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Kansas Honors PCC Students on All-State Academic Team

13 February 2015

On Feb. 12, two Pratt Community College students were honored in Topeka as members of Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society. Pratt native Shannon Neifert and Wichita native Callie Hobkirk were named by PCC’s chapter as their representatives on the 2015 Kansas All-State Academic Team.

Neifert will transfer to Bethel University this fall to study nursing. Hobkirk will transfer to Washburn in the fall to study Health Services Administration.

The All-State Academic Team is a distinguished group of scholars from community colleges across the state who are selected for their academic achievements and contributions to their college and community. Neifert and Hobkirk, along with the other 50 academic team members, were introduced on the floor of the House of Representatives and honored at a luncheon attended by state legislators and community college trustees and administrators.

Michael Calvert, president, Lisa Perez Miller, vice president of students and enrollment management, Joe Varrientos, vice president of instruction, Board Chairwoman Michele Hamm and Board Trustees Dwane DeWeese, and Ken Van Blaricum were also in attendance.

“This is a special annual event for our chapter and all community colleges across the state,” said chapter advisor Leighanne Dean. “I am glad that our legislature makes it a priority to recognize the academic achievements of our students in this way.”

Phi Theta Kappa Executive Director and CEO Dr. Rod Risley spoke at the luncheon and shared that a recent study shows that Phi Theta Kappa members have an overall student success rate of 91 percent, compared to a national community college student success rate of just 38 percent.

“The data shows that Phi Theta Kappa is a valued partner in student completion,” Risley said. “It is estimated that 65 percent of jobs will require some kind of postsecondary credential by 2018. Phi Theta Kappa is establishing itself as a powerful tool in helping community colleges meet the challenge issued to them in 2010 to produce an additional 5 million certificates and degrees by the end of the decade.”

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Miss., is the largest honor society in higher education with 1,280 chapters on college campuses around the world.

Honorees with Misty Beck and JJ Rupe, mentors and PCC performing arts instructors. Neifert and Hobkirk are both active in the performing arts department and members of Encore!, PCC's select vocal ensemble.

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