Beta Chi Chi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at Ivy Tech Community College recognized for several 2020 Hallmark Awards

Beta Chi Chi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at Ivy Tech Community College recognized for several 2020 Hallmark Awards

The Beta Chi Chi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at Ivy Tech Community College stands for the promotion of scholarship, the development of leadership and service, and the cultivation of fellowship among qualified students. Recently, the organization was recognized for several 2020 Hallmark Awards.

“Being recognized for all of our hard work as a chapter reinforces and rewards these important outcomes that the members and officers have created for us,” said Jennifer Furmanek, Advisor for Beta Chi Chi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at Ivy Tech Community College. “All members have put forth a huge effort to accomplish something great, and the whole chapter deserves to celebrate that accomplishment.”

With the help of Chancellor Aco Sikoski, the Beta Chi Chi chapter created a mobile Ivy Tech information cart, which is stocked with important information on useful topics such as wellness, transferring, degrees, contacts, technology, and tutoring. This Streamlined Resource Network Project earned the chapter a College Project Award of Recognition.

“We created this mobile cart to disseminate important information around campus, like mental health awareness, tutoring services, student clubs, and degree and transferring info,” Furmanek said.

Out of the 25 Indiana PTK chapters, the Valparaiso/Michigan City chapter won the Outstanding Officer Team Award for their dedication, creativity, and teamwork. Officers involved included Kevin Isek, Christopher Smith, Kortney Wilgus, and Kristen Wright.

The chapter was also recognized with an Honors in Action Theme Award –Theme 1: Networks of Life for their research and follow-through of improving surrounding communities, with the help of the Shirley Heinze Land Trust. Beta Chi Chi volunteered at the Dale B. Endquist Nature Preserve by eliminating invasive species that negatively impact our beautiful environment by endangering our plants native to the Northwest Indiana area.

Smith, who is the chapter’s student president, received the Sue Jackson Award for his exceptional contributions to the Beta Chi Chi chapter. Like the chapter’s former regional coordinator who the award is named after, Smith is passionate about Phi Theta Kappa, friendly, and helpful. 

Smith also was recognized as the designated official Indiana Region Flag Bearer to represent the state for the 102nd International Convention due to his outstanding perseverance and commitment to the society.

Beta Chi Chi also received the Phi Theta Kappa’s Honors Case Study Challenge for its “Improving the Future of Indiana’s Environment” study. The Honors Case Study Challenge provides chapters with the opportunity to supplement their Honors in Action research based on the current Honors Study Theme.  The chapter submitted research on improving our local environment, and Beta Chi Chi was one of only four chapters to win a $500 scholarship internationally out of hundreds of submissions.

The Five Star Chapter Plan offers five levels of engagement in Phi Theta Kappa. Each level consists of prescribed activities to build a strong, active chapter taking advantage of all Phi Theta Kappa has to offer.  The Beta Chi Chi chapter worked diligently to achieve the highest honor –the 5 Star Chapter award.

The Power of Progress Award was given to the Valparaiso/Michigan City chapter for its astounding growth over the last two years. Beta Chi Chi began its journey in October 2018 and has since grown to more than 200 members in less than two years and achieved Five Star Status along the way.

The Horizon Advisor Award was given to Furmanek for her countless hours keeping the Beta Chi Chi chapter on track through financial planning, motivating the chapter’s members, and reporting progress through the PTK portal. 

Looking forward, Beta Chi Chi hopes to continue to do great work and receive more awards.

“With gaining over 200 members in just the last two years, we continue to expand our presence on campus and in the community,” Furmanek said. “We have made many connections and have high expectations in creating a cohort with other campus student leadership groups to achieve bigger projects.”

To learn more about the Beta Chi Chi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at Ivy Tech Community College, visit