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Phi Kappa Phi
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Meet Some of Our Outstanding Student Members!

Charmaine Burrus: 2013 PKP Study Abroad Recipient

As an Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Assistant for Dr. Denise DeGarmo in SIUEís Department of Political Science, I was given the opportunity to spend my winter break 2014 traveling to the West Bank to study and conduct research. I landed in Tel Aviv and traveled to Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Hebron. I was fortunate enough to have received a Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grant of $1,000. I used the money to buy most of my plane ticket; otherwise I may not have been able to afford the trip.

I learned so much in those two weeks! I was exposed to the day-to-day realities of the Israeli Occupation and was also introduced to the liveliness of Palestinian culture. It was invaluable to my research and personal development, and I am very grateful to Phi Kappa Phi for helping to provide me with this opportunity. It is reassuring to know that this organization is directly supporting the most direct and immersive form of learning possible: travel. While the grant application process seemed quite daunting, I am glad I completed it and I encourage others to do the same. You never know what adventures you could get out of it.

This first inernational experience has encouraged me to continue spending time abroad in the future. I graduated in May 2014 and have accepted a position teaching English for a year in the Marshall Islands while simultaneously earning my TEFL certification. I am beyond excited to begin this chapter of my life, expand my horizons, and gain new experiences!

Jorgia Hanlin - 2013 PKP Study Abroad Grant recipient

In June I received a $1000 Study Abroad Grant from Phi Kappa Phi to help finance my summer 2013 study abroad opportunity in Stellenbosch, South Africa.Phi Kappa Phi awards 50 grants every year, and I was extremely grateful to have been selected to receive this competitive scholarship from this year's 680 eligibleapplicants.

While in South Africa I had an incredible time learning about the many different cultures. In my four weeks in the classroom I learned more than I could have imagined about South Africa's complex and tumultuous political history, the current and future issues pertaining to economic growth, unemployment, and inequality, and also the challenges the young democracy is facing. Learning from and with South Africans at Stellenbosch University provided invaluable insight to the challenges they face daily, and I know I could not have learned the same depth of information in a classroom here in the United States.

I also learned as much, if not more, outside of the classroom while being immersed in the rich cultures. South Africa does not have one homogeneous
culture, but rather is a melting pot of numerous (sometimes conflicting butoften complementary) cultures. We took trips to various historic and scenic
destinations-- including Robben Island, the Cape Town Waterfront and Bazaar,Langa and Gugulethu Townships, Cape of Good Hope, various local wineries, TableMountain, and the Bo-Kaap District--where I learned so much about the differenthistories and significances of each place and its people. And then after classes ended, we took a week to travel along the Garden Route where we enjoyed even different cultures and experiences. We encountered nature through safaris and animal sanctuary visits, satisfied our adrenaline cravings with surfing and bungee jumping, and took in as much beautiful scenery and delicious cuisine as we could fit into our travels.

By the end of my five weeks in South Africa I experienced and learned more than I ever thought possible from a study abroad trip, and I am very thankful for the support from all who helped make it possible.

Adrian LePique, 2011 National PKP Love of Learning Award recipient

In 2011, the SIUE Wind Symphony was invited to travel to Taiwan for the WASBE (World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles) International Conference in Chiayi City, Taiwan. This was an incredible opportunity for the ensemble, as we were the only North American band invited to play at the conference. Also, from an individual standpoint, we were immersed in a completely different culture. Besides Chiayi City, we also spent time in Taipei (the capital of Taiwan). It was amazing to see the unique culture, the astounding friendliness of the Taiwanese people, and get to do it while playing music for the enjoyment of everyone.

The trip cost was $750, and as a Phi Kappa Phi member, I was aware of the Love of Learning Award. I wrote a proposal to Phi Kappa Phi detailing the trip and how the award would be beneficial in helping me to pay for the costs as a college student paying my own way. I was one of the 80+ winners chosen nationally that year. Had it not been for Phi Kappa Phi, I'm not sure if I would've had the financial capability to go on this trip. It makes me proud to be part of an organization that supports its members and helps them do unique educational opportunities such as the Taiwan trip!

Christopher Stroot, recipient of a national Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship in 2009

"I found the Phi Kappa Phi chapter at SIUE to be quite beneficial - an important element in my intellectual trajectory as a Ph.D student in modern European history at the University of California-San Diego. It is not merely an honors organization, a notch on your CV or rÈsumÈ; rather, it is an opportunity to initiate an intellectual dialog with professors and classmates. These relationships motivated me to pursue further graduate studies at the University of Chicago, a goal facilitated by scholarships from the local SIUE chapter and the national PKP organization. I didn't think about an academic career when I started at SIUE; however, I progressively found an broad, diverse intellectual environment in organizations like PKP, crucial to my future as a historian."

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