Iota Mu Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa celebrates Spring 2023 induction

March 9, 2023

The Iota Mu Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa welcomed 48 students at a ceremony held at Pearl River Community College on Monday. The induction ceremony was held at the Brownstone Center for the Arts with family members and other guests in the audience. 

Newly inducted members of Phi Theta Kappa Iota Mu Chapter celebrate.

Phi Theta Kappa is the foremost honor society for two-year colleges with over 1,300 chapters worldwide. This evening was the Iota Mu Chapter’s 66th induction ceremony. The chapter covers both the Hancock and Poplarville campuses.  

Students selected for membership are considered academically successful having completed at least 12 credit hours of non-remedial courses with a minimum cumulative 3.4 GPA. 

Scholarship, leadership, service, and fellowship are the four hallmarks of PTK. The current officers briefly shared how those hallmarks have played out for them as members of PTK. 

Attendees heard from Dr. Amy Chasteen, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at The University of Southern Mississippi. She shared that an associate degree is a significant first step toward a great career. For many, it is the first step in their educational journey with a bachelor’s degree offering additional benefits like increased pay and job security. 

For students considering the transition from community college to a four-year institution, PTK serves as a transfer resource to its members. Many colleges and universities, especially those in Mississippi, offer special scholarships to PTK members with additional value for PTK officers.  

Dr Amy Chasteen from USM addresses inductees of PTK Iota Mu Chapter.

“When you are struggling, take the list of things we know about the benefits of this educational experience and tape it to your wall,” said Chasteen. “Look at it every day and remind yourself when you’re tired or frustrated with the class that you can do it and it’s going to be worth it in the end. 

“Life is going to present you with challenges. It’s all about whether you’re ready to fight through them and to get the successes that you want in life.”  

Dr. Ryan Ruckel, Dean, Dr. William Lewis Honors Institute and advisor to the Beta Tau Gamma Chapter at Forrest County Campus, serves as PTK Mississippi-Louisiana Region Coordinator. He spoke about the value of being a member of PTK. 

“About a quarter of a million students are inducted every year, so you are joining an enormous organization,” said Ruckel. “I want to encourage you to think of this time as sewing. You are planting within yourself; you’re planting in your life and you’re sewing and planting and giving into the lives of the people around you.” 

Dr Ryan Ruckel speaks at PTK Iota Mu Chapter induction.

Ruckel shared the recent awards received by the PRCC chapters at the Mississippi-Louisiana Gala the previous weekend. Iota Mu was named Most Distinguished Chapter for the region, a highly competitive designation. 

After the ceremony, inductees were able to meet with representatives from Belhaven University, Mississippi College, Mississippi State University, the University of Mississippi, and The University of Southern Mississippi for the Hattiesburg and Gulf Park campuses. 

PRCC student speaks with recruiter from Ole Miss.

PRCC students inducted into Phi Theta Kappa Iota Mu Chapter for spring 2023 semester are: 

Carmin Acker, Pearlington 
Susana Argueta, Picayune 
Stephen Armstrong, Lumberton 
Ethan Aultman, Sumrall 
Elijah Barberi, Ocean Springs 
Landon Berryhill, Mt. Olive 
Madison Burge, Picayune 
Samuel Burge, McNeill 
Nicholas Busbin, Hattiesburg 
Stacy Christopher, Diamondhead 
Trista Carawan, Kiln 
Jeremy DeJean, Picayune 
Solis Dewease, Hattiesburg 
Ladd Gex, Kiln 
Lane Gex, Kiln 
Allison Gobuzzi, Picayune 
Lauren Gobuzzi, Picayune 
Lawrence Greer, Hattiesburg 
Harley Harrell, Carriere 
Emma Grace Hart, Picayune 
Sophie Heartin, Foxworth 
Aden James, Brandon 
Amanda Kelly, Poplarville 
Kaylyn Kelly, Picayune 
Dominick LaMartina, Picayune 
Brooke Larsen, Picayune 
Devyn Lee, Carriere 
Michael Mims, Carriere 
Mikayla Newell, Waynesboro 
Makenzie Paul, Purvis 
Timothy Popwell, Richton 
Makenzie Putnam, Picayune 
Erica Rabalais, Bay St. Louis 
Dariel Recasner, Columbia 
Victoria Seymour, Slidell, LA 
Isabel Shivers, Columbia 
Allee Smith, Poplarville 
Caleb Smith, Hattiesburg 
Jala Stogner, Foxworth 
Caroline Taylor, Irvington, AL 
Kyleigh Tolar, Hattiesburg 
Brooke Walker, Slidell, LA 
Madison Warren, Slidell, LA 
Noah Webb, Pearl 
Christian Welch, Carriere 
Wendy Welch, Carriere 
Kelby Wingo, Purvis 
Sydney Wood, Picayune 

All in the family: Christian Welch was inducted alongside his mother Wendy Welch.

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Article and photography by Laura O’Neill.

Each community college president is asked to bring two (2) wrapped door prizes, minimum value of $50 each. We will have a station set up at the conference for you to drop off the door prizes.

Each community college is asked to provide name tags for their Board members, administration, and staff attending the conference.