Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK) recently selected the academic research project of Surry Community College’s Alpha Xi Tau Chapter to feature in its publication, Civic Scholar: Phi Theta Kappa Journal of Undergraduate Research.
Civic Scholar features 18 research projects by PTK chapters across the country on a wide range of topics including: “Disability, Awareness, Inclusivity and Student Success Outcomes” and “Economic and Social Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on K-12 Education.” There were 394 submissions for the third edition of Civic Scholar.
“We are proud of all the chapters who took the opportunity this year to develop, implement, and write about their Honors in Action projects,” says Dr. Susan Edwards, Associate Vice President of Honors Programming and Undergraduate Research for PTK. “They are conducting research that matters, and their work has engaged people on their community college campuses and in their communities. Their work inspires us and highlights something we have known all along: community college students are central to the production of new knowledge and meaningful scholarship.”
Research was conducted as part of Phi Theta Kappa’s honors program, Honors in Action, and based on the topic, “To the Seventh Generation: Inheritance and Legacy.” The works published in Civic Scholar include both substantive research and community engagement — PTK chapters ultimately turned their research into action by using their findings to meet specific community needs.
Surry Community College’s Chapter Advisor, Dr. Kathleen D. Fowler, who directed the project featured in the publication, is extremely proud of the students who dedicated their time and skills to work on it.
“Honors in Action projects are designed to help students grow as scholars and as leaders,” explains Fowler. “The students research a global issue and how it manifests within their community. Then they design a project, based on their research, to help their community members. Thus, they are making a positive impact through their service.”
Surry’s Alpha Xi Tau Chapter of PTK entitled their research project, “The Errs of Our Ways: The Corrupted Inheritance of Child Labor and the Legacy of Hope.” After hearing a guest speaker’s presentation on child slavery, they developed this research question: “Do some countries exploit child labor for profit?”
Upon further research, they learned that child labor is one of the largest, fastest growing criminal activities today with 2.5 million victims at any given time. They also learned that Ghana is among the worst offenders, with 24 percent of children ages 5 to 14 engaged in child labor such as cocoa harvesting.
Researching this topic led them to develop a four-part project including an awareness campaign, fundraising, encouragement and volunteerism. They decided to partner with Hope House, a local missionary thrift store, to raise money and support Hope Chapel Orphanage in Ghana. They planned to reach 500 people alerting them of exploitation of children in Ghana, raise $2,800 for Hope Chapel Orphanage to repair its roof, write letters to 50 children rescued from slavery and volunteer at least 40 hours at Hope House.
The students also partnered with the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) for help with fundraising efforts. The local DAR chapter donated items for a yard sale fundraiser. All leftover items were donated to Hope House. Fundraisers were also held in the form of a basket raffle on the college campus.
The project resulted in the chapter surpassing three of the four goals they had set for themselves. They reached 608 people through their awareness campaign, raised a total of $3,065 for Hope Chapel Orphanage and volunteered 56 hours of their time at Hope House.
This is the second time that the Alpha Xi Tau chapter has had their research published in Civic Scholar. They were included in the 2020 publication for their project “Transforming Families Impacted by Substance Abuse: The Opposite of Addiction is Connection.”
Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of students at associate degree granting colleges and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The society is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 11 nations.
For more information about Phi Theta Kappa and their projects, contact PTK's faculty co-advisors, Dr. Kathleen Fowler at (336) 386-3560 or email@example.com and Kayla Forrest at (336) 386-3315 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow the local chapter on Facebook @surryPhiThetaKappa or go to www.ptk.org.
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