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MCC's Phi Theta Kappa Recognized at International Convention

[Friday, May 3, 2019]


MCC’s Chi Upsilon Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa was recently recognized as one of top 10 chapters in the world. Pictured accepting their award are: Anne Humphrey, co-advisor; Nicholas J. Rodriguez of Woodstock, Heidi Boring, co-advisor; Lauren Stygar of Wonder Lake, Riley MacKenzie of Crystal Lake, Savanna Held, Catherine Szewczyk, both of McHenry, and Elda Pere, international president of Phi Theta Kappa.

The Chi Upsilon chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at McHenry County College was recently recognized as one of the top 10 chapters in the world at the Phi Theta Kappa 101st Annual International Convention in Orlando.

MCC’s chapter received four of the most prominent awards, including Distinguished Chapter (top 40) and Ninth Finalist for Most Distinguished Chapter (10th place). This places Chi Upsilon in the top 0.7 percent of approximately 1,300 chapters worldwide for 2019.

Additionally, Brandon Cipolla of Crystal Lake was named a Distinguished Chapter Member at the international level. He served as chairperson for the Honors in Action and College Projects. Chi Upsilon is also a five-star chapter and a REACH chapter for 2019.  This means that more than 15 percent of eligible students accept membership into Phi Theta Kappa. At MCC, the acceptance rate is approximately 25 percent.

"We are elated for our chapter to have achieved such a high honor at the international level of Phi Theta Kappa,” said Heidi Boring, co-advisor. “The team of students working on these projects deserve this recognition for their hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm for the society."

Two main projects which helped MCC students win the awards included Honors in Action and the College Project. For the Honors in Action project, students spent the summer engaging in academic research on the topic of flood mitigation in McHenry County. Through this research, they learned that one of the best ways to prevent flooding is to restore local wetlands. The students then created a service project restoring wetlands at Boger Bog and Exner Marsh. 

In the College Project, chapter members were asked to work with college administration to determine a project to align with the goals and mission of the college. MCC President Clint Gabbard and Career Services Coordinator Daniel Ortego asked the students to help promote the Career Services office at MCC. The students helped create 13 promotional videos to inform students of the benefits of visiting career services.  

"Our students are deserving of these awards because they committed to and followed through on these authentic service learning projects that met the needs of the college and community,” said Anne Humphrey, co-advisor.

The MCC chapter advisors also had the honor of giving breakout session presentations at the international convention. Humphrey and Boring twice presented a breakout session on “Engaging Your Chapter by Using the LMS” for 80 advisors and members, and Heidi Boring and Julie Rancilio from Kapi‘olani  Community College, in Honolulu, presented a session for 55 attendees on “Articulating Your Vision.” 

Current chapter president Savanna Held of McHenry is running for Northern Vice-President of the Illinois Region and spoke at the Illinois region meeting.

Phi Theta Kappa is the official honor society for two-year colleges, with over 1,200 chapters from around the world.

For more information about Phi Theta Kappa, contact Heidi Boring at (815) 455-8539 or email her at



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