By Keith Malmos, PTK Advisor and Biology Professor
Top: Hallmark Vice Presidents. Bottom left & right: Dr. Stacey Johnson presenting the 2013 All USA Community College Academic Team Award. Bottom middle: PTK President and Vice President
“I would like to extend my congratulations to the Alpha Gamma Omega Chapter for being awarded the Five Star Level Award at the 2013 PTK annual convention,” said Joe Sarrubbo, dean of students on East Campus. “It is nice to see the hard work of our dynamic students and committed advisors pay off.”
Obtaining this recognition requires completing all levels of the Five Star Chapter Development Plan outlined by PTK headquarters, and the fifth and highest level includes competing for the Hallmark Awards at the International Annual Convention. To compete for Hallmark Awards, the chapter officer team wrote several essays highlighting the chapter’s year of work toward Honors in Action and submitted these essays for judging at both regional and international levels.
This year’s Honors in Action study topic was “Culture of Competition” and Valencia’s chapter focused its project on bullying, particularly in high schools and the effect of bullying on its victims. A feature of the project was to hold a prom for Valencia students because so many did not attend their own for various reasons, often including bullying. Alpha Gamma Omega’s submissions for Hallmark Awards yielded awards of Distinguished Chapter for the Florida Region (putting the chapter in the state’s top 10), Distinguished Member of the Florida Region, and Distinguished Member for the International level.
The Florida Region also holds elections annually at the Florida convention for chapter offices to support the function of the region. This year, Alpha Gamma Omega was awarded the Leadership Chapter responsibility (the second highest chapter office), as well as a Member Art Award.
“I firmly believe in the importance of co-curricular activities outside of the classroom,” Joe said. “The students represent our diverse campus community well and I sincerely appreciate their dedication to the advancement of learning, scholarship, and leadership.”
Elizabeth Fulcher was named this year’s distinguished member and the art award winner was Alix Claude. Elizabeth Fulcher is featured in the June 2013 Valencia Foundation blog post for being the recipient of the Justin Harvey Scholarship awarded through Alpha Gamma Omega.
Angela Bardwell-Owens and Steven Forsyth (an Alpha Gamma Omega officer) were featured in an article about the Seneff Honors College – Research Track. This article will appear in an upcoming edition of Vitae, the Valencia Alumni Association newsletter. Angela and Steven both are working in research labs at University of Central Florida this summer and are also on the Research Track in the Honors College.
A PTK initiative for this year, although not Hallmark Awards related, was Pearson’s One Professor Project. Chapters of PTK were encouraged to feature professors at their college who they considered influential to students’ academic and leadership development. The student officer team of Alpha Gamma Omega submitted 10 professor nominations from East Campus. At the Annual International Convention, Alpha Gamma Omega was featured as best in the nation as a contributor to Pearson’s One Professor Project.
Members of PTK gain access through their membership to a number of academic recognitions and scholarship award programs. One of the most prestigious is the All USA Community College Academic Team. Students are nominated for this award program by an advisor from their chapter, their honors college or program leader, and the campus/college administrative leader. Nominated students complete an extensive application that includes a biographic essay. Two students, Angela Bardwell-Owens and Thomas Luke Pittman, were submitted from Alpha Gamma Omega and each was recognized at the state level during an awards ceremony held this year in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The chapter officer team of Alpha Gamma Omega includes: Breana Berkebile (president), Thomas Lopez (executive vice president), Thomas Luke Pittman (vice president of leadership), Ester Amram (vice president of service), Axel Petterson (vice president of fellowship), Taylor Raines (vice president of scholarship), Leila Camacho (senator of finance, and president-elect for the next year), Alix Claude (senator of communications), Samantha Shaffer (senator of membership), Johndavid Elder (senator of records), Steven Forsyth (fundraising chair), and Ivan Guttierez (council of clubs campus representative).