KY TSA Shares Four Ways to #TalkTSA

The TSA colors of red, white and blue are flying high across the Bluegrass State, as Kentucky TSA (KY TSA) reports a resurgence of the association in the commonwealth.

Mark Harrell is the KY TSA state advisor and corporate member, and the engineering consultant in the Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education (CTE). He says KY TSA membership has soared and 10 new chapters have been created in just the past two years. How did they do it? Mr. Harrell shares some of the new efforts to #TalkTSA:

Straighten Up. “We have been working on restructuring our KY TSA regions to better align with our regional hosts,” he explains. “We now have a KY TSA advisor who is the regional chair of each of the KY TSA regions (EKTSA, CKTSA, and WKTSA). The advisor is tasked with expanding the existing chapters’ membership and the KY TSA network by recruiting new chapters.” In four years as a TSA member, Ryan Walters served in six roles at the local, regional and state levels, culminating with his election as Kentucky TSA state president 2017–18. “When I took the office of Kentucky TSA historian, our state delegation was on a rapid decline in membership,” recalls Walters. “The officers and I dissected our state conference and fixed some of the challenges. Now, as I pass the torch on to the next president, I am happy to say that we enhanced the state delegation and because of the work we did, Kentucky TSA is on the rise.”

LEAP to It! KY TSA hosted a leadership conference for the first time in a decade. Local chapter officers and advisors, state officers, and board members gathered at the Early College and Career Center in Elizabethtown and focused on “The Student Leadership Challenge: The Five Practices for Becoming an Exemplary Leader,” which is embraced by the TSA program known as LEAP (Leadership. Education. Achievement. Personal Growth.”) They even hosted a breakout session for advisors to discuss free resources for the challenge and plan for the state conference. Chapter officers took valuable lessons back to their student members.

Hear them Roar (and more)! Make it fun and they will come. During the 2018 state conference, through a rental, KY TSA had half the Louisville Zoo to themselves for two hours! State conference attendees also upped their game at the evening Social Event through rented, giant inflatables, giant Jenga® sets, and a Ms. Pacman® tournament. “This is the first time something like this was done, and I hope it will make students come back and make me reach a higher goal” next year, says the organizer, Mrs. Susan Doring-Zook. The engineering technology teacher at Dunbar High School has been a TSA chapter advisor for seven years. Also at the state conference, students who visited all the booths during the college fair and filled out a passport, were entered into a drawing for more than $1,000 worth of prizes.

Snap, then Chat. KY TSA has been utilizing social media more than ever to reach students. That includes Instagram (KY_TSA), Twitter (@kentuckytsa), and SnapChat (@KY_TSA). “At our state conference, we purchased a Geofilter for SnapChat so students could capture their experience and brand it KY TSA,” explains Mr. Harrell. “Our hope is we can expand existing chapter sizes by having active members introduce their peers to our organization through social media.”

He adds, “KY TSA is growing leaders ready for the high-skilled, high-wage STEM careers in Kentucky, but more importantly, we are growing digital citizens ready to make our commonwealth a better place for all of us.”

For more information on these and other ways to spread the word about TSA, contact Mr. Mark Harrell at Mark.Harrell@education.ky.gov.