April 5, 2023
The Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) Alpha Kappa Chapter, Phi Theta Kappa, garnered an impressive five awards at the 2023 New York Regional Conference.
Three students who serve as chapter officers at BMCC — Writing and Literature/Journalism major Ime Ikpo, History major Dante Clemente and Liberal Arts major Nathan Mandell — as well as two faculty advisors, History Professor Alex d’Erizans and Criminal Justice Professor Diana Rickard, traveled to Rochester, New York on March 17 through March 19 to take part in the conference.
The BMCC Alpha Kappa Chapter, Phi Theta Kappa awards included:
- First place for Outstanding Honors in Action Project for Theme 6 (Nostalgia as Play) of the Honors Program Guide;
- The Outstanding College Project Award (only five awarded within the entire region of fifty-nine chapters);
- First runner-up for the Academic Achievement for a Non-Traditional Student award;
- First runner-up for the Distinguished Officer Team and
- Third runner-up for Distinguished Chapter (combined scores for Honors in Action and College Project awards).
The BMCC Alpha Kappa chapter, Phi Theta Kappa, includes a core group of about 60 active chapter members.
The student officer team — which includes Ikpo, Mandell and Clemente, as well as Nursing major Katell Pleven, who did not attend the conference — leads weekly chapter meetings, Phi Theta Kappa chapter projects, fellowship events and communications inside and outside of the chapter.
Faculty advisors include Professors d’Erizans and Rickard, as well as English Professor Jason Schneiderman.
“One of the benefits to our students who participate as active members of BMCC’s Alpha Kappa chapter, Phi Theta Kappa, is that they have the opportunity to hone skills such as conducting research, writing and speaking in front of groups,” says Professor d’Erizans. “These skills are pivotally important because students can maximize their strengths and transfer those skills to situations such as a college admissions interview or a job interview.”
Professor d’Erizans adds that, “the narratives students return to as active members of the chapter help them shine, when asked questions such as, ‘What is your strength, what do you bring to the table?’”
Chapter members, he says, “also benefit from being part of a cohort of students who are committed to individual excellence and support each other in being better versions of themselves.”
Alpha Kappa is the official honor society for two-year colleges, as recognized by the American Association for Community Colleges. To be eligible for the BMCC Alpha Kappa chapter, Phi Theta Kappa, students must have completed at least 12 credits toward an associate degree and maintain at least a 3.5 GPA.
Here is more about the awards.
The officer team of the BMCC Alpha Kappa chapter, Phi Theta Kappa, received First Runner-up for Distinguished Officer Team, in recognition of their communication, dedication and hard work.
One of three students in the region who were named First Runners-up for the Academic Achievement for a Non-traditional Student was Ime Ekpo.
As an older, returning student, “I quickly discovered that my adult experience has benefited my ability to pursue this second bout of my academic career,” Ekpo says. “I observed the value of campus participation, communal camaraderie and time-management discipline that has afforded me chances of maintaining an Honors-bound scholarship at BMCC.”
The Outstanding College Project Award recognized the BMCC Alpha Kappa chapter, Phi Theta Kappa for its group project, “The Enhancement of Honors Culture at BMCC,” which investigated and identified areas in which the chapter could improve and grow.
That project was spearheaded by Alpha Kappa Chapter Officer, Ime Ekpo.
“We hope this project is the first step in forming a strong, cohesive Honors culture at BMCC,” Ekpo says. “To kick off our project, we researched Honors programs at fellow CUNY colleges as well as colleges and universities outside CUNY, for inspiration. We also investigated strategies to solve challenges in our chapter.”
The BMCC Alpha Kappa chapter also won 4th Place in the New York Region for the Distinguished Chapter Award, which recognizes chapters with the highest combined scores for the Hallmark submissions of both Honors in Action and the College Project.
The Honors in Action project was led by BMCC Phi Theta Kappa officer Dante Clemente and the entire Phi Theta Kappa team participated in response to an assigned theme, “The Art and Science of Play.”
“We further specified our interests in this theme by focusing on one of the sub-themes given to us by the organization, which was ‘Nostalgia as Play,’” Clemente says.
The research question the team developed was, “Is therapeutic recreation effective in remedying trauma disorders in adolescents and adults?”
“We analyzed several peer-reviewed sources on therapeutic recreation, the many different mediums it’s utilized through, and quantitative and qualitative results from studies with adults,” Clemente says. “We collaborated with the BMCC Counseling Center as well as the Newport Academy, a residential mental health treatment center for adolescents, to create interview questions for our research. Finally, we exhibited our findings on a website built by our chapter member Tauhidul Islam.”
For more information about BMCC’s Alpha Kappa chapter, Phi Theta Kappa, please contact Professor Alex d’Erizans at email@example.com. Phi Theta Kappa members meet on Wednesdays at 3 p.m. in Room N-769 at BMCC’s 199 Chambers Street campus.
The BMCC Alpha Kappa Chapter, Phi Theta Kappa, supports BMCC’s strategic goals including Strategic Goal #6: Strengthen BMCC’s role in a thriving NYC and as a leading community college, nationally.
The BMCC Alpha Kappa Chapter, Phi Theta Kappa, garnered five awards at the 2023 New York Regional Conference in Rochester, New York, March 17 through March 19
Chapter officers include Writing and Literature/Journalism major Ime Ekpo, History major Dante Clemente, Liberal Arts major Nathan Mandell and Nursing major Katell Pleven
Faculty advisors are History Professor Alex d’Erizans and Criminal Justice Professor Diana Rickard as well as Writing and Literature Professor Jason Schneiderman