Phi Theta Kappa Students Honored at International Conference

At the recent annual conference, students from the Redlands Community College Alpha Beta Upsilon chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges, received individual recognition as well as awards as part of the Oklahoma/Arkansas region.

Tyler McKenzie, a regional Phi Theta Kappa officer, was elected International Vice President for Division 3 and will represent the nine-state region of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin. He is the first international officer selected from Redlands and the second from the state.

“Each year, five students are elected by their peers to represent the more than 250,000 active members of Phi Theta Kappa. These student representatives are among the nation’s top community college students,” said Phi Theta Kappa President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner. “During their year of service, officers serve as representatives of the larger student population, but also participate in intensive personal, professional and leadership development training. Being elected is a tremendous honor.”

McKenzie said, "Initially, I was intimidated by the thought of running for international office of Phi Theta Kappa. The experience was truly something I will never forget, and I have created relationships that will last me a lifetime. I look forward to representing the organization to the best of my ability and inspiring community college students on the international level."

Caleb Sanderson, a general studies major from Hinton who plans to become a history professor, was selected one of the Top 30 Distinguished Chapter Members out of over 1,000 nominations. At the regional level, he was nominated by Redlands and was named the top member of the Oklahoma/Arkansas Region, which includes 43 chapters. 

“Phi Theta Kappa is an outstanding organization, and I am proud of our Redlands students who have chosen to make the most of this opportunity,” said Redlands President Jack Bryant. “From the local duffel bag drive benefiting foster children to serving as regional and international officers, our students are leaving their mark on our college and community. I am confident that the relationships they have developed and skills they have enhanced because of their Phi Theta Kappa experience will serve them well.”

The Oklahoma/Arkansas Region was recognized with numerous awards, including Distinguished Regional Officer Team, which is presented to the top three teams in the nation. The region also received awards in the areas of scholarship, fellowship and college completion. 

Scholarship focuses on individual chapter efforts related to academic integrity and the use of distinguished scholars as presenters at the regional convention. Fellowship involves inter-chapter and area-level fellowship opportunities. The Oklahoma/Arkansas Region fellowship efforts included chartering a new chapter at Muscogee Creek College in Okmulgee. College completion criteria includes attainment of five-star region status, drives across the region supporting Complete College America, and a high graduation rate from four-year institutions of transfer students. The graduation rate for the Oklahoma/Arkansas Region is nearly 90% for PTK members and approximately 32% for non-Phi Theta Kappa students.

“The four hallmarks of Phi Theta Kappa are scholarship, leadership, fellowship and service,” said Julie Flegal-Smallwood, Redlands instructor and Oklahoma/Arkansas associate regional coordinator. “These students exemplify these characteristics and have fun doing it. I’m proud of the teamwork this group has demonstrated.”

In addition to McKenzie and Sanderson, Oklahoma Phi Theta Kappa students who attended the annual conference are Abby Craig, Logan, Utah; Casie Hamill, Verden; Erin Lynch, Yukon; Jacky Quezada, Mustang; Christy Rutherford, Kingfisher; Patti Sifuentes, Yukon; Kaleigh Singleton, Mustang; and Nouhaila Youssoufi, Oklahoma City.