NTCC Phi Theta Kappa wins national USA Today competition

       Alpha Mu Chi, Northeast Texas Community College’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, earned national acclaim as one of four chapters to win the 2013 Honors Case Study Challenge competition sponsored by USA Today. Tied to the larger Phi Theta Kappa Honors in Action research project, the Case Study Challenge competition gives chapter members an opportunity to focus their attention on a specific area of study. The challenge encourages individual members and chapters of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society to use USA Today newspapers as a study aid and to remain aware of current events. Each of the four winning entrants will receive $500 and be recognized on stage at Phi Theta Kappa’s 2014 Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida in April.
       The entry, entitled “What does the chalk say?: Innovating America’s Classroom,” focused on educational reforms currently being tried around the country. The chapter chose the focus of the case study after brainstorming for several hours and boiling down their interests into a topic that affected them directly as students.  The topic was chosen as a result of discussions which took place among the officer team and active members at the end of the spring and early summer, with most of the research taking place throughout the early fall semester. A number of members contributed research, including, most notably, Alisha Richardson, Courtney Phillips, Miranda Mendoza, Armando Yepez and Lauren Fennimore. Stephen Milburn (Vice-President of Communication) and Noah Griffin (Chapter President) worked together as lead writers for the submission. Milburn said that they were looking for a topic that they could relate to and would steer them towards coming up with an actionable solution.
       “In public schools today there is a huge gap in the student body between the top GPA students and the average student. We are trying to find a way to bridge the gap,” Milburn said.
       After taking into account research from several articles in USA Today, chapter members distilled the content of four selected articles into a two page report on the state of educational reforms in America and around the world, including a series of questions designed to encourage discussion about key portions of the topic and an analysis of the future implications of the reforms being tried. Their winning entry can be viewed at http://is.gd/amcusatoday The Alpha Mu Chi chapter has entered this competition in past years, but this was the first time that the chapter won the contest.
       Dr. Melissa Weinbrenner, chapter Advisor, stated “I am extremely proud of this group and delighted to see them win their first national level award. This year’s members are exceptionally hard working, creative and thoughtful.”