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Phi Kappa Phi Chapter
Earns Several Honors

RELEASED: Sept. 27, 2007

EAU CLAIRE — This past summer included notable events for several members of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

Lori Scardino, Eau Claire/Waunakee, who graduated from UW-Eau Claire in May after learning she had been awarded a 2007-08 Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship and Award of Excellence, was chosen from among 100 Phi Kappa Phi fellowship and award winners as one of only five to present at the Phi Kappa Phi 2007 Triennial Convention, held in Orlando, Fla., Aug. 9-11.

Scardino spoke about her experience as a non-traditional student and single mother of two, and how the undergraduate research she did with UW-Eau Claire chemistry professor Dr. Scott Hartsel led her to accomplish things she would not have believed possible just a few years earlier. The Phi Kappa Phi awards are allowing Scardino to pursue a doctoral degree in cellular and molecular pathology at UW-Madison. Earlier this year, Scardino also was named to the 2007 All-USA College Academic First Team by the USA Today. She was the second UW-Eau Claire student to be so honored.

Listening to Scardino speak at the convention was another Phi Kappa Phi member, UW-Eau Claire alumna and current staff member, Vickie Lee Gardner, Chippewa Falls, who was attending the Triennial convention as a delegate. Gardner, whose undergraduate degree was in accounting and computer science, earned a master's degree in business administration this past May while holding a full-time position as financial supervisor in the accounts payable unit of UW-Eau Claire's Business Services office. She was inducted in Phi Kappa Phi in 2006 and is currently the treasurer of the Eau Claire chapter.

Gardner said that she thought listening to Scardino speak about overcoming the challenges of being a non-traditional student and parent was especially moving for people like herself, who have faced similar challenges in balancing work, family and educational goals.

"It was very emotional," Gardner said."Lori received a standing ovation."

In addition to hearing presentations by the five award winners, Gardner shared ideas with other members at chapter training sessions, conducted the society's business and participated in the election of a new board of directors.

Phi Kappa Phi member Jared Koerten, a senior from Plover, with a double major in history and economics, spent several weeks this summer traveling in Central Europe after receiving a Phi Kappa Phi study abroad travel grant. He participated in UW-Eau Claire's Central European Travel Seminar from July 30 through Aug. 25, led by history professor Dr. Paulis Lazda, and foreign languages associate professor Dr. Irene Lazda. The tour focused on exploring and increasing understanding of the history and culture of Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and Latvia. Koerten shared photos and information from his travels at the September Phi Kappa Phi chapter meeting at UW-Eau Claire, where he encouraged other members to apply for travel grants from Phi Kappa Phi.

Dr. Blake Westerlund and Paula Stuettgen, UW-Eau Claire's Phi Kappa Phi chapter president and secretary, respectively, also urged students to apply. Westerlund, an English professor, and Stuettgen, coordinator of student development and programs, both stressed that UW-Eau Claire's chapter of Phi Kappa Phi is an active one and has had a record of success with grant applications.

Founded in 1987 and headquartered in Baton Rouge, La., Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest, largest and most selective all-discipline honor society. Membership is by invitation only to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and the top 7.5 percent of juniors. Faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction also qualify. Some of the organization's most notable members include former President Jimmy Carter, NASA astronaut Wendy Lawrence, Baylor University head women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson, writer John Grisham and Netscape founder James Barksdale.

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