Professor emeritus Marsha Ironsmith from ECU’s Department of Psychology was awarded a 2016 Literacy Grant from the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi — the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Ironsmith is one of 16 recipients nationwide to receive the award.
The grant of more than $1,200 will be used to support a project that pairs East Carolina University psychology students with elementary-aged children attending an after-school program at Building Hope Community Life Center in Greenville. The center’s goals include strengthening academic achievement and character development.
As part of the project, ECU students facilitate the reading and discussion of books with characters from diverse backgrounds facing challenges familiar to the children. Discussions focus on encouraging empathy for others and are enhanced with creative writing, art, music and film projects to foster deeper comprehension.
The Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grant program was established in 2003 to provide funding to Phi Kappa Phi chapters and active members for ongoing projects or new initiatives that reinforce part of the society’s mission “to engage the community of scholars in service to others.” Drawing from a multi-disciplinary society of students and scholars from large and small institutions, applicants are encouraged to consider literacy projects that have creative relevance to their disciplines and the needs of their communities.
Founded in 1897, Phi Kappa Phi inducts approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni each year. The society has chapters at more than 300 colleges and universities in North America and the Philippines. Membership is by invitation only to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and 7.5 percent of second-term juniors. Faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction also qualify. The society’s mission is “to recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.” For more information about Phi Kappa Phi, visit www.PhiKappaPhi.org.