Orange Coast College  student Federico De Palma is among 28 Phi Theta Kappa members published in the honor society’s 2021 issue of Nota Bene, a literary journal that showcases outstanding writing of community college students.

De Palma also has been recognized as one of six “exemplary entries” and in addition to receiving a $1,000 scholarship, he has been named Phi Theta Kappa’s International Poet Laureate for a poem titled “Immigrant’s Song.”

A recent graduate of Orange Coast College with an associate degree, De Palma transferred to University of California, Irvine in fall 2021, however he has continued to take classes at Coast for his own personal interest. He has been a member of Orange Coast College’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter since 2019, and currently is majoring in Spanish with a minor in education. “I received an email from Teresa Scarbrough, Orange Coast College's Phi Theta Kappa chapter coordinator, with the info about Nota Bene,” says De Palma. “I intend to use this scholarship to pay [for] my studies, specifically to buy books and materials for my courses.”

Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievements of students at associate degree-granting colleges, and helps them grow as scholars and leaders. The honor society is made up of more than 3.5 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in 10 countries. Orange Coast College’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter was recently recognized as one of the best in the world.

De Palma recognizes the value that his membership in Phi Theta Kappa has provided. “Education is not only studying, but also socializing, learning from experience, and challenging yourself to new things,” he says. “Honors societies open the doors to that and much more.” 

More than 440 entries were submitted to the 2021 Nota Bene competition, which is judged by current and retired college faculty and staff from across the country. A digital issue of the literary journal will be available on the Phi Theta Kappa website this winter.