Honor Society Transfer Scholarship Helped UACCM Alumna Pay for Her University Tuition

Kristen Gipson stands outside of UACCM campus building
Kristen Gipson, UACCM alumna and Arkansas Tech University student

As a UACCM student, Kirsten Gipson joined the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and didn’t fully realize the personal and academic opportunities it would provide her.

She rose to chapter president, took part in regional conferences, and contributed research on hunger in college campuses. Now as a graduate, Gipson is a student at Arkansas Tech University, where she is finishing her bachelor’s degree, and has a passion of working on children’s and veterans’ issues. She attends thanks to a Phi Theta Kappa scholarship, which pays for most of her tuition costs.

Phi Theta Kappa scholarships are one of the opportunities for UACCM graduates who transfer to a university. For Gipson, her participation in UACCM’s chapter has been life altering.

Read below to learn about Gipson’s participation in the club, her journey from UACCM to Arkansas Tech, and PTK scholarship’s meaning to her.


Tell us what UACCM’s PTK chapter has meant to you?

UACCM’s PTK chapter helped me come out of my shell and become more confident in myself. I felt out of place in college, not because of anyone or anything in specific, just because of who I am. I joined PTK at first just because I thought it would look good on my transcript (which it does), but after becoming involved, I was able to help others on campus. The time I spent at UACCM, the PTK project we worked on was food insecurity on the college campus. It was a big project which involved research, a paper, and the food pantries on the campus. Being able to be a part of that is huge. We not only won a good handful of awards for the work we did at the regional PTK conference, but we were able to help other students and faculty on our campus.

I know that the PTK scholarship pretty much paid for all of my classes at ATU. The scholarship made it so I could focus on my education and not worry about how I was going to pay for things. 


What are the benefits of joining PTK?

There are so many benefits to joining PTK. That being said, it is not enough to just join, you have to be involved. You are not going to receive the amazing opportunities if you just sit on the sideline. College is busy. You have classes, maybe family and work obligations, but make the time. I got to know my advisor/professors. I made friends that I am still in contact with and we cheer each other on. I really had fun. I wish I had become more involved sooner. I got to travel to different conferences with PTK and as an ambassador to UACCM. I felt like I was helping others and making a difference.


How has UACCM prepared you to attend Arkansas Tech?

I am so very glad that I attended UACCM first. Tech is awesome, but it is larger in all ways. The class sizes are larger. The campus is larger. I felt so lost my first semester. I might not have continued my education if I had not attended UACCM first. I felt very overwhelmed. It got better and I became more comfortable but going from no college to large college might have been too much for me. UACCM gave me the confidence in myself and an understanding of what to expect without falling through the cracks.


What are your activities as an ATU student?

At Tech I am part of Alpha Chi and the National Honor Society. I am a Rehab Science major minoring in child welfare and social services. I also take advantage of the different guest speakers and workshops Tech holds.


What are your academic and career goals?

My academic and career goals have changed multiple times. Currently I am interning at Juvenile Probation for my final semester before I earn my BA. My personal life has had many curve balls and to top it off Covid has jumbled everything up. So, now my main goal is to graduate in May 2021. What I would like to do is continue with night classes to earn my master’s and work with children and/or veterans during the day.


Now as a university student, what advice would you give to current UACCM students?

This is an awesome question. Advice I would give to current UACCM students would be to enjoy college and take advantage of every opportunity you can. I know it can be overwhelming and you might feel like there is not enough time in the day, but it is so worth it. Get to know the other students and the professors. I know grades are important, but they aren’t the only thing that matters. It is ok to have no clue what you want to do when you grow up and it is ok to change your mind. Don’t give up, you can do it. You have so many people that want to see you succeed. Reach out for help if you need it.


More about PTK Membership and Transfer Scholarships

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.

Did you know that members can use financial aid to cover membership fees? The last day for charges is January 27, which can be done at the Student Accounts window inside the first floor of the University Center.

Members of PTK can find scholarship by going to https://portal.ptk.org/Scholarships/TransferScholarshipSearch.aspx

Participants in PTK’s transfer scholarship program:

Colleges offering transfer scholarships in Arkansas for Phi Theta Kappa:

  • Arkansas Tech University
  • Hendrix College
  • Ouachita Baptist University
  • University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
  • University of Arkansas at Fort Smith
  • University of Ozarks
  • Williams Baptist College


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