Onondaga Community College's highly decorated chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa held its spring induction ceremony Tuesday night. It was the third consecutive induction ceremony held virtually due to the pandemic.
PTK President Gina Segreti started the event by welcoming everyone, then introduced fellow student Nova Kowalski who sang the National Anthem.
College President Dr. Casey Crabill acknowledged outstanding work done by current PTK leaders as they navigated through a challenging year. She also welcomed the spring 2021 class of PTK inductees. “You are joining more than two-and-a-half million people who have been inducted since PTK’s founding in 1918. When you put it in that context, over 100 years and only 2 million people, that’s a pretty select group.”
PTK Faculty Advisor Dr. Annie Tuttle highlighted the chapter’s major accomplishments during the academic year, including its recent designation as New York State’s best chapter for the third year in a row. “Our members are doing some amazing things and making a real difference. Being part of induction means you are an academic achiever. What will set you apart from other academic achievers is being involved in service and in scholarship. Giving back to the community is personally rewarding, and it makes you standout from other high achieving students. As a new member of our chapter I encourage you to get involved.”
Following Dr. Tuttle, PTK Co-Vice President for Scholarship Hadassah Johnson spoke about her PTK experience and how it impacted her time at the College.
Mackenzi Maxwell, Vice President for Leadership, recognized students who completed PTK Edge programs in the categories of Competitive, Employment, Transfer, and Research.
The highlight of the night was the induction of 208 new members, each of whom achieved a 3.5 grade point average while earning a minimum of 12 credit hours. The student’s were recognized individually with PowerPoint slides created by PTK and Honors College Coordinator Jackie Barstow.
One of the new inductees is a mother of three who credits COVID-19 with helping her return to school. Anne Pandian graduated from high school in the 1990s, came to OCC in the early 2000s, took two classes and ran out of money. She became a stay-at-home mom while her husband commuted 90 minutes each way to work, and worked 10-hour shifts on top of it. The arrival of Covid allowed him to work at home, and her to enroll at OCC in the fall 2020 semester.
She started in the Mathematics & Science degree program and loved everything about being on campus. "If you ask me what my dreams are, this is it. It's college. Whether I get a job afterwards or not doesn't have anything to do with it. I just want to know the things I don't know. I want to be part of the conversation and understand what's going on."
Just getting to college was a huge accomplishment for Pandian. She never expected what would come next; an outstanding first semester and induction into the College's chapter of the PTK honor society. "I can't even tell you the feeling. I'm just happy to do well. To be recognized for it and to be put in a group, it's such an incredible feeling. All of these years I didn't know how well I would do. I didn't know if I'd fail out or be able to handle it. I'm shocked. I'm thrilled. It's the happiest thing."