KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo honors five students for excellence in Spanish language, as the first members of the new chapter of Sigma Delta Pi National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society.
The honor society recently conducted its first initiation in the Kelley Student Center.
Elementary education student Breanna Santucci considers it a great honor.
"I am a strong believer that it is important for people to educate themselves about other cultures, because it makes you a better person," Santucci, from Kokomo, said. "Being a part of this society will help me build relations with people of different backgrounds, and learn more about their culture. Plus, it will make me stand out from other applicants when I pursue my career."
Improving job prospects is on recent IU Kokomo business graduate Kayla George's mind as well.
"Being chosen to be part of Sigma Delta Pi will provide me with another way of promoting myself to potential future employers," she said. "In today's society, being able to understand and speak Spanish is becoming even more important, as the number of Spanish speakers continues to grow."
George, a current Master of Business Administration student at Indiana University—Purdue University Indianapolis, thanked faculty co-sponsor J.R. Pico, senior lecturer in Spanish, for his efforts to bring the honor society to campus.
Pico is excited to qualify for an IU Kokomo chapter.
"This puts us at a superior level in our teaching of Spanish, and our students honored will have numerous benefits as members of our chapter," he said. "For one, there are scholarships available that would allow them to travel to Spanish speaking countries. Travel gives them an opportunity to put their foreign language knowledge to use in real life situations, and to learn more about the culture in person."
The five students, along with Pico and co-advisor Christine Taff, are charter members of the Omega Upsilon chapter. New initiates are Kristen Berry, Logansport; Kayla George, Peru; Tyler Keck, Breanna Santucci, and Lesly Winburn, Kokomo.
Those selected must have completed at least three years, or the equivalent, of college level Spanish, with an average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in those courses, rank in the upper 35 percent of their class, and completed at least three semesters of college work. Each one also must have genuine interest in Hispanic language and culture, and be of good moral character.
Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, is a non-profit organization, founded at the University of California Berkeley. It has nearly 600 chapters in the United States and Canada.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.