PTK president, scholar meets with Oregon governor

Quiet, shy, seemingly a mute child. Abused, addicted to alcohol until pregnant at 17. Then anxiety, depression, sick from it all. Now? Peer mentor, ambassador, president of Phi Theta Kappa.

Phi Theta Kappa’s Alpha Sigma Upsilon Chapter President Jantyne Bunce has traveled a long bumpy road to get where she is today. Born in Idaho, Bunce’s life was off to a quiet start as she didn’t speak for years. “I’m extremely shy, so much so that doctors and my mother thought I was mute for several years when I was young,” Bunce said. That wouldn’t be the only challenge, however, that Bunce faced during her childhood.

At three years of age, Bunce recalls being abused by the man her mom was married to at the time. The abuse continued until she was 11 at which time her mother’s husband went to prison, charged with child molestation. He has since been deported. At that time, Bunce and her mom relocated to Riddle, Oregon with her mom’s new boyfriend.

“It was a bit of a culture shock going from a middle school that had more students to a school that was a combination middle and high school,” Bunce said.

By her mid-teens, Bunce turned to alcohol which, at the time, was easily available. “Oh, man, it made me feel numb from my internal pains,” Bunce said. Most of all, it helped her sleep at night, she said. Also, she felt it made her more outgoing and fun. Sometimes, however, drinking and “having fun” got her in trouble.

Bunce recalls an event where she had to perform community service because she and some friends vandalized a park picnic table. Bunce claims her mother asked the courts to give her more community service than the others for not ratting out her sister.

Alcohol and mischief would eventually take its toll on her education. Seventeen and pregnant with her only child, Bunce was asked to leave her school because of her mischievous behavior. She claims her principal at the time cited her behaviors weren’t acceptable.

As a pregnant high school dropout, Bunce then moved to Coos Bay to live with her grandparents where she gave birth to her daughter. After having her child, Bunce moved back to Roseburg and began attending UCC the first time, studying culinary arts.

Back in Roseburg, she came face-to-face with a near tragedy. While Bunce’s daughter was under another person’s care, the 18-month-old child overdosed on prescription pills.  Her daughter had to be life flighted to a hospital in Portland. “It was awful! Worst experience of my life,” Bunce said. Looking for direction in life, in 2007 Bunce returned to Coos Bay to continue studying culinary arts and accounting at SWOCC, Southwestern Oregon Community College, which has an accredited culinary program. However, after her financial aid fell through, she had to drop out of SWOCC, and she eventually moved back to Roseburg once again.

Ready to settle down and purchase a home, Bunce worked in the restaurant industry to save up for a house. In a matter of a few years, Bunce had saved $10,000 towards a home with help from Dream$avers, a program coordinated through NeighborWorks Umpqua. Those dreams of owning a house would soon fade after losing her job, where Bunce asserts she was wrongfully terminated. She again decided to attend college because she didn’t feel she had a choice.

Instead of purchasing a house, Bunce devised another plan for the $10,000 she had raised. Bunce took the money and spent it on college, so as to avoid losing her Dream$avers portion of her savings.

In spring of 2014, Bunce started taking classes at UCC again to pursue an Associate of Arts in Accounting. For the most part, Bunce wasn’t involved with campus activities right away. She went to school to focus on classes. She went home to study and take care of her family. Rinse and repeat.

However, that would soon change. Because of her G.P.A., she was invited to join Phi Theta Kappa during winter 2015. Immediately, she started attending the PTK meetings. After attending several club meetings, then President KC Perley suggested she take on the role of public relations for PTK.

During fall term 2015, she became an ambassador.  According to UCC’s website, an ambassador “represents Umpqua Community College to prospective students, current students, faculty and staff, community members and guests at the institution. Student ambassadors are first points of contact, are well informed about campus and able to provide direction and assistance as needed.” Ambassadors must have a 3.0 G.P.A. and be in good academic standing, have taken 15 credits already at UCC and work a regular 12 hours per week.

That fall, a horrible tragedy struck the campus that challenged Bunce’s resolve. In the wake of  the Oct. 1 campus shooting,  the UCC’s PTK chapter almost dissolved. Bunce was then asked to take the chapter president’s position. Bunce did step up and became the interim president for the remainder of the year.

She served as interim president until fall 2016 when the club was able to restart the chapter. After holding an official election, Bunce became the UCC PTK chapter president. In fall 2016, she also became a peer mentor as she continues to work at the front desk to be a more accessible peer mentor.

During this time, problems began in her personal life. Family fights drove her to isolate herself from her mother. Her closest relative, her grandfather, passed away. And, with so much heartbreak and tragedy in her life, she chose to focus on her classes and her family’s stability. Still fighting her past along with recent tragedies, she graduated from UCC in spring 2016. She was not done with UCC, though.

For the 2016/17 school year, Bunce returned to UCC as a dual enrolled student at Eastern Oregon University to work towards a Bachelor’s in Business Administration degree.

As PTK’s president, Bunce sought to raise the chapter’s status within the fraternity. She began working on their hallmarks which are a process of taking on projects and writing papers to solve critical issues. Learning that the UCC garden was about to dissolve, Bunce sought to save the garden by making the garden part of one of their hallmarks. Due to their continued  hard work, the garden is now ready to be planted for the summer growing season.

Bunce and UCC’s chapter of PTK were able to raise their status by performing their hallmarks. And for that hard work, she and her team traveled to a national PTK conference in Nashville for an unforgettable experience.

Once Bunce returned from their trip, she was honored for her hard work at a banquet in Salem with the governor. Bunce and one other student from UCC are a part of the All-USA/All State Academic Team and received scholarships for their university education. According to the UCC website, the All-USA/All State Community College Academic Team selected twenty students in early 2017 for the national All-USA Community College Academic Team. Each student received a $5,000 scholarship and recognition in the USA TODAY newspaper.

For those who don’t know who Bunce is, she is one of the friendly faces at the main desk in the Student Center. Her job is to answer phones and assist Diana Kelly; she also helps students with many needs as part of her role as peer mentor.