East Texas Baptist University hosted the 2018 Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society (PTK) Texas Region Leadership Conference on Friday, October 12 through Sunday, October 14. PTK is an international honors society of two-year colleges and academic programs. The organization seeks to acknowledge the academic achievements of students and provide growth opportunities both personally and professionally. Annually, each PTK region holds affordable and accessible conventions to allow chapters to network in their areas.
“Throughout the conference, I learned numerous ways to be an effective leader,” Amarillo College sophomore Secondary Education major Lauren Tanner commented. “As I am the Treasurer for the PTK at Amarillo College, the event taught me how to lead by example for the rest of the members back home. Philippe Schicker, one of the speakers, stood out to me because of his message on how to build each other up through trying times.”
The event featured sessions with guest speakers on various topics of leadership, panel discussions, and small group workshops. Because I Said I Would Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Amanda Messer, Division IV International VP Philippe Schicker, Angelina College Professor Michael Alberts, Missouri Regional and Associate Regional Coordinators Steven and Jo Fritts, and Odessa College Professor William Bess presented during the conference.
“The PTK Texas Region Leadership Conference was an opportunity to network, share my story, and hear other people’s stories,” Schicker said. “It was exciting to be exposed to new ideas and views throughout the event. I met people with different backgrounds and was challenged by others’ perspective. ETBU’s efforts to partner with PTK, an organization that represents equality and diversity, speaks to the University and what they stand for as well.”
With more than 360 student participants from nearly 40 Texas and Missouri community colleges in attendance, the conference promoted economic development in Marshall. According to Greater Marshall Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Stormy Nickerson, the participants significantly impacted the local community and economy.
“As my son is a PTK alumnus, I asked several local restaurants on Monday if they interacted with conference students,” Nickerson said. “I heard only positive comments about the interaction with students as well as the economic impact of their visit from our fast food restaurants to more traditional family restaurants.” She continued. “In my role with the Greater Marshall Chamber of Commerce, I have been blessed to see increased cooperation and positive communication between stakeholders for the benefit of all community members: City of Marshall, Harrison County, MEDCO, Our Chamber, School Districts, non-profit organizations, civic groups and our four advanced educational institutions. ETBU has created a climate of servant leadership within the entire student body by challenging students to serve our community. It is our sincere hope these students take this servant's heart to their next community.”
PTK conference participants partnered with Mission Marshall by donating more than 15 boxes of children’s books to the local Little Free Library Sharing Network. A neighborhood book exchange, the non-profit organization places book-sharing boxes where they can be a catalyst for improving reading motivation and deepening community.
“Mission Marshall provides tools to the under-resourced in our community that aid in breaking the cycle of poverty. The Little Free Libraries foster a love of reading, empowers success in school, and especially impacts those in low-to-moderate income households,” Mission Marshall Director Misty Scott shared. “We were floored by the overwhelming support by PTK and ETBU. It’s this kind of generosity that enables us to do all the work we do in Marshall. Both organizations encourage service and equips students to be effective leaders as they volunteer.”
ETBU was named to the 2018 PTK Transfer Honor Roll, which recognizes the nation’s top four-year colleges and universities successfully creating community college transfer pathways. As a part of the Tiger Transfer Track Program, community college students are able to seamlessly transfer approved courses, receive priority for admission, and are granted priority for scholarships at ETBU. The University also offers $11,000 each year in academic scholarship support to PTK students. ETBU and PTK share a commitment to walking alongside students and assisting them in achieving their full potential.
“The most rewarding aspect of working with transfer students is that each of them have a unique story. I enjoy helping students achieve what they doubted they could do,” ETBU Transfer Admissions Counselor Max Turner (’15) said. “ETBU has a partnership with PTK that has continually been solidified. PTK students are a good fit for the University because the organization’s pillars – scholarship, leadership, service, and fellowship – align with our core values. As a former community college student, I understand how challenging it can be. Both PTK and ETBU provide an outlet for students to build meaningful and encouraging relationships.”