Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Phi Theta Kappa Fellowship In Action

                                                                                                                                         By Anna Panyuta

On the weekend of October 17-19, the group of student officers from the Alpha Theta Phi Chapter participated at the Honors in Action conference in Selden, Long Island. Representatives of more than forty-four Phi Theta Kappa chapters of the NY region gathered in the Ammerman Campus of Suffolk County Community College. During the next three days we were a part of an incredible program that consisted of five general sessions, group discussions, games, campus tours and more. This Honors in Action Conference was probably the only event in my life which led me to meet so many wonderful, smart people in one location. In a period of only two in a half days, I made 25 new Facebook friends. Besides getting the chance to make new friends and making my network wider and more diverse, the trip to the conference showed me the great value of effective communication and the importance of tolerance while trying finding a function in dysfunction.

The Honors in Action Conference was brilliantly organized. It was planned to every second and had no visible hiccups in timing. The Conference consisted of five general sessions with keynote speakers discussing different topics in every and each general session. My favorite speaker was Mr. Frank Vino who covered the topic “Looking Back to Move Forward” where he talked about personal qualities of leaders. Students also had plenty of time and opportunities to break the ice and get to know each other. After the five general sessions, discussions took place in small groups. The “Nerd Nation” crowd was broken down into a small groups of fifteen and started talking in a casual atmosphere. Together with an advisor most of us have never met before, we shared experiences and opinions related to topics assigned earlier. Besides the discussion groups we got to know each other in various spots: on a shuttle bus, during breakfast lunch and dinner, on game night, and during the fellowship event called the Amazing Race Challenge. As a matter of fact, after game night, some of us liked to play the game “Mafia” so much, that after playing it during the first night we agreed to meet and play more, even though it wasn`t part of the schedule!

The Honors in Action Conference in Fall 2014 was a one of a kind trip in my life - in a short time of two in a half days I studied a lot and met tons of wonderful people. The conference managed to bring together many of the chapters of New York region and for the whole weekend we took part in incredible workshops, endless discussions, speeches, games and even a tour of the brand new Suffolk Community College Planetarium. The trip to the Honors in Action Conference will always stay in my mind as an example of how the one size doesn`t fit all and how important patience and tolerance is when trying to communicating with people who have a different  values and understandings of what is ethical vs. unethical, what is appropriate vs. inappropriate and what is professional vs. unprofessional.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Looking Back to Move Forward

by Marie Brewer

Recently, five members of the Alpha Theta Phi officer team attended the NY Region Honors in Action/Leadership Conference at Suffolk County Community College (SCCC). We had three jam-packed days of speakers, seminars, and even some fun activities to keep us going. There were numerous opportunities for fellowship and connections with neighboring chapters were made. After we arrived on Friday, we headed right to SCCC for registration and the first general session and opening keynote speaker. Opening the first general session was NY Regional President, Amie Bernstein. She took the podium confidently and introduced the other regional officers. Soon came roll-call (which I am told is very exciting at the International Convention!) where each chapter is announced and someone (in this case me) stands up to share how many officers, members, and advisors are in attendance. During her introduction, Amie spoke briefly about the Honors Study Topic, “Frontiers and The Spirit of Exploration,” the format of the conference, her own experiences with the benefits of Phi Theta Kappa. We played a fun icebreaker called thumb ball, and then Onjalai Flake, our district director came to speak. She spoke briefly about the societal structure of Phi Theta Kappa and showed a trailer-like video about the benefits of becoming a Five Star Chapter (which we are!). We also took an awesome group selfie – the conference so far was quite fun. The keynote speaker for this first general session was Frank Vino, the SCCC Director of Campus Activities. Mr. Vino spoke about leadership and what makes a great leader. A point he made, look back to move forward, is one that holds a lot of weight. By looking at past leaders – examples Mr. Vino used included Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, and Mother Theresa – we can identify what attributes made them great and what made them weak. This is an excellent way to identify in us how to be great leaders. This consciousness of self leads to social change. Three points Mr. Vino left us with to end the first general session were: failure is an excellent opportunity to achieve greatness, you can learn something from everyone, and finally, dream big, but start small. The conference got off to a great start and only got better going forward!
                                                                                                  by Rachel Chambers

Being an active member of Phi Theta Kappa comes with a lot of benefits and one of those in
particular is having an opportunity to attend different conferences or
County, Long Island at the Suffolk County Community College Ammerman campus.
conventions. This year, the New York Regional Conference was held in Suffolk
hear a name like that you think it has numerous obstacle courses, tons of sweat
One of the most informative but relaxing events was The Amazing Race. When you
order to engage with other members of PTK and socialize as we should. The race
and physical exercise. Funny enough, that was just only a small part of it in
had different levels which each team had to complete in a specific time. The
offer and some sort of twist within it all. What is the point of this, you may
activities were as follows: The Water Bucket Challenge, Mine Field, Flash Trivia, Magic Carpet Ride and Pass code. Each event had something different to
emotionally. This was a way for us to work together as a group, put our brains
ask? Well, it was a way for us as members to interact with other members across the New York Region and do so not only mentally and physically but also together, have fun, learn more about each other and well just engage in what
able to stretch their mental abilities, view things from different perspectives
the true meaning of fellowship is. Thanks to this activity, many people were able to connect with one another to make long lasting friendships. They were and just have a good time doing it all. The Amazing Race was a nice way to
organization at the PTK New York Regional Conference.
destress, socialize and learn all in one, and this was all possible because of

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How To Maneuver a College Transfer Fair

                                                                                                                                  by Elizabeth Reddy

Over the weekend of October 15-17, our chapter officers of Phi Theta Kappa at LaGuardia Community College, Alpha Theta Phi, attended a conference at the Selden, NY campus of Suffolk County Community College. There were several events for us to partake in such as general sessions involving keynote speakers, fellowship events like visiting the SCCC planetarium, and a college transfer fair with a scavenger hunt included.
The college transfer fair is not always an easy event to maneuver. For us students, we can be overwhelmed by the amount of colleges that come to provide information; at the conference, there were forty college information tables to visit. All the pamphlets and booklets they give you can be a handful, and the problem of whether or not you are asking the right questions to find the college appropriate for you and your desired major is a constant thought.
I've developed a list of tips that can help any student who is faced with the daunting and sometimes frustrating task of maneuvering a college transfer fair. These tips are meant to help you get the most out of the college fair, as well as finding the best matches for your major of choice. Hopefully, these will be helpful to you and will divide the task of going through each college table a whole lot easier!
1.      Before you start looking at the colleges and talking to the school representatives, ask yourself a few simple questions that will make things simple for you and the representative.
a.       What is your desired major?
b.      Do you want to stay local or are you willing to go out of state?
c.       Will you be receiving financial aid? If not, do you have a budget for the school you choose?

Also, try and keep in mind some other things that you are looking for in a school and that are important to you when choosing a college. Specifics are great when you’re having a difficult time deciding between two or three great schools. Ask the college reps anything about the schools that you’re curious about. Don’t be afraid—ask them while you have them in person, especially if you’re really interested in the school.
2.      Once you have your questions, you will also most likely be given a list of schools that are in attendance at the college transfer fair. Look it over! Organize the schools into order of priority, by schools you already know a little about (or ones you’re thoroughly interested in applying to), schools that are a possibility for you, and schools that are local. Cross out schools that you know for a fact do not have the major that you are interested in and are field-specific schools. For example, if you are a fine arts major, you can cross out NYIT which is a technology, math and science specific school.
3.      After you've organized your school into a list of who you want to visit first, be prepared to wait for some of them. If the first school you want to visit has a long line, move to the next one. Ask your questions, take information ONLY if you’re probably/definitely going to apply to the school. Signing up for the emails about school information is good to, but these schools WILL email you—some of them a lot, so be prepared for that too. Worst comes to worst, you can always unsubscribe from their emails
4.      Just keep visiting each of the schools that you've prioritized, moving on to the next one if there’s a long line. Once you've gotten all the information and asked your questions to the colleges that weren't so crowded, it’s time to play the waiting game. Chances are, the lines at the other tables haven’t gotten that much shorter. Have your questions ready since these schools are popular and the representatives want to answer as many questions as they can, that way when you get to the front of the line, or the front of the table, you will be able to get your questions out articulately and concisely.  When visiting these more popular schools, if they don’t give you one already, make sure that you ask the college representatives for a card. They will most likely be happy to give you one so that you can contact them further to ask them more questions and get more information.
5.      After you've visited all the colleges you wanted to, look over your list. Make sure you have information from all of the schools you want to apply to. All the information that you've collected is study material for you. This will help you narrow down your list of applications.
6.      Once you’re all finished, pat yourself on the back. You've just completed your first college transfer fair! It wasn't that bad, was it?

I hope these tips were helpful. Choosing colleges can be extremely overwhelming and daunting, but for those that come to these college transfer fairs with a good idea of what they’re looking for, the difficulty of the task is cut in half. 

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.

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