Tuesday, November 22, 2016

First Regional PTK Conference Experience

By Dipa Rai

Getting an opportunity to attend the 2016 HIA/Leadership PTK conference, which was hosted by Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York was a wonderful experience for me. This was actually the first time that I was away from my home for three days (Nov 28-30). Our officers team from Alpha Theta Phi chapter, along with our two advisors, headed to the conference on Friday missing the Monday class schedule which was exciting and overwhelming at the same time. After a 6-7 hour bus ride, we were greeted by Monroe Community College chapter. They were full of excitement and energy.  After leaving our stuff in our hotel room, we headed down to the opening session of the conference and for dinner.

The next day, we were divided into different seminar groups for discussion after each keynote speaker. This division into different seminar groups was really effective in terms of getting us to meet new people, to learn about other PTK members' experiences and to listen to their ideas. I was in group three, where our seminar leader was Onjalai Flake, who is Associate Director of Regional and Chapter Development from Division I at Phi Theta Kappa Headquarters. I felt fortunate to meet with all of the individuals, who were aspiring and emerging leaders from different chapters. 

That same day, we had an extended learning experience. I chose to go to the Rochester Museum and Science Center. At first I was anxious because I was the only one person from my chapter to go to this place. I felt like changing my group and going with my officer team, but I was not sure if I could switch my choice at the last moment .Everyone from my chapter team encouraged and pushed me to go and meet new people and that’s what I did. There were only four people on my excursion team to go to the museum. Since it was a small group of people, I was able to get to know each one of them.

The Rochester Museum and Science Center was unique and interactive educational experience for me. We saw the Electricity Theater a d Rain Garden Theater, rode Simulator Rides which were scary and tinkered around in the Inventor center. The museum also had different exhibitions on the local history of the American Civil War and the Flight to freedom. Some personal objects and ornaments, which represented various cultures and lifestyles of different groups of people, were displayed.  The Expedition Earth exhibit was interesting for me because it showed us glaciers and giant mammals. After entering through an icy glacier, we could feel a huge drop in temperature, and then there was an amazing landscape where you could see recreations of ice-age giant mammals. There was a large elephant like mammal, called a mastodon, with a long teeth. We also saw a full skeleton of a dinosaur, real dinosaur bones, and fossil dinosaur tracks on display. Next to the glacier and giant mammals exhibit there was a beautiful undersea diorama, which showed the underwater environments and tropical seas with beautiful flowers and plants that covered the land more than 350 million years ago. Millions of plants or living things which had covered the planet's surface are no longer found now.

Overall, the PTK conference was truly an amazing experience for me which I will cherish these memories for my life time.

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