Even though numerous studies indicate a college degree improves earning power and career longevity, one of the challenges facing higher education is helping students commit to and complete a degree or certificate.
The honor society Phi Theta Kappa at Genesee Community College is hoping to improve the graduation rate by adopting a new project called Community College Completion Corps, also known as C4.
On Thursday, Oct. 4, PTK members are sponsoring an event to encourage students to sign a pledge to complete their degree and learn just how essential completion is for their future success. A ceremony to launch the year-long campaign, which is part of a statewide "Commit to Complete" initiative, will take place at 12:30 p.m. in room T102 of the Conable Technology Building on the Batavia Campus.
"We know that employers value seeing degrees on applications and resumes, even for students just starting out, because it indicates a person can set and stick to a goal," said PTK co-Vice President Emmeline Vacanti, of Alexander. Fellow board member Taylor Schutt, of Cheektowaga, said initially, her goal was to get a GCC fashion degree, but decided it was not her passion and quickly became discouraged. But she said she "found a new dream and now I'm on track to pursue a new goal," and hopes her personal story helps illustrate to others that they, too, can overcome obstacles and reach their goals, one step at a time.
The GCC chapter of PTK is launching this new initiative under the guidance of a new team of officers. Psychology Associate Professor Elise Banfield will continue to serve as advisor to the club and Eileen Blackwell, a psychology and human services instructor, will serve as co-advisor.
The remainder of the PTK leadership team is made of up students: Thomas Wieszczyk (of Dansville) will serve as president and regional VP for all of Western New York, Taylor Schutt and Emmeline Vacanti will share the vice presidency, Batavia's Michelle Williams takes on public relations duties, Courtney Dart (Alexander) will serve as secretary and Marcy Lorenzi (Alden) will assume the responsibilities of chapter Webmaster.
The honor society is also launching a push to gain more members. Michelle says there are hundreds of GCC students eligible for membership, but just a few dozen actually join. "I don't think they appreciate how valuable membership is. I've gotten inquiries from several four-year colleges, with offers of scholarships, just because I belong to PTK!"
Phi Theta Kappa was established in 1918, and serves to recognize and encourage the academic achievement of two year college students and provides opportunities for individual growth and development through honors, leadership and service programming. Students must earn a GPA of 3.6 for initial membership.
For more information about the C4 initiative or PTK, please contact Elise Banfield at 343-0055 x6294, or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.