INA, Ill. - Sophomores Brooke Sutton and Stephanie Smith will represent Rend Lake College as Phi Theta Kappa All-USA nominees at the organization's upcoming All-Illinois Academic Team Banquet, April 13, in Springfield.
Financial Aid Specialist Rachel Sveda - now in her second year as PTK Advisor at RLC and a former All-USA nominee for the college - said Sutton and Smith will get to meet their peers from other Illinois community colleges during the recognition banquet, and participate in the 2011 Student Lobby Day being held the following day at the state capitol building.
"Student Lobby Day is an opportunity for our recently recognized students to speak with our legislators and hopefully leave an impression for when they are budgeting and making other decisions that will impact higher education in the future," Sveda said.
All-Illinois team members will be recognized at the banquet, at which time the winners of prestigious awards like the Guistwhite Scholarships, Hites Transfer Scholarships, and Frank Lanza Memorial Scholarship are also announced. According to the PTK Honor Society's website, more than 700 institutions in the U.S., the District of Columbia and Canada offer approximately $37 million each year in scholarships to qualifying Society members.
Sutton, a 3.8 pre-veterinary medicine major from Pinckneyville, said she is already doing her homework for Student Lobby Day.
"I'm excited," she said. "I'm doing my research as far as who I want to talk to and what I want to ask them. I think it's a great opportunity to represent Rend Lake College and Southern Illinois with our legislators."
Smith, a 19-year-old mass communications major from McLeansboro who holds a 3.8 GPA, said she is proud to be an All-Illinois selectee and All-USA nominee. Her activities in addition to the Rho Xi Chapter of PTK at RLC include Student Ambassadors and theatre. She is playing "Ensign Janet MacGregor" in the upcoming RLC Spring Musical, "South Pacific." Smith is the daughter of Tim and Kathy Smith.
According to Sveda, potential All-USA nominees from RLC have to be second-year members of PTK and criteria for consideration include current GPA and extra-curricular activities. "They are both involved in activities on-campus other than Phi Theta Kappa, have jobs, and maintain excellent grade point averages. The ability to balance all of these parts of their lives, and be so successful at it, is remarkable," Sveda said.
Sutton is the 20-year-old daughter of Jim and Kathy Wilson. She said one reason she joined PTK is because her mother was a member in college. She is also active in RLC Student Ambassadors, Madrigal Dinner Theatre and Community Chorus. She was the "Cheshire Cat" in the college's recent madrigal performance.
"It's an honor to represent Rend Lake in Springfield," Sutton said.
Founded as Kappa Phi Omicron nearly a century ago by six charter members at Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., Phi Theta Kappa - the International Honor Society for two-year colleges - recognizes and encourages the academic achievements of two-year college students and provides opportunities for individual growth and development through participation in honors, leadership, service and fellowship programming. In April of last year, 73 RLC students were inducted into PTK and more will join them April 12 at the 2011 induction ceremony.
For more about PTK at RLC, visit the college online at www.rlc.edu/life/ptk.