Phi Theta Kappa inducts new members


Tri Tran

A new Phi Theta Kappa member signs the official membership record at the society’s spring induction ceremony on April 1.

Alyssa Foley, Editor in Chief

About 60 of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society’s new members were inducted into the organization in a ceremony on April 1.

Maria Straus, HCC’s Dean of College Readiness and former Phi Theta Kappa adviser was the keynote speaker.

“This is what Phi Theta Kappa is all about, the community of scholars,” said Straus at the gathering, “The mission of Phi Theta Kappa is to promote enthusiasm in scholarship, leadership and character.”

Membership in the society is invitation only. Every fall and spring, invitations are sent to HCC students who have at least 12 hours of college level credit and at least a 3.5 GPA.

“From now on, that is a minimum standard, 3.5,” Straus told students, “Set your goals higher, because I’m sure that you can do this.”

“A leader is defined by his or her ability to look at adversity and turn it into an opportunity. Sometimes leaders are merchants of dreams, you sell dreams and ideas to promote and motivate people,” says Straus, “I think Phi Theta Kappa is a vehicle for you guys, if you get involved in the chapter, you can be promoters of the American dream.”

“Leaders aren’t necessarily born, I believe it is a learned response and you have to practice,” Straus told the students.

Straus reflects that for the faculty and staff present, “It gives us energy to nourish leadership.”

Straus called community service one of the hallmarks of Phi Theta Kappa. “When you help and you volunteer, not only do you grasp your identity, but you really find yourself by helping others.”

“Character is doing the right thing when one is watching,” Straus reminded the students. “I challenge all of you to not just sit there before me as new inductees into Phi Theta Kappa, but to become a leader that makes a difference.”

“People are looking up to you,” said HCC Board Chair Adriana Tamez to the new inductees, “this is an honor for you to be recognized today.”

“Remember to give back to your community, because you can have all the education in the world, but if you don’t take that and give back to your communities to make sure that others follow in your footsteps, then we’re not really doing much with it,” said Dr. Tamez.

The organization offers over $90 million in scholarships for its members, about $37 million of that is in transfer scholarships. Currently, scholarships applications for students who will continue at a community college to pursue their Associate’s degree in the 2016-2017 academic year are open until May 2. The transfer and Bachelor’s degree scholarship application opens in the fall.

HCC’s Omega Sigma chapter recently won two Awards of Merit at the Phi Theta Kappa-Texas Regional conference. Both their community service College Project and Honors in Action research project were recognized.

For their community project, the group hosted studying and tutoring blasts the weekend before midterms and finals last fall and this spring to help lower the number of students dropping or failing their courses at HCC. Their research project followed the theme of health and medicine as frontiers, and they researched the effects of social media.
Currently, student membership in Phi Theta Kappa is the only membership which is recognized on HCC students’ transcripts.