Central Vice-President

2016-2017 Central Vice-President
Gina Suszko

College/Chapter: Lincoln Land Community College/ Alpha Epsilon Kappa

Five Fast Facts:

  1. I was made in China and adopted when I was nine months old. My parents like to say that I got off on the wrong stop.
  2. I write poetry and have been published in a poetry anthology.
  3. I have played QuizBowl for the past eight years, and last season (2015-2016), I was ranked 12th in the nation.
  4. I have been teaching myself sign language for the past four years.
  5. I used to be in an improv comedy troupe and had a short stint of stand-up comedy.

My Phi Theta Kappa Story:

My Phi Theta Kappa Story started March of this year. While I had joined Phi Theta Kappa as a provisional member during the fall semester, I did not know much about the organization and thought of it as a good scholarship opportunity, if nothing else. Everything changed during March, when my Phi Theta Kappa chapter advisor asked me if I would be interested in attending Nerd Nation in D.C. I had never traveled beyond Illinois and Missouri, so I was intrigued by this opportunity. I accepted, and it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. At Nerd Nation, I learned, in a very direct and hands on way, what being in Phi Theta Kappa means and what my role is as a member. From that point on, I plunged myself into every opportunity I have had to be involved with Phi Theta Kappa and grow more as a person. I have faced many challenges head on, overcome obstacles I never thought I could, and made hundreds of new friends along the way. Phi Theta Kappa has encouraged me to lean into situations I would have otherwise avoided, and experience new adventures head first. I have already gained so much from Phi Theta Kappa, and I cannot wait to see what this year has in store for me!

My Favorite Phi Theta Kappa Moment (So Far):

My favorite Phi Theta Kappa moment would have to be the social on the first night of the Honors Institute. I remember seeing the international officers just moving around and talking to people like it was the most normal thing in the world. At Nerd Nation, the vibe is different, more formal and energized, and I did not make any friends outside of my chapter. I had a hard time talking to anyone, and, while I took comfort in the fact that everyone there was in Phi Theta Kappa, so they must be like me, I still felt alone. That changed at Honors Institute. The vibe there is much more casual and friendly. I remember being so impressed that these people (the international officers), who had seemed like celebrities at Nerd Nation, were just like me. That is what truly strengthened my passion for Phi Theta Kappa. It is hard to put into words, but it is kind of like if you’re at a Halloween Party, and you can’t find your friends– you’re feeling kind of anxious. But then they pull off their masks and you realize they were right beside you all along and you don’t have to feel afraid or lonely anymore. I met so many people that week, people that I can really call my friends. I look forward to making many, many more!

Favorite Quote Related to This Year’s Honors Study Topic:

My favorite quote about this years Honors Study Topic would have to come from George Bernard Shaw’s play, Pygmalion. It ties into the theme of Beauty vs. Vulgarity. If you haven’t read the play, I highly encourage you to do so. In the play, Eliza is an uneducated flower girl who dreams of becoming a lady. Professor Higgins, from England, and Colonel Pickering, from India, challenge themselves to turn her into a lady, by teaching her how to talk and behave properly. However, becoming a lady is not quite this simple. Towards the end of the play, Eliza says to Colonel Pickering:

“The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she’s treated. I shall always be a flower girl to Professor Higgins, because he always treats me as a flower girl, and always will; but I know I can be a lady to you, because you always treat me as a lady, and always will.”

Higgins sees Eliza as vulgar, and no matter how “beautiful” he makes her, she will always be vulgar to him. But Pickering sees Eliza as beautiful, so no matter how vulgar she acts, she will always be beautiful to him.