WCC Student Honored by Phi Theta Kappa

by Marco Nieto


Ashleigh Riley, a WCC student and member of the Alpha Iota Omicron chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, was recently honored as a Distinguished Officer of the honors organization.”

Alpha Iota Omicron, WCC’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, was established in 1984. Phi Theta Kappa serves to recognize the academic achievement of college students and help them grow into successful leaders and scholars.

This year, however, one member is being honored on a national and international level.

Ashleigh Riley, who grew up and lived in Australia, was honored as a Distinguished Officer.

Riley obtained her Bachelor of Visual Arts from the Australian National University, where she majored in painting.

After Riley completed university, she moved to New York.

“I came to New York hoping to achieve my dream as ‘an artist in New York’,” Riley said. It was during this time that Riley saw the value in a liberal arts education, and decided to enroll at WCC.

Riley recounts how she came to find out about Phi Theta Kappa and how she became an officer. Riley remembers receiving an invitation, “After my first semester at WCC I got an invitation to join the honor society in my student emails as well as in the mail.”

Riley continued to speak about how she went on to pursue an officer position, “I went to an information session during common hour and once I found out how prestigious it was I joined as a member and applied for a leadership position.”

In order for Phi Theta Kappa to preserve their five star chapter status, they must complete a year-long research project called, “Honors in Action.” RIley and her colleague, Steve Hyland, led the project all year long.

Riley also went on to speak about how she found out she was being honored as a Distinguished Officer. “During the afternoon of the convention my phone kept buzzing and buzzing, I had a ton of messages from the officers who were at the convention.”

“They [the other officers] said that I won most distinguished officer. My heart started racing and I felt so proud of myself,” Riley said.

However, Riley’s streak of success did not end there. She also won Distinguished Officer on an international level, along with her advisor, Robin Graff.

Riley and Graff were both recognized in front of all of the attendees of the International Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. This included over 5,000 members, officers, and advisors in attendance.

Alpha Iota Omicron won multiple awards on the regional level. These included Distinguished Officer (Riley), Distinguished Advisor (Graff), and Outstanding Honors in Action Project.

Additionally, they won multiple awards on an international level. These included Distinguished Chapter Officer, Distinguished Advisor, Distinguished Honors in Action Project, Reach Award, Five Star Status, as well as the Coca-Cola Academic Team Scholarship, awarded to Kevin Garcia, member of Alpha Iota Omicron.

Riley also reflected on the opportunities Phi Theta Kappa has given her, both academically and personally. “We had to stay 3 steps ahead at all times and we had to learn how to consistently be seeing the bigger picture,” Riley said.

Riley is currently pursuing an associate’s degree in social science. “I will be using that in conjunction with my Bachelor of Visual Arts that I received in Australia,” Riley said.

Additionally, she plans to seek employment when she is done with WCC.

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