Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Alpha Kappa Wins Hallmark Awards at International Conference, Aims to Repeat

BMCC’s Alpha Kappa Chapter was recognized as one of Phi Theta Kappa’s top one-hundred chapters and received an award for its honors in action project during the international conference in Nashville last week.

Alpha Kappa was one of just fifty chapters to win the Distinguished Honors in Action Project Award. For its project, Alpha Kappa organized a debate to discuss whether it was ethical for employers to screen the social networking sites of potential job candidates. The chapter used the debate as a forum to raise awareness on the issue and educate BMCC students about how to protect their online profiles.

For a project to be successful, it must meet objectives established in the Honors Project rubric, cultivate leadership roles, and address the need of students at the college, chapter advisor Steve Shroeder told his audience during an honor topic study forum.

From April 12th to the 14th, five hundred and eighty seven chapters from around the world brought over four thousand Phi Theta Kappans to attend the convention in Nashville. During the Hallmark Awards Ceremony, Alpha Kappa was also recognized as one of the top 100 chapters in the organization.

There are more than 3,000 chapters in the organization and 344 chapters, besides Alpha Kappa, that have achieved five-star recognition. 

In order to achieve five-star recognition a chapter must meet an extensive number of criteria. Ultimately, five-star status recognizes a chapter’s continued “involvement in the region and international activities and events,” according to

Placing among the top 100 means that Alpha Kappa has exceeded the necessary requirements of a five-star chapter. One of the outstanding achievements that put Alpha Kappa in that elite circle was winning the Distinguished Honors in Action Project Award.

Alpha Kappa member Carlo Fervil thinks the chapter may be on track to win an Honors Project Award next year. “Knowing that we won that award makes me want to aim even higher,” said Fervil who conducted a student survey for this year’s project. Throughout the convention speakers touched on important aspects of the project’s topic: “How does the education system of the United States compete with those of other nations?”

Alpha Kappa hopes to prove the thesis of its Honors Project; that students from many different backgrounds benefit by studying together at BMCC. The Chapter will host its own panel in May where International and U.S. students will demonstrate the different ways education is valued around the world.

At the conference, keynote speaker Amy Chua, author of the book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, talked about the “immigrant mentality”. “Tiger parenting is about early childhood rearing,” she said. “Chinese society and culture does well at instilling resilience.”

She explained that education is central to Chinese culture.

Students from Hong Kong and Shanghai outscored American students in all three areas of the 2009 PISA Study.

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) was last conducted in 2009 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The study evaluated students from thirty-four participating countries in the three critical areas of reading, math, and science.

The PISA study, which is central to the Alpha Kappa Honors Project, was brought up during an onstage panel discussion with Chua. Also discussed in the panel was Finland, whose high scores on the PISA challenge orthodox thinking that standardized tests, long school days, and competition among students are essential for a strong education system.

Chua pointed out in her speech that the strongest nations in history were able to “absorb the best that other cultures have to offer.”

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