As advisor to the Yavapai College Phi Theta Kappa honor society, Professor Denise Woolsey is usually on the giving end of life-changing experiences and scholarships.

However, late last year, Woolsey found herself on the receiving end of an amazing opportunity. She learned that she is one of 22 PTK advisors nationwide and one of only two in Arizona be named a PTK Faculty Scholar.  Her appointment will begin at the national organization’s 2020 Honors Institute to be held in Chicago this June.

“I’m very excited. I look at this for my own education and academic enrichment,” Woolsey said of the PTK Faculty Scholar nod, the culmination of a rigorous application process. “This position will help the YC PTK chapter and me personally with professional growth.”

A two-year appointment, the PTK Faculty Scholar program involves multiple trainings and then planning and leading discussion groups during PTK’s weeklong honors conference. The discussions address specific study topics that students bring back to their home chapters for research and development of action projects on campus and/or in their communities. This year’s PTK Honors Study Topic is: To the Seventh Generation: Inheritance and Legacy.

“The training that Faculty Scholars receive is a professional development experience like no other,” said Susan Edwards, PTK’s Associate Vice President of Honors Programming and Undergraduate Research. “Faculty Scholars come away with new skills and a completely new way to engage with and learn from a diverse group of individuals.”

Along with Professor Woolsey, Dr. Inhye Peterson of Arizona’s Rio Salado College, was also named PTK Faculty Scholar.

Also the director of YC’s College Honors program, Woolsey has been a full-time faculty member at YC since 2005, currently teaching in the Business Management program. She relishes the personal interaction with PTK and honors students and appreciates watching them grow and develop as leaders and doers.

She said she is extremely proud of the work YC PTK members did on last year’s study topic which focused on health and wellness on the Yavapai College campuses. As part of their College Project, the chapter spearheaded a number of health-related campus activities and helped launch the new Health In Prevention (H.I.P) club. In addition, PTK members took on the research-driven Honors in Action project which focused on student health services available on campus.  Students are wrapping up a proposal that will be presented to YC leadership this spring. “The ball is rolling. We don’t know where it’s going to go or how far it will go, but we started the conversation,” Woolsey said.

Woolsey attributes PTK students’ academic and career success to their willingness to embrace technology and their sincere desire to help others. “These students really want to put their mark on something and effect change,” she said.

She credited YC leadership for helping the YC chapter grow and strengthen. YC’s Beta Gamma Pi chapter of PTK is one of only sixteen “five-star” chapters in the Arizona Region.  The YC chapter’s membership includes 20 active members from both the Prescott and Verde campuses, however the rolls total over 350, including 162 new members in 2019. “We are thriving and moving forward. We’re helping our students achieve great things,” Woolsey said.