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Eta Gamma Members Pursue Honors Topic at International Honors Institute

July 2, 2014

Eta Gamma co-vice president of scholarship Danika Burton and Chapter advisor Linda McFate pose with internationally known animal behaviorist Ken Ramirez of the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

Eta Gamma co-vice president of scholarship Danika Burton and Chapter advisor Linda McFate pose with internationally known animal behaviorist Ken Ramirez of the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

Representatives of the Eta Gamma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at Coffeyville Community College pursued their Honors in Action Project, “How Service Animals Enhance the Quality of Human Life,” by attending the 46th annual Honors Institute held June 16-21 at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.  Washington University was the first university established west of the Mississippi River and is well known for its academic excellence. 

The topic for the conference was “Frontiers and the Spirit of Exploration.”  The Eta Gamma Chapter has selected theme seven from the Honors Program Guide, Health and Medicine as Frontiers and will be researching, “How do Service Animals Enhance the Quality of Human Life?”  The topic was addressed by conference speaker, Ken Ramirez during his Fedor Lecture Series keynote address, “Exploring the Natural World:  Frontiers in Animal Training.” 

Mr. Ramirez is a thirty-five year veteran of animal care and training.  He is a biologist and animal behaviorist who served nine years at Marine World of Texas.  He also was a trainer and coordinator at Ocean Safari in South Padre Island, Texas, as well as acting as a consultant to many zoo and aquarium programs throughout the world.  He began his training career working with guide dogs for the visually impaired and has maintained a close affiliation to pet training throughout his career.

Other keynote speakers included:  actor Patrick Lee as Captain William Clark; issue engineer Dr. Nana Tandon who discussed growing artificial hearts and bones; Dr. Ray Arvidson who focused upon lessons from the earth and the planetary Remote Sensing Laboratory; and National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle.

The conference also included small seminar group discussions of ideas presented in the keynote addresses as well as a chapter advisors luncheon, Honors in Action presentations, a workshop by Kham Academy and the Pokey LaFarge band performing the “Quest for Human Expression in the American Song Book.

Special features of the conference included the St. Louis Arch, excursion on a Mississippi river boat, the Botanical Gardens and Tower Grove House, the St. Louis Art Museum, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis and the City Museum.  Some delegates from the Kansas Region had the opportunity to attend a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game.  Attending the conference from the Eta Gamma Chapter were the co-vice president of scholarship Danika Burton and Advisor Linda McFate.

The chapter has received word that a smooth hair collie has been selected for Eta Gamma’s honors topic service project, as a service dog for the special needs children at Tulsa’s Little Light House.  The dog which has been named Raven in honors of the Coffeyville Red Ravens, will begin training at the Little Light House in the near future.