2020-2022 Nominees for Director

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About Phi Kappa Phi

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Mahalley Allen
Professor of Political Science 
California State University, Chico

 
Mahalley Allen has served the Society this biennium as chair of the bylaws committee. Previously she was a member, then chair, of the study abroad selection committee. Allen holds both a Ph.D. and a master’s in political science from the University of Kansas, a J.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, and a B.A. in political science and English from Southeast Missouri State University. She was elected as an undergraduate at SMSU in 1994. Currently Allen is professor and chair of the department of political science and criminal justice and legal studies program coordinator at California State University, Chico, where she also serves on the academic senate executive committee and the university budget committee. She is president-elect of the Pacific Coast Association of Pre-Law Advisors and works extensively with the League of Women Voters of her county, including serving on its board. She also serves on the boards of Innovative Preschool, Inc. and the Pre-Law Advisors National Council. 

Why do you want to serve Phi Kappa Phi at the national level? 
I am interested in a national leadership position because I believe in Phi Kappa Phi’s motto ‘Let the love of learning rule humanity.’ I especially support and believe in Phi Kappa Phi’s mission to engage the community of scholars in service to others. Each year, more and more colleges and universities are admitting students who are first generation, students who are experiencing housing and food insecurity, and students who are coming from underrepresented backgrounds. My vision for Phi Kappa Phi as an honor society is that it will continue to find ways to strongly support and stand with diverse students in their love of learning. All students who attain academic excellence, regardless of their financial abilities or backgrounds, deserve educational opportunities that ignite their passions, build confidence in their abilities, and motivate them to connect to others and to the world. Through its program of fellowships and awards, Phi Kappa Phi can provide positive educational experiences for so many students with promising futures who may otherwise not have an opportunity to experience all that the love of learning has to offer. My interest in a national leadership position comes entirely from my desire to best serve students.
  
Please share your motivation for seeking national office and tell us what talents and experience you would bring to the position for which you've been nominated.

  

 
 

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Andrus Ashoo
Director, Office of Citizen Scholar Development
University of Virginia

 
Andrus Ashoo currently serves Phi Kappa Phi as a member of the literacy grant selection committee. He holds two bachelor’s degrees, one in French and another in international studies, both from the University of Mississippi, where he was elected to membership as an undergraduate in 2006. At the University of Virginia, Ashoo established and now directs the Office of Citizen Scholar Development, the fellowships office of the university. He has served on the executive board and numerous committees of the National Association of Fellowships Advisers, and on the leadership council of the honors college at the University of Mississippi. In 2008, he was a fellow with the Experiment in International Living program, facilitating leadership training and student travel. 




Why do you want to serve Phi Kappa Phi at the national level? 
Serving is a way of learning and putting others before me. However, it is also a way of growing in ways that help me to better educate and serve my students and fellow neighbors. I just rotated off of another national board, freeing up a load of time that I could dedicate elsewhere. While Phi Kappa Phi's call for nominees came at a convenient time, it also provides me an opportunity to be involved with an organization that I love, despite working at an institution without a chapter. The openness on behalf of the nominating committee and the executive director to solicit nominations from otherwise untapped categories of members (i.e. non-academics) was enough for me to explore the opportunity.
 
Please share your motivation for seeking national office and tell us what talents and experience you would bring to the position for which you've been nominated.

  

 
 

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Kevin Frazier
Vice Dean and Professor of Restorative Sciences
Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University

 
Kevin Frazier was the inaugural president of the Georgia Health Sciences University chapter of Phi Kappa Phi before GHSU merged with Augusta State University (ASU) to become Augusta University, and he is currently president-elect of the chapter at AU, where he serves as vice dean and professor of restorative sciences at the Dental College of Georgia. Frazier holds an Ed.S. in educational leadership from ASU, a DMD in dentistry from the University of Florida College of Dentistry, and bachelor’s degrees in both zoology and anthropology from the University of Florida. He was initiated at Augusta State in 2010. At AU he has been a member of the president’s cabinet and served as vice president for student services/affairs. At the Dental College of Georgia he is vice dean and responsible for faculty affairs. He is a member of the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs and has served in two section leadership roles with the American Dental Education Association. He has led/co-led several international medical/dental mission trips providing healthcare in remote areas of Haiti and Ecuador.  

Why do you want to serve Phi Kappa Phi at the national level? 
I have been a campus champion for Phi Kappa Phi since my initiation in 2010. In 2011-12, I led a successful chapter charter petition process to start a Phi Kappa Phi chapter on a health sciences-only campus (formerly known as the Medical College of Georgia/Georgia Health Sciences University). Since then I have served as president of two chapters and led three charter-signing ceremonies due to starting a new chapter, merging two chapters, and renaming a chapter to reflect a renamed combined university. During my time as president, our new member yield exceeded the national average, and we have had success based on national chapter measures (awards, recognitions). I believe my leadership experiences as a campus vice president and now as a vice dean may provide value to Phi Kappa Phi considering my experience with budgets, policies, bylaws, strategic planning, meeting planning, and supporting both student and faculty development. I have also served five three-year terms as secretary-treasurer for our college chapter of the National Dental Honor Society-OKU, and we are the only chapter to have received all four national awards.
  
Please share your motivation for seeking national office and tell us what talents and experience you would bring to the position for which you've been nominated.

  

 
 

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Hugh McHarg
Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives
University of Southern California Libraries

 
Hugh McHarg currently serves as associate dean for strategic initiatives and assistant university librarian for the University of Southern California libraries. He holds an MFA in creative writing from Brown University, and B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Miami University, and is working toward a master’s degree in library and information systems at San Jose State University. He was initiated by the USC chapter in 2014, and has held every office on the chapter’s executive committee. At USC, McHarg manages strategic planning and implementation for the libraries, directs media and community partnerships, and oversees grants and sponsored projects. Beyond the university he has served on the marketing and communication committee of the statewide California Electronic Library Consortium, on the board of the Institute for Figuring, and as executive producer of a public television series, for which he received two Emmys and additional nominations.

Why do you want to serve Phi Kappa Phi at the national level? 
My interest in a national Phi Kappa Phi leadership position emerges from my experiences of the pleasures and challenges of helping lead a local chapter. The joys are many—all the programming, the bestowing of awards, local students earning national fellowships, and meeting proud parents at initiation events, among many others. But the challenges can be substantial—managing volunteers, keeping prestigious and busy faculty engaged as chapter leaders, and differentiating ourselves from the great number of programs and organizations on campus that compete, for better or worse, for the attention of our students and faculty. Having worked in various capacities—on the board, as an officer in several roles including president, in service on committees, as a planner of events, and as someone who integrates Phi Kappa Phi themes and programs with other activities on campus—I’ve experienced the challenges and the delights. I’d very much like to put that experience to work in service to the national Phi Kappa Phi organization.
 
Please share your motivation for seeking national office and tell us what talents and experience you would bring to the position for which you've been nominated.

  

 
 

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Edina Oestreicher
Executive Director of UConn Hillel
University of Connecticut

 
Edina Oestreicher recently accepted a new position as executive director of Hillel at the University of Connecticut after lengthy service as vice president of student affairs and dean of students at the University of Bridgeport. She was initiated as an administrator at Bridgeport in 2006, and subsequently served as chapter president for seven years. Oestreicher holds a master’s degree in counseling from Bridgeport and a B.A. in communication sciences from the University of Connecticut. She is a certified mediator. As chief student affairs officer at Bridgeport, she chaired the committee on academic integrity and created the first-ever comprehensive student volunteer program connected with greater Bridgeport nonprofits, for which she was recognized by the governor for service to students and their families. Beyond the academy she has worked with the Anti-Defamation League and holds numerous positions at her synagogue. She has been a member of the study abroad selection committee this biennium.

Why do you want to serve Phi Kappa Phi at the national level? 
Serving as president of my campus chapter, with the support of dedicated chapter leadership, afforded me opportunities to expand membership, chapter visibility, student scholarships and scholarly opportunities for faculty. It was especially rewarding to work with our chapter’s student vice presidents as they developed community service initiatives and thoughtful programming. I am interested in serving in a national leadership role where I am confident my collaborative and enthusiastic leadership skills would contribute to ΦΚΦ’s vision of expanding opportunities for service, scholarship and building and strengthening chapter membership. As higher education faces demographic shifts and growing skepticism about the return on investment of a degree, it is imperative that Phi Kappa Phi be a bold voice in messaging the value of scholarly pursuits. Membership in Phi Kappa Phi has afforded me opportunities to make a difference in the lives of young people and the faculty and staff who serve them, and I am excited about the opportunity to support chapter leadership from a national level. I am confident that my experience and success as a chapter leader, combined with my long-time commitment to service and community board membership, would enable me to continue to make meaningful contributions to Phi Kappa Phi.
 
Please share your motivation for seeking national office and tell us what talents and experience you would bring to the position for which you've been nominated.

  

 
 

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Cynthia O'Neal
Associate Professor/Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies 
University of Texas Health Science Center School of Nursing

 
Cynthia O’Neal was a charter member and inaugural vice president of the ΦΚΦ chapter at Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi prior to moving to her current institution, the University of Texas Health Science Center. She holds a Ph.D. in nursing from Vanderbilt University, an MSN in adult nursing and a BSN, both from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a B.S. in psychology from Arizona State University. She was initiated as a student at UNLV in 1990. She has served as department chair at both Texas Tech Health Sciences Center and at TAMU-CC. A member of the American Association of College of Nursing, where she serves on the organizational leadership network communications committee, O’Neal is also a member of the Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society, which she has served as bylaws chair and faculty leadership mentor. She was a member of the national bylaws committee for the Society from 2014-2016 and was on the board of the Texas Tech chapter before moving to TAMU-CC.

Why do you want to serve Phi Kappa Phi at the national level? 
When I graduated with my second baccalaureate degree, my father paid for me to have a lifetime membership in Phi Kappa Phi. At the time, I don't believe I gave this much thought. However, over the years, I came to appreciate receiving editions of the Forum. For me, it was exposure to a vast array perspectives and topics offered by people associated with disciplines different from mine. While employed at TTUHSC SON, I became active in the local chapter and found fulfillment. The Phi Kappa Phi organization aligns with my values for academic excellence, character, scholarship, and lifelong learning. I have since enjoyed a number of roles in Phi Kappa Phi, proudly worn my medallion at commencement ceremonies, helped to start a chapter in Corpus Christi, and am working to gain support for a chapter at UT Health where I am now employed. I am drawn to serve and be more involved. There is a sense of duty and commitment that I feel and can't quite articulate.
  
Please share your motivation for seeking national office and tell us what talents and experience you would bring to the position for which you've been nominated.

  

 
 

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June Pilcher
Alumni Distinguished Professor of Psychology
Clemson University

 
June Pilcher currently serves as chair of the Phi Kappa Phi Scholar/Artist/Sylvester Distinguished Service award committee. Previously a member of the fellowship committee, she has been president and past-president of her chapter. Pilcher holds both master’s and doctoral degrees in biopsychology from the University of Chicago and bachelor’s degrees in psychology and computer science from the University of Southern Mississippi, where she was initiated as a student in 1984. She is Alumni Distinguished Professor of psychology at Clemson University, where she is co-founder and faculty fellow of the university’s Global Learning Institute and a mentor of new faculty and students in multiple programs. Away from the university, Pilcher leads martial arts classes, works with a greyhound adoption group, and mentors faculty from other institutions through the Society for Teaching of Psychology. She chaired the credentials committee at the 2018 convention.

Why do you want to serve Phi Kappa Phi at the national level? 
At this stage in my career, I find myself searching for opportunities to broaden my effort as an educator and scientist. I want to do more than focus primarily on my next journal article. Becoming part of the national leadership for Phi Kappa Phi could help me reach this goal. As I have volunteered in different ways with Phi Kappa Phi, I have been impressed with how Phi Kappa Phi functions and its broad mission to encourage and reward scholarship that goes beyond simply adding more members. Of course, adding members is important but encouraging lifelong learning both in and outside of the higher education setting is more important. Education and learning are undervalued by many people in our society. I am committed to doing what I can to change that. In a society where students increasingly enter higher education focused primarily on getting a better job, Phi Kappa Phi is well positioned to provide a model and mechanism for helping students better appreciate lifelong learning. I hope to help with that process.
 
Please share your motivation for seeking national office and tell us what talents and experience you would bring to the position for which you've been nominated.

  

 
 

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Sharhonda Rush
Controller 
Jacksonville Transportation Authority

 
Sharhonda Rush was initiated as a graduate student by the Jacksonville University chapter in 2018. She earned both a master’s in public policy and an MBA. from Jacksonville after receiving a BSA in accounting from Christopher Newport University. Rush is a certified public accountant, and works as controller for the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, where she leads a team of professionals responsible for accounting operations. She facilitates trainings and volunteers with colleagues in the Big Brothers Big Sisters and JTA Cares programs, serving homeless individuals and families transitioning from homelessness. Outside her work Rush serves on committees of her Delta Sigma Theta sorority and as a board member on the North Florida UNCF leadership council. A member of the National Association of Black Accountants, she also provides mentoring to college students majoring in accounting.


Why do you want to serve Phi Kappa Phi at the national level? 
As an accounting professional who did not follow the traditional route to college, I've earned two master's degrees and truly have a love of learning. I self taught myself how to build websites and love to share all that I know on any topic. I'm very interested in serving in a national leadership position to use my professional and personal leadership skills to advance the mission of Phi Kappa Phi.
 
 
Please share your motivation for seeking national office and tell us what talents and experience you would bring to the position for which you've been nominated.

  

 
 

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Virginia Stormer
Assistant Director, 1794 Scholars Program
University of Tennessee

 
Virginia Stormer helped revitalize the University of Tennessee chapter after her 2016 initiation and in her role as assistant director of the 1794 Scholars Program. She currently serves the chapter as secretary/treasurer. Stormer holds a Ph.D. in English from UT, an M.A. in English from the University of Alabama, and a B.A. in English and history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At Tennessee, she works with the Undergraduate Research Advisory Council and serves on several of its committees, including award selection and strategic planning. She’s also a facilitator for both CliftonStrengths and Ignite. Away from the university she serves as a tnAchieves mentor, and as a deacon at her church, working with the youth committee and Habitat for Humanity builds. 

Why do you want to serve Phi Kappa Phi at the national level? 
I have very much enjoyed participating in the life of UT's Phi Kappa Phi chapter. I have worked diligently over the past four years to build our chapter back after a long period of stagnation. One of my favorite parts of participating in our chapter, however, has been working with the national office and attending the biennial convention in 2016. I am inspired by the work other chapters are doing and their willingness to work with chapter officers to help them succeed. I would have been completely lost without the support of the national office who answered so very many questions that I had. Now that I have more experience with Phi Kappa Phi, I would like to help support other new officers or chapters find and maintain success, and I want to help the national office reach their goals. Additionally, I am excited about the possibility to participate in a national organization that supports high-achieving students and work with fellow Phi Kappa Phi members who similarly dedicate their lives to the love of learning. I value participation in a community of scholars and look forward to joining this national community of scholars in particular.
 
Please share your motivation for seeking national office and tell us what talents and experience you would bring to the position for which you've been nominated.

  

 
 

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Leslie Zenk
Assistant Provost
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

 
Leslie Zenk is currently president of the ΦΚΦ chapter at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she serves as assistant provost and associate graduate faculty in the department of educational leadership. She holds both master’s and doctoral degrees in educational policy and administration from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and a bachelor’s in communications from the University of Minnesota Duluth. She was initiated as a faculty member by the UNCC chapter in 2015. Zenk previously worked as an administrator at two University of Minnesota campuses. At UNCC, she directs academic policy and collaborates with faculty on curriculum development and student success initiatives. She has served on the North Carolina Association of Research in Education board. Beyond the academy, Zenk is a member of the Mecklenburg County Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee. She was a presenter at the 2019 student leadership summit.

Why do you want to serve Phi Kappa Phi at the national level? 
I am interested in national leadership service with Phi Kappa Phi because I am committed to the mission of Phi Kappa Phi and to the opportunity to continue to raise the national profile of the organization as well as enhance the opportunities available to our members and alumni. As a Phi Kappa Phi chapter president and the manager for the full-time staff position that supports our Phi Kappa Phi chapter, I have significant detailed knowledge and understanding about the mechanics and organization of chapter management and my strengths in procedural and collaborative change helps me to see challenges and opportunities for creating and maintaining efficient and healthy chapters. Additionally, my background and experience in academic policy, graduate student mentorship and work within and across multiple public higher education systems helps provide me important context and expertise beneficial to the organization.
 
Please share your motivation for seeking national office and tell us what talents and experience you would bring to the position for which you've been nominated.

  

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi

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