SGSC hosts PTK Spring Regional Conference

South Georgia State College (SGSC) recently hosted the annual Spring Regional Conference for the Georgia Region of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society (PTK). Official hosts were the Kappa Sigma Chapter (SGSC’s Douglas Campus) and the Alpha Rho Omega Chapter (SGSC’s Waycross Campus). Chapter advisors are Amy Hancock and Ame Wilkerson.

The two-day event was held in Engram Hall on the Douglas Campus. Chapters from across the State of Georgia were in attendance as well as Ms. Courtney Lange and Ms. Melissa Price, representatives from PTK Headquarters in Jackson, Miss. The Conference began with a welcome by Dr. Virginia Carson, SGSC president, followed by icebreaker games, which were led by SGSC staff members Daniel Nilsson and Rebekah Glosson. After a delicious meal by SGSC’s food service, ABL, the first general session featured keynote speaker Mr. Don Berryhill, who is currently the instructor for the popular Okefenokeeology class held on location at the Okefenokee Swamp Park. Berryhill intrigued attendees with information about the Okefenokee such as geographic features, dimensions, islands, lakes and rivers of the Swamp and facts about its history and its significance to this area. A live snake and young alligator were also utilized in the presentation.

After the general session, breakout sessions were held with Daniel Nilsson presenting, “Using Social Media to Promote Your Chapter” and Rebekah Glosson presenting, “Building Togetherness through Fellowship Activities.” The first day concluded with fun fellowship activities for the attendees.

As students and advisors gathered for the second day of the Conference, Mr. Frank Malinowski, regional coordinator of Georgia and advisor of Darton State College’s PTK chapter, gave his annual State of the Region report. Lange and Price gave an International Headquarters Update, which was followed by the traditional Roll Call of Chapters.

The speaker for the second general session was Mr. Robert Watson from Rome, Ga. Watson is currently the video sales manager at Applied Concepts/Stalker Radar. He recently worked with the Byron, Ga. Police Department to field test the Google Glass Explorer edition as it relates to the CopTrax In-Car Video System. Watson talked with attendees about the advances that are being made daily with Google Glass as well as social media. Following a time for questions, many students tried Watson’s pair of Google Glass and were amazed at the technology. Google Glass is a wearable smart device that can take a picture or video, make calls, show messages and allow users to respond with voice, show maps and find information through searching on Google.

The remainder of the morning was spent in breakout sessions. Ms. Heather Herbert, advisor at Darton State College, presented, “The Nerd Whisperer – Phi Theta Kappa 101.” The Regional Officer Team of Michael D’Ambrosio (SGSC), Amelia Bagwell (Georgia Highlands College), Anna Johnson (Athens Technical College) and Janet Walker (Atlanta Metropolitan State College) presented a “Best Practices Panel Discussion.”

Following lunch in SGSC’s newly-renovated dining hall, students and advisors traveled to Second Harvest of South Georgia’s Douglas location for a regional service learning activity. Second Harvest is the leading hunger-relief organization in the region and the second largest food bank in Georgia. Based in Valdosta, Douglas is one of Second Harvest’s branch sites. Students and advisors were able to pack boxes for the Center during their visit. Once completed, a staff member expressed his appreciation and said what the group had completed in two hours would have taken the organization six months to finish.

The weekend concluded with dinner, a keynote speaker and the Regional Awards ceremony. Dr. Timothy Fussell of Douglas was the speaker for the evening. Fussell is a graduate of South Georgia State College and has a private dental practice in Douglas. In his address, Fussell shared several insightful points, including the value of hard work and competing with yourself instead of only with others. His humor and wit kept the audience entertained as he delivered his inspiring message.

Regional Coordinator Malinowski ended the night with the presentation of awards and the installation of newly-elected regional officers. SGSC’s PTK chapters each received the honor of “Five Star Chapter,” which is the highest honor awarded in the PTK chapter development plan. Only seven of the 34 chapters from across Georgia earned this distinction.

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society has chapters in colleges across the United States and the world. The Society’s purpose is to recognize and encourage scholarship among community college students. The Society provides opportunity for the development of leadership and service, an intellectual climate to exchange ideas and ideals, lively fellowship for scholars and stimulation of interest in continuing academic excellence.


TOP PHOTO: Members of the Kappa Sigma and Alpha Rho Omega Chapters of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society at South Georgia State College gathered for a group picture with PTK representatives during the PTK Spring Regional Conference held at SGSC.  (L-R) Austin Manges, Paige Smith, Michael D’Ambrosio, Ms. Melissa Price (PTK Representative), Ms. Courtney Lange (PTK Representative), Chelsea Burke, Lindsie Peace, Siddhant Gandhi, Felton Baker, and Joseph Harris.

SECOND PHOTO: Austin Manges (left) and Paige Smith accepted the Honors in Action Award for SGSC’s Kappa Sigma Chapter of PTK for their project entitled, “Seeds of Freedom.”

THIRD PHOTO: Members of SGSC’s Alpha Rho Omega Chapter gathered for a group picture with Mr. Robert Watson, one of the keynote speakers at the PTK Spring Regional Conference.  (L-R) Joseph Harris, Chelsea Burke, Michael D’Ambrosio, Watson, Lindsie Peace, Felton Baker, and Siddhant Gandhi.

FOURTH PHOTO: Members of PTK Chapters from across Georgia participated in a regional service project at Second Harvest of South Georgia in Douglas as part of the PTK Spring Regional Conference.