University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Name: Valarie Burke
Chapter Position: Secretary
University Position: Executive Director of Graduate Student Services
Years of Service to the Chapter: 12 years
Degree(s)/Discipline: B.A. in Psychology, M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, currently pursuing Ph.D. in Sociology
How did you become involved as a chapter officer? I selected Phi Kappa Phi for my master’s program internship. I attended chapter officer meetings, assisted with events, and learned the national and chapter history. When my internship was completed, long-time Phi Kappa Phi member and chapter historian, Lea Sexton, suggested I serve as a chapter officer, and I enthusiastically accepted.
What has your chapter done that has made you proud? Our chapter works extremely well together. In the past several years we have won two Literacy Grants that provided a reading room for a local elementary school as well as a field trip for the students to UNLV's campus. We also participated in the Society's first Council of Students Book Drive and was one of the five national winners.Our entire campus was involved with donating books at our many collection drop-offs. The Boys and Girls Club, Street Teens, and the Henderson Public Library were proud recipients of over 2,000 books. In addition, we won a "Little Free Library" that we designed and presented to the Boys and Girls Club on UNLV's Campus.
What does Phi Kappa Phi mean to you?
Opportunity. At the national level, one can attend the biennial convention and workshops and serve on committees. There are numerous awards and grants to apply for to support the love of learning. Phi Kappa Phi offers the opportunity for one to be involved at different levels, depending on one’s desire. There is a phenomenal platform for networking and exchanging ideas.
What do you enjoy most about being a chapter officer?
Recognizing academic excellence and having fun doing so. Our annual induction ceremony is a special event that brings together current and new members to celebrate academic achievement. In addition, we have an outstanding chapter at UNLV. We host an annual Phi Kappa Phi Member Showcase Lecture series for the entire campus, we have an active student group who is very interested in community service, we encourage members to meet and mingle at our yearly mixer, and our executive board is extraordinary in promoting the love of learning.
What advice would you give to a new chapter officer?
Get excited.The opportunities are endless. Learn your chapter's history and set goals for things you want to accomplish. I learned a great deal about the national office as well as from other chapters by attending the national Partnering for Success events and serving on the Programs and Awards Review Committee. Be involved and encourage others to do the same.Often members want to help and just need you to reach out and ask them to serve on your committees or assist with event planning.
What are your hobbies?
Spending time with my family. My husband and I recently had a baby boy and we all love going to the park and taking our dog for a walk. I also enjoy movies, reading, shopping, traveling, swimming and going out to eat (I'm currently learning how to cook!)
Where are you from?
Originally from Larchmont, N.Y., and now live in Las Vegas, NV.