August Good News: Part 2

PTK members pose next to a Karma Box
Rebecca A. Eckland

Catching Up with PTK: Scholarships and Opportunities to Get Involved 

Above: TMCC’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter is celebrating its recent Karma Box event at CARE Chest in Reno. It was beautifully assembled by Jim “Hacksaw” Severt, architect student and PTK member, and Rachel Holderread, PTK’s Regional Vice President and stenciler extraordinaire with the collaboration of Grant Denton of The Karma Box Project and CARE Chest employees.

TMCC’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter has been hard at work to build opportunities for students to receive scholarships and to participate in activities that help the community. In case you don’t know, PTK is a vital, functioning honors society that offers qualifying students opportunities to earn scholarships, as well as various creative opportunities for getting involved.

Recently, TMCC student Chelsey Fontenot was selected as a 2020 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar. This year’s recipients were selected by a panel of independent judges from nearly 700 applicants. Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholars are selected based on outstanding academic achievement and demonstrated leadership potential.

The scholarship, which totals $1,000, is sponsored by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, and recognizes 200 Phi Theta Kappa members with awards totaling $200,000. Twenty-five of these scholarships are earmarked for Society members who are active personnel or veterans of the U.S. Military.

PTK students smile for the camera

In October 2019 TMCC’s PTK Officers traveled to Irvine for the Fall Leadership Conference. It was the first time in 7 years that the TMCC Chapter attended a regional conference.

The Alpha Phi Gamma Chapter at TMCC has other good news to report: After being inactive for several years, the chapter has reached 5-Start Success status for the first time since 2013 made possible by the hard work of participating students and PTK advisor, Michael Miller.  Last spring, the chapter was awarded the “Most Outstanding Reactivated Chapter” and the second-place award in the “Honors in Action” project theme: “Economies of Everything” at the PTK Spring Convention.

“We traveled down to our first regional Fall Leadership conference in October of 2019 for the first time in seven years and attended the Spring Virtual Conference where our chapter won awards: Most outstanding reactivated chapter and second place in our Honors In Action project theme. We have our first regional officer in several decades, Rachel Holderread, serving as the Vice President of the Nevada /California region,” said Miller.

PTK students volunteering at a food bank

TMCC’s PTK Chapter has been active in the community, volunteering at the Food Bank and installing Karma Boxes.

PTK has also been active in the community, volunteering at the Northern Nevada Food Bank, providing toiletries to Wizard’s Warehouse and working with community members on a Karma box project, which was celebrated on Monday, Aug. 10 at CARE Chest, an organization that provides access to much-needed medical supplies to those in need in Northern Nevada. 

PTK is also expanding its ability to reach more TMCC students. “We have established a Canvas Page to actively communicate and connect with our 400 members, with the intention of helping maintain lasting longevity as leadership eventually changes. We actively recruit, hold weekly meetings, maintain social media presence, network and collaborate with other PTK chapters throughout the Nevada and California region,” said Miller. 

Do you want to get involved? If so, mark your calendars: PTK will hold official officer elections in the fall semester, as well as an induction ceremony for new members and several activities. “We will be planning for the Regional Fall Leadership Conference (virtually) in October and holding a virtual 5k walk/run in September, and looking for ways to keep students connected and healthy during this time,” said Miller. This includes increasing victim campus awareness and resources and expanding awareness of scholarship opportunities. 
If you are interested in joining PTK and helping our campus and community create a better future, making positive impacts on our school, community, regions, and students, contact PTK Advisor Michael Miller if you would like to attend one of the weekly (virtual) meetings.

TMCC Awarded TRIO Student Support Services Grant

TMCC was recently awarded a TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) Grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant will support 140 low-income, first-generation students and/or students with disabilities. The program will provide opportunities for academic development, assist students with basic college requirements, and motivate students toward the successful completion of their postsecondary education. The goal of SSS is to increase the college retention and graduation rates of its participants.

The TRIO SSS Grant helps college students who are low income, first-generation or students with disabilities. The array of services the grant will provide are comprehensive and will include academic tutoring, financial aid advice, career and college mentoring, advising, and other forms of assistance. Such services enhance academic success and make it more likely that students will graduate or transfer with the lowest possible debt. Many TRIO SSS alumni have gone on to great success, among them Emmy, Tony and Academy-Award winning actress Viola Davis, U.S. Rep. Gwendolyn Moore of Wisconsin’s 4th District and Franklin Chang-Diaz, the first Hispanic astronaut.

“We are really looking forward to building this program at TMCC, which will open the door to other TRIO programs in the future,” said Proposal Development Specialist Laura Vargas who explained that the grant technically starts September 1. “We are joining the national family of TRIO programs that serve low-income, first-generation students.”  The expected award amount will be $261,888 each year for five years. 

TRIO SSS began in 1968 and is one of the eight federal “TRIO” programs authorized by the Higher Education Act to help college students succeed in higher education. It recognizes that students whose parents do not have a college degree have more difficulties navigating the complexity of decisions that college requires for success; it bolsters students from low-income families who have not had the academic opportunities that their college peers have had, and helps students with disabilities remove obstacles preventing them from thriving academically.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the systemic inequality and financial hardship which keep promising students from succeeding in college. Student Support Services is needed now more than ever,” said Maureen Hoyler. Hoyler is the president of the non-profit Council for Opportunity in Education in Washington, D.C., dedicated to furthering the expansion of college opportunities for low-income, first-generation students, and students with disabilities.

For more than 50 years, the Student Support Services program has made important contributions to individuals and society as a whole by providing a broad range of services to help students succeed. This vital program can and does make all the difference.