McClain Reflects on 20 Years of Service to Phi Theta Kappa
by Emilie Jenson, Public Information Office
Posted on 12/15/2023
When Samantha McClain joined the admissions staff at Iowa Central in 2003, a second responsibility came along with the job: to help oversee the college’s chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society.
As a PTK alumni herself, McClain was familiar with the honor society and wanted to see the Iowa Central chapter grow and expand to become a more visible student organization.
“When I started at Iowa Central the current advisor was retiring and a group of us came on board to run it,” said McClain. “At the time it was more of a recognition than an organization.”
In 20 years, McClain’s job title has changed a few times, and she is presently the bookstore manager. One thing that has not changed is her involvement with Phi Theta Kappa and its members at Iowa Central. She was recently recognized by the Iowa Central Board of Directors and Phi Theta Kappa International for her years of service to the organization.
McClain said one aspect she takes pride in is the students’ willingness to lead and take ownership of Iowa Central PTK’s projects.
“As their advisor, I oversee what they do, but it is very student driven,” said McClain. “Everything is planned and organized by the students. Being student run is how they develop leadership skills.”
Phi Theta Kappa has four cornerstones: leadership, fellowship, service, and scholarship. To be eligible for PTK, students must have completed 12 credit hours and hold a minimum grade point average of 3.5.
“The students choose projects that fall into those categories,” said McClain. “Service and fellowship are what we do the most. Fellowship nights bring members together to get to know each other.”
Iowa Central’s PTK chapter has organized a wide variety of service projects over the years from gathering items to send care packages to military troops serving overseas, collecting donations of pet supplies for the Almost Home Humane Society, blanket making and volunteering with activities at local nursing homes.
McClain has attended several trips and leadership seminars with members over the years and assisted them with PTK scholarship applications.
“There are so many scholarship opportunities available through Phi Theta Kappa,” she said. “I love helping them get scholarships.”
Another highlight for McClain is the annual spring induction ceremony where students are presented with their stoles, recite the PTK Pledge and become official members of Phi Theta Kappa, but what she finds most rewarding is getting to know the students and watching them grow as leaders.
“Getting to know the students on a personal level; encouraging them and seeing them develop leadership skills and carry out projects is absolutely what I love about it most,” said McClain.
In recognition of her 20 years, McClain was presented with a certificate and will be honored with an engraved brick at the Phi Theta Kappa International Headquarters in Jackson, MS.
I chose Iowa Central because of the amazing opportunities and teachers. When I came to visit, I fell in love with the teachers in my program of study.