Scholarship award spotlight on PTK officer and Mainstream managing editor

Published by J.R. Williams on

Faith Byars is an officer in UCC’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter as well as being the managing editor for The Mainstream.
Photo provided by Faith Byars

Scholarship award spotlight on PTK officer and Mainstream managing editor

Involved in multiple aspects of campus life, Faith Byars has dedicated herself to academics and outreach projects.  Byars, a homeschooled student until her start at UCC says she has thrived in the college classroom environment.

“College is very similar to homeschooling,” Byars said in a Zoom interview, “The way I learned growing up was that I had to be responsible for my own deadlines and be proactive in learning and asking for help. I learned a lot about working independently with support as almost a preparation for what I have experienced in college.”

She also described her many sacrifices in order to achieve her goals, voicing the reality that book smarts are only a small part of traditional academic achievements. Faith believes that commitment, for example, will get you farther in life and education than the ability to do calculus perfectly.

Phi Theta Kapa Honor Society, a community college organization that builds networks and resources for alumni.
Photo provided by Phi Theta Kappa

Byars as well as fellow UCC student Elizabeth Turner were both awarded Coca-Cola’s Silver and Gold Scholar awards, respectively. Not only did Byars receive the Coca-Cola silver award, but she was also selected for All Oregon award.

“The school pulled my nomination for All-Oregon from my PTK scholarship application,” Byars explained.

Byars employed the tactic of applying for scholarships that would also send her application to all qualifying scholarship programs available to current students. This efficient application process required submission of personal and academic information as well as a record of personal achievements, community involvements and participation in organizations.

Byars, an active member and officer of Phi Theta Kappa and managing editor of The Mainstream student newspaper, says, “It is important not to get involved in too much or you will set yourself up for failure. When you get caught up in the excitement and take on too much too quickly, you can compromise your success. It was really important for me to become acclimated first and then get more involved with the school. Once I was ready, I really enjoyed being an active member on campus.” 

PTK allowed her an outlet to feed her community outreach passion through projects within the honor society organization such as the Danna-May Go4Students Memorial Scholarship project executed last fall. She also attends the UCC Wellness meetings as a PTK representative.  

PTK 5 Star Officer Faith and UCC PTK chapter president Jesika Barnes as well as other PTK members helped create the scholarship and raised $7595 during the #GivingTuesday, Dec. 1, 2020 event and arranged for an additional $5000 to be contributed from ASUCC to the scholarship fund. 

Byars also helped PTK be awarded two Hallmark Awards from PTK at their annual Catalyst convention: a Top 100 Chapter and Distinguished College Project Award as well as recognition as a five-star chapter, the highest level of chapter success, partly due to the work they did with their scholarship fundraising.  

As one of the main peer writing tutors on campus for over a year, Byars fed her love of community within the Success Center/Library but found a need for more access to writing support for fellow students.  She took it upon herself to create writing and editing workshop offered to students seeking peer guidance and support. The workshop kicked off in winter term last year and has been on hold because of the pandemic. Byars’ love of writing does not end with tutoring though.

Byars has also put her love of editing to work as the managing editor for The UCC Mainstream. She writes articles for each issue as well as edits many of the articles The Mainstream staff present.

Two university students sit at a library computer and discuss while pointing at the screen.
Photo provided by Pixabay

Byars along with help from fellow staff, editors and advisor, has adopted new and innovative ways of delivering much needed information to the campus community with impact and relevance. Currently, she is leading staff through the final phases of The Mainstream’s extensive series on the recent fires and community response. She has also explored additional interactive news delivery and more on camera time for staff.

“I have had a 4.0 GPA for ten terms,” Byars said alluding to the commitment and responsibility she has taken on to achieve her goal. The truth is, she went through a lot of “trial and error” to figure out a schooling system that was successful. One of her tips has been to move slowly into leadership roles. “I took my time to get acclimated before taking on more,” Byars said.  

She explained that getting comfortable in a new endeavor is important, cultivating time for yourself and loved ones as well as passions and goals. Byars said that her family and home life are vital for her support and nourishment.

“I am asked to participate in more than I could give myself to and still be happy,” Byars said. While she is eager to lend her skills to many opportunities, she emphasizes self care and boundaries.

Byars said, “Don’t let longing or feeling left out to allow you to get carried away”.

After UCC, Byars plans to continue pursuing her passion for writing. She intends to transfer to University of Oregon where she hopes to continue English studies and creative writing. Her dream is to work within the publishing industry as a writer and editor.

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