LaGuardia Community College Professors Wins Coveted Award From an International Honor Society

Long Island City, NY—April 29 , 2014—Dr. Payal Doctor, the faculty advisor of the Alpha Theta Phi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at LaGuardia Community College, was honored by the PTK Honor Society for her significant contributions to the growth of the LaGuardia chapter and its student members.

The associate professor of philosophy received the 2014 Paragon Award for New Advisors, which recognizes advisors who have served less than four years, and who have served as the chapter’s advocate on campus and encouraged the chapter members to get involved at the organization’s local and regional levels.

Dr. Doctor was among 39 PTK advisors internationally who were nominated by their chapters and selected by a panel of judges from over 100 nominees worldwide. The honoree received her award at the Chapter Advisors Luncheon and Hallmark Awards Gala in Orlando, Florida, on April 24.

“This is really an award for the students,” said a humble Dr. Doctor. “While I feel honored that PTK thinks of me in this way, it is the students who are doing the hard work and I am just there to make sure they stay on track.”

Since serving as PTK advisor for three years, Dr. Doctor who has been an innovative advisor who has implemented a number of new initiatives.

One activity was a leadership skills workshop designed to cultivate the leadership potential of every chapter member.   ‘We learned the skills required to be great leaders,” said Christian Glatz, the chapter president, “and the importance of establishing clear and continuous communication between the officers, advisers and members.”

Her commitment to community services has been passed on to her young charges who have volunteered at Feed the Hungry and organized a “Toys for Tots” campaign and a college campus book drive.

When it came time for the students to develop their research project for Honors in Action, a process by which the students must select a subject that is relevant to the college community, Dr. Doctor helped to prepare for this challenge by organizing the first regional mock chapter. The members of the chapters were walked through the arduous process of planning, researching and writing the essays.

“This experience helped us gain a better understanding of how to successfully conduct our Honors in Action project,” said Christian, “and gave us a better chance at competing in the regional and international levels.”

Tishara Reid, the vice president of programming and events, said Dr. Doctor encouraged and prepared them to follow the best practices in order to have an enriching outcome for their research and project. “She advised us to think outside the box, and, while selecting our topic, to think of an issue that affected students across the world,” she said.

After researching numerous educational topics, the students decided to examine the college ranking systems and whether they reflect the needs of community college students who are exploring transfer opportunities. In their research, the group learned the reports focused on faculty research, alumni job placement, campus amenities provided for undergraduates, such as new dorms and rock climbing walls.

“The students discovered that there were pros and cons of just relying on these ratings systems, such as the U.S. News and World Report,” said Dr. Doctor who added that they communicated their findings to their classmates by organizing a Family Feud-style game that, in a fun way, demonstrated how colleges try to attract students.

Another college project had the chapter members working with the information technology and marketing departments to build an app, complete with maps and a list of club rooms, which would help students navigate the campus.

“Dr. Doctor was extremely effective in guiding the students through this ambitious project that helps students and faculty, alike,” said Dr. Gail O. Mellow, president of LaGuardia. “She has proven to be a wonderful advisor, much appreciated by the honors students as well as the College administration.”

But to the students, Dr. Doctor is more than a PTK advisor; she is also a dedicated academic advisor who is there to guide them along their academic and career paths. Before the registration period, she meets with students to review their course schedules and to make sure they are taking the proper courses toward their majors. Scheduled bimonthly meetings allow her to see if the students are on track to achieve their goals and that the heavy workload is not affecting their grades.

“Her advice and guidance have helped me become a better person, scholar and leader,” said Tishara, who added that Dr. Doctor encouraged her to run for the post. “Dr. Doctor has inspired me in immeasurable ways.”

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Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest honor society in higher education with 1,285 chapters on college campuses in all 50 of the United States, plus Canada, Germany, the Republic of Palau, Peru, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions. Nearly 3 million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 131,000 students inducted annually.

LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three times the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit to learn more.