Friday, September 22, 2017

Teamwork through HIA

by Nikolaos Panaousis

The Alpha Theta Phi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa has been an exceptional chapter in terms of campus engagement, relationship building, conference participation, and consistent attendance in regional and international events. As the Co-President of the chapter for the academic year 2017 – 2018, I am delighted to have the opportunity to work alongside a very motivated group of people who struggle to achieve more through their persistence efforts. Thus far, our chapter has been involved in several activities; however, in my view, the most stressful one is the Honors in Action (HIA) project.

The Honors in Action (HIA) project is designed to engage members in an informed, action-oriented research process, with its goal being the fulfillment of PTK’s mission. By participating in the HIA project, our chapter is being given the chance to conduct meaningful research, practice problem-solving skills, and gain a deeper understanding of how the world works through the eyes of our chosen topic – Peace & War.

As a team, we have done much to ensure that the project’s direction is a positive one, but there is one aspect that I believe is the most interesting, for me, and will be of tremendous help to me in the future. It is the aspect of teamwork. Even though teamwork sounds like a something that all team projects consist of, ensuring that everyone is actually doing their part is the real challenge.

Teamwork is a very popular concept, yet few can work effectively in teams. In our case, communication and willingness to contribute towards the successful completion of the project enabled our teamwork spirit. From experience, if we want to achieve something – in this case the completion of HIA – it needs to be done through teamwork. Its importance and the future implications of it are unrestricted – mastering teamwork can help me in my academic career, professional life, and even in day-to-day occasional interactions with people.

Working towards the HIA project has its up and downs, its easy times and difficult times; however, as a team, we are always able to overcome our problems and collectively work to achieve our objectives. Teamwork is the key to success and that’s why I consider it one of the most crucial aspects of the project. 

Teamwork Goes a Long Way

by Chethana Gallage Dona

Having to research about how the world works, this year, the theme we chose for the Honors in Action Project was ‘War and Peace’. This project provided us the opportunity to look deeply into global issues, and study them from different perspectives. Being a person who wasn’t exposed to certain global issues, this made me discover a whole other level of knowledge that existed beyond Science, the only stream I used to focus on prior to this project. By researching scholarly articles, reading books and summarizing them, I improved my written and analysis skills tremendously. Therefore, more than the content of the project itself, the most important aspect for me was the process; researching, deciding, compiling, organizing and presenting my work.

Having a large team consisting of nine officers along with members, I imagined that we would have to deal with a lot of problems while making decisions. However, since we provided everyone with the opportunity to share their viewpoints and then make a final decision based on the interest of the majority, it was always a peaceful and efficient process. This process of decision making isn’t only applicable to the HIA project. It can be used everywhere else we make decisions and therefore, this I consider as one of the valuable lessons I learned during the HIA project.

Apart from that, my favorite part of the project was distributing tasks, making goals, setting goals and deadlines and accomplishing them. When we started the project, one of our first tasks were to find articles that would help us narrow down our chosen theme. During this, we all were assigned with various sources such as newspapers, journals and books and we worked as a team to search for topics that we could base our research on. Having the ability to search through all these sources led us to our current topic, that is, how does the portrayal of religion in the media affect conflicts or build peace globally?

Even though this seemed to be a recurring topic in the news, we found that most of the information available in newspapers and other media outlets were biased towards certain religions and not towards others. This is when we decided to interview journalists, the individuals who present these stories to the public and hear their perspective on this topic. As it was the summer, most professionals were hard to get in touch with and we were left to wonder whether we might be able to interview any journalist at all. However, we were persistent and continued reaching out to journalists through our own network of people. Despite being a challenging task at first, our persistence landed us with an opportunity to interview Mr. Scott Anderson, a journalist/filmmaker at the New York Times and Mr. Ken Rosato, a journalist from ABC News. These rare opportunities would not have been possible if we weren’t organized and worked together as a team.

The Honors in Action project helped me further understand the importance of establishing connections, setting goals and accomplishing them by given deadlines and most importantly it helped me understand the value of teamwork. Even after moving on from this group in future, I would still be able to apply the lessons I learned from the project and my team to in all future endeavors and gain great satisfaction looking back at the feats we’ve accomplished together. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Benefits of the PTK Honor Society

by Alex Berg

The benefit of PTK that I'm most looking forward to is the fellowship, and being part of a group of people who have gotten to a point where they take school seriously. It has taken some work personally before I could get to a point where I take school seriously, and I think that having to work just to get to that point has given it a deep value for me. I haven't noticed it in my peers either until I went to a PTK meeting.

I'm 32 now and growing up not much emphasis was placed on education. My dad didn't finish college and my mom didn't finish high school, hence I didn't gravitate towards people who placed a high personal value on education. But going to a PTK meeting exposed me to people who do, and the HIA group I attended was quite personable and inclusive of me even though it was my first meeting and I didn't know anyone. The HIA group was organizing a panel with professionals to discuss religion and media and rather than being daunted by a task the students were supportive and helpful with each other and happy to reach a goal, unlike most classes I attend where students avoid being called on and choose to be daunted by the tasks assigned. I'm not saying classes aren't a lot of work and people lead busy lives, but rather the students I met in HIA had a noticeably different attitude towards school work than the average student I meet in my classes, and that attitude can make a big difference. Also by succeeding recently in school and getting good grades, unlike when I was younger, I have a higher self-esteem. It's a documented thing that I can point to or think of and say "I did this well, I can do other things well". Being around other students that share that attitude and feeling helps to keep it going and lead to more success. I'm happier than words can say that I've been accepted into PTK.

One thing I've always been lacking was a strong direction, and the people in PTK have that and give it freely to those who seek it by striving for excellence in school work.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Beginning of a Great Educational Opportunity

by Mohamad A. Hageko

As a transfer student at LaGuardia, I see that the college exudes a sense of what New York City really is — a melting pot. This is what I enjoy most about continuing my education at LaGuardia Community College; the school personifies the notion of this great melting pot. I was motivated to continue my studies around the sciences since I have taken several courses that revolve around psychology and the sciences during my undergrad studies. After I transferred and took a few courses, I was invited to join the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and I had to ask asking myself if I have the time? Do I have what it takes? But like most things in life, I believed it was best to take the chance. Phi Theta Kappa is an international organization that exemplifies prestige and accomplishment. If I am a member of Phi Theta Kappa, I will have opportunities to excel in many ways such as professional development and educational development. If I take advantage of these opportunities, I will become a better student and able to excel in a group effort with my fellow PTK members. It is a great feeling to know that I can make a difference!

Since I am the first in my family to attain a college degree, it is important that I continue to excel. Through hard work I can make a difference for me, those around me, and the future. I have always valued education and I aspire to be an educator. By joining PTK, I will gain leadership skills and learn to create a positive atmosphere around myself and others. It is important that I take this role seriously since I will also influence and pass what I know to others who are in the same position as me or even students that interested to join this great honors society—or those interested in our campaigns/projects we are valiantly working on.

When I attended my first PTK meeting, I was introduced to the current project being worked on, the Honors in Action (HIA) project. This project is important because the topic is war and peace — this is highly relevant to current events. The current HIA project we are working on is the media and its portrayal of global events. With the continual global conflict, this is a good way to unite students and get them involved in our community in a positive educational atmosphere. The PTK meetings are a collaborative effort, where we brainstorm, get everyone involved, and encourage everyone to offer their input and feedback. I enjoyed this because we work together to create a culminating event for this project. For example, at my first meeting we came up with the name for the HIA event to begin advertising and marketing. This was also a great collaborative effort that has all members involved which I enjoyed! 

My goal in joining PTK is to make a difference and bring new ideas to the table that will generate an enriching and informative atmosphere for everyone around me. I would like to take advantage of the benefits of PTK membership, which includes scholarships, great opportunities to network and lastly, through my efforts and fellow PTK members we will be able to continue a productive and ever lasting impression for us and the college that gives myself and others this great opportunity. I am looking forward to this great phase in my educational career. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Phi Theta Kappa Benefit

by Kayode Oseni

One of the presumptive thrills of a Phi Theta Kappa (“PTK”) membership is the ability to meet other students that possess the same degree of seriousness about their academic matters and career possibilities. As the result of self-determination, I intend on meeting the friendly challenges of my PTK family; for instance, maintaining my grade point average and performing noteworthy actions beyond the parameters of what are expected. As foreseen, I look forward to the multiple gatherings of our several chapters to discuss PTK matters, which in turn imbues a universal sense of fraternity in all of us. I’m sure that at meetings, I will develop a deep understanding as to why my brothers and sisters strive academically, and how their stories can inspire a student like me to continue upon my path with consistency.

Our interaction within PTK is a sure preparation to reach expected goals. The act of conversing with fellow members can result in networking, where one brother, or sister, knows someone that is looking for an employee or business partner with similar experience that I bear. Additionally, there are instances where that particular brother, or sister, whom I shared an enjoyable conversation with weeks or months ago, eventually becomes that business partner that I needed because we were both mentally in sync.

PTK also functions as a litmus test for future participation in professional associations. It is apparent that prominent organizations, such as the American Bar Association and American Medical Association, look to their members to be practical, driven and ethical, thus making them equal proponents of wisdom, aspiration, and purity. The guidance that I would receive from the PTK constitution, relevant bylaws, meetings, and extra material will definitely sharpen my level of receptiveness for future commitments to other groups that are conducive to my career choice and personal interests.