Six Erskine College students, accompanied by Professor of Music Dr. J. Brooks Kuykendall, traveled to Chicago for the Alpha Chi National Convention March 19-21.
Seniors Derrick Brown of Anderson, Kate Macsay of Greenville, and Rachel Talbot of Rock Hill, along with juniors Christina Holbrooks of Mooresville, N.C., Jennifer Jennings of Greenwood, and Kate Keukelaar of Clarence, N.Y. attended the honor society convention, with Brown, Holbrooks, Keukelaar, Macsay, and Talbot making presentations, and Kuykendall serving as a judge for the performing arts entrants.
“This is the third time, and the third year in a row, that we’ve gone to the national convention, and this is the biggest group we’ve sent,” said Kuykendall, who is Erskine’s Alpha Chi sponsor.
“While we were there we met up with former Erskine College trustee Kate Stewart, who is very active in Alpha Chi and was instrumental in getting a chapter established at Erskine.”
The group also spent some time with Tillary Blackman ’13, an Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award winner at Erskine who is now a graduate student in psychology. “It was fantastic to see someone from the Erskine community as far away as Chicago,” Talbot said.
Macsay was happy with the opportunity to attend the convention. “Students from around the country showcased their research and artistic talents while creating valuable connections,” she said. “Five of Erskine’s chapter members participated via presentations on topics ranging from world history to biology and photography.”
Talbot, who presented some black-and-white photographs she had taken at Erskine, said, “It was a good experience to present to judges in a friendly yet highly academic environment.”
Sightseeing highlights for the students, Talbot said, included the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), the Navy Pier, Millennium Park, and the Lincoln Park Zoo. Some members of the group also visited the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, while others went to the Museum of Science and Industry to view a U-boat from the World War II era, and Macsay noted that some members of the group visited the American Girl Doll store. All enjoyed sampling Chicago’s famous cuisine.
“The conference ended late Saturday night with a gala celebrating Alpha Chi, the attendees, and the winners from each category of presentations,” Talbot said. “Overall, it was a terrific conference, and I’m so glad that we had the chance to attend and make presentations!”
Alpha Chi is a national college honor society. Founded in 1922, Alpha Chi admits students from all academic disciplines. Membership is limited to the top 10 percent of an institution’s juniors, seniors, and graduate students. Its stated purpose is “to promote academic excellence and exemplary character among college and university students and to honor those who achieve such distinction.”