CARTERVILLE'S BROUWER, MCLEANSBORO'S KARCHER TO REPRESENT REND LAKE COLLEGE AS PTK ALL-USA NOMINEES
INA, Ill. – Rend Lake College students Krista Brouwer of Carterville and Lexi Karcher of McLeansboro have been selected as Phi Theta Kappa All-USA nominees for the Rho Xi chapter at RLC. The two will attend a banquet and Student Lobby Day next month in Springfield where PTK officials will announce which All-Illinois finalists have been selected for the PTK All-USA Community College Academic Team.
Brouwer and Karcher were chosen to represent their chapter based on their participation in PTK and other on-campus activities, grade point average, and leadership qualities, according to RLC Financial Aid Specialist Rachel Sveda.
“These students have worked extremely hard over the last two years to achieve academic success,” said Sveda. “The banquet is an opportunity for them to be recognized for their accomplishments and be encouraged by nominees from colleges throughout Illinois.”
Twenty students from across the country are chosen each year for membership on the PTK All-USA Community College Academic Team. Each selectee receives a $2,500 stipend and medallion as recognition as an outstanding two-year college student.
“I am definitely excited to represent Rend Lake College in Springfield,” Brouwer said. The 33-year-old elementary education major added that she feels like she is also representing college students of non-traditional age, and she’s very proud of that.
“I have really enjoyed my experience at RLC,” she said. “I feel it was a really good start for me as a non-traditional student. I love the small class sizes and the accessibility to teachers.”
Brouwer, a native of Mokena, lives in Carterville with her husband, RLC History Instructor Nathan Brouwer, and their daughter, Jessica.
Karcher is the 19-year-old daughter of John and Tena Karcher. She is a sophomore business major who is finishing one last class at RLC while taking courses at Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville. Karcher is set to graduate from Rend Lake in May. She was able to accelerate her path to an associate degree by taking advantage of RLC dual credit and dual enrollment programming while at Hamilton County Senior High School in McLeansboro.
“I’m glad I took my first step at Rend Lake College,” Karcher said. “It definitely prepared me for Edwardsville.”
Established in 1918 by Missouri two-year college presidents, PTK Honor Society serves to recognize and encourage the academic achievement of two-year college students and provide opportunities for individual growth and development through honors, leadership and service programming, according to its website. Today, PTK is the largest honor society in American higher education with more than 1.3 million members and 1100 chapters located in 50 states, U.S. territories, Canada, Germany, and Japan. In 1929, the American Association of Community Colleges recognized PTK as the official honor society for two-year colleges.
The site states that, at the time of its founding, PTK was patterned after the prestigious senior college honor society Phi Beta Kappa. Thus, membership was conferred at graduation and few programs and services were offered to members. The explosive growth of community colleges in the 1960s led PTK to expand its mission to reflect the nurturing philosophy of the institutions it served. Students were inducted as freshmen and study programs were offered. The complement of services, innovative programs, and membership benefits offered by PTK today are unequaled among honor societies. The programs offered focus upon the Society’s Hallmark of Scholarship, Leadership, Service and Fellowship. It is estimated that 150,000 students participate in PTK programs each year.