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Higher Education
College of the Mainland
News Release
Friday, February 17, 2012


TEXAS CITY -- College of the Mainland’s Phi Theta Kappa Sigma Delta Chapter hosted its first District IV Conference in more than a decade.

Sixty-four students from eight colleges attended the day-long event that featured team building activities, guest lectures and networking opportunities.

“We’re ecstatic with the turnout,” said Dr. Chris Allen, the honor society’s advisor and a COM science instructor.

Four PTK members from COM, Taylor Hernandez, Christie Lafoy, Alex Miller and Merretta Vasquez, and co-advisor, Kristen Hatfield, were inducted into the District 4 Hall of Honor at the conclusion of the conference.

“It’s a big deal,” Allen said. “They rose above and beyond their normal responsibilities. They’ve done an outstanding job in participation and performance with their chapters.”

The PTK members are top students, but the honor society gives them an opportunity to hone and complement their academic skills through participation in community service, leadership and fellowship.

The event featured a discussion on the Culture of Competition led by guest speaker Debbie Esparza, Texas Regional Coordinator for PTK.

COM Vice President of Instruction Dr. Amy Locklear welcomed the attendees by crediting Allen and the students with preparing for the conference.

Alex Miller, of Texas City, is the chapter’s Honors in Action chairman. She enjoyed last Saturday’s conference.

“I thought it was pretty successful,” Miller said. “Everyone had fun while still learning the objectives of team building and leadership. Dr. Allen pretty much orchestrated most of it. He’s done a lot. Since I had the opportunity to attend conferences like this from other schools, it’s interesting to see it from the other side of the relationship.”

Miller will graduate from COM this spring with plans of earning her doctorate and becoming a research physician. PTK has provided opportunities to learn about scholarships and network with fellow students, she said.

Taylor Hernandez, of Galveston, will graduate from COM this spring and study music at the University of Kansas.

“I’ve always been a shy person. Being an officer in PTK helped me become more of a leader,” said Hernandez, who hopes to become an opera singer.

Christie Lafoy, of Texas City, is a Collegiate High School senior who will earn her high school diploma and an associate degree this spring.

She has wanted to be a medical general practitioner since she was in seventh grade and is committed to that goal. She credits PTK with helping her learn “team building skills.”

Merretta Vasquez, of Texas City, said the conference was “really fun – a really great experience. PTK is a great organization. There’s a lot of scholarships available.”

Vasquez will graduate from COM in May and will attend UT-Arlington or UT-Medical Branch next semester with hopes of beginning a career as a clinical lab scientist.

Kristen Hatfield, who has been a Co-advisor for a year, appreciated being inducted into the Hall of Honor.

“I think PTK is a great organization,” Hatfield said. “It’s really positive and it gives our students a chance to grow.”

The conference was open to PTK alumni and students from outside the chapter.

Justin Medellin, a 2010 COM graduate and Texas City native, attended the conference, as did Jeff Sweeten, who attends Connors State College in Warner, Okla.

“A lot of people still come to conferences after they’re finished,” said Medellin, a NASA contractor who’s studying computer information systems at University of Houston-Clear Lake. “What I’ve learned here, I’m able to take over there and become a better person.”

College of the Mainland offers a wide range of classes, from nationally accredited associate degrees and certifications to skills, hobbies and trades. COM has an excellent professor-to-student ratio that helps instructors connect with their classes. We’re the launch pad for success stories throughout the Mainland.

Photo 1: Four College of the Mainland members of Phi Theta Kappa and PTK Co-advisor Kristen Hatfield were inducted into the District IV Hall of Honor during the district conference last Saturday at COM. The honorees, from left, are Merretta Vasquez, Taylor Hernandez, Christine Lafoy, Kristen Hatfield and Alex Miller.

Photo 2: Phi Theta Kappa students participate in an athletic competition during the District IV Conference last Saturday at College of the Mainland.

Photo 3: Phi Theta Kappa students competed in a relay during the District IV Conference last Saturday at College of the Mainland.

Photo 4: Phi Theta Kappa students had to flip the tarp from one side to the other without touching the ground outside of the tarp during the District IV Conference last Saturday at College of the Mainland.

Photo 5: Phi Theta Kappa students participate in a team building activity, called “Toxic Waste” that uses mental and physical skills to solve a problem during the District IV Conference last Saturday at College of the Mainland

Photo 6: Phi Theta Kappa students prepare for a team building activity known as “Toxic Waste” that uses mental and physical skills to solve a problem last Saturday at College of the Mainland.

Remembering Jim Guidry

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