MHCC Student Wins Prestigious Guistwhite Scholarship
from Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society
|Posted: March 15, 2011
When Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) student Onjalai Flake was first invited to join Rho Theta, the MHCC chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the largest honor society in America, she had a sense that it might be a smart move for her education.
She had no idea how right she would be. Earlier this month, Flake was chosen from more than 1,340 applicants to receive one of just 20 Guistwhite Scholarships from Phi Theta Kappa, the official honor society of the American Association of Community Colleges. Flake was awarded $5,000 for baccalaureate studies following her degree from MHCC. The Guistwhite Scholar Program is named in honor of Dr. Jack Guistwhite and his wife Margaret. Dr. Guistwhite established the first designated transfer scholarship for Phi Theta Kappa members at Florida Atlantic University in 1975.
“Rho Theta is much more than people realize,” says Flake. “This is an investment in your future. Membership has opened so many doors for me, it’s been an amazing opportunity for growth, leadership and service.”
Beth Sammons, MHCC instructor and Rho Theta’s faculty scholar, agrees: “Honor society members like Onjalai aren’t just high-achievers in their courses, they are developing as the leaders who will help us address the national and global challenges we face and the opportunities that go with them.”
Flake, whose plans after graduation involve the University of Hawaii and eventually the hospitality industry, serves as a student ambassador for the honor society and also worked on Phi Theta Kappa’s national initiative to increase college completion rates.
“Over the past three years, Onjalai has been an inspiration to me and all of those she has interacted with throughout our community,” adds John J. “Ski” Sygielski, MHCC president. “Since her arrival at MHCC, she has continued to excel and flourish in both academic and co-curricular activities. She has engaged more students than anyone I know in taking advantage of all the programs and services made available to MHCC students. Her dedication to not only her own studies but to that of her peers has made her someone this college community highly appreciates, respects and values.”
Membership in Rho Theta is by invitation only, for students with grade point averages (GPAs) of 3.5 or higher. At MHCC, 280 students joined Rho Theta in 2010.