April 28, 2016

Logan Media Services

CARTERRVILLE-- John A. Logan College students Tori Ladd and Samuel Ramirez recently attended NerdNation, Phi Theta Kappa honor society’s annual international conference in Washington, D.C.

Ladd and Ramirez went as representatives of Upsilon Pi, Logan’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, and distinguished themselves among the group’s best.

Ladd, a sophomore from Thompsonville who serves as vice president of fellowship & service for Upsilon Pi, was recognized during the Parade of Scholars for her Coca-Cola Silver Scholar Award and Scholarship.

Ramirez, a freshman from Carbondale and treasurer & fundraising coordinator for Logan’s chapter, finished as one of eight finalists out of 40 participants in Phi Theta Kappa’s first-ever speech competition.

Ramirez said the speech competition was a real challenge.

“I found out there was going to be a speech contest at the conference so I decided to enter it,” Ramirez said. “I’m not a public speaker, but I wanted to challenge myself to do something outside of my comfort zone. I know I’ll only have one experience with college and I want to make the most of it.

“I worked really hard on the speech and I was nervous,” Ramirez said, “but I was happy with how I did. Making the finals was a good accomplishment and gave me a lot of confidence.”

Ramirez said NerdNation was a great experience.

“The convention was awesome. I’m so glad I got the chance to go,” Ramirez said. “There were about 4,000 students there from all over the country and it was so much fun. We attended breakout sessions and saw some very interesting speakers. I was the voting delegate for our chapter so I also got to vote for the international officers.”                  

Adrienne Barkley Giffin, director of student activities and cultural events at JALC, is the advisor for the college’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter.  She accompanied the students to the conference and was pleased with their accolades.

“I was thrilled to see Tori and Samuel recognized,” Giffin said. “They were certainly deserving, and they also did an excellent job representing John A. Logan at the conference. In addition to Tori and Samuel, another one of our members, Alexis Weimar, was named a Distinguished Chapter Member this year for her dedication and outstanding contributions to our chapter projects. 

“She was one of just 30 recipients out of 132 nominations worldwide to earn that honor, and she’s the first member from our chapter to receive it. We’re very proud of her,” Giffin said. 

Weimer, a resident of Campbell Hill who serves as vice president of membership for Upsilon Pi, said she appreciated the honor.

“Our chapter nominated me for the Distinguished Chapter Member award and Tori Ladd wrote the nomination letter that was sent to the international committee,” Weimer said. “I was surprised and honored when I was chosen to receive the award out of so many nominations. I think it is credit to our whole chapter not just me. There are many members who work really hard on our projects.”

Weimer said she enjoys being a member of Phi Theta Kappa.

“Being a part of Phi Theta Kappa has been a wonderful experience,” Weimer said. “I was initially enticed by all the community service projects they do and getting involved has helped me meet many new people and become more engaged in campus life.

“I would encourage anyone who is invited to join to check it out. It’s a lot of fun and there are many opportunities for personal growth and professional development.”


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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Dr. Steve O’Keefe at 618-985-2828 ext. 8569 or email at steveokeefe@jalc.edu.