UACCM’S Phi Theta Kappa Chapter Attends Regional Conference, Wins Awards


a man and a woman holding a glass award
Spring McCarthy (L) is presented the Oklahoma-Arkansas Regional Paragon Advisor of Distinction Award from Mathew Herrman (R). 

Members of UACCM’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter attended the international honor society’s regional convention, which was held in Broken Arrow, Okla., between March 1-3. 

The convention took place at Northeastern State University’s campus with students from community and junior colleges from Arkansas and Oklahoma gathering to network and promote good works of chapters. UACCM’s chapter, Beta Eta Sigma, returned to Morrilton with several awards for individual achievement and for the chapter.  

“I was beyond shocked and excited that we placed in so many categories,” said Kristen Gipson, a general education major and the chapter’s leadership chair. “I felt like we had really created a foundation for years to come. We really put our chapter on the map.”

Spring McCarthy, a mathematics instructor and a Phi Theta Kappa advisor, won the Oklahoma-Arkansas Regional Paragon Advisor of Distinction.

“I am so grateful to receive this award from PTK,” McCarthy said. “I feel like it is undeserved compared to all the contributions others have put into the organization. I was pleasantly surprised and would like to thank the PTK leadership for acknowledging my effort.”

Gipson accepted a Certificate of Merit-Distinguished Chapter Officer award due to her service as the chapter’s scholarship chair last year. She also won a Five-Star Competitive Edge pin, which are awarded to members who complete a training program aimed at developing leadership and research skills.  

Her research as scholarship chair netted a first-place award for Beta Eta Sigma, an Honors in Action in the category of Economies of Everything, which ranked in the top five projects in the region. The project focused on food insecurities on college campuses and ties to the chapter’s Timberwolf Pantry, a food pantry servicing the UACCM community on campus.

Students also competed in public speaking. Sarah Fulmer, a business major, participated in the extemporaneous speech contest, where speakers select a topic blindly. She spoke about inmates and religious exemption requests.

Fulmer said that she was nervous about her speech at first. “Most people are terrified by the idea of getting up and talking in front of people,” she said. “But after attending this conference, I realized that there isn't anything wrong with enjoying public speaking. I want to use my enjoyment of public speaking to encourage others to give it a try.

Gipson also won second place in the prepared speech category. She spoke about why non-traditional students should join Phi Theta Kappa.

The mission statement of Phi Theta Kappa is “to recognize academic achievement of college students and to provide opportunities for them to grow as scholars and leaders.” To become a member, students must have completed at least 12 hours of coursework that may be applied to an associate degree while maintaining at least a 3.5 GPA.

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