Middlesex Community College Honor Society Earns National Awards and Inducts New Members

PTK inducteesMay 2, 2022 (Middletown, Conn.) — The Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) International Honor Society chapter at Middlesex Community College inducted 75 new members during a campus ceremony on Thursday, April 28, 2022.

The college also announced several national, regional and statewide awards earned by the chapter and individual members during the induction ceremony. Most notably, the Middlesex chapter, Beta Gamma Xi, was named one of PTK’s top 100 chapters at their international convention, known as Catalyst 2022, which took place April 7–10 in Colorado.

“As a PTK member and Beta Gamma Xi chapter officer, I treasure being a part of a society that values and encourages scholarship, leadership, service and fellowship,” said Isabella Merlini, PTK chapter president, who earned the national Distinguished Chapter Officer Award and the regional Most Distinguished Officer Award.

“My favorite part about being a PTK member and chapter officer is having close connections with and working alongside like-minded Middlesex students and faculty. It makes Middlesex—an already small college—an even more close-knit community,” Merlini said after she learned about the national honor.

Isabella Merlini with medalMerlini, of Chester, Conn., is a liberal arts and sciences major who will graduate this spring and transfer to the University of Connecticut to study psychological sciences in the fall.

In her speech during the induction ceremony, Merlini compared a childhood experience with a highlighter pen with positive and negative highlights during her life.

“Let PTK serve as one of the many highlighters in your collection. Allow the highlighter ink to be the inspiration to persevere,” she said to the new PTK members who attended the ceremony.

Kimberly Hogan, interim CEO, Donna Bontatibus, interim dean of academic and student affairs, and Chris Dibble, chair of the Middlesex Community College Foundation, also gave remarks.

On April 22, Jacob Goodman, chapter secretary, and PTK member Elliott LeClair were named to the All-Connecticut Academic Team in another ceremony at Central Connecticut State University. The All-Academic Team recognizes the outstanding scholarly achievements and leadership accomplishments of students enrolled in Connecticut’s community, technical and junior colleges.

In March, several members attended the annual PTK New England Regional Convention, which took place at Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield, Conn. The Middlesex chapter received the Most Distinguished Chapter Award and was named a Five Star Chapter for their participation in different levels of engagement. They were also named a REACH chapter for their recruitment efforts and received free graduation stoles.

The PTK Beta Gamma Xi chapter earned second place Honors in Action awards for their Perceptions of Progress themed project. According to Merlini, Goodman came up with the idea for a project about seeing-eye guide dogs.

“After months of preparation, our Honors in Action project culminated into a presentation on guide dogs by Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a nonprofit guide dog organization based in New York. Two volunteers from Guiding Eyes for the Blind came to Middlesex with a guide dog puppy-in-training to provide an informative and personal event for our college and local community,” Merlini said.

In addition to Merlini and Goodman, current PTK chapter officers are Olivia Merlini, vice president; Miles Groom, treasurer; Kaitlin Hall, marketing and public relations; and Amanda Frazier, Student Senate representative.

Goodman represented the chapter the Catalyst convention in Colorado and carried the Connecticut state flag during the opening ceremony.

By maintaining a 3.65 GPA with a minimum of 12 credits, the following students were inducted on April 28:

Muhammad Abdulsalam

Mirelys Aponte

Meghan Banack

Sara Benjamin

Andy Benoit

Rose Bisson

Willow Brown

Jillian Bryan

Cerridwen Budin

Christian Bystrek

Tomiko Case

Helen Cavanagh

Zahia Chaib

Andrea Churchill

Laura Dobrolet

Jacob Dodge

Sydney Dzurka

Brianna Elmer

Amanda Frazier

Ola Frey

Coleen Joi Gaydowen

Claire Greene

Miles Groom

Kaitlin Hall

Lacey Hall

Abigail Harper

Talia Hincks

Thomas Kashuba

Daniel Konopka

Kim Koopmann

Clara Kopacz

Dallas Lacomb

Elliott Leclaire

Dawn Lloyd

Jay Lounds

Corinne Magetteri

Sarah Makowicki

Noah Marks

Destiny Mason

Colin McKernon

Evelyn McNamee

Keyla Mejias

Olivia Merlini

Dawn Miller

Sofia Moreno-Sanchez

William Mulvey

Venishia Nakandala

Julia Noriega

Claire O’Neill

Katherine Paddock

Christina Paternostro

Alyse Pellegren

Brianna Pellerin

Leslie Pellot

Sara Popolizio

Grayson Resor

Clarissa Rivera

Zakary Robichaud

Shannon Royce

Stephen Russo

Saba Saada

Richard Samarawickrama

Michaela Savastra

Griffin Smith

Artur Stamenkovic

Elizabeth Stankiewicz

Ashe Stickney

Zoe Strothers

Alyssa Talarico

Katherine Tocto Quituisaca

Cori Vuoto

Keira Williams

John Yakita

Farhana Yasmin

Redi Zypce

Also during the induction ceremony, Andrea Levy, psychology program coordinator, and Emily Canto, career counselor, received the Stole of Gratitude Award for assisting the PTK chapter during the past year. Retiring profosser Patricia Raymond was also recognized.

Middlesex Phi Theta Kappa co-advisers are Bontatibus, Lin Lin, Landi Hou and Anton Pettiford. For more information about PTK, please visit mxcc.edu/PTK/.

Connecticut’s 12 community colleges are merging into a singly accredited institution called CT State Community College. The merger will combine and strengthen resources and support equitable student success across the state while maintaining campus communities and access. To learn more about the merger, visit ct.edu/merger.

Since 1966, Middlesex Community College has provided high-quality, affordable and accessible education to a diverse population, enhancing the strengths of individuals through degree, certificate and lifelong learning programs that lead to university transfer, employment, and an enriched awareness of our shared responsibilities as global citizens. A part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) system, Middlesex offers more than 70 degree or certificate programs at the 35-acre campus in Middletown, the Meriden Center at Platt High School and online.