Story by Matthew Parks, Contributing writer
Melony Shemberger, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications, was recently elected to the national board of directors for Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.
Shemberger is the first Murray State Phi Kappa Phi member to serve in a national position and will serve until the next biennial convention. She said the election process was intense, as might be expected for such a large organization.
“It was nerve-wracking,” said Shemberger. “We each had to give a three-minute speech… and everybody’s speech was awesome.”
The election took place at Phi Kappa Phi’s biennial convention held in Atlanta during the summer. Shemberger was one of eight candidates who vied for five open seats on the board of directors. One hundred and sixty-eight delegates from chapters across the country participated in the voting.
Shemberger said she plans to put extra focus on member retention and participation and hopes to further the goals set by the national board of directors, such as:
- Increased name recognition, presence and voice in the national conversation on higher education.
- Improved member recruitment and retention.
- Ensure that all chapters are healthy chapters.
Shemberger will also have a hand in setting national policies and creating a cohesive set of goals for Phi Kappa Phi across the country.
According to Shemberger’s candidacy essay, she plans to target key audiences at college campuses around the country, showing them that Phi Kappa Phi offers meaningful and lasting opportunities both during and after college. She said she hopes to end growing student apathy toward honors societies.
“Some students don’t care about honors societies anymore,” Shemberger said. “And that is a big mistake.”
Shemberger emphasizes that Phi Kappa Phi, or any credible honors society, is not just a line to add on a resume. She said she urges anyone who is eligible to join honors societies.
Phi Kappa Phi has more than 300 chapters established on college campuses, according to the society’s mission website. Murray State is the 302nd chapter, and has inducted over 600 new members since the chapter’s founding in 2007.
Shemberger serves as the vice president of the Murray State chapter where she handles the day-to-day operations and duties of the chapter.
The society’s motto is, “let the love of learning rule humanity,” and Shemberger said she believes that value is one that can increase a person’s knowledge, success and overall well-being in life.
The society also attempts to show their values through service in the community. The Murray State chapter typically completes at least two major service projects per year, completing projects such as a spring book drive and taking up canned good donations for the needy in the community.
“With Phi Kappa Phi, it really is all about the love of learning; that’s really what we try to emphasize in everything that we do,” Shemberger said.