Admissions Counselor Named Phi Theta Kappa Faculty Scholar

Anna Lauren Heavener recognized for excellent service to transfer students

Anna Lauren Heavener, transfer admissions counselor at the University of Mississippi, is a Phi Theta Kappa Faculty Scholar for the organization’s 2020 Honors Institute. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – A transfer admissions counselor at the University of Mississippi has been selected by Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society to serve as a faculty scholar for the organization’s 2020 summer conference.

Anna Lauren Heavener is among 30 PTK chapter advisers and alumni nationwide chosen for Honors Institute, PTK’s annual weeklong honors conference. Faculty scholars lead attendees in small group discussions about presentations by keynote speakers. Each speaker is an expert on an idea related to PTK’s Honors Study topic.

“Being a faculty scholar is a feat I never thought I would accomplish,” said Heavener, a 2015 UM alumna in biology who is scheduled to complete her master’s degree in higher education and student personnel in May 2020. “My coworker, Amie Bernstein, talked me into applying, and I am so glad that I did. Giving back to this organization which has given me so much is very important to me.”

Honors Institute sets the stage for many PTK chapters to begin their honors projects.

“The guidance faculty scholars give can be the first step in igniting a student’s passion, getting them involved and setting them on a course to gain leadership experience and develop soft skills,” said Blake Ellis, PTK’s vice president of student engagement. “PTK’s honors program guides chapters in a research-based, action-oriented project on their campuses and in their communities.”

PTK made it possible for Heavener to attend Ole Miss through incredible scholarships as a transfer student from Northeast Mississippi Community College. As an undergraduate, she was a Lyceum Scholarship recipient, Provost Scholar, senior leader of the Chancellor’s Leadership Class and PTK alumni association president.

Heavener also served as vice president of the Transfer Leadership Organization before joining the Office of Admissions staff in 2016.

“Phi Theta Kappa opened doors for development of leadership, scholarship, fellowship and service – the four hallmarks of Phi Theta Kappa,” she said. “I continue to stay involved with the organization as an alumni chapter (Gamma of Mississippi) adviser, to hopefully provide that same opportunity to students across the nation.”

The training that faculty scholars receive is a professional development experience like no other, said Susan Edwards, PTK’s associate vice president of honors programming and undergraduate research.

“Faculty scholars come away with new skills and a completely new way to engage with and learn from a diverse group of individuals,” Edwards said.

Phi Theta Kappa is the oldest, largest and most prestigious honor society recognizing students pursuing two-year degrees. Phi Theta Kappa is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 11 nations.