In April, all chapter advisors will be electing a new Secretary for the Association of Chapter Advisors. The Secretary will join the four-member ACA Officer Team. The 2020 candidates were asked to share information about their Phi Theta Kappa experiences by responding to the following questions. Responses appear here just as they were submitted on each candidate's application.
Dr. Molly HarrisGrayson College
Chapter: Omicron Psi
Advisor Start Date: August 25, 2008 (at Weatherford College)
What is your position at your college? Assistant to the President/Director of Marketing
How has being a Phi Theta Kappa Advisor contributed to your professional and/or personal life? Through training, like the Leadership Development Studies (LDS), and experiences, serving as a Phi Theta Kappa Advisor has significantly developed my own leadership abilities. I was able to participate in the LDS as a student, but going through the program again to be a certified facilitator further strengthened my understanding of leadership theory. Participating in Honors Institutes is likely the best professional development I get each year. At Institute, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in scholarly discussions that fuel my soul for the entire year! But most of all, serving as an advisor has provided lifelong friendships with brilliantly compassionate souls who happen to live all across the nation.
Briefly describe two of your favorite PTK moments: 1) with your chapter; 2) a Regional or International event.
I have 24 years of memories with Phi Theta Kappa, so selecting just two is pretty challenging. My favorite memory with my chapter occurred at a Regional event (I hope that’s okay). During an evening fellowship event, conference attendees boarded a boat for a river cruise. The music, food and other shenanigans were taking place on the second floor of the vessel. One of my students was wheelchair bound, and without discussion, the entire chapter stayed on the first floor and danced the night away. At one point, someone went upstairs and brought down food, but for the most part, we all stayed together laughing, dancing and making memories. I was proud of my chapter that night—for making the most of what could have turned into an awkward situation, and for sticking with their friend despite the multitude of people upstairs. The photos of that night are pretty priceless too!
A second memory is from the 2012 annual convention in Nashville. Having served as an advisor for such a short time, my chapter typically attended the awards gala to support our friends; we never anticipated hearing our chapter’s name called. That night, however, we all celebrated when I was honored with a Paragon Award. The students were filled with pride knowing their submission was recognized as a top entry, and I was humbled hearing my name called. Even then after two years as a student and three years as an advisor, I’d never heard Phi Chapter called during one of those awards galas. When I get frustrated or a little down in my advisor world, I haul out the 2012 submission written by my students, and I’m reminded that the work matters. Phi Theta Kappa changes lives, but it only happens when advisors give of themselves so completely that the work becomes second to the joy. #ChooseJoy
Please share a fun, non-PTK fact about yourself. I served as my community college mascot, Christy Coyote, for one year. It was a lot of fun to play a furry character who got into all sorts of trouble without ramifications. Several years later, I returned to work at the college, and I had the opportunity to reprise the role. I rubbed elbows and played jokes on my colleagues at a ribbon cutting for a new facility on campus; they had no idea it was me in the costume!
Dr. Kelly Kennedy-EverettMiami Dade College (Hialeah Campus)
Chapter: Beta Pi Theta
Advisor Start Date: 2013 (with Beta Pi Theta at Hialeah Campus) Before transferring, I taught at our North Campus for seventeen years, and I was an advisor there with Mu Epsilon (I believe that was in 2007).
What is your position at your college? I am a full-time faculty member in the World Languages and Communications Department, and I started in January of 1993.
How has being a Phi Theta Kappa Advisor contributed to your professional and/or personal life? Phi Theta Kappa has contributed to my professional life by allowing me to be even more engaged with students in my courses and those that I meet on the campus. There is a special bond between students and advisors. It has made me more creative in the classroom where I have integrated what I have learned at the conventions, Honors Institute, and with our research. My first-year English courses now have modules on Scholarship and “My Dream School” so that I can show all my students the benefits of Phi Theta Kappa. In terms of my personal life, I keep in touch with many of my former members and officers. They affectionately call me their “PTK Mom”, and it makes my heart melt every time. Both my husband and daughter are “along for the ride”. My husband helps any way he can (BBQ, pulling thorns from roses, etc.), and my daughter just turned eighteen and has grown up with Phi Theta Kappa. She hopes to join when she starts college.
Briefly describe two of your favorite PTK moments: 1) with your chapter: My favorite moment was my first induction when the candles were lit, the parents were beaming, and I was completely overwhelmed by the joy and hope that emanated from the room. It was contagious. 2) a Regional or International event: I remember going into my first international convention and heading into the ballroom for the opening session. Music was pulsating, regions were chanting, and my group couldn’t believe we raised enough money to be there. We just kept smiling. Out of nowhere, the event announcer with a British accent said something to the effect of “Congratulations to Beta Pi Theta for increasing your membership”. We couldn’t believe it!
Please share a fun, non-PTK fact about yourself: I love to bake, and I am best known for my Coconut Macaroons and my Mexican Wedding Cookies. I make them for friends and family all the time. Baking relaxes me, and it brings me a lot of joy.