Greetings once again from The Honors College. We were quite busy this summer hosting a variety of events including the Governor’s Honors Academy (GHA), the Governor’s School for Math and Science (GSMS), the Honors Leadership Academy (HLA), a Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE), and two sections of Honors Adventure West Virginia. During the rest of our summer, we were preparing for our 532 incoming first-year students. Every year, we are growing and evolving. We would love to see you involved with our efforts. If you are interested in learning more about all the changes in the Honors College, please visit us in Honors Hall. We can give you a tour and show you how we’ve expanded!
On Friday, August 20, the Honors College welcomed 532 first-year students as new members at the annual Honors College Retreat. The Honors Retreat signifies the beginning of a new academic year and provides first-year Honors College members with a chance to participate in a day of community building endeavors. Students spent the day getting to know one another, learning about Honors College membership, and hearing from WVU faculty and staff about important first week issues. They got a chance to met the dean of the Honors College, Dr. Keith Garbutt, and spoke with upper-class peers who will serve as their co-mentors, peer leaders, and resident assistants during the next year. They spent the afternoon playing games on the green and participating in activities in Honors Hall.
In courses with titles like “Wild for Wilde: Aestheticism at the Fin du Siecle”, “Macbeth Burlesque”, “Not Today’s Desperate Housewives”, “Ludwig van Beethoven and the Deathly Hallows: Art and Entertainment in America”, “Foxfire and Frontiers: Traditional Practices and New Ideas in the Gilded Age”, and “Bestofus (for the) Restofus”, students learned about literature, theater, civil rights and the suffrage movement, chemistry, and philosophy.
GHA is a summer residential program providing academic enrichment for high school juniors who are both outstanding scholars and school citizens. Students can enroll in a vast variety of intensive courses to broaden their horizons and learn about subjects they may not have been exposed to previously.
Students spent three weeks working on research projects, attending daily lectures, and having fun. GHA participants had the opportunity to visit the WV Capitol in Charleston for favorite teacher day, spent a day in Washington, D.C., attended Love Changes Everything: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, saw natural splendors at Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA, and enjoyed a day at Kennywood Park. Planning for GHA 2012 has already begun!
“Planes, Cars, and Trains,” was the theme for 2011 Governor’s School for Math and Science (GSMS) hosted by the Honors College. GSMS is a summer residential program providing academic enrichment in the areas of science and math for rising 8th and 9th graders living in and attending school in West Virginia.
During GSMS, students work on research projects, attend daily classes, enjoy recreational activities around Morgantown, and visit areas related to the year’s theme. This year, students went to Washington, D.C. to tour the Smithsonian Institute Air and Space Museum and spent a day at Kennywood Park.
The Honors Leadership Academy was a three-week “mini-semester” workshop designed for incoming first-year Honors students. Students lived on campus and attended classes to become acclimated to the college experience.
“The Honors Leadership Academy (HLA) was a wonderful success this summer,” said Dr. Lisa DeFrank-Cole, Director of the ASPIRE Office and the Leadership Studies Program at WVU. “Sixteen honors students came to Morgantown to take two classes: Principles of Leadership (LDR 201) and Honors 199. In addition to receiving four honors credits, students also traveled to Washington, DC to meet US Senator Jay Rockefeller as the debt-ceiling bill was passed,” DeFrank-Cole added.
HLA is an enrichment activity to help students transition into college life. HLA is a partnership between the Honors College and the Leadership Studies program in the Eberly College at WVU.
The Honors College Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) welcomed 25 student scholars for the July 2011 session. SURE is an eight-week program designed for students in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics disciplines who are interested in pursuing careers in research-oriented fields. Selected participants spent the summer conducting research in their fields of study. The student researchers were given opportunities to engage in professional research under a professor and graduate or post-doctoral mentor, take a research course, and present their discoveries at the SURE Research Symposium held on July 29. Information will soon be posted online for SURE 2011.
Living in Moscow, Russia, so far has been nothing but one adventure after another. Speaking as a tourist, my time here has been amazing. The pressure to see and experience Moscow isn’t there as I have repeatedly visited the Red Square, the Kremlin, and other such monuments in Moscow simply for the sake of a walk. Even my university is a tourist attraction for many who come to Moscow to see the “Seven Sisters” built under Stalin. However, my time here as a student is trying but rewarding. I’m continuing to grow, gaining new responsibilities and figuring out life in a culture so different than my own. If It’s not figuring out how to dress properly for the already chilly September days or trying to find school supplies in a place where lined where is unheard of, then its trying to explain who I am in Russian to some security guard at MSU! I really can’t catch a break, but I love it. My Russian has already improved a lot, and my classes have only just begun. It’s really going to be quite an amazing experience to study here in Russia, and a challenge to survive through the infamous Russian winter!
Honors College members Evans Bonnstetter and Julie Diamond were crowned the 2011 WVU Homecoming King and Queen.
Bonnstetter, a public relations and Spanish double-major, has served as a co-mentor of Honors 199, was a peer leader in Honors Hall, is a Gold and Blue Student Ambassador, is a member of the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity and the WVU club tennis team, and has been a part of the Student Government Association for two years. His philanthropic endeavors include volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House, Sundale Nursing Home, and Morgantown Public Library.
According to WVUToday, Bonnstetter said, “Winning Homecoming king is the biggest honor I can imagine at WVU. It means that other students see me as a good representative of the University and a true Mountaineer,” he said. “I have been going to the WVU Homecoming game with my family my whole life, and I hope that both they and the alumni that traveled to Morgantown for Homecoming feel the same way.”
Diamond, a biology and mathematics double major, is the vice president of the Chi Omega sorority and a member of the Beta Beta Beta biology fraternity.
She volunteers for Relay for Life, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Monongalia General Hospital and the Rosenbaum House.
Diamond is quoted in WVUToday as having said, “The title of queen carries a priceless platform from which one’s voice can be heard, and I will do everything I can to influence others positively and to serve my community and state,” Diamond said. “The good will, enthusiasm and talents of our WVU students, harnessed and coordinated, could make a difference in so many ways, especially to the young people in our schools.”
The Homecoming Court was full of Honors College members we would like to congratulate for their participation – Emily Dill, Brett Phillips, and Christopher Smith were all candidates who represented Honors well.
Honors College members Ryan Butler and Katlin Stinespring were honored as the 2011 WVU Mr. & Ms. Mountaineer.
Butler, a student in the five-year Masters of Art in education program with a focus in secondary math education, is a resident assistant in Honors Hall, a member of Circle K International, the Council of Math Educators, and is the webmaster for the WVU Collegiate 4-H Club.
“By being awarded the title of Mr. Mountaineer, it means that anything is possible, especially at WVU,” Butler said. “I am an ordinary, average guy, so to be selected as a finalist is even a great honor ? No matter what you may believe, as long as you do your best and take advantage of the opportunities in front of you, you are bound to succeed. I am able to give back to the University that has provided me with so much,” said Butler.
Butler said with his title he would like to promote sustainability across campus, which would include not only recycling but energy conservation and alternate transportation efforts.
“West Virginia is a beautiful state and Morgantown a wonderful town, so I want to try to protect them and keep them clean as much as possible,” Butler said.
Stinespring, a public relations major, is an Honors College High School Delegate, the assistant clarinet section leader and woodwind rank leader of the WVU Mountaineer Marching Band, and the vice president of public relations and membership for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
“Born and raised a Mountaineer, throughout my life I strive to represent my University and state with pride. Every time I don my marching band uniform or speak to prospective students, I am conscious of how I represent WVU and the messages I portray to those around me,” Stinespring said. “WVU offers me opportunities to learn, to explore the world and to lead. In return, through my diverse involvement I can give back to my University in a way that allows others to see their future as Mountaineers.”
Stinespring said she would use her title to become a role model to prospective students and give back to the community and University.
“I hope to influence other students’ college experiences by exemplifying a lasting loyalty that ultimately leads to a positive reputation for the University in the future,” she said.
Other Honors College members who were 2011 Mr. & Ms. Mountaineer finalists are Jason Bailey, Chris Smith, Katie McDonald, and Rachel Viglianco. We would like to congratulate all the Honors College scholars who participated in this WVU tradition.
For more information, see the WVU Today article.
Jason Bailey, Honors College scholar and WVU Student Body President, was one of 15 young student leaders to serve as a delegate of the Kremlin Fellows. He spent a week in Moscow, Russia on a trip completely funded by the Russian government.
“I’m honored and humbled to be selected in such an elite pool of students for this program,” Bailey said. “It speaks highly of the academics here at the University, and I feel very well prepared from what my professors have taught me over the years.”
Bailey and the other American student leaders from Columbia University, Duke University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Indiana University, Michigan State University, MIT, Oklahoma State University, Stanford University and the University of California-Berkeley among others will work alongside Russian leaders to develop new initiatives or modify existing programs at each represented university.
“In terms of networking, I’ll be spending seven days with the nation’s top young leaders – people who will be leading this country in the future,” Bailey said. “I’m excited to meet my colleagues as we strive to make practical contributions to US-Russia relations.”
Bailey will be posting frequent updates to his blog on SGA’s website, as well as tweeting updates and pictures. To read his blog, visit http://sga.wvu.edu/sga_blogs/pres. To follow him on Twitter, visit http://twitter.com/WVUtoRussia.
Bailey will have the opportunity to teach these student leaders how truly competitive, nationally and globally, WVU is becoming.
“WVU’s strategic plan is very internationally focused, and I think I can represent us in that light while making efforts to help the University carry out its own goals,” Bailey said.
Live to serve, love to serve serves as both a motto and way of life for those in the Circle K International organization. Not content to let the community pass them by during their time here at WVU, a small group of devoted students including Christopher Smith and Amna Khan, members of the WVU Honors College, have devoted themselves to rechartering the largest intercollegiate service organization. Their efforts have been met with amazing results as students from all over the campus have flocked to the organization. Growing from zero members to nearly 50 members in less than one year, this organization shows just how much students are devoted to the local community. In this time, students have built a memorial garden with the Caritas House, participated in a food drive with their parent Kiwanis Club, and given back in several ways that were dictated by the interests and passions of the students who make up this organization. It is evident from these fantastic results that this organization and the service it helps to provide will only continue to grow and shape a brighter, better WVU.