Monday, April 18, 2016

PTK’s NY Regional Conference 2016

Celebrating 30 Years From

March 4th to 6th, Phi Theta Kappa’s Chapters from BMCC and La Guardia Community College joined forces to host the Phi Theta Kappa’s NY Regional Conference 2016. Members, alumnae, regional coordinators, officers, advisory board, as well as a few special guests, met to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Now you might ask, what is a Regional Conference and what exactly do we do there?

Well, the Regional as we call it, give members the chance to celebrate and acknowledge academic excellence, student development, community service, and leadership. It is also an opportunity for networking with neighboring chapter’s members and discuss Phi Theta Kappa’s various initiatives. As member of BMCC’s Phi Theta Kappa-Alpha Kappa Chapter, I was fortunate to attend the event, and which I am glad to summarize for you:

Day 1

The Opening Ceremony. At Ricard Herris Terrace hall at BMCC, members and guests were treated to dinner having the opportunity to mingle and to network; Candaceia Charles from La Guardia Community College performed a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, and BMCC Provost and Sr. VP of Academic Affairs, Karrin E. Wilks gave the commencement speech.

Following were: Amie Bernstein International President for Division 1, who gave an account of her experience as a former Regional President; and later, Dr. Vincent Cheng, Assistant Professor, Communications Program Coordinator at BMCC’s Speech, in the communication and Theatre Arts department. Delivered a very thought provoking speech on working hard and staying current with world events. Dr Cheng said, “You have to use your brain until it hurts,” which scared the living daylights out of me, though I must admit he is right, basically exhorting us to seek the rewards that only hard work can provide. You know the saying, “No pain no gain.”

Afterwards, we engaged in the Fellowship Event, where members chose to socialize by either playing puzzle games or going for a ride on the Staten Island Ferry to enjoy the city’s landscape. I chose the latter, which was awesome for those like me, who had never been to the ferry before. A real treat!

Day 2

During breakfast, guest speaker Amie Bernstein, International President of Division 1, from Suffolk County Community College, offered the opening remarks, followed by the outgoing Regional Officers, who gave their reflections about their personal experiences.

Departing Officers: Ainsley Brundage, Mohawk Valley Community College (President); Michael Campbell, Onondaga Community College (Northern Vice President); Niam Youssif Traore, Westchester Community College (Southern Vice President); Richard Thomas, Monroe Community College (Western Vice President); Amanda Smith, Monroe Community College (Executive Secretary); and, Andrew Edwards, Mohawk Valley Community College (Alumni Representative).

The day continued with Workshop Sessions that included:
  • Honors in Action (HIA) Hosted by: Amanda Smith (NY Phi Theta Kappa Executive Secretary), Michael Campbell (NY Phi Theta Kappa Northern Vice President). Presenters talked about the 8 steps to a successful Honors Project. They discussed the DOs and DON’Ts, using previous projects as examples, and gave a first look at the new HIA topic for 2016.
  • What kind of Leader are you? Hosted by: Richard Thomas (NY Phi Theta Kappa Western Vice President), and Andrew Edwards (NY Phi Theta Kappa Alumni Representative). Participants of this workshop were educated on diverse leadership approaches, styles, and personality traits you might find functional to each individual.
  • Phi Theta Kappa: The Basics (Which I chose to attend) Hosted by: Ainsley Brundage (NY Phi Theta Kappa President), and Niam Traore Youssif (NY Phi Theta Kappa Southern Vice President). This session was basically an informative dialog on Phi Theta Kappa fundamentals, followed by a Q&A session to elucidate on all aspects pertaining the organization’s role, as well as its members’ responsibilities and benefits of being a member/officer. 
Afterwards, we all got back together for an exhibition of various posters created by the different chapters in attendance, showcasing their values and goals. We had the opportunity to learn about their inspiration and influences; and later, we voted to choose the best one. Below is photo gallery of the posters. Can you guess which one took the grand prize? 

Day 3

After breakfast, Regional Awards were given out, followed by the induction of the Newly Elected Regional Officers, followed by closing remarks from Alex d’Erizans Senior Faculty Advisor, the Convention came to end. All in all, it was an awesome experience! Now, here is a little treat for you: below is a little video diary to give you a sneak peak of the conference. Click on the bottom bellow to watch! 

Chinazom Anekwe, PTK-AK Publishing Team