Thursday, September 28, 2017

Literacy Grant Spotlight: Imagination Library

Each year, Phi Kappa Phi awards literacy grants to members and chapters across the nation. The grants help fund projects ranging from traditional reading initiatives to those fostering learning in cultural, digital, financial, health, historical literacy and beyond.

Previous grant recipient Dr. Cynthia Elliott, of Southeastern Louisiana University, used funds from the award to support the Imagination Library program in her community. The program, an early literacy initiative, delivers a new, age-appropriate book to children living in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, each month. The books are delivered to families with eligible children regardless of income.

The program—which lasts from birth until the child turns five—encourages parents to read with their children during the formative preschool years to help foster a love of learning and reading at an early age.

Watch the video below to hear first-hand from Dr. Elliott how the Imagination Library program has made an impact in her community with help from a Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grant.

Read more about the Literacy Grant Program and see what initiatives are being championed by this year’s recipients.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Executive Director's Blog – Feeding a New Network

From the Executive Director
Forum, Summer 2017

Celebrations and food just go together. What Phi Kappa Phi chapter marks initiation without at least some finger food, cookies, or cake, if not a dinner or banquet?

So when the United States Presidential Scholars Foundation planned its first honors dinner in June, and invited Phi Kappa Phi to sponsor a table, we said yes. We saw the opportunity to support an organization of the best high school students in the nation as a made-to-order mission fit. We sponsored a table and then some.

The event was held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. And we were thrilled to host a table that included our board chair, a recent ΦΚΦ Fellow studying at Georgetown, and several other members, including one of the evening’s honorees, Pulitzer Prizewinning poet Rita Dove.

The Presidential Scholars program was founded in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson “to recognize and raise the value of intellectual accomplishment by young people.” Each year, two high school seniors — one female, one male — are selected to represent their state at a ceremony at the White House. From its beginning, the program was tasked with assuring the scholars would be representative of the nation’s racial and socioeconomic diversity.

The origin of the Presidential Scholars program bears a striking similarity to the founding of Phi Kappa Phi sixty-seven years earlier. The founders of each — concerned that wealth, social standing, and athletic stardom were of greater interest to the American people than intellectual achievement — sought to create a program that recognized academic achievement. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter enlarged the Scholars program to include twenty scholars in the visual and performing arts.

In 2015, President Barack Obama expanded it again to include twenty outstanding scholars in career and technical education. This year’s dinner was followed by a remarkable performance by the 2017 Scholars in the Arts.

The Presidential Scholars program of the federal Department of Education annually selects 161 of the nation’s most outstanding high school graduates through an application-by-invitation process. An active alumni association supports the work of the Presidential Scholars Foundation. The chair of the alumni association, John Knox, associate professor at the University of Georgia, is an officer of the Phi Kappa Phi chapter there.

This sponsorship opportunity realized a strategic aspiration outlined by Society President Gypsy Denzine in her candidate speech to the 2014 convention. In her own words: “I encouraged members of the Society to consider ways we could partner with the K-12 educational system to recognize young scholars and increase the visibility of the Society. We want all college-bound high school students to know about the Society and set the goal of becoming a Phi Kappa Phi member prior to graduation from college. Therefore, I was thrilled by the opportunity for the Society to be a major sponsor of the Presidential Scholars program. What began as a sponsorship opportunity has the potential to become more of a partnership in the future. A partnership with the Presidential Scholars program serves the Society well and is at the core of the Society’s mission to recognize academic excellence.”

What started out as an invitation to a dinner party has led to much more. The networking so clearly evident when people gather over a meal can produce far more than good conversation.

We’re excited to see how our food network grows.

-Mary Todd, Executive Director

Monday, September 25, 2017

Apply for a Love of Learning Award by October 1

Need funding to attend a conference, support dissertation research or pay for textbooks? Apply for a Phi Kappa Phi Love of Learning Award by Sunday, October 1.

Available to active members, Love of Learning Awards help fund post-baccalaureate professional development including graduate and professional studies, doctoral dissertations, continuing education, career development, travel related to teaching and research, and more. One hundred awards of $500 each will be distributed during Session B.

To be eligible, applicants must have completed their baccalaureate studies by the October 1 deadline. For full eligibility requirements and application instructions, download the fact sheet or check out the frequently asked questions.

If you have additional questions, contact Kelli Partin at

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Read it Forward: Tips for Promoting Literacy

Celebrate National Literacy Month by promoting literacy both on campus and in your community with these ideas and tips.

Host an event.

One of the best ways to promote literacy is to host an event in your local community. There are a number of events that you or your chapter can host such as an informational booth, public forum on illiteracy, tutoring program, book drive, monthly read-alouds and more. Whatever you choose, consider making it an annual event during National Literacy Month.

Spread the word.

Use fliers, posters, bookmarks, brochures and other printed materials to celebrate literacy. You can also create informational packets combining printed materials to be distributed at events. Consider running a PSA or campus newspaper ad for an upcoming chapter event. Social media is another great way to spread the word while encouraging others to do the same.

Give a gift.

Clean off your bookshelf and donate books to a local library, school or organization in your community. You could also host an event to raise funds to make a monetary donation to a local organization that supports and promotes literacy in your community.

Apply for a Literacy Grant.

Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grants are available to help you champion new or ongoing literacy initiatives. The grants of up to $2,500 are available each year for chapters and individual members. Learn more about the program here, and watch these podcasts created by past winner Dr. Paulette Harris (Part 1 and Part 2) for tips on a successful application.

Celebrate year-round.

Even though National Literacy Month is one month of the year, make it a priority to do something—big or small—to encourage literacy on campus and in your community throughout the entire year. For example, consider participating in Phi Kappa Phi’s Annual Book Drive Competition. The competition, open to all chapters, kicks off in February of each year.

Have a tip to share? Tweet us @PhiKappaPhi using #PKPLovesLiteracy.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Podcasts Available to Members

Phi Kappa Phi members have access to podcasts on a range of topics including career guidance, test prep and financial planning. Downloadable and playable on your computer or portable music player any time of day or night, podcasts offer flexibility and freedom to listen anywhere.

The Princeton Review Series
Throughout this podcast series, Anthony Russomanno offers presentations on graduate school applications and testing strategies. Russomanno is a frequent national presenter at high schools, colleges and conferences as an expert in the field of admissions and test preparation and has helped thousands of students. Click here to watch the series.

Seeking Success Series
Are you a recent graduate starting a job search? Are you considering a career change? Is your career in a slump? Struggling or striving, this is the podcast for you. The Seeking Success podcast series delivers current resume, LinkedIn profile and job interviewing advice in a quick format. You’ll hear advice from the team at, including award-winning, nationally-recognized career expert Tamara Dowling. Click here to watch the series.

Career Guidance Series
Professional counselor Kimberly Thompson presents a series of three podcasts focused on careers. Thompson has provided career transition workshops and career counseling for more than 20 years and written widely on issues dealing with job loss for The Houston Chronicle. In this 3-part series, Thompson explores interviewing, networking and dealing with stress. Click here to watch the series.

Financial Planning Series
Investment advisor and Phi Kappa Phi member RoShawn Winburn has recorded a series of financial planning podcasts that address a variety of topics including the current state of the economy, budgeting, investing, income taxes, and retirement planning. Click here to watch the series.

Questions? Contact Jamie Chapman at or 800.804.9880, ext. 217.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Application Period Open for $100,000 Excellence in Innovation Award

Phi Kappa Phi is now accepting applications for its $100,000 Excellence in Innovation Award. The deadline for interested institutions to apply for the award is December 12, 2017.

Awarded each biennium, the Excellence in Innovation Award recognizes one college or university for achievement in finding powerful substantive solutions to improve the lives of others and create systematic large-scale change. The recipient institution will receive $100,000 in tangible recognition of its best practice in response to the changes and challenges facing higher education in the 21st century.

“The Phi Kappa Phi Excellence in Innovation Award is a fitting extension of our mission to recognize and promote academic excellence in higher education by lifting up the transformative work being done on college and university campuses across the country,” said Dr. Mary Todd, the Society’s executive director.

Since 1932, Phi Kappa Phi has awarded fellowships and grants to members and students on its chapter campuses. Currently, more than $700,000 is awarded annually through programs that last year recognized over 285 individuals. The Excellence in Innovation Award, first awarded in 2016 to Tulane University, is the Society’s only award for institutions.

The application period for colleges and universities to apply for the Excellence in Innovation Award is open until December 12, 2017. For more information including award criteria, eligibility and timeline details, visit

If you have questions about the award, please contact Kelli Partin at

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Beyond Books: Supporting Literacy and Learning

The very definition of literacy, in addition to the ability to read and write, is competence or knowledge in a specified area. Established in 2003, Phi Kappa Phi’s Literacy Grant Program was created as a way to help members and chapters champion initiatives that recognize the many facets of literacy. The grants, of up to $2,500, help fund projects ranging from traditional reading initiatives to those fostering learning in cultural, digital, financial, health, historical literacy and beyond.

Read how some of the 2017 Literacy Grant recipients are making a difference across the globe:

Paws and Tales 
Emily Taylor Beighley
The Paws and Tales program brings shelter cats and kittens waiting for adoptive homes together with children ages 6-15 to promote literacy and compassion. Helpful for fluent as well as struggling readers, Paws and Tales assists students in becoming strong lifelong readers. Studies at the University of California, Davis and University of California, Berkeley show that children's reading skills improve by 20-30 percent when reading to a pet. Because the human-animal bond lends itself to the emotional safety required for healing and learning, the program also promotes improved confidence and self-esteem. The comforting and nonjudgmental presence of an animal companion helps young learners associate reading with positive and rewarding experiences.

Tiny Book House
Dalia Karina Delanuez
The Tiny Book House project promotes reading, research and neighborhood involvement to more than 9,200 families from different racial backgrounds in the Staunton Bridge Road community of Greenville, S.C. The Clemson University chapter of Phi Kappa Phi has partnered with Habitat for Humanity to implement the project, which engages communities that motivate and foster the love of reading. In its first phase, the project is promoting, building and stocking Tiny Book Libraries (pictured) with new books. The second phase aims to promote literacy and reading activities through a website and community gatherings while also integrating families with children in K-12 using a community recreational center, library system and churches throughout community.

Bringing "To the Mountain!" to Their Ears
Leah McCurdy
The Bringing “To the Mountain!” to Their Ears project is an extension of the trilingual and archaeologically accurate children's book titled To the Mountain! The book was written as a way to connect Belizean children to their cultural heritage. In 2016, the book was distributed for free to nearly 1,000 school children. The current phase of the initiative focuses on creating a trilingual audiobook companion with students lending their own voices to bring the story and language to life. The audiobook will be a unique educational resource for rekindling interest in ancestral Maya language, personal multilingual literacy development for all ages, and classroom-based heritage studies within the Belizean educational system.

Read more about the Literacy Grants Program and see what other initiatives are being championed by this year’s recipients.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Internship Program Deadlines

Are you interested in participating in a DC-based spring internship? If so, don’t miss the 5% early admissions discount offered by DCInternships. Students who apply and are accepted into the spring 2018 program by October 5, 2017, are eligible for a 5% early admissions discount. The early admissions discount can be combined with the $2,500 scholarship available to Phi Kappa Phi members from DCInternships. Members must denote their Society membership within their online application materials. Click here to learn more and apply today.

Phi Kappa Phi members also are eligible to receive a $500 scholarship from the Washington Internship Institute toward their program. The application deadline for the spring 2018 program is November 8, 2017, and the early decision deadline for the summer 2018 program is January 19, 2018. Click here to learn more about the program, deadline information and how to apply.

Questions? Contact Jamie Chapman at or 800.804.9880, ext. 217.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Today is International Literacy Day

Today marks the 51st annual International Literacy Day. The event, held September 8 each year, was established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a way to promote awareness about and find solutions for illiteracy.

Since its creation in 1966, the day has been celebrated internationally each year. Many organizations, including Phi Kappa Phi, extend the celebration beyond this day to devote the entire month to literacy awareness.

This year’s theme, “Literacy in a Digital World,” takes a closer look at the effects of digital technology on literacy. International Literacy Day aims to highlight the new challenges that arise when learning in a digital world while providing solutions to overcome these barriers.

In honor of this international celebration, we challenge you to join us and other organizations and communities across the globe to raise awareness for literacy. Tell us how you plan to celebrate International Literacy Day with photos and posts on Facebook and Twitter using #PKPLovesLiteracy.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Apply for a Study Abroad Grant by September 15

The deadline to apply for a Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grant is Friday, September 15. The grants are designed to support undergraduates as they seek knowledge and experience in their academic fields by studying abroad. Twenty-five $1,000 grants will be awarded during Session B.

Interested students do not have to be a member of Phi Kappa Phi to apply but must currently attend an institution with an active chapter. For full eligibility requirements and application instructions, download the fact sheet or check out the frequently asked questions.

Applications also are being accepted for Session B Love of Learning Awards until October 1. These awards help fund post-baccalaureate studies for active Phi Kappa Phi members. To learn more about the Love of Learning program, click here.

If you have questions about either program, please contact Kelli Partin at

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Member Benefits Highlights – September 2017

Leaves aren’t the only thing falling. Check out the deep discounts Phi Kappa Phi partners are offering throughout September!


Phi Kappa Phi members are eligible to receive a 15% monthly discount on wireless phone service from AT&T. The discount is available on qualifying voice and data plans. Click here to register and learn more. Please allow up to two billing cycles for the discount to take effect. (Note: Most retail stores may not honor the discount. It is recommended that you apply the discount to your AT&T account online.)

Brooks Brothers
Sign up for your complimentary Brooks Brothers Corporate Membership Card and save 15% on regularly priced merchandise at all Brooks Brothers U.S. and Canadian stores, by phone and online. To sign up for the card, visit or call 1.866.515.4747 with organization ID 11755 and pin code 61431.

To use the discount online, members must create a separate Corporate Member profile, even if you already have an existing Brooks Brothers profile. Please allow 20 minutes after you receive your email confirmation before creating your online Corporate Member profile. Register for your separate Corporate Member profile here.

Take advantage of exclusive discounts from Dell on computers, accessories and much more! To start shopping, visit Please note your discount is automatically calculated and will appear in red at checkout.

Access a special discount of up to 8% on auto insurance from GEICO and support Phi Kappa Phi awards at the same time! GEICO makes a contribution to the Society’s awards programs each time you request a quote. To get started, visit or call 1.800.368.2734 and reference The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Existing GEICO customers also may be eligible for the discount. Note, the discount is not available in Michigan, Mississippi and Tennessee.

In an always-connected world, it’s important to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft. LifeLock, the leader in identity theft protection, makes it easy to stay protected with peace of mind. As a member, you are eligible to receive a 30-day free trial and 10% discount on LifeLock membership plans. Click here to enroll and use promo code HSPKP.

Lumosity offers members an exclusive 25% discount on individual yearly and lifetime subscriptions. Lumosity is available on iPad, iPhone and Android, and in several languages on the web including French, German, Japanese and Spanish. To take advantage of the exclusive discount, visit and set up your free account. Once you’ve created your account, click here to activate the 25% discount.

Is organization on your mind? If so, let Shoeboxed help! Shoeboxed provides a fast and easy way to turn your important paper documents such as receipts, bills, business cards, and more into organized digital data. With Shoeboxed, your documents will be carefully sorted and scanned into a secure online account and accessible anytime, anywhere. As a Phi Kappa Phi member you can take advantage of 30 days free and then 50% off your next six-month subscription. Click here to sign up and begin eliminating your paper clutter today!

Questions about member benefits? Contact Jamie Chapman at or 800.804.9880, ext. 217.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Phi Kappa Phi Celebrates National Literacy Month

September is National Literacy Month! This annual event brings together communities, organizations, educators and students to raise awareness for literacy and its importance as a foundation for lifelong learning.

Join us for this month-long celebration by:

We look forward to celebrating literacy and our love of learning all month long, and we hope you’ll join us!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Volunteer Spotlight – September 2017

Catherine Jaffe
Texas State University

Chapter Position:

University Position: Professor of Spanish

Years of Service to the Chapter:

Degree(s)/Discipline: Ph.D., Comparative Literature; M.A., Comparative Literature; B.A., Honors English

How did you become involved as a chapter officer? I helped to install our chapter at Texas State University in 2013 and was elected Vice President that year.

What has your chapter done that has made you proud? We have held initiations every year, and our student vice presidents have organized service activities on campus and assisted at the induction ceremonies. We have nominated students for scholarships and members of our chapter have won Love of Learning Awards, Literacy Grants, and Study Abroad Grants. Our student vice president attended the Leadership Summit in Denver this summer.

What does Phi Kappa Phi mean to you?
Our chapter of Phi Kappa Phi provides recognition for outstanding academic achievement across disciplines at the university and offers opportunities for fellowships and grants to our students.

What do you enjoy most about being a chapter officer? I especially enjoy meeting students and their families to celebrate their hard work and academic achievement.

What advice would you give to a new chapter officer? Invite other faculty and staff members to become active in the local chapter.

Where are you from? Maryland

Click here to see Catherine's bio.