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STLCC PTK Chapters, Individuals Earn Awards

Thursday, April 22, 2021

St. Louis Community College campus chapters of Phi Theta Kappa recently earned numerous awards at the Missouri Regional Convention that was conducted virtually due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The awards recognize activities that happen at the chapter and regional levels, as well as the leadership displayed by members, advisors and regional leaders who are using research and collaboration to tackle big problems like college completion, food insecurity among their peers and climate change. They serve as examples of PTK’s Hallmarks of Leadership, Scholarship, Fellowship and Service.

Scott DiepSTLCC-Forest Park’s Xi Epsilon chapter earned the following awards: Distinguished Chapter, Honors in Action Theme 6, Distinguished College Project, Hall of Honor Distinguished College President, Distinguished Chapter Officer Team and Distinguished Chapter Officer.

The Distinguished Chapter honor is based on the scores of the Honors in Action and College Project. Xi Epsilon’s Honors in Action Theme 6 project focused on the topic Perception of Progress. Honors in Action combines academic research, problem solving, and action-oriented service to address real-world challenges in communities. Their research project examined the academic achievement gap of Latino students, when compared to their white counterparts. Students created a musical production that was posted on social media to encourage Latinos to attend college and graduate.

Their Distinguished College Project encouraged chapter members to work closely with their college president to address campus needs. Members devised a District Student Satisfaction Survey, aimed at investigating students’ emotional consequences because of the abrupt school closure and ensuing public health crisis due to the pandemic. The project also earned a national Hallmark Award.

Julie Fickas, Ed.D., Forest Park’s president and chief academic officer, received the Hall of Honor Distinguished College President Award. Fickas has been a leader committed to supporting the Xi Epsilon chapter in its efforts to promote the Phi Theta Kappa Hallmarks of Scholarship, Leadership and Service.

Scott Diep, Andrea Palacios and Mackenzie Gregory received a Distinguished Chapter Officer Team Award; Diep also earned a Distinguished Chapter Officer Award.

Wildwood’s Beta Rho Epsilon chapter earned these awards: Distinguished Chapter, Honors in Action, Distinguished Theme 1 and Distinguished Chapter Officer.

Jacquelyn WeaverBeta Rho Epsilon’s Honors in Action project was titled, “How Does Inheritance and Legacy Help Our Heirs Become Resilient through Trauma?" Students focused on how people pass along resiliency throughout generations, and how children develop and strengthen their resiliency through the stories and songs that are passed onto them from their elders.

“If you think about the lessons you’ve learned from your parents and caregivers, it’s likely that there’s a story you’ve been told that has helped you rise above hard times,” said Heather Cabeza, Beta Rho Epsilon president. “With this project, one of our members talked about how it’s in the ‘Irish blood’ to be tough and get things done. While we know it’s not actually ‘in the blood,’ this mindset of resiliency was formed from the experiences she had as a child, the lessons she learned and the stories she was told.”

Jacquelyn Weaver earned a Distinguished Chapter Officer Award. Weaver is an honors student and the vice president of service for Beta Rho Epsilon. In May, she will graduate with an associate degree in behavioral health support. A lifelong learner, Weaver chose this path because she wants to serve others. After graduation, she plans to continue her education by earning a master’s degree in either counseling or social work. Her goal is to establish a nonprofit organization that provides transitional housing to teens struggling with addiction.

Florissant Valley’s Pi Kappa chapter earned two awards: Distinguished Alumni Award of Appreciation and Distinguished Theme 2 project.

Sean Dela PenaAlumnus Sean Dela Pena earned the Distinguished Alumni Award of Appreciation for attending Pi Kappa meetings and participating in activities, as well as helping members write the chapter Honors in Action and College Project submissions. Dela Pena graduated from STLCC in spring 2019 with an associate degree in general transfer studies. The University of Missouri-St. Louis senior is working on his bachelor’s degree in computer science and is scheduled to graduate in December 2021. He also served as a tutor in the UMSL mathematics department.

Pi Kappa’s project to examine the effect of disposable masks on the environment earned the Distinguished Theme 2 – Natural and Constructed Environments.

Pi Kappa, Beta Rho Epsilon and Xi Epsilon each earned Five Star Level recognition. Meramec’s Xi Lambda chapter earned Two Star Level recognition.

Chapter advisors Maria Darris (Florissant Valley), Sandra Knight (Forest Park) and Stephanie Church (Wildwood) each received Missouri Region Horizon Awards. This award is presented to advisors who go above and beyond to support the region and its members.

Meramec advisor Rich Peraud received the PTK Advisor Five Star Completion Award. It is presented to an individual for gathering information and inspiration needed to serve as a successful chapter advisor.

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