Alpha Sigma Lambda Recognizes Adult Learners and Their Families

During the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) annual conference in St. Louis, the week of October 9, 2017, I was wandering the vendor exhibits when I came upon the Alpha Sigma Lambda (ASL) booth. A woman was chatting with one of the representatives from the honor society, and I was reminded of my inquiry into ASL some ten years ago. I wanted to share my enthusiasm for ASL, so I asked if I could put my “two cents” in. Below is the gist of my “two cents.”

I established the Pi Zeta chapter of ASL at Western Connecticut State University in May 2007, not only to honor high-achieving adult learners but also to recognize their families.

As those of us who have been, or who have worked with, adult learners know, jugging higher education along with other adult responsibilities can be challenging, at best.

Without the support of friends and family, that “juggling act” can be even more stressful. As a former adult learner, myself, I recall those challenges, and establishing a chapter of ASL was one small way in which I could “give back” to the adult learner community.

While our universities and colleges may offer membership to several honor societies, ASL stands out for the adult learner population, bringing these high-achieving students and their families together, as a community, in celebration and recognition.

Lisa G. Peck

Retired National Councilor,

Alpha Sigma Lambda, Pi Zeta Chapter

Western Connecticut State University

Danbury, CT

What Alpha Sigma Lambda Means to Me

In my family, pursuing higher education was an expectation.  There was never a discussion of whether we would go to college, but rather where we would go to college.  This was true for my generation, not so for that of my parents.

The son of a retail salesman and a homemaker, my father was one of eight siblings:  four boys and four girls growing up with modest means.  The girls became teachers right out of high school to help support the four boys’ college education.  Once the boys graduated, the girls went on to college.  On my mother’s side all attended college, some as adult students. My mom went to college at the same time as I did.  I saw her work hard to achieve her professional goals later in life, and pull all-nighters working on her projects.  She became my inspiration.

For the most part, I have spent my academic career working with adults and I have been an adult student as well.  

The adult education field has taught me that those individuals who take the nontraditional road, those who go back to school to complete their degrees while juggling family, work, and other life events, work harder to reach their goals and their sense of accomplishment has deeper roots.

Representing Alpha Sigma Lambda at my school in a way helps me value the efforts our students make and celebrate those who accomplish academic excellence.  Their life goals, their hurdles and how they overcome them encourage me to work harder, and remind me that I am a better person as a result of knowing them.

About the Author

Maria R. Altobello is the Dean of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies at Franklin Pierce University.  She joined the faculty in 2001 and served in the Dean’s office as Associate Dean (2012-2015) prior to becoming the Dean.

Dr. Altobello received an Ed.D. in Instructional Technology and Distance Education and an M.B.A. from Nova Southeastern University, an A.L.M. in Information Technology from Harvard University, and a B.S. in Business from Universidad Metropolitana (Venezuela).

Dr. Altobello is committed to lifelong learning.  Her research interests relate to issues surrounding adult learners, including prior level assessment, retention, and quality in distance education.  She has been the recipient of grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Center for Adult and Experiential Learning destined to study prior level assessment and retention in adult student populations.  She has served as Chapter Councilor for Alpha Sigma Lambda since 2013 and was elected to the Board of Directors in 2017 as the member at large.

2017 ASL Scholarship Recipient James White

Hello, my name is James White. In the Fall of 2015, I decided to leave my job, that I was at for 15 years, and enroll at the University of North Texas to make one final attempt in fulfilling a lifelong dream I have of becoming a college graduate. I wasn’t even sure if I would be accepted but I was, and I entered UNT with a disappointing 2.5 GPA. This was the result of many unsuccessful years attempting school while raising a family and working forty plus hours. Even though school has always been very important to me, I was not always able to give it the attention needed to succeed. However, since I have been enrolled here at UNT I have made

However, since I have been enrolled here at UNT I have made the Dean’s List every semester and I now have a respectful 3.68 GPA. My goals in life are no longer just to be a college graduate, but to be a graduate with honors!! Graduating college has been my dream for so long that I have never really thought of anything beyond that point. I have always felt that accomplishing that goal would be unobtainable or that I would be too old for anything further. However, my plan now has changed to staying here at the University of North Texas and going on to Graduate School. I want to get my Master’s Degree in Counseling and then pursue a career in Play Therapy or Neuropsychology. The amazingly gracious assistance that I have been selected

The amazingly gracious assistance that I have been selected by the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society will allow me to not only reach my goal of graduating this fall, but it gives me the courage to dream of bigger and better goals in my educational future.

No matter how I try to say thank you, I do not feel that I adequately express my sincere gratitude for this award enough, but again thank you so very much for your generosity and support!!!

 

2016 Scholarship Recipient Latonia White-Jessie

Latonia White-Jessie resides in Queens, New York, and graduated summa cum laude from Plaza College with her AOS in Accounting. She is currently pursuing her Bachelors in Business Management and maintains a 4.0 GPA. She is also a member of two college honor societies which are Alpha Sigma Lambda (ASL) and Sigma Kappa Delta (SKD). She graduated with her Bachelors in Business Management in June 2017.

Currently, Latonia resides in Queens, New York with her husband and three children. She is a member of Astoria Baptist Church where she is also taking Christian Leadership classes. Latonia gives all thanks to God for being her rock and foundation. Without God, she would not be the wife, mother, and student she is today.  With a new found purpose in life, she will attain her Bachelor’s degree in June 2017. She will continue her education with her Masters in Accounting. Her ultimate goal is to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Latonia is very humbled and honored to be a recipient of the 2016-2017 scholarship, and would like to thank the entire Alpha Sigma Lambda committee.

2017 Scholarship Recipient Matthew Neal Preston II

Matthew Neal Preston II, has continuously served his community and country as a representative of Alpha Sigma Lambda, serving 6 years of his life in the United States Army. Notwithstanding the military, he has served 1 year as a School of Liberal Arts Student Ambassador.

As a lifetime member of 20 ACHS recognized Honor Societies and an active participant in 11 student organizations, he has worked with various local community organizations including Paw’s Pantry, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program, the Indy Dream Center, the Cesar Chavez Day of Service, and the MLK Day of Service. As if all of that was not enough, he also worked for IUPUI’s Philosophy Department as a Teacher Assistant for Symbolic Logic through the Federal Work Study Program for 1 year and currently works as a Graduate Research Assistant for the Institute of American Thought. At the close of his 3 calendar year tenure at IUPUI, Matthew will have completed 3 undergraduate majors in Philosophy, Political Science, and Latino Studies, 3 undergraduate minors in Women’s Studies, Legal Studies, and Spanish, a Master of Philosophy, and 2 Graduate Certificates in American Philosophy and Bioethics, while obtaining a highest distinction GPA of 3.972 and recognition as one of IUPUI’s Top 100 students. Matthew was also a recipient of the Presidential Volunteer Service Medal and was selected as IUPUI’s 2017 student commencement speaker.

Matthew’s devotion, passion, and intransigence in the face of adversity reflect greatly upon Alpha Sigma Lambda, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, the School of Liberal Arts, and the Department of Philosophy.

2016 ASL Scholarship Recipient Tamika Hunter

“I am a single mother who works full time and decided to return to school to complete my Bachelor’s Degree in 2014. I was born in Detroit, Michigan, but was raised in California for most of my life. Being a mother to my children is my first priority. Along with being dedicated to my own, I have a strong passion for working with youth. I have worked with underserved populations of youth for 20 years and am earning my degree in Criminology at Mount St. Mary’s University in order to pursue a career as a juvenile probation officer.

am determined to make a difference in the lives of youth by being a positive influence and providing various resources to help them make better life decisions. Returning to school after all of these years has been no easy feat, however, I am sure the reward, in the end, will prove to be well worth it.” – Tamika Hunter

 

 

2017 ASL Scholarship Recipient Corrine Edick

“My name is Corrine Edick and I currently live in Genoa, NY. After graduation from Paul V. Moore High School in 2009, I enlisted in the United States Navy. Stationed in Norfolk, VA as a Helicopter Aircrewman. I participated in humanitarian relief, cargo/troops transport, and locating/disarming mines. After an honorable discharge from the Navy, I earned my bachelor’s in biology at SUNY Cortland.My future plans include earning my degree as a Physician Assistant.

I hope one day to participate in humanitarian work in underprivileged countries.

I am grateful for the supportive advisory staff at SUNY Cortland.In particular, I would like to thank Cheryl Hines for her constant support and guidance.”

2016 William C. Hine Distinguished Service Awardee

2016 William C. Hine Distinguished Service Awardee

Anne E. Killen is the Associate Vice President of the Center for Professional Studies and Assistant Professor of Management at Keuka College in New York.  Killen’s education includes a Master’s Degree in Adult Education and Doctor of Management degree, she has also earned graduate certificates in Human Resource Development and professional training.

Anne is a peer reviewer for the Academy of Management and has completed executive training in Leadership and Coaching at the National Leadership Institute, Adelphi, MD. Killen serves as Keuka College’s Alpha Sigma Lambda Chapter Counselor.  Outside of Keuka College, she volunteers for a local hospice home and as a seamstress for Rachel’s Gift.

The William C. Hine scholarship has estimated $31,000 over the years funded by a fundraiser by him with individual contributions. William C. Hine was instrumental in establishing ASL and his ability to get the university to stand behind ASL. He gave a lot of time and support to Alpha Sigma Lambda. 

 

I Knew What I Wanted and I Set a Goal

Alpha Sigma Lambda Member Guest Blog:

I never dreamt that I would go from being a 1.7 GPA high school student to being in a college honor society. Not only has Alpha Sigma Lambda given me the opportunity to be part of an honor society as an online student, but also as an active duty military member. My motivation to keep my 3.9 GPA is highly influenced by the organization and the high standards that it in embeds in the members. Graduating with Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics on the Flight Deck of the USS Midway at the Embry-Riddle Graduation in San Diego, California. Wearing the ASL Military Medallion, ASL Honor Cords, and ASL Stole.

During high school I was struggling so badly with my grades that I barely made it through, I had less than a 2.0 GPA if I remember correctly. No one else in my family had gone to college, so I really didn’t see a reason to either. I joined the military three months after my high school graduation. I really wasn’t sure what I was going to do in life, but I knew with my previous high school record that no college was going to take me. The military did a great job of showing me what I was capable of and always doing my best.

I was really enjoying my current job and being enlisted in the Air Force, but I knew I was capable of so much more. All new enlisted Airmen are automatically enrolled in the Community College of the Air Force, so I thought I would give it a shot and see what happens. I was able to graduate from the Community College of the Air Force at the top of my class, receiving the Air Force Pitsenbarger Award over the other graduates. I used this as more fuel for my motivation, I was determined to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in less than two years and take a shot at becoming a military officer and pilot. This would be tough considering that I would have to take four college classes while working a full-time job and taking care of my small family.

 

I knew what I wanted and I set a goal that would get me there.

I found a great online program through Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University that has programs focused on aviation for aspiring student pilots. I was knocking out college classes very quickly, but taking no time off from school was slowly starting to wear me down. Along the way, I discovered the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society through my school counselor and was so excited to find out that as a non-traditional student, I would still have the opportunity to join a college honor society.

Being a part of ASL encouraged me to keep my grades very high and in order to keep my status in it. I accomplished my goal and graduated May of 2017 with honors and finished my Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics in less than two years.

I am currently in the running for an officer position as a pilot in the United States Navy. I am also currently on track to finish my Master of Science in Aeronautics next year. Being an ASL member and keeping my GPA so high has made me a very competitive Officer Candidate.  I cannot thank ASL enough for helping me to achieve my dream and holding me to such a high standard among my classmates. I encourage any non-tradition, military or adult student to take full advantage of ASL and what it has to offer. I will definitely be representing ASL at the Master’s Graduation next year!

 

Community College of The Air Force – Kortney Pope

 

ASL Asst. Exec. Director Dr. Carrie Johnson

Watch as Dr. Johnson discusses what Alpha Sigma Lambda has been doing to connect with its members, offers tips for adult learners and shares her history in adult education.

Since 2011, Dr. Johnson has directed the B.A. in General Studies, an adult degree-completion program, at Eastern Illinois University. She previously held a faculty position at a university in the Chicago area. She is the past-president of the Adult Higher Education Alliance and a contributing editor for the Adult Education Quarterly.

Learn more about Dr. Johnson and the other members of the ASL Board of Directors on our About ASL page.