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News & Updates from the Honors College
Honors College announces new dean

The Honors College is pleased to announce that following a nationwide search, Dr. Rita Bailey will join the Honors College July 1st as Dean. Dr. Bailey has served as Assistant Provost for International Education and Honors at Illinois State University since 2011. In this role, she led a re-envisioning of the Honors Program that identified key dimensions of honors learning that are intentionally woven throughout honors courses and experiences. She developed opportunities for short-term international travel in honors curriculum, significantly increasing the number of honors students who participate in study abroad experiences, including the City As Text course, a model also offered on KSU's Marietta campus. She also developed an Honors Alternative Spring break to engage students in service-learning experiences. Under Dr. Bailey's leadership, the Honors Program substantially increased student admissions, even while raising admissions requirements. Dr. Bailey has taught the Honors Presidential Scholar Colloquium and an honors leadership colloquium. Dr. Bailey holds bachelor's and master's degrees in speech pathology and an Ed.D. in Special Education from Illinois State University. While welcoming Dr. Bailey, the Honors College will bid a fond farewell to Dr. Becky Rutherfoord, who has served as interim dean for the past year.  Dr. Rutherfoord will return to the College of Computing and Software Engineering as associate dean.
Top students and faculty honored at first annual Honors Recognition Luncheon
Dr. Kami Anderson (center), University Honors Program Director-Marietta campus, congratulates top award winners from the Marietta campus.  Left to right:  Elizabeth Melendez, winner of the Outstanding Honors Thesis Award; Dr. Laura Palmer, chair, Department of Digital Writing and Media Arts; Dr. Anderson, and Niki Reynolds, winner of the Outstanding Honors Senior Award. Photo by Dr. Nancy Reichert. 

The Honors College recognized its top students April 22nd at its inaugural Honors Recognition Luncheon. The event began with a poster session featuring honors seniors' capstone theses and projects. Awards recognizing honors students on both campuses, as well as the Outstanding Dual Enrollment Honors Program student and a Distinguished Honors Faculty recipient, were presented before an audience of 120 students, parents, honors faculty, and administrators. 

Twenty-eight students graduating as Honors Scholars in May received certificates and lapel pins. Dr. Liza Davis, University Honors Program Director-Kennesaw campus, noted, "Of the thousands of students who graduate from KSU each year, only an elite few earn the designation of Honors Scholar."  Seven honors students who have completed all three years of the President's Emerging Global Scholars Program were also recognized.    

Finalists for the Outstanding Honors Senior Award on the Kennesaw campus await the announcement of the award winner.  Left to right:  
Jeremy Hudak, JaBreia James, and
Sicily Ledford. JaBreia James, an exercise science major, was honored with the award.

JaBreia James was named Outstanding Honors Senior for the Kennesaw campus.  JaBreia, who hopes to become an OB/GYN physician, has served as a research assistant for two years for KSU Professor Katie Ingram, working with pregnant women to investigate the relationships between physical activity, abdominal fat and insulin resistance.  She has presented her research at several venues, including the American College of Sports Medicine, and won first place for her presentation at the Louis Stokes Alliance Minority Participation Research Symposium.  She has served as a teaching assistant for the General Chemistry class at KSU, and teaches a weekly science-based laboratory class to at-risk students at the Cobb alternative high school.  She is president of the KSU Golden Key Honors Society and an officer in the KSU Chapter of the American Medical Students Association.

Niki Reynolds was named Outstanding Honors Senior for the Marietta campus.  A New Media Arts major and aspiring animator, she has worked with Biology professor Jennifer Louten for the past two and a half years to illustrate her textbook, Essential Human Virology. For her honors thesis, Niki conducted a study to determine if students learn new virology concepts more easily from animations or diagrams. Niki earned Presidential Status and led a Success Networking Team as a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, a leadership honors society. She has also held several leadership positions in her sorority. She has applied to the Rochester Institute of Technology to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Film and Animation.

Brooke Doss
explains her honors capstone research to guests at the poster session.  
Brooke Doss, Communication major, and Elizabeth Melendez, English and Professional Communication major, took home the top Honors Thesis/Capstone Project Awards. Finalists were Claire Bohrer, Communication; Alexander Edwards, Information Security and Assurance; Niki Reynolds, New Media Arts, and Hunter Young, Information Security and Assurance.  

President's Emerging Global Scholars who completed all three years of the PEGS cohort were also recognized for their scholarship, leadership and service. Dr. Michelle Miles presented plaques to 
Matthew Buxton, Jessica Grindley, Natasha Hunte, Sarah Kelsey, Sarah Moore, Kaylee Rodenstine
and Grace Toso.
Dr. Howard Shealy, professor emeritus of History, was presented with the Distinguished Honors Faculty Award. Dr. Shealy has worked with honors students for nearly 20 years as a teacher, mentor of directed studies, and member of the Honors Council.  He was a founding member of the Great Books honors cohort faculty.  His passion for sharing world history with students through study abroad recently inspired two donors to establish scholarships for Great Books students.  

Samantha Morgan, a homeschooled student who began the Dual Enrollment Honors Program at KSU at age 15, was presented with the award for Outstanding Dual Enrollment Honors Program Student.  She will complete 56 college credits with a 4.0 GPA before graduating from high school this Spring.  
Spring break in the British Isles, Guatemala; summer in Italy
Students combine learning and travel in honors study abroad experiences 

President's Emerging Global Scholars students pose in front of Big Ben in London.  Front row:
Natasha Hunte, Sarah Kelsey, Kaylee Rodenstine. Middle row:
Joseph Rendon, Matthew Buxton, Grace Toso; Back:
Jessica Grindley.

Spring break took on an international flavor for two groups of honors students this April. President's Emerging Global Scholars cohort students visited the British Isles, including stops in London, England; Edinburgh, Scotland and Belfast and Dublin in Ireland. In addition to taking in the sights, they met with United Nations representatives in Scotland for a collaborative discussion on promoting the UN's Sustainable Development Goals among youth. They also visited with students and professors at Queen's University in Belfast for a rousing discussion of the politics of Northern Ireland, and served meals at a Franciscan Monastery homeless kitchen in Dublin. The trip was led by
Chris Young, executive director of CIFAL Atlanta, a public-private partnership between the United Nations Institute for Training and Research and the City of Atlanta.

Students in the City as Text honors course traveled to Guatemala with University Honors Program Director-Marietta campus Dr. Kami Anderson. The City as Text course has been offered on the Marietta campus each spring semester, and culminates in a domestic or international travel experience over spring break. City as Text is a concept originated by the National Collegiate Honors Council.  This interdisciplinary seminar brings students together to explore challenges and issues related to their own disciplines in the setting of iconic cities. The students blogged about their visits to pre-Columbian Mayan sites, urban ruins remaining from centuries of earthquakes, the Palacio Nacional, museums focusing on Mayan civilization and traditional weaving and thread-making, a coffee plantation, botanical gardens, and a contemporary school.   

Students in the City as Text class visited Guatemala City and Antigua (Ancient) Guatemala.  Left to right: L
aura Sherman, Valerie Washington, Dr. Kami Anderson, Lindsey Filipowicz and 
Kirill Kantor

Honors study abroad experiences will also take place this summer in Montepulciano, Italy.  For students in the Great Books cohort, the trip to Montepulciano caps off a year of honors classes in which they studied great civilizations through original, foundational texts.  Side trips to Florence, Rome and Pisa, among other sites are planned. Students completing the first-year cohort of PEGS will also travel to Montepulciano. KSU has its own study abroad facility there, housed in an ancient hilltop fortress, which draws students from across the University System of Georgia to participate in study abroad.  Former PEGS program manager Ken Hill now manages the Montepulciano site. 
Honors student spotlight

Honors alum wins prestigious Rangel Fellowship

Plamen Mavrov

Honors alumnus Plamen Mavrov ('14) was recently named a 2016 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellow.  He is one of only 30 fellows selected from a highly competitive nationwide application process. The fellowship provides approximately $95,000 in benefits over a two-year period for fellows who intend to pursue a career as a Foreign Service Officer in the U.S. State Department. Plamen will use the fellowship to pursue a master's degree in International Affairs at Georgia Tech. As a fellow, he will work for a member of Congress on international issues this summer, and next summer, he will work overseas in a U.S. Embassy. Upon graduation, he will be offered a position as a U.S. diplomat.  

Plamen immigrated to the U.S. as a child from Bulgaria and grew up in Atlanta and Woodstock.  He earned a BA in International Affairs at KSU, with a double major in Political Science.  He graduated as an Honors Scholar, summa cum laude. At KSU, he founded the KSU chapter of SIgma Iota Rho Honors Society for International Studies, was president of the KSU Global Society, and founder and Editor-in-chief of Comitium:  The Kennesaw Journal of Politics, now called Spectrum.  He was also highly involved with the model UN team, and studied abroad in Peru.  Following graduation, he has taught English in Korea. He speaks Korean and Spanish as well as Bulgarian.

"While the classes in my major instilled me with field-specific knowledge, the honors classes and colloquia I took early in my undergraduate career strengthened the foundation of critical thinking that allowed me to have interdisciplinary success," Plamen said.  "I credit my first semester honors philosophy class with Professor Tom Pynn as the cornerstone class of my undergraduate education."

Plamen has several recommendations for KSU students who wish to follow in his footsteps.  First, he says, "develop yourself within your major in any way you can. Take full advantage of the opportunities KSU presents: Study abroad, join Model UN, find an internship, do a research assistantship and strive to develop within yourself each of the '13 Dimensions of a Foreign Service Officer' on the State Department's website." He encourages students to apply for the Rangel Summer Enrichment Program as an undergraduate. This six-week program involves coursework at Howard University as well as an introduction to the Foreign Service as a potential career path. He was one of only 15 "Rangel Scholars" selected to participate in this program the summer after he graduated from KSU.  "The experience had a profound effect on me because it finally clarified the vague 'career in diplomacy' that I was aiming for but did not know where to find.  It also introduced me to many other opportunities in various sectors which I had not previously considered."  
Kyndal Hammontree
Honors senior Kyndal Hammontree has been accepted to the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine class of 2020. The biology major (pre-vet track) conducted research on the Eastern mosquitofish for her honors capstone thesis. Although mosquitofish have been introduced all over the world to control mosquito populations and mosquito-borne diseases, Kyndal's research examining gut content and video footage of mosquitofish feeding at the surface of Lake Acworth demonstrated that "most of their diet does not consist of insects, but may be zooplankton at the surface instead of insect larvae. Therefore, they might not be as good of a mosquito control agent as previously thought."  

Acceptance to UGA's highly-competitive veterinary medicine program on first application is an unusual accomplishment. "I don't think I would have been accepted if it wasn't for the Honors Program and my research on Eastern mosquitofish feeding patterns with Dr. [Joseph] Dirnberger," Kyndal said. Kyndal also serves as president of the Pre-veterinary Medical Association student organization at KSU. She studied marine biology in Belize through study abroad last May, and works as a veterinary assistant at Banfield Pet Hospital. She has held leadership positions in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Delta Epsilon Iota Academic Honors Society, and was a peer leader for the General Chemistry class.
Claire Bohrer
Honors senior and English major Claire Bohrer's co-authored paper "Journalism:  How One University Used Virtual Worlds to Tell True Stories," won Top Research Award at the International Symposium on Online Journalism in Austin, Texas, in April. The paper was selected for publication through a blind, peer-reviewed process in the research journal of the International Symposium on Online Journalism. The study demonstrates how KSU employed virtual world immersive journalism to amplify the voices of marginalized youth in the criminal justice system. Claire's co-authors on the paper are Leonard Witt, Distinguished Chair in Communication, Farooq A. Kperogi, Gwenette Writer Sinclair and Solomon Negash.  As an intern in KSU's Center for Sustainable Journalism, Claire also served as a project manager, researcher, process blogger and journalist for this project. Claire's honors thesis also addressed this topic, and was selected as a finalist for the Outstanding Honors Thesis award.     
Matthew Williams and Hannah Wauchope
First-year Great Books students Matthew Williams and Hannah Wauchope were selected as the first recipients of two new scholarships that support study abroad in Montepulciano, Italy. Matthew, a nursing major, received the Barry and Sylvia Hyman Endowed International Education Scholarship.  Hannah, a biology major, received the Robin Schmidt Shore Endowed Scholarship. Both will travel to Montepulciano in May as part of the Great Books cohort. The awards were presented March 22nd at KSU's International Achievement Awards ceremony.

Denise Hernandez
Student Scholarship Symposium
A record 324 students presented oral and poster projects at the 21st annual event. Math major Denise Hernandez and math and economics double major David Richmond were awarded the "Best Poster" prize at KSU's 2016 Symposium of Student Scholars.  Their research was titled, "Fibonacci Number of the Chorded Cycle."  The students, who shared a $200 prize, worked with faculty mentor Dr. Joe DeMaio, chair of the Mathematics Department.  David also participates in the Coles Scholars program. 

Other Honors students who presented their research included: Claire Bohrer, JaBreia James, Zane Johnston, Sicily Ledford, Valerie Washington and Yutong Yang.
Emerging Writers Competition
Honors and Dual Enrollment Honors Program (DEHP) students won seven of fifteen awards in the KSU English Department's 2016 Emerging Writers Competition, including all top awards in the academic writing category. 

Creative Non-Fiction category:
1st place:  Sarah Tuttle, DEHP - Cass High School, "Stock Characters"
3rd place:  Samantha Fromm, Honors student, "The Mother, the Witch, and the Forbidden Drawer"

Academic writing category:
1st place:  Ellen Courter, DEHP- Kennesaw Mountain High School, "Crystal Blue Persuasion"
2nd place: Michaela Brown, DEHP - Lassiter High School, "The Color Brown"
3rd place:  Jessica Wenclawiak, DEHP - Cherokee High School, "The Mislabeling of Fish"
Finalist:     Elizabeth Dillard, DEHP - Etowah High School, "Racism's Unique Relationship with Regionalism in the Southern United States"

Rhetorical Analysis category:
2nd place: Jessica Wenclawiak, DEHP - Cherokee High School, "Spot the Vegan"

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Dates and Deadlines

May 3-9 - Final exams 

May 3-10 - Deadline for Dual Enrollment students to return books to the bookstore. See email from DEHP for more information.

May 9 - Payment deadline for summer term

May 10 & 11 - Spring commencement ceremonies

May 12, 5 p.m. - Deadline for faculty to post spring semester grades.  View all grades in Owl Express.

May 12 - Final registration for summer term begins
May 16 - First day of classes, Maymester and 10-week session

May 20 - Fall semester registration for currently enrolled students ends

June 1 - First day of classes, 4-week session I and 8-week session

June 14 - Final payment deadline for summer term

July 1 - Last day to petition to graduate for Fall 2016

July 13 - DEHP orientation
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