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Fall 2017 Scholarship Winners Announced!

November 7, 2017


Today, we’re excited to display the recipients of the Fall 2017 Golden Key headquarters awards. The winners of the Fall 2017 scholarships, in no particular order, are:


Golden Key Joan Nelson Study Abroad Award ($5,000.00)

  • Alexis Cannella, Colorado State University


Golden Key Geico Life Scholarship ($1,000.00)

  • Anthony Welch, Texas A&M University
  • Bernard Mills, Strayer University
  • Canice Dancel, University of Texas at Dallas
  • Maria del Carmen Comis, University of Houston Downtown
  • Jordan Howard, South Carolina State University


Golden Key Education Debt Reduction Award ($10,000.00)

  • Justin Speed, Tennessee State University


Golden Key Graduate Scholar Award ($10,000.00)

  • Mary Swearinger, Texas State – San Marcos
  • Franck Gbaguidi, Columbia University in the City of New York


Golden Key Undergraduate Achievement Award ($5,000.00)

  • Ton Suo, Cornell University
  • Brooke Hotard, Louisiana State University


Advisor Professional Development Award ($1,000.00)

  • Debu Misra, University of Alaska Fairbanks


Congratulations again to all of the winners! We are so proud of you!

Interested in applying for Golden Key scholarships?  View the scholarship listings and deadlines now! You can’t win if you don’t apply!

Golden Key Profiles Avery Hlavinka, Star Student and Golden Key Member

November 6, 2017

AVERY HEADSHOTAvery Hlavinka joined Golden Key during her sophomore year at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. She is now a senior, and has just been accepted into the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy.

Everyone at Golden Key is thrilled about Avery and her future. Let’s hear more from Avery about her life and her plans.

Golden Key: Where did you grow up, and what you are up to now?

Avery Hlavinka: I grew up in the small town of East Bernard, Texas. I have always had an interest in the healthcare field and worked as a student athletic trainer throughout high school.

I am currently a senior at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, and I will be graduating in May. I have especially enjoyed science and English classes. That led to my college major, Biomedical Sciences, and my minors, English and Chemistry. Next fall, I will begin studies at the Texas A&M Rangel College of Pharmacy.

Golden Key: Outside the classroom, what have been your favorite activities at Texas A&M-Kingsville?

Avery Hlavinka: I am a leader in multiple student organizations and participate in undergraduate research. During the summers, I work at a rice dryer near my hometown.

I became a member of Golden Key during my sophomore year. Honestly, when I initially received my invitation to join Golden Key, I joined because it would look good on my resume. However, since I joined, the society has become so much more than a bullet point.

I began serving as Vice-President of the TAMU-K chapter of Golden Key during my junior year. This is a position that I am maintaining now that I am in my senior year.

In the short time that I have been a member of Golden Key, the society has already paid back every cent of my membership fee and the benefits that I have experienced as a member far outweigh every ounce of time and energy that I have poured into the organization. I have attended professional development events, career-building workshops, and leadership conferences, to name a few. These opportunities for personal and professional growth are in addition to scholarships and monetary awards that I have received as a Golden Key member.

Some of the greatest benefits of Golden Key are the networking opportunities. Not only can you join a close-knit group on your own campus, but there are many events where you are able to make connections with people from other schools from around the country and the world.

Golden Key: Would you encourage other students to join? What do you believe they can gain from membership?

Avery Hlavinka: I encourage every student who receives an invitation to accept the offer of membership. The opportunities that Golden Key presents don’t stop after your New Member Recognition Event. Through your membership, you will experience countless opportunities to receive scholarships, invitations to attend career-building workshops, chances to participate in professional development and networking events, the ability to participate in volunteer service events and projects to give back to your community and much, much more.

Golden Key is one of the few organizations that continue with you throughout your life. I know that no matter where life takes me – pharmacy school, job opportunities in other cities or even in other countries – I will still be able to participate in Golden Key events and will have a Golden Key community almost anywhere I end up.

I grew up in a small town and community has always been an important part of my life. Golden Key will allow me to maintain that feeling of community and inclusion anywhere I go.


Do you have an outstanding Golden Key member that the world should know about? Nominate them to be featured in a member profile!

Golden Key Appreciates its Honorary Members!

September 25, 2017

At Golden Key, we invite the top-performing 15% of sophomores through graduate students at universities to join the Society. Have you heard about our honorary members? We, as well as our chapter members, enjoy electing notable and impactful leaders on campus and in the community as honorary members.

Hear from just one of many, Texas Tech’s Head Football Coach, who has a message for Golden Key.



Thanks, Coach Kingsbury! Who are your Honorary Members?!

Golden Key Scholar Profile: Patrick McCauley

September 13, 2017

Patrick McCauley gives a public talk at the Museum of Science in Boston.

Patrick McCauley is one of the winners of Golden Key’s 2016 Graduate Scholar Award (US$10,000). He  graduated from James Madison University in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in physics and is now studying solar storms as a PhD student at the University of Sydney. Before moving to Sydney in 2016, Patrick worked as a junior researcher for the U.S. National Radio Astronomy Observatory and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He has (co)authored 13 articles in the world’s leading astrophysics journals, presented at a number of international conferences, and served as one of the chief observers for the X-Ray Telescope onboard the Japanese Hinode satellite. In addition to research, Patrick is passionate about public outreach. He currently works as an astronomy educator at the Sydney Observatory, where he will use the Golden Key award to develop a new exhibit on the Sun. We caught up with Patrick to ask him a few questions about his history and what the award means to him.

What does winning the Graduate Scholar Award mean to you? 

Donning the Hinode hat while training for telescope operations at the
Institute of Space and Astronautical Science in Japan.

Through this award, Golden Key is allowing me to impact my community in a way that would not otherwise be possible, and I’m extremely grateful for that. Half of the money will be devoted to a new exhibit on solar storms at a local museum, the Sydney Observatory. I’m very excited to get started on that and to learn from the museum staff about the exhibit development process. We are planning to feature some of the most stunning observations of flares and eruptions alongside a hands-on activity related to electromagnetism, which is the dominant force behind solar storms. The other half of the award will be used to advance my research by allowing me to attend a skill building workshop and/or international science conference, where I can present my work and learn from leaders in the field at other institutions. Thanks again to Golden Key for making this possible!

What inspired you to go into astrophysics?
I was inspired largely by reading Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time in high school, which had me sold after explaining how time travel is theoretically possible. I’ve since found that I love working with observational data of all types. I started working on the Sun in 2011 when I got a job at the Smithsonian, and I’m continually amazed at how beautiful our star is. There’s so much going on there and so much we don’t know about why.
Why did you choose to come to Australia for your PhD?
I’ve been fortunate to meet and collaborate with scientists from all over the world, and their influence inspired me to go abroad for graduate school. I thought it would be exciting both personally and professionally, and I focused on Australia because it has always been a leader in radio astronomy. I was interested in combining my newfound love of the Sun with my prior experience in radio astronomy, and I had heard of a new instrument called the Murchison Widefield Array in Western Australia that might allow me to do just that. I’m working now on analyzing MWA observations of solar radio bursts in combination with ultraviolet and X-ray data from instruments like the Solar Dynamics Observatory.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I would appreciate the opportunity to acknowledge the wonderful supervisors whose support I am so grateful for: Harold Butner and William Alexander at James Madison University, Jeff Mangum at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Kathy Reeves and all of the SSXG members at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and now Iver Cairns at the University of Sydney. And of course, my partner Julie, who I’m privileged to share my time with.

How Your Golden Key Membership Makes You a Top Job Applicant Today

August 30, 2017

the chosen one

“Top Employers Say Millennials Need these 4 Skills in 2017,” an article Caroline Beaton wrote for Forbes on January 6, 2017, explores the most important traits that hiring companies are looking for today. Ms. Beaton doesn’t say it in her article, but if you are a Golden Key member, you are already cultivating the skills she describes.

Employers are Looking for More than Just a College Education

Ms. Beaton writes that employers are looking for employees who have done more than just complete college courses. They want employees who have demonstrated curiosity and commitment to outside projects. Golden Key’s foreign study programs, social outreach, and other activities show potential employers that you are the kind of candidate they are looking for.


Proven skills are important to employers. Yet in a world where technology is evolving quickly, they are also looking for employees who can adapt, learn, and adjust quickly. The range of your activities in Golden Key (such as doing research at several universities and studying in other countries) demonstrates just that kind of flexibility and adaptability.

Attention, Concentration and Follow-Through

Ms. Beaton writes that many companies are having a difficult time finding candidates who can complete projects from beginning to end. But actively involved Golden Key members, who are academic achievers, shouldn’t have a hard time convincing prospective employers that they possess this needed skill. Participation in Golden Key’s community and social outreach projects can do even more to demonstrate those skills.


Ms. Beaton summarizes this trait as, “not taking yourself too seriously.” Many of the core experiences you have had through Golden Key – meeting and interacting with people from other countries and cultures, for example, and engaging in charitable work – demonstrate that you have this trait.

Are You a Member of Golden Key Yet?

If not, CLICK HERE to learn more about how a Golden Key membership can help you succeed.


Fall 2016 Scholarship Winners Announced!

May 31, 2017


Today, we’re excited to display the recipients of the fall 2016 Golden Key headquarters awards. The winners of the Fall 2016 scholarships, in no particular order, are:


Golden Key Joan Nelson Study Abroad Award ($5,000.00)

  • Carly Hand, State University of New York at Fredonia


Golden Key Chartering Officer Award ($500.00)

  • Mina Delavar, California State University, Northridge
  • Tingwei Adeck, West Texas A&M University


Golden Key Geico Life Scholarship ($1,000.00)

  • Jose Faña, Queens College, The City University of New York
  • Morgan Frick, The University of Alabama
  • Bethany Martin, Arizona State University
  • Camillie Collins, The University of Texas at Arlington
  • Doaa Khalil, University of Southern Maine
  • Dai Zhang, Cincinnati Christian University
  • Jennifer Hoffmann, Ashford University
  • Joanna Stampelos, University of Delaware
  • Angelica Patterson, DePaul University
  • Kenneth Patterson, Colorado State University-Global Campus
  • Noe Arroyo-Williams, The University of Arizona
  • Alejandra Robles Saldana, University of the Incarnate Word
  • Agnieszka Kuligowski (Zalewska), California State University, Sacramento
  • Andrew Ackerman, New York Institute of Technology
  • Peter Lee, Brooklyn College, The City University of New York
  • Timothy Baba, Georgia Institute of Technology


Golden Key Education Debt Reduction Award ($10,000.00)

  • Jamaal Thomas, Walden University


Golden Key Research Grant ($2,000.00)

  • Bettina Koschade, Concordia University


Golden Key Graduate Scholar Award ($10,000.00)

  • Blair Flicker, The University of Texas at Dallas
  • Patrick McCauley, The University of Sydney
  • I-Hsin Lee, Cleveland State University
  • Mohammed Ghuzi, University of Alberta
  • Ryan Davis, Indiana University


Golden Key Undergraduate Scholar Award ($5,000.00)

  • Dai Zhang, Cincinnati Christian University
  • Dipela Mondi, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
  • Lars Karlstroem, University of the Sunshine Coast
  • Ryan Mui, United States Naval Academy
  • Montana Diabo, Concordia University


Congratulations again to all of the winners! We are so proud of you!

Interested in applying for Golden Key scholarships?  View the scholarship listings and deadlines now! You can’t win if you don’t apply!

The Golden Key Costa Rica Experience: A Great Cultural and Service Opportunity for Summer 2017

May 18, 2017

Header Summer 2017 (003)

Are you looking for a life-changing opportunity to serve and explore abroad in summer 2017? You’re in luck! You are invited to apply for The Golden Key Costa Rica Experience, an 8-night, 7-day program administered by Golden Key and the Costa Rican Language Academy (CRLA). The Golden Key Costa Rica Experience is now welcoming applications from Golden Key Members.


You can attend either of these sessions this summer:

  • Session One: August 5-12
  • Session Two: August 12-19

But please act soon, because the application deadline is July 8th, 2017.

The total trip cost is $1,295.00 USD. PLEASE NOTE that you are responsible for reserving and paying for your own round-trip air travel between a U.S. city of your choice and San Jose International Airport (SJO) in Costa Rica. You will be greeted at the airport by a program representative and escorted to your hotel in a fully licensed and insured motor coach.


The Experience of a Lifetime

Since 1989, more than 20,000 students have participated in programs administered by the CRLA. All lodging, meals, ground transportation, excursions and other experiences are meticulously chosen and supervised by CRLA staff. Upon your arrival at the airport, you will be met by a program representative and escorted to your hotel – a safe, secure, air-conditioned facility with a swimming pool – where you will share a room with 2-other 3 program participants.

But don’t take our word for it!

“The Golden Key-hosted trip to Costa Rica was the best experience of my life,” writes Anna W, who took part in the program last year, “It was a total immersion experience and I learned things about the language, culture, and population that no amount of education could provide an individual. Every detail of the trip was amazing, including the wonderful tour guides who were nothing but kind, knowledgeable, and helpful . . . I would recommend anybody who has the option of participating in this trip to take advantage of the opportunity!” – Anna W.

What makes this program so outstanding? First of all, every detail has been developed and tested in years past. Prior to your departure, for example, you will receive contact information and photos of all participants, so you can connect before you leave for Costa Rica – and if possible, meet in your local airport and travel together.


Teach Students Good Hygiene Skills

You and other U.S. students will travel to a remote community in Costa Rica, where you will teach hygiene practices to elementary school students using a program developed by and supported by, two nonprofit organizations with the mission of improving health and hygiene around the world. You will help young students learn better hand-washing skills, using fun, innovative GloGerm™ kits.


Make the World a Better Place

In addition to serving as a hygiene ambassador, you will have the opportunity to design and administer a program that reflects your own vision of improving the world.

Last year, for example, a program member who was studying graphic design helped elementary school students create a plan of their school that showed emergency evacuation routes. In the past, nursing students have administered health screening tests, environmentalists have run special projects to protect wildlife, and more. So bring your passions to Costa Rica with you, and get to work.


Become Immersed in the Life and Culture of a Vibrant Country

You will also spend time getting to know a Costa Rican family, touring the city of Cartago with a program guide, exploring the Ujarras ruins and the Irazu volcano, visiting nature preserves, heading to pristine beaches, volunteering at a wildlife rescue center , zip-lining over the jungle, taking a river tour to see crocodiles, learning to prepare traditional Costa Rican cuisine in cooking classes. . . and even protecting sea turtles and distributing their unhatched eggs to a turtle hatchery.

As Anna W. said The Golden Key Costa Rica Experience is the “experience of a lifetime.”


Reserve Your Place Now

To learn more, email

And be sure to check out the Engage Costa Rica Facebook group!