In its 90th year, the Phi Theta Kappa honor society chapter at Weatherford College is led by a chapter alumna.
More than a decade ago, Shantee Siebuhr started taking classes at Weatherford College and eventually connected to the campus through the college’s honor society chapter Phi Theta Kappa. Now back on campus, the Guided Pathways specialist is helping current students succeed as the adviser for Phi Theta Kappa.
Siebuhr took on the new role earlier this year when the former adviser resigned. She has been working at the college since early last year.
Siebuhr’s history with WC started in fall 2005 when she first enrolled.
“I was not a great student at all,” Siebuhr said. “It took me a while to adjust and find kind of what made me connected to the campus.”
Siebuhr joined Phi Theta Kappa in 2009 and said she felt more connected. During her time in the chapter, Siebuhr served as the fellowship chairperson and president. Being chapter president was an amazing experience, she said.
“We did a lot of service projects, which is kind of where my passion lies is really getting out into the community and just finding out where I can do the most good,” Siebuhr said. “Being able to spend that year doing that was pretty fantastic.”
Siebuhr’s involvement in Phi Theta Kappa allowed her to be involved and make friends.
“The opportunity to be involved in something much bigger than just me was what I loved most about it,” Siebuhr said. “The connections, the personal relationships— I mean, I’m still friends with those I was active in the chapter with a decade ago.”
For example, Siebuhr mentioned her friendship with Molly Harris, who was the chapter adviser when Siebuhr was a student. Now that she’s the chapter adviser, Siebuhr said Harris has mentored her for the job.
“I’ll have a student come in with a question, and I have no idea, and I quickly pull out my phone, and I’m like, ‘OK, Molly, here’s another one,’” Siebuhr said. “She’s been so patient and wonderful.”
Harris said that she’s proud of Siebuhr and believes she will do well in the position.
“Phi Chapter is in great hands,” Harris said. “They’ve got another 90 years in front of them, and I don’t think Shantee will be the adviser for 90 years, but I do think she’s going to lead them for a while, and she’s going to give them some stability, and I see that they’re just going to be a force to be reckoned with as far as being competitive.”
Dana Orban is one of the co-advisers to Phi Theta Kappa, and she worked with the chapter alongside Harris as well. Orban said Siebuhr has brought new energy to the chapter and has energized the students.
“I just absolutely saw Molly in [Siebuhr], and I loved working with Dr. Harris; she was amazing,” Orban said. “Shantee is a go-getter. She wants to do it all and doesn’t want to say no to anything.”
Orban said she and Siebuhr balance each other out as Orban is more grounded and Siebuhr is more energetic.
“She is the hyper, energetic — for lack of other terms — chihuahua, and I’m the steady, laid back great dane,” Orban said.
Being chapter adviser is similar to being a coach or mentor, Harris said. Advisers also need to think about the long-term, teach the program and connect with the institution. An adviser also needs to understand that the chapter members are going to be unique each year, and some students may not lead the chapter as the adviser desires.
As the Phi Theta Kappa adviser, working with students is Siebuhr’s favorite part of the job, she said.
“I’ve always said that I have a puppies and rainbows type of soul — I want to help and support in any way I can, and help them feel like they can do this,” Siebuhr said. “A lot of times our academically gifted students struggle personally, and they don’t get as much support because everybody assumes that since they’re doing well in the classroom then they must be doing fine. What I’ve learned is that’s not the case at all and often times they need more support outside of the classroom, and so it’s really been a goal of mine to be that support for them so they have a more well-rounded experience while they’re here.”
This semester’s Chapter President Ashley Madden has worked with Siebuhr on awareness projects this semester as well as the chapter’s 90th-anniversary reunion and induction, which she described as a big success for the chapter.
“Working with Shantee has literally changed my life for the better,” Madden said. “I would not be where I am today without her continual support inside and out of the chapter. Shantee is that person you can go to even when you’re on the verge of tears (I have many times) and she can make your day just that much better and pull you out of that slump. When we work on PTK, she is always so excited and ready to take on anything. She carries that excitement everywhere she goes.”
This semester, Siebuhr has encouraged members to get the word out about Phi Theta Kappa to the rest of campus. Also, the service project they’ve worked on is hosting training for WC faculty and staff on how to use AED equipment and perform CPR in case of a medical emergency.
“I’m really proud of that project,” Siebuhr said. “Our kids have worked very hard on making sure that they better the college. That makes any adviser proud when your students are invested in making the institution better.”
Madden said the chapter is headed toward greatness and will usher in enthusiastic students who are more active on campus and in the community.
Orban said the chapter has seen a rise in membership and attributes some of the credit for that to Siebuhr, particularly the awareness campaign to let students know what Phi Theta Kappa is. In fact, Orban said the chapter is likely to see more growth in the future.
“I just see it being more and more exciting and inviting for the students,” Orban said. “The way the college is heading in general with our new president Dr. [Tod Allen] Farmer, he is all about the culture of caring and embracing students and letting them know they’re loved and needed and wanted, and that’s one thing that Phi does and we want to get that out to more students and encourage them to be that student that’s making good grades and successful.”