MHCC Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Chapter Wins Regional Awards
Mt. Hood Community College's honor society chapter, Rho Theta, recently won several Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) regional awards, including Distinguished Chapter, Distinguished Honors in Action Project, and Distinguished Chapter Member for student Negene Engel.
PTK students submitted detailed written entries describing the chapter's 2016 College Project and 2016 Honors in Action Project. At PTK headquarters, the entries were evaluated against a rubric, scored and the scores sent to regional coordinators
across the country. Rho Theta accumulated the third-highest combined score in the Rocky Mountain Cascade Region and was awarded one of three regional Distinguished Chapter awards. The Rocky Mountain Cascade Region includes 25 PTK chapters throughout
Oregon, Utah and parts of Idaho.
PTK chapters identify College Projects in collaboration with their college presidents. For its College Project, Rho Theta contributed photos of student life at MHCC (circa 2016) to the time capsule that was buried last fall, marking the start of the
college's second 50 years.
Honors in Action Projects are interdisciplinary, research-based, and often service- or action-oriented. Rho Theta researched sugar—natural sugars, added sugars, artificial sweeteners—and in the process learned about new nutrition labels that will
show added sugars on food products in the United States. The new product labeling was approved by the U.S. Congress in 2016 and should go into effect summer of 2018. However, the federal government could still repeal or block that effort, so the
Rho Theta members established an online petition, collecting more than 14,000 signatures, to keep the new labeling requirements. They plan to send the petition to some of Oregon's state and federal legislators.
“When we started the process of selecting a theme and an idea that we were going to research way back in the summer, the first theme the students dismissed was politics,” said Rho Theta advisor and MHCC English instructor Beth Sammons. “It was kind
of funny and ironic that they ended up being so politically engaged.”
Rho Theta member Negene Engel was also recognized as a Phi Theta Kappa Distinguished Chapter Member – one of 30 members from chapters worldwide honored at PTK's annual convention on April 8. Rho Theta officers and members will present Engel with the
Distinguished Chapter Member award during an induction ceremony on June 1 at 7 p.m. in the MHCC College Theatre.
Engel, a junior in the dental hygiene program at MHCC, often takes photos for Rho Theta. She calls photography her hobby; her passion is to work in public health. Engel came to the United States from the Philippines when she was 21. A friend inspired
her to take classes at MHCC. Her goal, after graduating with her degree next year, is to work and develop her skills. She eventually plans to return to the Philippines to provide free or low-cost dental care to underserved and rural populations.
“I want to return home and help my people,” said Engel. “That’s my main goal.”
Learn more about Rho Theta at mhcc.edu/RhoTheta/