Valley’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter will send contestants to the All-USA State Conference in the spring.
By Zaida Diaz, Staff Writer
The Associated Student Union granted Phi Theta Kappa’s (PTK) budget request of $1,500 on Tuesday, during a finance and executive council meeting. The money will be used to cover expenses for the PTK All-USA State Conference, a scholarship contest which will take place during the spring in Sacramento, Calif. This includes round trip airfare, accommodations, and conference fees for two Valley students and an advisor.
According to Martin Deeb, PTK honor society president, contest winners can receive scholarships of up to $2,500.
“We all submit our short-essay answers and we are presented with the awards for the scholarships in Sacramento,” said Deeb. “Scholarships like this mean that people are interested enough in my ideas and my potential to make an impact in the world that they are willing to offer cash to see to it that I can continue with my education.”
PTK is an international honor society intended to “recognize and encourage scholarship among two-year college students,” according to its website. This year’s Valley contingent will be made up of PTK honors society president Martin Deeb and Anush Ambartsumyan, ASU treasurer, who will participate in the State Conference which has been meeting annually or decades. Students selected have maintained an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher, and have demonstrated achievement and participation.
“Historically, [we nominate] the highest-ranking student Associated Student Organization (ASO) officer and the highest-ranking officer of PTK who meet all the criteria,” said Dr. Alfred J. Zucker, English department chair and PTK advisor. “And that has been the procedure for years.”
During the finance meeting, ASU President Sukhsimran Sandhu posed the question of whether all PTK members have paid the ASO fee. By paying the $10 fee each semester, students become a member of the Associated Student Union, which enables them to receive benefits like supplemental funding.
Dr. Zucker stated he had never excluded students who could not afford to pay.
“I have never once, since 1997, turned down a single student based on money as long as they meet the qualifications,” said Zucker. “We make adjustments, we help them.”
Zucker noted some students had been “slipping through the cracks” as they failed to pay the ASO fee.
After hearing concern from the ASU, Deeb assured the board that effective next term they will no longer accept applications from students unless they have attached certification of having paid the ASO fee.
Deeb explained that they had not imposed the ASO fee in the past because they are not a club.
“It’s just not a club, so there is no requirement,” said Deeb. “But now, there will be a requirement; before they can get membership [to PTK] they’ll have to show their ASO receipt.”
At the moment, there are no dates set for another conference.