Phi Theta Kappa Members Earn Awards

The hard work of students in Joliet Junior College’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society has been recognized at the national level. JJC’s Alpha Lambda Phi chapter of PTK received two Hallmark Awards and was named the sixth most distinguished chapter in the country. 

“The Hallmark Awards process is a tool, providing us with insight into some of the activities that happen at the chapter and regional levels and into the leadership displayed by members, advisors and regional leaders,” says PTK’s national organization. 

students speaking at PTK forum
Students speaking at the Inclusion Forum. 

JJC PTK members earned the Honors in Action Hallmark Award for their entry of “Transforming Networks of Life: Raising Awareness About Microplastics.” Out of 495 total submissions, their research was chosen as one of 16 entries to be included in the 2020 edition of “Civic Scholar: Phi Theta Kappa Journal of Undergraduate Research.” 

The research project focused on bringing awareness to the fact that microplastics are present in our water system. PTK students visited local grade schools and demonstrated how washing polyester clothing left the tiny microplastics in the water. 

The 2020 edition of Civic Scholar, PTK’s undergraduate research journal, will be published in June. 

“This is the first time Alpha Lambda Phi has received this award and has been selected as a finalist,” said Eva Murdoch, a faculty advisor of PTK. Andrew Morrison, natural sciences professor, is the other faculty advisor. 

The chapter also earned a Hallmark Award for its Inclusion Forum College Project. At the end of 2019 the students hosted a forum that focused on promoting diversity and inclusion on campus. 

President of the Alpha Lambda Phi chapter, Olivia Palumbo, is one of the students that spearheaded the inclusion forum. 

“After running through numerous ideas for our chapter’s fall College Project, our team decided upon an ‘Inclusion Forum’ to discover the areas of commonality between the different cultural, ethnic, and religious student groups on campus with the goal of increasing the solidarity amongst them,” said Palumbo. 

PTK students found that most of the hesitation in creating relationships with those that differ from us stems from the lack of knowledge about how to initiate communication respectfully and correctly. 

“Through this forum, we were able to initiate the essential conversation regarding ways to mitigate the effects of this lack of inter-club communication and put in place mechanisms to ensure that JJC is a welcoming environment to all students regardless of their background,” said Palumbo. 

“They truly deserve this honor and recognition at the national level,” Murdoch said. “I believe winning this award has proven to them that persistence, determination and working together can lead to great prospects that are not left unnoticed.” 

The ranking of the most distinguished chapters is calculated from the scores of both the Honors in Action Project and the College Project. 

“I couldn’t be more proud and thankful for the dedication the officer team has shown this year towards the hallmarks of PTK: Scholarship, Fellowship, Leadership and Service,” said Murdoch. 

Updated June 16: JJC's PTK chapter was also named the Most Distinguished Chapter in Illinois and earned the Most Distinguished Honors in Action Project award for the state of Illinois. View the award presentation here.

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