Luis Medina Elected PTK International Vice President

Luis Medina’s meteoric rise from College of DuPage student to international vice president in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society showcases the transformative power of embracing opportunities and the potential for leadership within every student.


Luis Medina poses for a picture with newly elected Phi Theta Kappa officers.

Devin Oommen, Staff Writer

COD student Luis Medina won an election to be an international vice president, one of the highest officer positions in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. After non-stop events and the campaign process leading up to the election, Medina said the abrupt change of pace after winning was a shock. 

“It feels a bit surreal because it’s like this thing that you’re anticipating so much, and then when you get it, it’s just like, ‘Wow, it happened, OK,” Medina said. “What do I do now?”

Phi Theta Kappa is an international honor society for college students. The organization is split into four geographic divisions. Division III includes 321 chapters and covers North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, and Indiana. As Division III Regional Vice President, Medina will travel to regional organizations and chapter events. 

“I have a voice as a student and a PTK member to represent our members,” said Medina. “Whatever new initiatives they want to do or ones that they currently have to make sure that all of our chapters and regions are aware of these programs and make the most of it.” 

Medina ran against two other candidates for the position. The election took place from April 20 to April 22 in Ohio at Catalyst, Phi Theta Kappa’s three-day annual conference. Members from each Phi Theta Kappa chapter were able to attend and/or send a voting delegate. Each chapter was able to cast one vote. Medina estimated there were 3,000 people in attendance.  

After winning the election, Medina said he felt an immediate shift in the dynamic between himself and the participants. 

“We had to make our way from the dinner to the dance, which is the last event of Catalyst, and it’s like a two-minute walk. It took us 10 minutes to get there because every single person that saw us wanted to stop us for a picture, to talk to us, to say congratulations,” said Medina. 

Leading up to the final result, he had to campaign at the event, give a speech to the audience in attendance and participate in a question and answer session with Phi Theta Kappa’s CEO. 

“The preparation was mostly getting ready emotionally and mentally to learn how to deal with the overwhelmingness of the election, the in-person aspect, but also to know enough and be confident in my words and my speech,” said Medina. 

Candidates were asked to  focus their speeches on the question, “In what way has play changed the modern world.” Medina’s interest in content creation led him to make his speech about Leland Stanford, founder of Stanford University, and how he indirectly helped with the creation of motion picture technology. 

Leland was interested in horse racing and had a debate with his peers about whether all of a horse’s hooves left the ground when it ran. To prove his point, Leland hired a photographer to try to capture an image that showed all of a horse’s hooves in the air.  The photographer, Edward Muybridge, successfully developed technology to capture the image and went on to use the technology to create an early version of motion picture technology. 

“Stanford’s interest in horse racing, a sport that he was so passionate about, led to this debate that led to the creation of motion pictures and such a huge part of human life,” said Medina. “Hence play influenced the modern world. From sports to motion pictures and entertainment.”

Now that Medina is an international officer, COD’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter is looking for a new president that can be onboarded over the summer. 

“It’s important for people to be involved. By being involved, opportunities you didn’t even know were there come out of nowhere,” said Medina. “Just being involved in a couple things kickstarted my involvement career at this college. I found out about leadership programs. I found out about student organizations and even got scholarships doing all of this. For students to know there’s opportunity everywhere and there’s potential in yourself to seek these opportunities and be successful in them is something that has helped me in my life and is something I know can help students.”

Orientation for newly elected Phi Theta Kappa officers is in June.

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