troublemaker feel as if he/she is  talking to a person who is in same level, so he/she can freely express what he/she want to say. Secondly, try to converse in a neutral place besides the chapter office or chapter meeting place because these places could make a troublemaker  feel pressured. Thirdly, you (officers) have to be ready for every response from a troublemaker in the meeting. Troublemakers may attack you verbally or respond with a positive reaction. If you know how to correctly deal with the situation by saying please stop interrupting our meeting” and using improper behaviors, he/she may respond back by an apology and then you should accept.  A good tip to  stop a constant troublemaker in the meeting would be controlling of the attacker and yourself so that both of you don't become angry.  Anger will only make a situation worse so wait till the end of meeting and speak with troublemaker individually. All you need is one minute to say how their behavior is affecting you and others (members in the meeting place), because most troublemakers think their behaviors don’t affect others.

What Makes a Chapter Strong?

by Peter Kim

I believe every chapter officer wants to make their chapter strong and be competitive with other chapters.  I’m hoping that these tips will help you create a stronger chapter. General meetings are a way to communicate with members, and a perfect moment to explain chapter goals to fellow members. Now, how can you get more members or students to come to meetings?  Make the meeting time as convenient as possible and keep the meeting time consistent. Do not change the meeting time often, that will confuse students so a fewer number of students will appear. Set the general meeting agenda so that it is relevant to students’ needs such as providing transfer information or scholarship information with actual recipients’ stories. This will attract more members to attend the meetings.
The Chapter needs to encourage more members to volunteer on the HIA and College Projects. If more members become involved in chapter activities, more information and ideas will be shared . Therefore, membership retention and members engagements are essential parts of a strong chapter. How we can increase members’ involvement? Many students are  hesitant to engage with a new environment or academic activities that they think are not going to benefit them. Therefore, the chapter officers’ team has to demonstrate their strong leadership skills and develop an environment where that members are freely contributing to the chapter. However, you should not put too much pressure on members who decide to volunteer because too much responsibility will be a burden for them to handle. Try giving them relatively easy PTK tasks such as writing  blog entries or posting PTK event posters  and report their success during the general meetings. This will provide them with confidence and a feeling of accomplishment. Therefore, they will want to become more involved in activities and tasks. Please don’t forget this. Chapter officers must make the effort to sustain constant communication with volunteers so they won’t feel left out, but part of team. These tips are what make a chapter stronger and would make more chapter members actively involved in chapter activities.

NASA : The risks and rewards of exploring outer space

by Christian Glatz

“Earth is the cradle of mankind, but one cannot live in the cradle forever” (Konstantin Tsiolkovsky).  We are destined to explore, when you observe a toddler the one thing he wants to do more than anything is crawl and go off to the unknown… and place anything he finds in his mouth, but I digress.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was established on July 29, 1958. NASA’s main purpose is to conduct aeronautics and aerospace research, focused on better understanding Earth through space.
During the Nerd Nation convention I attended an Educational Forum headed by NASA’s Director of safety and Mission Assurance from the Kennedy Space Center, he gave us a first-hand look at the risks and rewards of exploring celestial frontiers.
So, have you ever thought “What does NASA do for me?” Well, do you like your polarized sun glasses? Or your cellphone? How about using GPS to navigate while driving? Or have you ever used Velcro??. In order for humans to be able to survive in space, scientist have to come up with cutting edge technology which then is used for everyday life. This research does not come cheap, during the 1960’s NASA got as much as 5 billion dollars (Today’s money is $33 billion), at the same time that’s when technology had an exponential growth. The money was used to send humans to the moon, place research satellites around the earth, send research robots to Mars, and send exploration satellites outside of our solar system.
Exploration outside our planet is very risky, even though we have developed automation, there are some things robots can’t do and that’s why we need astronauts. NASA has thousands of people that work day and night making sure that our astronauts can go out, conduct the research, and then come back home alive. A research study conducted to identify how many asteroids are around our solar system that can potentially strike earth concluded that there are over 15 thousand of them. The effort now a days is to understand asteroids and figure out a way to prevent their collision with earth.
Going back to the budget, unfortunately the it has been decreased so much that NASA had to retire all the space shuttles and now we have to pay other countries about 63 million dollars per astronaut to be able to send them to the international space station and allow them to conduct further research.
I believe an agency dedicated to exploration, and whose research byproducts benefit us all should continue getting funds. We don’t want to take a risk and be annihilated by an asteroid, when we can prevent it. An example of an asteroid impacting earth in the last 100 years, look up TUNGUSKA EVENT.

Top Transfer Tips: From the Present to Your Future

by Heebeom Yang

As a future graduate student, I want to plan my future educational journey. This is why I attended the Top Transfer Tips education forum at the PTK International Convention in Orlando, Florida. This forum explained how to carry the success I have found at my two-year college with me as I transfer to my four-year college.
Different people have different goals to achieve during their educational journey. It is true that two-year colleges act as a stepping-stone to a four-year college and a bachelor’s degree. If we want to take this path, we should make our plans ahead of time and ask questions to four-year college advisors because each college has its own requirements. The most important thing we can do to make the transfer process run smoothly is plan ahead. For example, Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences requires their transfer students to take Statistics, Calculus 1 and English composition. Also, they have an optional requirement to take a one year biology course. The forum presenter emphasized the importance of meeting optional requirements for getting admission to Cornell University. He told me that optional requirements are  not mandatory, but are preferred by colleges. So, when people do not understand this fact, they  are missing out on their opportunity to be admitted to the 4 year college of his or her choice. The forum leader also mentioned that people, who do not meet the optional requirements have only a 13 %  acceptance rate; however, for people who do fulfill the optional requirements, the acceptance rate is 26%. This means that meeting optional requirements will increase your probability of being admitted to the college of your choice.
If I had attended this educational forum before applying to Cornell, I might have received an admission letter from them. Unfortunately, I didn’t grab the opportunity to take the optional classes. I want to emphasize the importance of meeting optional requirements. I hope that this information  can help you to get admitted to your dream school.

How to manage Alpha Theta Phi time?

By Heebeom Yang

What is the best way for the chapter to use its time throughout the year? We are always running out of time. Let me be honest with you, our chapter Alpha Theta Phi ran out of time while trying to complete our College Project and Honors in Action project.  Based on my experience of constantly running out of time, I chose to attend an Educational Forum on Competitive Edge at the PTK International Convention in Orlando. However, instead of discussing the program, the forum focused on time management.

With a limited amount of time, what should a chapter focus on? It was the first question to answer for the discussion leader. In fact, I never thought about how our chapter manages time. We just made a timeline to divide our work and followed the day by day schedule by using Google Calendar. I shared how the Alpha Theta Phi chapter managed their time with the discussion leader and he told me that our chapter follows  one of the strategic planning cycles. A strategic planning cycle is a set of formal planning procedures which ensures that managers examine major issues faced by their organization at regular meetings. This is necessary to overcome running out of time with short term problems. Based on this information, I suggest that Alpha Theta Phi Chapter officers and PTK members manage their time by setting a timeline and evaluating whether deadlines are being met on a regular basis.

Another way to manage your time is to set clear goals to achieve chapter improvement.  As a chapter, we set common goals to help establish agreement on intended outcomes or results. At our meetings, we would assess and adjust the goals which allows decisions to be made and actions to take shape. This is what makes our chapter what it is. We constantly try to set goals about who Alpha Theta Phi serves, what it does, and why it does it, with a focus on the future.

After attending this information session, I believe effective strategic planning articulates not only where Alpha Theta Phi is going and the actions needed to make progress, but also how the chapter will know if it is successful. Our chapter’s success depends on our future chapter officers and active members. Please remember these tips to our chapter.

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