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Phi Theta Kappa’s Dedication to Seeing Students Succeed

By Sumayyah Lebrón—

Phi Theta Kappa, otherwise known as PTK, is a prestigious and international honors society for 2-year colleges. There are 1300 different chapters in 29 regions all over the world, with 4 divisions.

The PTK chapter here at Passaic County Community College is in Division 1 in the Middle States Region. Professor Jennifer Gasparino, a Human Services instructor and an alumna of this chapter, Alpha Eta Chi, currently serves as their advisor. She is on the regional board for PTK and is the Associate Regional Coordinator for New Jersey.

Because PTK is internationally recognized and sets students apart, there are requirements for those who are interested in joining. Students need to have a minimum of a 3.5 institutional GPA and 12 college-level credits. There is also a $65 membership fee, but it is possible to have that covered by financial aid.

Students who are not able to meet those requirements in the current semester are able to join as a provisional member until they can become a full member. They are still able to enjoy everything that PTK has to offer, except for scholarships.

Scholarships are one of the biggest benefits that PTK offers students, it is even one of PTK’s hallmarks; however, once provisional members are able to bring their grades up to the PTK standards, they can indulge in those benefits.

Professor Gasparino often mentions the 4 hallmarks that PTK was founded on–scholarship, leadership, service, and fellowship. The current Alpha Eta Chi chapter president and PCCC student, Elias Trejo, 20, Civil Engineering major, went into greater depth on these hallmarks.

“Dedicated to recognizing academic excellence, PTK offers a plethora of transfer scholarships, and opportunities for academic research through the Honor in Action project,” Trejo said, regarding the scholarship hallmark. In fact, PTK offers about $90 million in scholarships every year.

He also mentioned how PTK provides students the ability to improve on their leadership skills by offering leadership positions at the various chapters at “chapter, regional, and international levels,” a position that he himself took.

In terms of fellowship and service, PTK also “promotes an environment of inclusion and diversity and encourages members to work collectively to effect change through community service programs,” elaborated Trejo.

PTK offers so many benefits and opportunities for students and, as a student, it is important to take advantage of these benefits by joining. “Grades are fantastic, but joining sets you apart,” explained Professor Gasparino.

In an interview with PTK member and PCCC student Javier Lugo Jr., 21, Marketing major, he had nothing but praise for PTK and all it has done for him.

“I love what PTK stands for and all the opportunities that are offered. I’ve been surrounded by peers who are in PTK who strive to be the best students they can possibly be. It comes with sacrifice and after my first year, it rubbed off on me,” he said.

Lugo Jr. is part of several PTK committees as well the Men of Color Success Initiative–of which he serves as an ambassador–and he gives PTK credit for how far he has come, specifically because of the soft skills he learned.

“I always recommend PTK to everyone. The doors are opened to everyone and even if you’re not a full member, you can still be a provisional member. The events held throughout every semester are all beneficial and the people make the experience better.” Lugo Jr. said.

PTK holds different types of events every week, from events specifically for their members to events open to all PCCC students.

Recently, they held a Chocolate, Paint & Sip where students were able to paint while enjoying a refresher, such as a sparkling cider. Last Friday, they also offered pizza to PTK members who came in to do their Five Star, which helps to build their résumé.

Hadeel Ahmad, 20, Psychology major at PCCC, participated and completed her Five Star on Friday. As a PTK member she feels as though it’s beneficial when entering a 4-year school and when creating and building a résumé.

“PTK allowed me to carry more self-confidence and push myself to be the best scholar I can be,” she mentioned.

PTK provides many opportunities for the students at PCCC and promotes a family-like environment of love and acceptance. Students from all backgrounds, religions, and nationalities come together to work hard and strive towards a positive and beneficial future.

Professor Gasparino is the biggest supporter and promoter of this environment within PTK and said, “students who are a part of PTK are exceptional.”

PTK is dedicated to helping its students succeed, and as a member you can make use of all these benefits.

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