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Gilman Scholarship

U.S. Fulbright

Talking International: Adventures at Nerd Nation with Phi Theta Kappa and Fulbright

July 6, 2015
Deeneaus Polk-2

Deeneaus Polk, 2011-2012, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Germany, giving a presentation at Phi Theta Kappa’s 2015 Nerd Nation event in April

Recently, I had a chance to attend Phi Theta Kappa’s annual International Convention in San Antonio, Texas. Phi Theta Kappa is the honor society of the two-year college, and has prided itself in having a strong international membership and presence around the globe. The convention for me was a coming home party. I had served as an international officer, presiding over an International Convention in Philadelphia, and former international officers often return to conventions to take in the sights and relive past glories.

This convention was going to be a different experience, however, because I also returned as a Fulbright Alumni Ambassador. One of the things that motivate me to go to work every day is the idea that I can expose folks to the opportunities and experiences that I have been extraordinarily lucky to be a part of. My return to the convention had a second motive, to connect the Gilman Scholarship and Fulbright with the unique experience that is Phi Theta Kappa. The convention typically brings about 5,000 Phi Theta Kappans together from chapters across the United States and international chapters in places such as the British Virgin Islands, and the United Arab Emirates, amongst others. Experiencing this gathering of varied cultures really a sight to behold, especially when one considers that many Phi Theta Kappans are non-traditional students who often do not get the opportunity to meet many individuals from other places. Combine these new involvements with an ethos of academic curiosity and a deep sense of servitude, and those three days are truly magical.

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