National convention in Maryland draws 4,000 PTK students from across U.S.
Accompanied Phi Theta Kappa advisors, Vicky Knickerbocker, humanities faculty, and Nicki Bottko, Student Life activities coordinator, four members of the Phi Theta Kappa Alpha Omicron Beta Chapter at Inver Hills Community College attended NerdNation 2016, a three-day national convention hosted annually by Phi Theta Kappa International. This year’s NerdNation took place April 7–9 in National Harbor, Maryland. Chapter officers attending the event included Mandkhai Molomjamts, vice president of leadership, Melissa Rose, vice president of fellowship, Salina Sok, treasurer, and Dominique Dailey, historian. Former chapter president, Nestor Duran Vega, also attended.
“We stayed at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center,” Nicki reported. “The venue was incredible and the event itself was first class. We got the chance to meet PTK officers from chapters at two-year colleges from all over the United States. One of our officers, Dominique Dailey, was running for international vice president of Division III on the PTK International Officer Team. We were all involved in her campaign. Dominique didn’t win, but she was a top-ten finalist out of nearly forty candidates. We are very proud of her.”
Nicki added that nearly 4,000 people attended NerdNation from almost 600 chapters. While at the convention, the Inver Hills students also took a tour of Washington, D.C.
“We had an unforgettable time,” Nicki said. “Our chapter members are looking forward to next year’s NerdNation in Nashville, Tennessee.”
To learn more about NerdNation, check out the following links:
About Phi Theta Kappa
The purpose of Phi Theta Kappa shall be to recognize and encourage scholarship among two-year college students. To achieve this purpose, Phi Theta Kappa shall provide opportunity for the development of leadership and service, for an intellectual climate for exchange of ideas and ideals, for lively fellowship for scholars, and for stimulation of interest in continuing academic excellence.
Phi Theta Kappa’s mission is two-fold:
- Recognize and encourage the academic achievement of two-year college students and;
- Provide opportunities for individual growth and development through participation in honors, leadership, service and fellowship programming.
— Courtesy of Phi Theta Kappa
Dominique’s message on invisible disabilities
“Running my campaign for international vice president of Division III was a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime experience. I never dreamed I would get the chance to get up in front of four thousand people and give a speech about something I truly believe in. Having everyone cheer me on and encourage me is something I will always remember. Out of thirty-eight candidates, I made it down to the group of ten finalists. Even though I didn’t win, I met amazing new people and made lifelong friendships with students from around the nation.” — Dominique Dailey
You can learn more about Dominique Dailey by reading “Inver Hills Receives $50,000 Travelers Grant” on Inver Hills News.
Phi Theta Kappa officer spotlights
- Age: 45
- Hometown: Hastings, Minnesota
- Current residence: Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota
- High school and year graduated: Simley High School Class of 1987
- Major and degree at Inver Hills: Associate of Arts (A.A.) with an Emphasis in Psychology; graduation fall semester 2016
- Transfer plans: Attending Metropolitan State University to earn Bachelor of Science in Psychology through 2+2 program; I’ll be able to take my classes on Inver’s campus
- Career plans: Earning my Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) and working as a clinical psychologist helping troubled teens; I am inspired by my mom, who took in foster girls ages 12–17 when I was growing up
- Why did you choose Inver Hills? Location, cost, reputation
- What do you like most about your major? You are always learning new and interesting things in psychology
- Phi Theta Kappa position: President; chief duties: 1) keep chapter on track 2) run meetings 3) help other officers anyway I can
- What do you like most about Phi Theta Kappa? You are recognized for your achievements
- What would tell a student who’s interested in joining Phi Theta Kappa? You’ve earned it; now take advantage of the benefits
- What person has influenced you the most in life and why? My husband, Jack; he makes me want to be a better person; Jack is a supervisor at a home improvement company, which makes him a DIY godsend around the house
- Three words that describe you as a person: Fun. Smart. Committed.
- Family: Husband Jack, daughter Ashley, 23, starting at Inver fall 2016, and son Nick, 20, works at Menards
- Pastimes and hobbies: Riding my Honda Shadow, writing in my journals, reading (favorite author: Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club), listography (making lists of my favorite things) and neogranny crafting, e.g., making dish towels with tattoo designs, quilts with bad sayings and knickknacks with alternate swear words
Cheryl Koehnen | 21 Answers
- Favorite season: Fall
- Favorite natural feature (e.g., waterfalls, oceans, mountains, etc.): Alaskan mountains in Sadie Cove
- Favorite sport or physical activity: Yoga
- Your national bird if you could have one: Pink flamingo
- Place you would most like to visit: Japan
- Favorite actor or actress: Gary Oldman
- Your national mammal if you could have one: Dairy cow
- What is the most exciting thing you’ve ever done? Rode in a race car at 185 mph at Richard Petty Driving Experience in Florida
- Favorite band or performing artist: Godsmack
- Your personal motto if you had to have one: Be strong and powerful in body, mind and spirit
- Coolest thing in the world: Pinterest
- Scariest thing in the world: Nosferatu
- Favorite all-time TV show: Tom and Jerry
- Favorite all-time movie: Fight Club
- One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Earn my Psy.D
- Most precious material possession: My journals
- First thing you would buy if you won the $1.5 billion Powerball: Secluded cabin in the mountains on a lake
- Dream occupation: Clinical psychologist
- Person you would most like to meet: Dalai Lama
- Skill (other than acting) you would most like to learn and master: Reading and writing Japanese kanji
- Most important issue or problem facing humankind? Human rights violations
- Age: 34
- Hometown: Oakdale, Minnesota
- Current residence: Apple Valley, Minnesota
- High school and year graduated: Concordia Academy Roseville Class of 2000; attended Dakota County Technical College as a PSEO student studying landscape horticulture
- Major and degree at Inver Hills: Associate of Arts (A.A.)
- Transfer plans: I’ve been accepted at both Augsburg College and the University of St. Thomas, but I haven’t yet made my final decision on which school I will attend in the fall. I want to be a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC) and earn my Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW).
- Career plans: I am passionate about social work and helping those with mental illness and chemical dependency issues; long term, my dream is to start group homes for pregnant women who are struggling with these issues, so that they may have a safe and supportive environment to work on recovery, life planning and returning to school and/or the workforce.
- Why did you choose Inver Hills? I chose Inver Hills because I was at a point in my life where I needed to make some decisions quickly; while I knew what my long-term goals were, I needed some time to figure out what steps were necessary to achieve them; Inver Hills allowed me to start on my goals with the flexibility and affordability I needed as a single mother.
- What do you like most about your major? I have really enjoyed the various writing classes.
- Phi Theta Kappa position: Vice President of Fellowship
- What do you like most about Phi Theta Kappa? The leadership skills and friendships I have developed
- What would tell a student who’s interested in joining Phi Theta Kappa? Do it, do it, do it; the life experiences and personal growth alone are worth it, not mention the great scholarships available and the credentials for your transfer application and resume.
- What did you enjoy most at NerdNation 2016? The people! To have a chance to network and connect with so many people was amazing and I have made so many new friendships. The scope of NerdNation is hard to describe; it was like the opening ceremony of the Olympics. For myself, the confidence to be successful in something I have never done before, through hard work and commitment, was very enlivening. I came home completely inspired!
- What person has influenced you the most in life and why? My mom; she was also a single mother of three, and most recently she retired from almost 30 years of teaching to follow her dreams and start her own business. My mom has never given up on me, even when I was struggling, and she is always there for me, whether I need help with something or just to vent.
- Three words that describe you as a person: Resilient. Dedicated. Compassionate. Bonus answer: Sleep Deprived 😉
- Family: I am a single mom and have four children:
- Beau, 12, avid soccer player
- Arabella, 5, competitive dancer
- Axel, 3, hockey player
- Everly, 1.5, sweetheart
- Pastimes and hobbies: I love writing and aspire to write a novel someday. I also enjoy painting, theater, reading, baking, camping and bonfires as well as running; I am participating in several 5Ks this year. I currently serve as the Creative Activities Director for a local chapter of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International, a women’s group that focuses on faith, fellowship and service; we volunteer with Operation Christmas Child, The Mission Outpost, Bundles of Joy, Feed My Starving Children and The Ronald McDonald House. I also attended ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) classes with my youngest children and am the team manager for my daughter’s competitive dance team.
- Anything not asked that you would like to include: I gave the student speaker commencement speech at the graduation ceremony on May 12, 2016. My theme was overcoming your perceived mistakes by turning them into your achievements. I am a recovering alcoholic and I’ve been sober for six years. As a soon-to-be Phi Theta Kappa alumna, I am currently working with the regional coordinators to create an active alumni chapter to mentor growing chapters. I authored several compelling essays this year, one of which is currently being used as the example paper for a humanities course and another that I have been strongly encouraged to try and have published.
Melissa Rose | 21 Answers
- Favorite season: Summer
- Favorite natural feature (e.g., waterfalls, oceans, mountains, etc.): It’s a toss-up between the ocean and Rocky Mountains
- Favorite sport or physical activity: Is sunbathing a physical activity? 😉
- Your national bird if you could have one: Hummingbirds, they don’t let their tiny size stop them
- Place you would most like to visit: Greece
- Favorite actor or actress: I don’t know, Jennifer Lawrence, maybe, I don’t watch a lot of movies
- Your national mammal if you could have one: African elephant
- What is the most exciting thing you’ve ever done? Taking ownership and control of my goals and dreams
- Favorite band or performing artist: Currently, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd and The Chainsmokers
- Your personal motto if you had to have one: You can do hard things.
- Coolest thing in the world: The Northern Lights
- Scariest thing in the world: Spiders
- Favorite all-time TV show: Friends
- Favorite all-time movie: The Notebook
- One thing you most want to accomplish in life: To start and build a successful nonprofit organization for at-risk girls and women
- Most precious material possession: Ring that used to be my grandmother’s
- First thing you would buy if you won the $1.5 billion Powerball: New Range Rover
- Dream occupation: To be a best-selling author; nonfiction memoir
- Person you would most like to meet: Oprah Winfrey
- Skill you would most like to learn and master: Dancing—ballet and hip hop
- Most important issue or problem facing humankind? Lack of awareness and effective help for mental health issues
Inver Hills Phi Theta Kappa links:
- PTK Alpha Omicron Beta Chapter at Inver Hills Community College
- PTK All-Minnesota Academic Team Recognition Event on Flickr
- PTK Induction Ceremony Spring 2016 on Flickr
To learn more about Phi Theta Kappa at Inver Hills, contact:
Student Life Activities Coordinator
Phi Theta Kappa Staff Advisor
Office: College Center 116
Humanities and Human Services Faculty
Phi Theta Kappa Faculty Advisor
Office: Liberal Arts 119
Student Life Office Manage
Phi Theta Kappa Staff Advisor
Office: College Center 109
* Melissa and Kayla are sisters. Kayla serves as vice president of publicity for the Inver Hills PTK chapter. She earned her A.A. at Inver and is a student in the Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education (MANE) program with plans to earn a B.S.N. from Metro State. Her career goal is to work as a pediatric RN and eventually earn her master’s degree and become a nurse practitioner. “I studied pre-nursing at the University of North Dakota for two years,” Kayla related. “As soon as I found out Inver Hills had the MANE program, I applied and was accepted. That was one of the happiest days of my life. Going to Inver has made it real for me that I can become a nurse.”