Volunteer Spotlight – May 2015

May 1, 2015

Michelle Gerdes
United States Military Academy

Name: Michelle Gerdes

Chapter Position: Secretary

Years of Service to the Chapter: 8 years

University Position: Instructor in the Academic Excellence Program

Degree(s)/Discipline: M.S. Ed. in Counseling and Math Education

How did you become involved as a chapter officer? I became involved when I found out the office where I was starting a new position had previously maintained the records. The administration of the position was rotated between faculty but it had not been as consistent as it needed to be. I decided to act as the main contact person to provide some consistency to the chapter.

What has your chapter done that has made you proud? I am proud to work with the many faculty members and cadets who are student vice presidents. They are such professionals and take a lot of time out of their busy schedules to serve the chapter. With their hard work, we were able to become a Chapter of Excellence and Chapter of Merit numerous times. We have all worked to keep improving the chapter so members feel proud to be a part of Phi Kappa Phi.

What does Phi Kappa Phi mean to you? I believe it is an organization that provides an outlet for members to strive for excellence and help others.

What do you enjoy most about being a chapter officer?
 It allows me to connect with other department members that I might not come in contact with on a regular basis. I enjoy rewarding excellence and this allows me to be part of a top program that can help students and faculty members achieve their goals.

What advice would you give to a new chapter officer? Try not to do too much on your own. Use your energy in ways that will help the chapter continue to grow. It can be a little overwhelming but use your resources and reach out to other members. Also, ask the wonderful people at the national office for help. They are always willing to provide whatever you need. I couldn't believe how many resources were available on the website and by calling the national office.

What are your hobbies? 
When I have the time, I love to travel, read, and watch sports. I am working on my Doctor of Education, so that takes a lot of my time at the moment.

Where are you from? I am originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (huge Steeler fan!).