PTK members attend Honors Institute

Members of South Georgia State College’s Alpha Rho Omega Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society (PTK) recently attended the PTK Honors Institute at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.  Chelsea Burke of Waycross and Michael D’Ambrosio of Blackshear joined advisor Amy Hancock and approximately 500 other PTK members, advisors and alumni for an intensive, five-day exploration of the 2014-2015 Honors Study Topic.  The Honors Study Topic is an academic theme selected for its timelessness, global significance, and interdisciplinary applications.  This year’s theme was “Frontiers and the Spirit of Exploration.”

The Institute included presentations by speakers from a variety of disciplines, small group discussions in seminar sessions, and a “City as Text” tour of St. Louis, which included a visit to the Gateway Arch, the historic Old Courthouse, and a riverboat cruise on the Mississippi River.

The Institute also provided opportunities for the attendees to hear world-renowned speakers such as character actor Patrick Lee as Captain William Clark; Dr. Nina Tandon, tissue engineer and Senior TED Fellow; Dr. Ray Arvidson, distinguished Washington University professor and head of NASA’s Planetary Data System Geosciences Node; Ken Ramirez, executive vice president of animal care and animal training at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium; and Dr. Sylvia Earle, oceanographer and National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence. The week concluded with a performance by St. Louis native Pokey LaFarge and his band.  LaFarge recently appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and has received praise from NPR Music and Billboard Magazine because of his celebration of American music traditions.

“The Honors Institute is about giving students the opportunity to grow academically,” said Hancock.  “It introduces students to things related to Phi Theta Kappa about which they may not be aware.  It gives them knowledge about the Honors Study Topic that can be shared with their own chapters.  I have seen personal growth from our members who attend Honors Institute, and the experience positions them well to be leaders on campus and in the community.”

Created to celebrate PTK's 50th anniversary, the Honors Institute format is based on a program used at Oxford University. Attendance at the Institute is limited to create an engaging scholarly community of faculty and students from across the nation and around the world.

Headquartered in Jackson, Miss., PTK is the largest honor society in higher education with 1,285 chapters on college campuses in each of the United States, Canada, Germany, the Republic of Palau, Peru, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates, and U.S. territorial possessions.  Nearly three million students have been inducted since PTK’s founding in 1918, with approximately 131,000 students inducted annually.


PHOTO: (L-R): Chelsea Burke of Waycross and Michael D’Ambrosio of Blackshear stand in front of Brookings Hall on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.  Washington University hosted the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society’s Honors Institute.