Alpha Chi Chapter Spotlight – Chowan University

All around the country, Alpha Chi members are producing extraordinary scholarship across disciplines. Let their work be your inspiration.

The Alpha Chi chapter at Chowan University brought nine members to the 2018 Alpha Chi National Convention. While every Alpha Chi chapter works hard to prepare for the convention, Chowan’s journey to Portland involved more than just scholarship.

Chowan University resides in Murfreesboro, North Carolina, a tier one region of North Carolina, meaning it’s a distressed, low-income area. Nearly three-quarters of Chowan’s student body are eligible for need-based Pell grants. Needless to say, there aren’t many slush funds for trips to the West Coast.

For Chowan’s Alpha Chi students, then, some of whom had never traveled outside North Carolina before, flying to the National Convention in Portland wasn’t just a big deal. It took a great deal of work raising the funds to bring nine of Chowan’s best scholars to Portland.

The Alpha Chi members knocked on corporate doors seeking donations; they held spaghetti dinners; they sold roses on Valentine’s Day; they collaborated with the photography club to offer student portraits during events, and they hit up their individual departments to invest. After much hard work, they succeeded in securing the funding, empowering them to focus on what’s important: presenting their research and meeting other Alpha Chi members from around the country.  

In the students’ words, the National Convention in Portland was a life-changing experience. Here are three Chowan University stories from the Alpha Chi National Convention.

Kyle Davison, a senior sports management major with double minors in coaching and accounting, delivered his research on burnout among coaches. To Kyle, a swim coach since 2009, this topic was personal.

During his research, he uncovered an obscure Scandinavian research paper that called into question accepted notions of burnout with coaches. “When I was doing my research, I stumbled along a study that was done in Sweden which found a flaw in most of the research that’s been done on the subject,” he says. “I wanted to find out how deep the flaw went.” So he followed his line of inquiry during his senior capstone class. His findings: this flaw has become almost universally prevalent in the field of sports psychology.

The very fact that Kyle presented this paper, however, was a personal victory. “In all honesty,” he says, “I’m surprised that I was able to get there at all.”

Kyle’s academic journey to the podium in Portland was most unlikely. “When I was in high school I didn’t put much into academics,” he says. “I graduated with a 2.1 GPA.” After a stint at a community college that didn’t go much better, he transferred to Chowan. “I was able to transfer and come to Chowan, barely making the admissions requirements—now I’m about to graduate from Chowan with a 3.8 GPA,” he says. “Never in my entire life did I expect to reach this point.”

Kyle says Alpha Chi has played a large role in his transformation. It has given him a scholarly family, the chance to shine academically, and a mentor who’s taken on a greater role in Kyle’s life. “I call my faculty sponsor—Dr. Corina Lee Wack—I call her ‘Mom,’” says Kyle. Dr. Wack was Kyle’s biology professor during a troubled sophomore year. “I had a lot of issues back at home, and she was one of the professors who helped me through them and kept me focused on my schoolwork.”

Kyle hopes to attend the University of West Virginia for graduate school, studying in their coaching and sports education program. Ultimately he wants to earn his doctorate, become a professor, and coach high school swimming on the side.

Victoria Baez-Quiroz, a senior history major with a minor in criminal justice, presented her research on the sanctuary movement. “I have a special interest in immigration and, especially in today’s political climate, the denouncing of immigrants,” says Victoria. Her research findings poked holes in the perceived roles immigrants play economically as well as their important role as drivers of commerce across America today. “Ultimately,” says Victoria, “my research linked immigration as a foundational concept into modern day cities today.”

Immigration is part of her own family story. “My mother came here from Ecuador when she was just 17,” says Victoria. “I wanted to do something to make her proud, but I never realized it would be going to college and presenting research on immigration, presenting things that ultimately my mom had to face—and ultimately did overcome.”

As an Alpha Chi member, Victoria discovered a world where books and scholarship are valued. “Alpha Chi has given me a bigger respect for academics,” she says. “You see all the work that the students have put in. You think about the work that you’ve put in as well, and you end up having such respect for people who seek to learn more.”

After graduating, Victoria hopes to attend law school, where she aims to specialize in immigration law and devote her career to making a difference.

Katrina Hodge, a senior psychology major and criminal justice minor, delivered her research on the racial differences of infidelity, forgiveness, and the likelihood of relationship dissolution after infidelity. “Unfortunately,” she says, “there are stereotypes about how different races react to different forms of cheating. Basically, I wanted to see if race did play a factor.”

Turns out that race does play a role. “I found that African Americans were more distressed by emotional infidelity than sexual infidelity,” reports Katrina, “and Caucasians were more distressed by sexual infidelity than emotional infidelity.”

Like her fellow Chowan Alpha Chi peers, Katrina’s Alpha Chi faculty sponsor, Dr. Danny Moore, has played a huge role in her academic success. During her junior year, Katrina’s father underwent a second kidney transplant. She turned to Dr. Moore for support. Together they worked through a very stressful time and kept Katrina’s focus on her studies while caring for her dad.

To Katrina, the difference between Alpha Chi and other honor societies is profound. “It’s great being part of other societies,” she says, “but I feel like Alpha Chi truly values their students. We actually have fun with what we do, and I think there’s more recognition and honor behind it.”

“If there’s one thing I learned from Alpha Chi, it’s having confidence in yourself and about your abilities,” she says. “I’ve surprised myself by being elected the president of our chapter. I never would have expected that. And I surprised myself by presenting in Portland because I stepped out of my comfort zone. You have to be able to trust in yourself and your abilities—and that’s something that can last a person a lifetime.”

What’s next for Katrina? “I’ve been hired as a residence life coordinator at a school in New York,” she says. “In turn, they’ll pay for my master’s degree in Management.”