Students receive regional and international awards at PTK conference

04.17.2014 | By Andrea Vasquez

The San Jacinto College South Campus Alpha Gamma Zeta chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) International Honor Society recently received several awards for its outstanding efforts at the organization’s regional conference in Houston.

“Both our PTK members and officers did an exceptional job this past year,” said San Jacinto College business professor and PTK faculty advisor, Elizabeth McKinley. “They are amazing and disciplined students who never fail to always put in a 100 percent effort in what they do.”

The Alpha Gamma Zeta students received the College Project Participation Award for their annual college project, which was recognized as one of the region’s top projects. The purpose of the college project is to establish a supportive relationship between the chapter and the college administration. After meeting with San Jacinto College Provost, Dr. Brenda Jones, the students molded their project around college completion. Collaborating with the South Campus office of student life and the career and employment center, their project, the “SJC LIFE Passport” program encouraged students to earn passport stamps by participating in more than 50 events held at San Jacinto College South. The winner, to be announced at the South Campus student award ceremony, will receive a $250 scholarship.

The PTK students also received an Honors in Action Award, which recognized the Youth Fitness Camp the chapter hosted in the Fall. The camp dealt with the effects of competition in young athletes, as well as exploring different fitness activities for younger students to incorporate into their daily routines. 

Recognized as a Five Star Chapter in 2011, this year the Alpha Gamma Zeta chapter also earned a Five Star Award for its progress in the Five Star Chapter Development Plan. The plan reflects the scholarly ideals of PTK and serves as a blueprint for developing a strong chapter with possible local, regional, and international recognition. Rather than compete against each other, local chapters work toward the success of PTK as a whole, encouraging a recommitment to chapter goals.

Several members of the Alpha Gamma Zeta PTK chapter were recognized at the regional conference and notified of additional honors for the upcoming international conference. McKinley received a Horizon Award,.presented to advisors who participate in regional and international programs and have attained new levels of achievement in PTK programs.

Zahra Shihabuddin received a Distinguished Member Award for her efforts in the Honors in Action project and other chapter activities. She was also inducted into the Regional Hall of Honor and receive an International Distinguished Member award at the international PTK conference later this month.

“PTK has helped me understand the importance of commitment,” said Shihabuddin. “All the community service projects and leadership workshops have sharpened my leadership skills and taught me to cherish every moment. These attributes can be applied anywhere and will definitely help me thrive and be successful.”

Alpha Gamma Zeta Vice President of Leadership, Stefan Balciunas, will receive a 2014 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Bronze Scholar Award at the international conference, including a $1,000 scholarship from the Coca-Cola Foundation and a bronze medal to commemorate the award.

McKinley, Shihabuddin, and Balciunas, along with members Damien Tello and Billy McVey, and PTK alumnus and San Jacinto College Provost, Dr. Brenda Jones, were also inducted into the District IV Hall of Honor.

Established by the Missouri two-year college presidents in 1918, Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society serves to recognize and encourage the academic achievement of two-year college students and provide opportunities for individual growth and development through honors, leadership, and service programming. In 1929, the American Association of Community Colleges recognized PTK as the official honor society for two-year colleges. Today, PTK is the largest honor society in American higher education with more than 2 million members and 1,200 chapters located in 50 United States, U.S. territories, Canada, and Germany.


About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.

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