Beta Zeta Nu’s 2021 Outstanding Phi Theta Kappa Hallmark Achievements

Wed, 19 May, 2021 at 4:09 pm


Beta Zeta Nu (BZN) is Cañada College's chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the international honor society for two-year colleges. BZN has been honored as one of the premier chapters in the country. BZN was also recently recognized at the honor society's international convention as one of the organization's most esteemed chapters. 


To gain membership in BZN students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.45 or higher and complete a minimum of 12 units at Cañada in courses that are degree applicable. BZN advisor Autumn McMahon says, “The BZN meetings contribute to the Cañada student experience because students are able to include their BZN accomplishments on applications for transfer and scholarships, making them more competitive. Having weekly chapter meetings amidst the pandemic provides students a sense of normalcy and opportunity to connect with fellow classmates. Officers and members alike are emboldened to pursue their academic passions through research and project implementation. BZN prepares students not only to transfer, but to have successful careers wherever they continue to question ‘how the world works?’”


Cañada’s BZN chapter of the PTK society once again brought home awards from the 2021 PTK International Catalyst event. The chapter’s engagement over the year earned them four-star chapter status. The chapter’s status can be attributed to their participation in a successful college project, numerous community service activities, and individual hallmarks. While there are several awards for individual achievement, the award that the chapter is most proud of receiving is the Distinguished Officer Team Award. The Distinguished Officer Team Award is given to the chapter officer teams who overcome great difficulties to guarantee participation in the activities of the PTK Hallmarks: Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Fellowship.


The Cañada BZN Hallmark Awards include the Distinguished Chapter Officer Team PTK International, #3 in the NV/CA Region. This award is presented in recognition of an exceptional atmosphere of teamwork, leadership abilities, promotion of honors in action, engagement in the society, and enthusiasm for the society’s hallmarks. A cause of their award was the BZN’s officer team who facilitated various discussions about activities and assisted with prioritization when necessary. The chapter’s weekly meetings also provided useful time for check-ins on all activities. BZN President Katherine Milla contributed her personal, individual, and group conversations as check-in time to ensure her chapter was always on task and progressing toward future potential projects. These continuous conversations created an atmosphere of trust and collaboration that spread to all PTK officers and members. Milla modeled leadership through her enthusiastic support of the officers and members. Milla says, “I personally feel delighted and honored that our projects and teamwork was recognized regionally and internationally. At BZN we constantly promote fellowship, leadership, scholarship, and service. Thus, this naturally builds a sense of community among us and gives us the opportunity to work on activities that could benefit the students at Cañada College.”


The Cañada BZN Hallmark Awards also include the Paragon Award for New Advisors PTK International, #1 in the NV/CA Region. For this award, advisors are recognized for significant contributions to the growth of individual members, service as the chapter’s advocate on campus, and encouragement of the chapter to be involved on the local, regional, and/or international level of the organization. McMahon thrived in her role as only a BZN alumna could do. In her position, McMahon led with insight, enthusiasm, and insider knowledge. McMahon’s chapter leadership through the pandemic was instrumental to the BZN’s overall success. McMahon shares, “Despite a global pandemic and an entirely new officer team coming together, our students remained enthusiastically dedicated to promoting the Phi Theta Kappa Hallmarks of Service, Scholarship, Leadership, and Fellowship – I could not be prouder!”


The Cañada BZN Hallmark Awards also include the Chapter Team Honors Case Study Challenge – International Honorable Mention: Reopening Schools During COVID-19. The Honors Case Study Challenge provides chapters with the opportunity to supplement their honors in action research based on the current Honors Study Topic (To the Seventh Generation: Inheritance and Legacy) with the use of newspapers of varying viewpoints. The Honors Case Study Challenge also provides members an enhanced learning experience through the use of newspapers, print, online, and encourages them to stay informed on current events. The BZN officer team based their research on one of the prominent topics in the news during the Fall of 2020: The Debate About Reopening Public Schools Across the U.S.


The Cañada BZN Hallmark Awards also include Individual Research Award #1 in the NV/CA Region: Going Off-Role. BZN Vice President of Scholarship Alexander Lanza participated in the BZN chapter at the highest level while doing work from his home city of Toledo, Spain. Lanza’s distinguished research paper details the idea of gender norms in society. Lanza writes, “In a world with defined male and female roles, Johannes is proof of the in-between, notably because he rejects the manhood that has been pre-decided by tribalism and apartheid. Gender theory ultimately allows for the analysis of literary works in a less limiting way by revealing the nuances of how gender influences people.”


The Cañada BZN Hallmark Awards also include the Distinguished College Project: Zoom Sessions on Transfer Success. The purpose of the College Project is to establish a supportive relationship between the chapter and the college administration. In collaboration with Cañada College President Jamillah Moore, the chapter officers developed a series of Zoom workshops designed to help students navigate the transfer process from the student’s perspective. These workshops included: How to Apply for the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship, Transferring to Berkeley from the perspective of two recent Cañada alumni, and Transfer Application Writing Workshops.


The Cañada BZN Hallmark Awards also include the 2021 Reach Award: Recognizing Excellence in Acceptance and Completion with Honors. The REACH Rewards program encourages membership by rewarding chapters who achieve or exceed 15% for their membership acceptance rate. A full 91% of Phi Theta Kappa members will complete an associate degree or transfer to a four-year college, compared to just 38% of students nationally. Members have access to $48 million in scholarships — $1 million in competitive scholarships through the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation and more than $46 million in transfer scholarships to over 850 four-year colleges.


The BZN chapter’s awarded achievements at the recent 2021 PTK International Catalyst event not only recognized the immense work that is being accomplished but also showcased the chapter’s selflessness, resilience, and dedication in providing a stimulating environment for Cañada students. Despite such a difficult year, the BZN team has managed to prosper and further develop the notability of the Cañada chapter. Milla says, “Cañada College has always been very welcoming, supportive, and open to our PTK ideas; therefore, this has given us the space to develop our goals and future projects.” Remarkable BZN advisors include Katherine Ramirez, Patty Hall, Paul Roscelli, and Autumn McMahon. Outstanding BZN officers include President Katherine Milla, Vice President of Service Jirou “Bella” Zhang, Vice President of Scholarship Alexander Lanza, Vice President of Public Relations Katie Chen, and Vice President of Finance/Treasurer Sophia Giorgi. For more information about Cañada College’s Beta Zeta Nu chapter go to



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