UTPA education honor society sweeps at international conference
Posted: 11/10/2009
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The Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education chapter at The University of Texas-Pan American are the recipients of three international awards including the Achieving Chapter Excellence (ACE) award, the Regional Counselor Award (West), and the ACE of the ACE award.

Pictured from left to right in the front are Dr. Karen Nicholson, Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education president; Celine Valadez, UTPA Chapter president; Melissa Groetsch, UTPA Chapter former-president; and Faye Snodgrass, Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education executive director. Pictured from left to right in the back are Jose Bochas, UTPA Chapter vice-president; and Mercy Ortiz, UTPA Chapter historian. Not pictured are Dr. Veronica Lopez-Estrada, counselor and Dr. Velma Menchaca, associate counselor.

The University's KDP chapter was recognized Oct. 29-31 at KDP's 47th Biennial Convocation in Orlando, Fla. Kappa Delta Pi, an international honor society in the College of Education, presents these awards each biennium to those chapters that meet the stringent criteria and demonstrate excellence and dedication to the organization's ideals. Founded in 1969, UTPA's chapter, Lambda Psi, currently has approximately 100 active members.

"Our local Kappa Delta Pi chapter is very active," said Dr. Veronica Lopez-Estrada, associate professor and counselor of the chapter. "Our work is based on recognizing academic excellence in students, cultivating leadership skills, providing ongoing professional development for our members and completing service projects in high need schools and community centers. We pride ourselves in being true to the mission and ideals of the society - an organization that is of, for, and about teachers. Being inducted to the society is more than just a line on a résumé. It's more about nurturing and sustaining your professional life as a reflective, effective career educator."

To be considered for the award, chapters must submit a portfolio that documents their activities throughout a two-year period. ACE awards are given to those chapters that have documented the specified criteria at an achievement level of acceptable, excellent or exemplary, according to the scoring rubric. Only 29 out of 600 chapters were named ACE award winners this biennium. The ACE of the ACE is awarded to the chapter that surpasses the ACE standards and stands apart from the 29 award winners.

Lopez-Estrada, counselor for 12 years at UTPA, was recognized as the recipient of the Regional Counselor Award for the West region which includes all chapters in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Canada, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and all community college chapters. The award is given to counselors who represent the mission and ideals of KDP and have achieved excellence in the role of counselor.

"Winning the ACE award, the Regional Counselor Award for the West, and the coveted ACE of the ACE award, after applying for the first time, is a great testimony to the collective efforts of our undergraduates, graduates, alumni and education faculty members. We have always worked hard as a team and it's really paid off for all of us," said Dr. Velma Menchaca, associate counselor of the UTPA chapter for the past 10 years.

For more information about KDP, contact Lopez-Estrada at 956/381-3401.