2010 News

FAU Debate Team shines once again and moves onto the National Tournament
(Left to Right) Alan Gray, Hannah Gladyszewski, Rachel Tunick, Wesley Mathieu at the Southeast regional moot court tournament at Univeristy of Tampa

The Florida Atlantic University Debate Team earned a seed at the American Collegiate Moot Court Association (ACMA)’s national tournament by placing in the top four at the Southeast Regional Moot Court Tournament, hosted by the University of Tampa on November 19 and 20, 2011. Alan Gray and Wesley Mathieu will participate in the national tournament hosted by Tulane Law School in New Orleans, Louisiana in January. Gray and Mathieu made it to the semi-final round along with two teams from Patrick Henry College and a team from University of Tampa. Gray was named the third best orator overall. Hannah Gladyszewski and Rachel Tunick also competed at the tournament.

In Moot court, participants present oral arguments before an appellate court. This year competitors argue about the constitutionality of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act and of state laws which refuse to recognize same-sex marriage. Participants must read and analyze a number of different Supreme Court precedents and construct arguments. Most of their presentation is a response to questions fielded from the judges, and so competitors have to be able to know the material well, think quickly, and be articulate. Teams take turns alternating between representing those individuals challenging the state and federal laws, and the federal and state governments. Participants at the regional and national tournaments are judged by actual attorneys and judges. Next year's ACMA topic will be announced in May. Students who are interested in competing next year should contact Mark Tunick, tunick@fau.edu.

How One of Florida's Smallest Colleges Prepares Students for One of the World's Largest Universities: FAU's Wilkes Honors College Student Erika Cadena Interns at UNAM

Jupiter, FL (November 9, 2010) – Erika Cadena, a native of Mexico City, came to Florida Atlantic University’s Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College for its liberal arts curriculum, small class sizes, and the ability to have professors teach all her courses as opposed to teaching assistants. Erika is currently a senior at the Honors College with a concentration in International Studies and a minor in Anthropology.

Over the summer of 2010, Erika put her academic experience at FAU to good use. She interned at the Center for Research on North America (CISAN) at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), one of the world’s largest universities with more than 300,000 students enrolled each semester. Erika conducted research on topics such as North American immigration, U.S.-Mexico border security, and drug trafficking. All of her research and data collection went into the university’s main library for future use by students and other scholars. Erika was also in charge of putting together the daily bulleting with the major Mexican and American newspaper headlines relating to politics and immigration. She translated from English into Spanish (and vice versa) documents such as statements, newspaper critiques and publications by researchers at the center.

Erika stated that her most memorable experience during her internship was being able to attend the weekly live videoconferences in which the University of Arizona and UNAM debated, discussed, and analyzed issues such as the Arizona Senate Bill 1170, the bill that made illegal immigration a crime equivalent to trespassing in the state. “Furthermore, I was able to attend presentations by top researchers like Dr. Barbara Frey from the University of Minnesota, which gave me insights on topics such as Human Rights.”

At CISAN, Erika was able to talk one-on-one with professors who specialize in the area of international relations, economics and sociology and learn about the research each one is conducting. “During these talks, I shared my thoughts on topics about their fields. They were surprised to hear about the liberal arts curriculum at the Honors College since most of their own students in the social sciences never take a class outside their field. I was proud to say I am a student at the Honors College.”

As she begins her senior thesis year, Erika has already had the opportunity to put the research techniques she learned this summer to use. She is also channeling her interest in immigration through an internship at El Sol, Jupiter’s Neighborhood Resource Center. El Sol is a multi-faceted 501(c) 3 non-profit group with a mission to assist Jupiter’s immigrant population become an active and integrated part of the larger Jupiter community.  El Sol also tries to build bridges among the different ethnic, cultural and religious groups in the local area. As an intern at El Sol, Erika assists the Labor Coordinator and teaches English classes once a week, mainly to Guatemalan and Mexican immigrants.

Dr. Timothy Steigenga, Professor of Political Science at FAU’s Wilkes Honors College, is tremendously proud of his student’s motivation. “Erika is a good example of how an internship and study abroad experience can provide important real world knowledge that can be put to use for both academic and applied purposes. Her internship in Mexico has informed her thesis research on local immigration enforcement and sparked her interest in working with El Sol.”

Erika will continue to pursue her interests in international studies. Next semester, Erika plans to participate at FAU’s diplomacy program: Model United Nations. She will travel to New York City in April to participate in the UN simulation in which she will practice using diplomatic and negotiation skills to delegate on behalf of a country. After graduation from the Honors College, she would like to continue her focus on immigration policy and one day become a diplomat representing her home country, Mexico.

Erika Cadena a prime example of how the personal attention students receive in a small college can prepare them for some mighty big opportunities in life.

byline: WHC Student Intern Tamara Howard

If You Need Something Done, Ask a Busy Person: Dean Jeffrey Buller of FAU'S Wilkes Honors College

Dean Buller Jupiter, FL (November 2, 2010) – Dr. Jeffrey Buller, Dean of the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University, is a very busy dean indeed. While teaching several courses each year at the Honors College, being a collegial supporter of other programs at FAU, and advising universities both in the United States and abroad on techniques of effective administration, he has managed to find time to write a series of books about higher education: one for professors, a second for chairs, and a third for deans. More recently, he added to this series a book stemming from an idea that first occurred to him over thirty years ago.”
            I was appointed to be a department chair, with absolutely no training at all, at the age of 26.  I was hoping to find a guide on academic leadership that I could absorb in a few minutes each day because that’s all the time I had.  I needed to spend every free moment teaching, conducting my research, and engaging in service.  But all the books I could find were weighty tomes filled with lofty theories and very little that was immediately practical.  So, I was out of luck finding anything that was useful to me.”
            To remedy this lack of resources, Dr. Buller has now drawn on thirty years of advice and experiences to create the book titled Academic Leadership Day by Day: Small Steps That Lead to Great Success. This work introduces one practical and field-tested idea each day for an entire academic year, providing academic leaders with no-nonsense suggestions they can consider on even their busiest days. Administrators can experiment with the activities proposed each day, discover what works for them, and then build on their successes to benefit their institution and its programs.”
            Dr. Buller hopes that this book will be valuable and helpful to other administrators, particularly academic leaders who are just starting out and unsure of what they should be doing. He said, “I’d also like it to serve as an antidote to the idea, believed by too many administrators, that unless you’re constantly changing everything in sight as part of a pursuit of a ‘big idea,’ you’re not doing your job.  I think that, to the contrary, there are plenty of little things any administrator can do every day to make their programs better, their faculty members understand how much they’re appreciated, and their students full participants in a rich, rewarding academic experience.”
            Dr. Buller credits his experience at the Honors College with assisting him in the creation of Academic Leadership Day by Day. “Work at the Honors College has given me daily contact with a fantastic group of faculty members and the best students any dean could possibly hope for.  I think I learn 100 times more from others than they will ever learn from me, and much of this book is the fruit of my experience at the Honors College in particular and at FAU generally.”
            Not only have Dr. Jeffrey Buller’s experiences and endeavors enabled him to contribute to his college and university, but also to provide insight to the world at large.  He travels several times each year to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the lead consultant to the Ministry of Higher Education on the development of a new Academic Leadership Center, conducts training programs for the Sistema Universitario Ana G. Méndez in Puerto Rico, and is frequently contacted by other university systems on questions related to professional development, administrative enhancement, and interpersonal relations.  In an environment where faculty and student research is so important, it seems appropriate that at FAU’s Honors College administrative research is taken seriously as well.

byline: Tamara Howard

Rooney’s Golf Foundation Charity Tournament
Thursday, October 28, 2010 at PGA National Resort to benefit Wilkes Honors College

This marks the 9th year the Rooney’s Golf Foundation tournament has been raising money for local Palm Beach County charities including: Autism Project of Palm Beach County, FAU Honors College, Elite Greyhound Adoption, and Potentia Academy. Call Selena Smith at 683-2222 ext. 142 for details about this year’s tournament.

This year’s honorary chair is Michelle McGann. The tournament is scheduled to take place on three courses at PGA National Resort on Thursday, October 28th; including the Champion redesigned by Jack Nicklaus and currently hosts of the Honda Classic on the PGA Tour. Afterwards all golfers and food enthusiasts are invited to Rooney’s Public House in Abacoa, Jupiter for dinner, laughs, and the infamous awards ceremony. This year’s raffle prizes include a weekend stay at Amelia Island Plantation on Amelia Island, FL and the Jamaican Inn on Jamaica in the West Indies.

Since 2001, the annual golf tournaments and Rooney’s Golf Foundation has donated over $200,000 to local Palm Beach County charities.

Introducting Mr. FAU Student Government: WHC Student Jordy Yarnel

Jupiter, FL (October 26, 2010) – Ever since he first arrived at Florida Atlantic University’s Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College in the fall of 2007, Jordy Yarnell has been fascinated with student government. He served in the House of Representatives in the fall and spring of his freshman year. In the summer of 2008, Jordy was elected as Speaker of the House and then was reelected to serve a full term as House Speaker for the 2008-2009 school year. In the spring of 2009, Jordy was elected as the MacArthur Campus Governor, then reelected the following spring. He is currently in office as campus governor as the crowning achievement of his senior year.  Jordy looks back on his achievements by saying, “My accomplishments in student government include extensive revisions of our campus statutes, work on campus safety, and I have some major initiatives for this upcoming year.”
            From such a consistent record of devotion to government processes and public service, you might think that Jordy’s academic concentration was an area like Law and Society or Political Science, but he is actually focusing on Psychology with a minor in Economics. Like so many students in FAU’s Wilkes Honors College, Jordy’s interests and accomplishments are impressively broad.  He pursues coursework with the same passion and dedication that he devotes to student government. Just this past summer, for instance, while serving for the second straight year as a teaching assistant in FAU’s Honors Summer Institute, Jordy interned at Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches (BHOPB). BHOPB is a Florida Drug and Alcoholism Rehab that specializes in the treatment of co-occurring/dual diagnosed disorders. According to Jordy, his favorite part of the internship was “seeing when [he made] a genuine positive impact on people and their view of the recovery process.”
            Jordy’s has a commitment to counseling and, in the future, he would like to work with adolescents. His ultimate goal is to found a school for students that runs all the way from Pre-K through twelfth grade. This dream was inspired by his parents who founded Batt Private School, and by his experiences at the Wilkes Honors College.
            “Working with student government and my professors has helped develop my potential as a leader. My professors and advisors have driven me to be dedicated to my academics, and have transformed academics from an educational ‘career’ to a dynamic passion for knowledge. Through internship opportunities, directed independent studies, and thesis work, I have been given the opportunity to get real world experience in both research and counseling.”

Jordy’s experiences are not uncommon at a college that strives to develop students personally as well as across the full academic spectrum.  The philosophy of the Wilkes Honors College is not simply to develop great artists, scientists, writers, and public citizens, but to enable students to see their potential as artistic scientists who are brilliant writers with a lifelong commitment to the public interest.  Perhaps one day a child you know will be attending the school Jordy will have founded and learning how to be a leader in as many areas as he has.  If you do, you may want to say, “You know, Florida Atlantic University has an honors college that might be just right for you …”

byline: Tamara Howard

Honors College's Flagler Scholars Report on their Global Experiences at Fall Retreat

Jupiter, FL (October 19, 2010) – When was the last time you found all of the following in the same room?  Four undergraduate students who had just completed a summer of research as part of a prestigious national program, four who had just come back from studying overseas, five who had completed a corporate internship, four who had experienced an intense Outward Bound program, and four who had completed a non-profit internship. All of these students were at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach at the annual Flagler Scholar Retreat of Florida Atlantic University’s Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College.
            The Henry Morrison Flagler Scholarship Program, created by the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, supports exceptional undergraduate students from the state of Florida to attend the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University. The Henry Morrison Flagler Scholarship is a 'full ride' merit-based award that provides extraordinary student-leaders with the financial freedom to pursue their higher education goals and participate in annual enrichment programs. The program seeks to further personal and intellectual development of outstanding scholars within the environment of Florida Atlantic University’s residential Honors College as a foundation to promote global awareness, understanding, interaction, and peace.
            In addition to receiving full coverage of their tuition, room and board, Flagler scholars are also given the opportunity to participate in four enrichment programs during their summers.  These opportunities include an Outward Bound Program the summer before the Freshman year, a Non-Profit Program the summer before the Sophomore year, an Enterprise/Corporate Program the summer before the Junior year, and a Study Abroad Program the summer before the Senior year.
            Among the students who attended this year’s Flagler Scholar Retreat were David Friedman, Kira Geiger, Philip Olsen, and Alexa Robinson, the freshmen who were initiated into the program through their Outward Bound experience. David went on a two-week sailing trip in Maine, Kira experienced an eight-day river rafting adventure, Philip conquered a two-week Alaska mountaineering expedition, and Alexa tackled a fifteen-day rafting and kayaking voyage.
            Imarhia Enogieru, Natalie Harrison, Maxwell MacEachern, and Kelly Novinski were the sophomores who completed non-profit internships. Imarhia performed research at Colorado State University as part of a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). Natalie was a part of TEAM-Effort, a summer mission trip, where she spent eight weeks helping with roof renovations, paint jobs and landscaping in Cherokee, North Carolina and Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Maxwell worked for Shake-A-Leg Miami, which offers a universally accessible water sports facility for people with disabilities, youth, and families. Kelly worked for WatchingAmerica.com, a site that has translations of foreign opinion pieces so that Americans and non-Americans alike can become aware of the global opinion about the United States.
            Megan Allore, Rachel Blythe, Michael Metzner, Elizabeth Santo, and Meridith Wailes were the juniors who completed corporate internships. Megan and Rachel both worked for a local entrepreneur, Lani Click. Later in the summer, Rachel also performed research at the University of Maryland’s Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. Michael researched at Memorial Sloan-Kettering for ten weeks. Elizabeth worked for David Stern Jewelers in Boca Raton, and Meridith interned at Hopping, Green & Sams, an environmental law firm in Tallahassee.
            Alexa Billow, Eric Bishop, Valerie Cannon, and Alan Gray were the seniors who had just come back from studying overseas. Alexa attended a study abroad program in Heidelberg, Germany. Eric interned for ten weeks at Open University in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.  Valerie and Alan were both located in Spain, with Valerie completing an academic study program and Alan interning with a tax/immigration attorney.
            Dr. Jeffrey L. Buller, dean of the Wilkes Honors College, said “Each year I’m amazed by the sheer breadth of the Flagler Scholars’ experience.  For bright, highly motivated Florida students, the Flagler program is an incomparable way to develop their leadership skills.  These students are on their way to an incredible future.”  Do you know someone who has what it takes to become a Flagler Scholar?  Maybe that someone is you.

byline: WHC Student Intern Tamara Howard

The More Things Change … FAU’s Wilkes Honors College Dr. Christopher Ely
Studies Terrorism — From More Than a Century Ago

Jupiter, FL (October 12, 2010) – Believing that there is no other way to make their voices heard, a group of radicals resorts to a series of terrorist attacks.  The story sounds like one taken from the evening news, but in the work of Dr. Christopher Ely, an Assistant Professor of History at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University, these events took place roughly 140 years ago. Dr. Ely’s work focuses on the late-imperial period of Russian history (c. 1861-1917) where he studies such topics as the rural landscape, the Russian identity, and the relationship that urban space has to public culture.  He is currently conducting research into how changes within Russia’s metropolitan centers in the 1860s and 1870s affected the political dynamics of the Russian public sphere.
            In May and June of 2010, Dr. Ely was awarded a highly competitive IREX travel grant to conduct research for a forthcoming book on populist terrorism in 19th century Russia. Then in July he presented aspects of this research at the World Congress of the International Council for Central and East European Studies (ICCEES) conference in Stockholm. The ICCEES is a global network of research associations, institutes and individual scholars who are active in the field of Russian, Central and East European studies.
            The title of Dr. Ely’s paper at the conference was Space as Power: Radical Populism and the Landscape of Reform‐Era St. Petersburg. It explores the various ways in which the rapidly evolving landscape of reform-era St. Petersburg under Tsar Alexander II (1855-1881) facilitated the rise of terrorist violence in Russian cities.  The goal of the radical populists was to encourage revolution among peasants in rural Russia.  What Dr. Ely discovered was that the urban environment fostered association among anti-autocratic groups, created an environment where it was safe to express opinions that undermined the government, and enabled terrorists to conceal themselves close to government targets.  In addition to emphasizing the importance of the physical environment in permitting these attacks to occur, Dr. Ely also critiques interpretations of the 1878-1881 terror movement that have relied nearly exclusively on the role of ideology to generate new forms of political rebellion.
            Dr. Jeffrey Buller, dean of FAU’s Wilkes Honors College, noted, “One of the wonderful things about what Dr. Ely does is that he interweaves so many different approaches to help us understand extremely complex historical occurrences.  He combines expertise in language, extensive first-hand experience abroad, a historian’s facility with primary sources, an artist’s eye for the details of a physical space, and a willingness to reconsider accepted wisdom.  That’s the type of holistic, interdisciplinary approach that we want all of our students and faculty members to develop in their own scholarly activities.”

When asked how the Honors College has helped him with his research, Dr. Ely said, “The Honors College has let me pursue new interests, especially when I’m teaching interdisciplinary courses and one-time seminars.  It has also helped out with travel to conferences and provided funding for vital research trips, even in these difficult economic times.”  Dean Buller added, “FAU has demonstrated a commitment to research that’s truly phenomenal, and I see the benefit to our students that scholars like Dr. Ely produce every single day.”

byline: WHC Student Intern Tamara Howard

Using Experience to Serve a New Generation of Students … and Cacti:
Dr. Jon Moore of FAU’s Wilkes Honors College

Above: A transplanted Harrisia fragrans (fragrant prickly apple cactus) at Hallstrom Farms Conservation Area,
with the wire cage around it to keep the gopher tortoises from eating the cactus.

Jupiter, FL (October 5, 2010) – The fragrant prickly apple cactus is an endangered species of cactus that only grows on the Atlantic coast of Florida. It is a surprisingly large cactus, reaching a height of up to seven feet. Despite its size, however, most people have never seen it because it only grows in scrub habitat along the Atlantic coastal ridge. The majority of the fragrant prickly apple cacti that exist today are found at Savannas Preserve State Park in Port St. Lucie, conveniently located within the Florida Atlantic University service area.
            Dr. Jon Moore, Associate Professor of Biology at FAU’s Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, is growing a number of seedlings from a fruit that he rescued from one of these cacti in January of 2006. These seedlings are now ready to transplant, and Dr. Moore has been funded by the Florida Native Plant Society to create two experimental populations. Because these plants have been reintroduced, they will not get the full protection of the Endangered Species Act. Nevertheless, this is the first time that anyone has ever attempted to transplant or reintroduce this particular species.
            In conducting this important project in environmental preservation, Dr. Moore has received permission from the Savannas Preserve State Park to transport seedlings that the park itself sprouted. Ultimately, he will be planting about 65 to 70 seedlings. He is setting up two experimental populations: one is in the dunes at FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, north of Ft. Pierce, and the other is at the Hallstrom Farm Conservation Area in Indian River County.

Dr. Moore is seeking volunteers to help monitor these cacti. The volunteers would be going out once a month to measure the size and growth of individual plants. They would also be looking at survival rates and spraying the plants for any pests. In the springtime of 2011, these volunteers would be looking at the number of new fruit and any flowerings and pollinators.  If you would like to participate in this project, contact Dr. Moore at jmoore@fau.edu.  You just might play the key role in helping a rare species survive.

byline: WHC Student Intern Tamara Howard

A Love of Dance, Research and New Experiences:
A Portrait of Wilkes Honors College Student Kimberly MacDonald

September 21, 2010 (Jupiter, FL) – Kimberly MacDonald is a psychology researcher who has always loved to dance.  A junior at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University, Kim co-founded and currently serves as vice president of the Owlettes and Company Dance Team. “The dance team has probably had the biggest effect on my life because I’ve been involved with it since its inception.  I can’t recall a time when dance wasn’t important to me, and I love that this club gives me the opportunity to share my love with others.”
Kim came to Florida Atlantic University from Nashville, Tennessee, where she attended high school at Battle Ground Academy in nearby Franklin. She says that she chose the Wilkes Honors College because she was “looking for a small liberal arts school with an intimate setting, one-on-one interactions with the faculty, and flexibility for undecided majors.”  That intimate setting has allowed Kim to become involved in all the activities that are important to her.  She is pursuing a concentration in Psychology and, in addition to her work with the dance team, has been highly active in the Psychology Club, Feminist Student Union, Spectrum (an organization that promotes appreciation for individuals regardless of their sexual orientation), and organizations outside the university as well.  She has volunteered for the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary and is a member of the American Psychological Association (APA).
            Kim’s APA membership arose out of work she was doing with the Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP) at the University of Michigan this past summer.  The Michigan program offers outstanding undergraduates who are under-represented in their field of study the chance to conduct intensive research across a wide variety of disciplines, essentially performing graduate-level research while still in a baccalaureate program.  All participants work closely with faculty mentors, pursue an independent project, and engage in a series of academic, professional, and personal development seminars. Participants then present the research arising out of their project at a concluding conference and a University of Michigan symposium.
            During the summer of 2010, Kim worked in Dr. Sari van Anders’ social neuroendocrinology lab where she both provided general lab assistance and pursued her project, Gender Identity and State Legislation: An Overview of Public Policy’s Association with Community Intolerance of Social Difference.  In this independent work, Kim researched state laws about changing the gender marker on birth certificates and their relationships with hate crime statistics and 2008 voting results.
            In the course of her research, Kim faced a significant challenge, but managed to overcome it: “My mentor, Dr. van Anders, treated me as if I were already a graduate student.  Especially compared to many students in the program who came from intensive research backgrounds, I felt out of place and incompetent at first.  But over time, I noticed that many of my skills from my broad liberal arts education actually gave me a great advantage over many of the SROP participants.  I had already been called on to write at a very high level at FAU, and I benefitted from the interdisciplinary background provided by the Honors College.  Rather than panicking when Dr. van Anders insisted that I perform on the graduate level, I began to treat it as a learning experience in all aspects.  My attitude transition really helped me meet others’ expectations throughout the program, and this intensive research experience prepared me well for graduate school.”

In many other ways as well, Kim has realized that her time at the Honors College has given her a head start on the future.  “Because the Honors College provides such a unique learning environment, I feel that I will continue to have advantages over other graduate students.  Large universities provide research experience, but these students rarely (if ever) form relationships with their professors.  The personal mentoring experience we receive at the Honors College helps to break the stereotype of the cold, indifferent mentor-mentee relationship.  Students need to have more than a lecturer or a boss in their professors.   They need to have real role models that can inspire them through daily interaction.  My lasting relationships with my Honors College professors will serve as the foundation for everything I do in the future by providing me with advice, networking, and encouragement.  I refuse to allow my work to consume me, so I will focus on forming these types of relationships with my graduate school mentors as well as with my future mentees.”
            Kim continues, “The Honors College also provides a distinctive liberal arts education, even in comparison to other liberal arts schools.  My interdisciplinary background, my writing experiences, and my developed critical thinking skills all serve as incredible strengths as a graduate school applicant and, I hope, as a future professor.  Too many research-intensive universities produce cookie-cutter students who are entirely defined by their work.  In contrast, the Honors College forms well-rounded individuals with a multitude of knowledge and skills—allowing us to stand out from the crowd of assembly line college graduates.”  It sounds to us as though Kimberly MacDonald is dancing to the right melody and is destined to perform well in the years ahead.

byline: WHC Student Intern Tamara Howard

It’s All about Connections: A Portrait of Wilkes Honors College Student Megan Hesse

September 14, 2010 (Jupiter, FL) – The summer of 2010 offered Megan Hesse, a senior at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University, the opportunity to participate in a summer internship at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science, a resource that defines its mission as to “provide experiential pathways to lifelong learning in science for children and adults through exhibits, programs and films.”  What makes Megan’s experience unusual is that she wasn’t the museum’s typical intern with a major in biology, chemistry, or physics.  What brought Megan to the Museum of Science and Discovery was her academic concentration in English Literature.
            “The museum offered me an incredible opportunity to write, see how the museum operates behind the scenes, learn about using my degree in the real world, and perform duties in the marketing department.” As for so many students in the Wilkes Honors College, finding opportunities is all about seeing the connections that others might overlook.  In Megan’s case, word of the museum internship reached her through another job. She had been working at a summer camp, taking the children to the same museum for field trips.  That’s when the connection between her interests and the museum’s needs first struck her.  Here was a chance to help them both.
            Megan said that the application process was very simple. “I emailed the volunteer department head, whose address is on the museum’s website and asked about internships for my specific concentration. After that, she directed me to the head of marketing who was very enthusiastic about taking on an intern.”  Megan’s initiative soon paid off. She gained real world experience and learned more about career opportunities for students with degrees in the humanities.
            When asked how FAU’s Honors College has helped her, Megan said, “The Honors College challenged me" and helps in "preparation for graduate school. The best part has been finding students of the same caliber as well as being taught by some amazing professors.”
            Hilary Edwards, Assistant Professor of English at the Wilkes Honors College added, “Megan is a great creative and academic writer, but her internship experience gave her the chance to put these talents to use in a very practical way:  communicating ideas that matter to real people in the context of the real world.  The opportunity to test academic skills in the non-academic world allows students both to hone those skills and to supplement them with new ones they would never get to use in a classroom — that’s what makes the internship experience such a crucial part of the Honors College experience.   The effusive reports from Megan’s supervisors at the museum show that she didn’t just learn from them, she was a tremendous help to this institution, and that’s the other great part of the internship program:  it helps our students and our larger community learn from and help each other.”  Connecting academic programs with the community is one of the values that Florida Atlantic University takes pride in and, as Megan’s experience makes clear, those connections frequently provide abundant rewards.

byline: WHC Student Intern Tamara Howard

Success Means Crossing Boundaries: Portrait of Wilkes Honors College Student Alan Gray
Alan Gray cooked and treated his host mother
to his family's Cajun dish in Barcelona, Spain.

September 7, 2010 (Jupiter, FL) – If you asked for the names of the brightest and most motivated students attending the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University, you would end up with a very long list.  Florida Atlantic University strives to be a leader in honors education, and the Wilkes Honors College attracts a rich pool of high achieving undergraduates from Florida and around the world. But one of the names that would surely appear on everyone’s list is Alan Gray, a senior with a double concentration in Law & Society and Spanish who is one of the recipient’s of the Henry Morrison Flagler Scholarship, Florida’s most competitive scholarship program.
            Alan hails from Eastside High School in Gainesville, Florida. He graduated from its International Baccalaureate program and came to the Honors College in the fall of 2007. Alan says that he chose to attend the Honors College because he believed it to be “an extension of the education I received in my high school’s International Baccalaureate program; that is, intense, well-rounded, and meaningful.”
            While at the Honors College, Alan has participated in many organizations including the FAU Jupiter House of Representatives, the Society of Future Attorneys, the Honors College Judiciary Board, Corn Maya, the FAU Student Code of Conduct Board, and Sigma Delta Pi, a National Collegiate Spanish Honor Society. The organization that has had the biggest affect on his life, however, has been the Debate Team.
            Alan founded the Debate Team in 2007 and has been the president and coach ever since. “Coaching the Debate Team has given me a wonderful opportunity to see how communication, rhetoric, and argumentation can have powerful effects on a speaker’s audience, and to watch individuals conquer their fear of public speaking.” He has won a number of awards in debate competitions, including the State Championship title in Parliamentary Debate, Lincoln-Douglas Debate, and Extemporaneous Speaking in 2009. He successfully retained his title in Lincoln-Douglas Debate in 2010.
            This past summer, Alan discovered a way to combine his love of the law, Spanish, and communication. In Barcelona, Spain, he interned for an attorney who specialized in tax and immigration law. When asked what the most challenging aspect of the internship was, he said that it was “interacting in a city which primarily spoke a different language. I overcame this challenge by learning basic words and phrases in Catalán, and by engaging speakers in Castilian whenever possible.” The best aspect for Alan was developing his own way of speaking the Spanish language. “After seven years of simply copying others’ manners of speaking, I finally developed my own manner of communicating in Spanish.”
            After graduation, Alan plans to attend law school and clerk for one or more federal judges. Then he intends to join a practice that specializes in appeals on constitutional grounds and hopes to one day be appointed to a federal appeals bench himself.
            Alan feels that his education at the Honors College has prepared him well for the future. “The Honors College has not only provided an excellent foundation for the legal education I will receive in law school, but has also taught me about a number of different subjects that will give me useful perspectives in that venue that my peers will lack.”
            Jeffrey L. Buller, Dean of the Wilkes Honors College, notes, “If you ever receive an email from Alan, it’s impossible not to notice his address: chiefjusticegray. I beginning to think that’s not just exuberance; it’s a prediction.  And we’re already extremely proud of all of Alan’s achievements.  There’s really no limit to how far he can go.”  We are certain that Alan Gray will make as significant an impact on the rest of the world as he has at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University.

byline: WHC Student Intern Tamara Howard

WHC Senior Cassidy Henry Represents State in Leadership Program
Cassidy Henry with actor Richard Dreyfuss, who started the Dreyfuss Initiative,
supporting teaching civics and US political history in high school.

August 30, 2010 (Jupiter, FL) – If you’re a Florida resident, you’ll probably want to learn the name Cassidy Henry.  Cassidy, a senior at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University, was chosen by Senator Bill Nelson to represent the entire state of Florida at the Henry Clay Center for Student Statesmanship in Kentucky. As described by the Clay Center itself, this program “educates a new generation of leaders in the principles and practices of statesmanship as exemplified by the great Kentucky statesman, Henry Clay. This exposes a top college junior from every U.S. State to a curriculum in diplomacy, dialogue, listening skills, negotiation and mediation.”  For Cassidy, who is pursuing a concentration in International Studies and a minor in History, this program was a perfect fit.
            Cassidy participated in a week of courses on diplomacy, international affairs, and U.S. politics. She had the opportunity to meet prominent individuals such as the U.S. Deputy Ambassador to Iran, John Limbert, Kentucky Supreme Court judges, the Kentucky Secretary of State, and Former U.S. Ambassador Cary Cavanaugh, who currently serves as the Dean of the University of Kentucky’s Patterson School of Diplomacy. The students also participated in a debate of the Annual Threat Index Facing the next generation. Cassidy’s group debated the challenge of switching to renewable energy from fossil fuels. After the debate, the participants chose the water crisis as the greatest threat.
            The experience that Cassidy received at Florida Atlantic University prepared her well for the intense discussions that occurred through this program.  She credits the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College both with helping her attain this honor and with making her ready to succeed at all the experiences it involved. For instance, all Honors College students must complete either an extensive internship or a study abroad experience, and Cassidy was first introduced to Senator Bill Nelson as part of her internship in the summer of 2009.  In addition, Cassidy said, “The references provided by professors that actually know you has been invaluable ... The [Honors College] teaches you to work hard and always search for answers even if you are not sure of the question.”
            Cassidy goes on to say that she “fell in love” with the Honors College during her first tour of the campus in the spring of 2006 and how this feeling was reinforced when she attended the first Honors Summer Institute of the same year. “I love the small class sizes and personal attention given by professors. Even the professors that I have never had before are willing to work with me. I love the community that the [Honors College] fosters of caring and commitment to academic excellence.”
            Jeffrey Buller, Dean of the Harriet Wilkes Honors College, noted “Practical experience at a very high level is an integral part of our curriculum.  There’s something important that occurs when a student completes every single course at the honors level.  It prepares them to take on challenges that are amazing for anyone, but absolutely incredible for an undergraduate.  Cassidy Henry strikes me as the perfect example of what the Honors College is all about, and Florida Atlantic University is delighted that it was one of its own who represented our state at the Henry Clay Center this summer.”

byline: Tamara Howard

WHC Student CJ Kwan awarded Gilman Scholarship to study in the Andes

The Honors College is proud to congratulate CJ Kwan, the first FAU student to be awarded the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. The Gilman Scholarship is awarded to undergraduate students who seek to study abroad and it encourages students to study fields such as the sciences and engineering.

CJ is currently utilizing this award in Valparaíso, Chile for the Fall 2010 semester to study at The Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso, with classes entirely in Spanish in Microbiology, Ecology, and Latin American and Chilean Literature (from 1970's to contemporary). CJ will also do an internship shadowing doctors at a local clinic.

Along with the intense coursework, CJ is also enjoying the Mediterranean climate and the culture of this major seaport city, which was recognized as a World Heritage site in 2003. CJ has the opportunity to travel, as seen from the photograph displaying FAU pride in the Andes mountains. As a complement to a passion in the sciences, CJ also enjoys a love of Hispanic literature, especially Pablo Neruda and Gabriela Mistral, both Chilean poets, and plans on visiting their hometowns "to share a personal, unpublished experience with them that I will not find on any bookshelf in the world."

If you are interested in studying abroad, please read more details at the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship website.

Updated 8/17/10

HC Alumna, Kathryn Tiling '07, Helping with Gulf Oil Spill
Local television station, WPBF, interviewed and spoke with professors and students from FAU's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute about their efforts to study the impact the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will have on the environment of the Florida Panhandle. FAU graduate student, Kathryn Tiling, who is also an Honors College alumna from the Class of 2007, was among those interviewed. Click here to see the web-broadcast of the news video.
WHC Dr. Steigenga to Serve as Woodrow Wilson Center Public Policy Scholar
“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.”
- Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Dr. Timothy J. Steigenga, Professor of Political Science at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University, has accepted a fellowship to serve in the Latin American Program of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington D.C. from May through July 2010.  The fellowship is funded by a grant from the Luce Foundation.  Sandra Lazo de la Vega, a recent graduate of the Wilkes Honors College, was offered an internship at the Wilson Center and will serve as Dr. Steigenga’s research assistant for the summer.
            Dr. Steigenga’s fields of specialization include the comparative study of religion and politics in the Americas, religious transnationalism, and immigration. He has published several books and articles dealing with the political and social impact of the growth of Protestantism in Latin America, religious conversion in the Americas, Latin America’s indigenous political resurgence, and religion and immigration.  Most recently, his research has focused on the role of religion and migration, as well as understanding the ways in which Guatemalan and Mexican immigrants mobilize for collective action in Florida and Georgia. This work has emerged from seven years of collaborative fieldwork with Guatemala-based academics funded by the Ford Foundation. The first stage of Dr. Steigenga’s research culminated in the publication of a co-edited book:  A Place to Be: Brazilian, Guatemalan, and Mexican Immigrants in Florida’s New Destinations (Rutgers, 2009). (For more information on the book click here.
            While at the Wilson Center, Dr. Steigenga plans to delve further into the data gathered during his work in Central America, Florida, and Georgia.  As Dr. Steigenga said, “I intend to use my time at the Wilson Center to record, analyze, and compare data collected during the seven years of our Ford foundation projects.   I want to further explore the relationship between religion, transnationalism, and collective mobilization in four of the Guatemalan immigrant communities we have studied (Jupiter FL, Immokalee FL, Marietta GA, and Canton GA) and analyze survey data collected in Cobb County GA on inter-ethnic relations, stereotypes, and places of encounter between new Latino immigrants and Afro-American and white residents.”
             Dr. Steigenga will return to the Honors College in Fall 2010 and will offer an interdisciplinary co-taught course with Dr. Chris Strain, Associate Professor of History, on the history and politics of immigration in the United States.

Graduating Class of 2010
2010 graduates

The Wilkes Honors College Class of 2010 graduated on May 6, 2010. Students received medallions from their faculty advisors at the medallion ceremony on the Jupiter campus in the morning, and had their degree conferred by President John Pritchett at the graduation ceremony on the Boca Raton campus that afternoon.

During the Medallion Ceremony the graduating class was addressed by Dean Jeffrey Buller, as well as Dr. Joyanne Stephens (Vice President of Northern Campuses), Nisha Nagarsheth '10 (presenting the graduation address on behalf of the students), Kathryn Lewis '04 (representing the Wilkes Honors College Alumni Society), and Dr. Daniel White, Professor of Philosophy.

HC Student Art Exhibit, April 22 – May 3, 2010
Opening night reception Thursday, April 22nd from 5:00 - 7:00 pm at The Hibel Museum on the Jupiter campus.

Nicole Henken:
“Modern Woman” (Reinvention of Self),
photography, 2009

Artworks produced by participating students take center stage at the Hibel Museum of Art. Over 50 images, which include digital manipulation, collage, photography, painting, drawing, and 3-dimensional formations, are included in this annual student art show. Theme based projects introduced into their academic curriculum challenged these talented young people to approach artmaking as an intellectual investigation that at times placed questions concerning the notion of private/public space, identity, representation, and reinvention at the center of their visual inquiry.

Not all of these artworks produced by students address such weighty concerns. Preferring a more humorous artistic direction several students took a more tongue-in-cheek approach in their art production allowing for the final art piece to be more playful and fun. As a result the high quality artistic visual expressions created by these students are sophisticated in their approach and eloquent in their presentation.

The public is invited to come and view the wonderful artworks produced by students attending the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University in Jupiter, Florida. The exhibit will be on display from April 22 through until May 3, 2010. The opening night reception will be held Thursday, April 22nd from 5:00 -7:00 pm at The Hibel Museum, located in Abacoa, Jupiter.  It is tucked back on the corner of University and Main Street on the Florida Atlantic University John D. MacArthur campus.
--Dorotha Grace Lemeh, Assistant Professor of Art, Wilkes Honors College

Another Honors College Student wins a national Boren scholarship

Stephen Jones is the third Honors College student to receive an NSEP-Boren scholarship for study abroad in the past 4 years.

The Boren Scholarship is one of the elite Prestige Scholarships and provides up to $20,000 to U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin American, and the Middle East. Boren Scholarships are funded by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), which focuses on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security.

Boren Scholars represent a variety of academic backgrounds, but all are interested in studying less commonly taught languages, including but not limited to Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Swahili.

Previous Wilkes Honors College students to receive the award are:
Daniel Gopman (Honors College '2008: NSEP-Boren in 2006 for study in Russia; Mr. Gopman went on to a Ph.D. program in physics at NYU)
Heather Chase (Honors College: NSEP-Boren in 2007 for study in Morocco)

HC Students excel at State Debate Championship

Jupiter, FL (March 22, 2010) – The students from the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College not only attend numerous academic conferences around the state and country, they also often host these conferences. From February 26th through the 28th, the Florida Intercollegiate Forensic Association (FIFA) State Championship involved twelve universities and 113 competitors. Students competed in two debate events, eleven American Forensic Association individual events, and a Reader’s Theatre (Group Interpretation) program. Awards were given to the top six competitors in the individual events, the five teams entered in Reader’s Theatre, the semifinalists and finalists in each debate event, and the top six orators in each debate event.
            This was the first year in FIFA’s history that the tournament was hosted by a student-organized debate team and supervised by an undergraduate who was also competing in the tournament, Honors College student and FAU Debate Team President Alan Gray.
            Gray was able to defend his State Championship title in Lincoln-Douglas Debate. He was also the Second Place Speaker in Parliamentary Debate and Lincoln-Douglas Debate and the runner-up in Persuasive Speaking. Each year, the top two competitors at the State Championship in Persuasive Speaking are invited to attend the contest of the Interstate Oratory Association, the oldest oratorical contest in the United States. The 138th contest will be held this year at the University of Oklahoma in Norman on April 22-24, and Gray plans to represent the state of Florida.
            The FAU Debate Team placed third in the Debate Sweepstakes, sixth in the Overall Team Sweepstakes, and, for the third consecutive year, reclaimed its Division I State Championship Title. Debate Team Vice President Robert Bruton and Secretary Wesley Mathieu were also in attendance while Treasurer David Pick helped administer the tournament. Florida Governor Charlie Crist and U.S. Senators Bill Nelson and George LeMieux sent letters to the tournament competitors expressing their support and well wishes. Campus Vice President Joyanne Stephens attended the tournament on Friday and sent her well wishes to the competitors. Honors College Dean Jeffrey Buller greeted the competitors before the closing awards ceremony on Sunday.
            “We're all very proud of the FAU debate team as well as of the faculty, staff and students who assisted in our hosting the state championship tournament. There were a lot of competitors from all over the state, and at one point we were using just about every classroom on campus. Alan and the whole team did an amazing job not just helping to run the tournament, but also competing so successfully,” said Dr. Mark Tunick, Associate Dean for the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University.

Byline: Tamara Howard

Wilkes Honors College Students Attend National Meeting for Anthropologists

Jupiter, FL (March 8, 2010) - "The End/s of Anthropology," the American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) 108th Annual Meeting, was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from December 2-6, 2009. Attendees participated in over 560 scholarly sessions and special events. Dr. Jacqueline Fewkes, assistant professor of anthropology at the Wilkes Honors College, accompanied four Honors College juniors to participate in this conference.
            "Our students had the chance to meet with anthropologists from other schools, get advice about graduate school applications, and find out about expectations associated with publishing in the field,” said Dr. Fewkes.
            The students who attended —Valerie Cannon, Kaleigh McKnight, Erik Palm and Abbie Zulock — brought with them an interest in anthropology and a willingness to use their own personal time to pursue their academic interests.
            The students attended a variety of professional presentations. As Dr. Fewkes said, “The emphasis on undergraduate research at the Honors College is an important part of our mission, and that background helped our students interact with others at the conference in a highly professional manner.  They were simply fellow researchers attending scholarly talks and therefore evaluating the information that they heard in terms of how they might use it in their own work.  That’s a significant part of what we do as professionals in anthropology.”
           The Honors College students had the opportunity to dine with an archaeologist and her student, as well as an Honors College alumnus, Michael Degani, who is currently getting his Ph.D. in anthropology at Yale University. Degani spoke to the students about what it was like to go on in graduate studies after leaving the Honors College.
            Helping students attend this type of conference is just one of the ways in which Wilkes Honors College professors introduce their students both to current developments in their fields and to potential pathways to success.  “One of the great things about professors at Florida Atlantic University,” according to Dr. Jeffrey L. Buller, dean of the Wilkes Honors College, “is that they’re not just acting as role models in the classroom, lab, and studio.  Opportunities to learn and to network exist 24/7, and our faculty members are there to help open doors as well as minds.”

byline: Tamara Howard

Wilkes Honors College Math Professor Dr. Terje Hõim becomes Florida’s Nominee for National Teaching Award

hoim award      Jupiter, FL (March 1, 2010) – In 1991 the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) instituted Awards for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics. This series of awards recognizes college or university teachers who have been widely acknowledged as extraordinarily successful and whose teaching effectiveness has been shown to have had influence beyond their own institutions.

This year, Dr. Terje Hõim, associate professor of mathematics at the Wilkes Honors College, received the Mathematical Association of America Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics for the State of Florida. She was honored at the MAA Florida Section meeting in Gainesville, FL, Feb.19-20, 2010 and was presented with a certificate and a plaque. Dr. Hõim will be next year’s official Florida nominee for the national MAA Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics.

“One of my goals in teaching is to strive continually to make mathematics more meaningful to students, provide them with intellectual challenges, provoke their curiosity and, most of all, motivate them to want to learn. In addition to more traditional mathematics approaches, I teach mathematics as a liberal art by linking it to relevant historical and cultural topics, as well as developing students’ writing skills,” said Dr. Hõim.

Her engagement in innovative curriculum development has resulted in designing three extremely innovative, team-taught, interdisciplinary courses – Honors Ethnomathematics, Honors Econometrics, and Honors Mathematical Economics. Working together with Dr. Jacqueline Fewkes, assistant professor of anthropology, Dr. Hõim received two nationally competitive grants for the development of course materials for their course Honors Ethnomathematics. As a result, the professors believe that this course has improved each time it has been offered in content it addresses and the activities it offers. In recognition of this achievement, the course is currently featured on the American Council of Learned Societies’ curriculum initiative website.

In 2007, Dr. Hõim won the FAU Excellence in Undergraduate Advising Award. She believes in developing a warm and caring relationship between a student and a faculty advisor; this gives her the opportunity to understand her students better, and it offers her students a scholarly mentor and role model. Dr. Hõim currently has 10 students writing their honors theses under her direction. Several of those theses are interdisciplinary, involving applications of mathematics and statistics to biology, political science, economics, and psychology.

Dr. Hõim’s students have presented their thesis research at state-level conferences as well as at national mathematics conferences. Most of the mathematics concentrators from the Wilkes Honors College continue their studies at prestigious graduate programs.  “My students know that I really care about their success and that I am always there to help them,” said Dr. Hõim.

In addition to her regular duties, Dr. Hõim frequently directs independent studies so that students can take a greater variety of advanced courses that truly spark their interests.  “I hope to continue to improve as an educator and as a teacher. One of the benefits of teaching at the Honors College is the chance to teach motivated, scholarly students who want to learn. I feel that I have grown as a teacher here, and look forward to new challenges and opportunities in this regard.”

This latest recognition brings renewed attention to Florida Atlantic University and its Honors College for its deep commitment to innovative teaching.  As Jeffrey L. Buller, dean of the Wilkes Honors College puts it, “The Florida Section of the Mathematical Association of America has confirmed what all of Dr. Hõim’s colleagues and students know: She’s an absolute star in everything she teaches. I’m so proud that some of the best students from Florida and around the world daily have access to professors of this caliber at Florida Atlantic University.  FAU is the university today for high ability students who want to be challenged by a creative and dedicated faculty.”

byline: Tamara Howard

2010 Symposium for Research and Creative Projects – Call for Papers
Submission Deadline: March 18, 2010

The Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College announces its eighth annual Symposium for Research and Creative Projects to be held on Friday, April 9, 2010 from 8:00 – 4:00 on the Jupiter Campus of FAU.

Submission Instructions
Abstracts: Students are expected to work with their advisors/instructors to prepare their abstract. The final draft of abstracts of 150 words or less, together with the type of presentation (poster, paper, or visual art), title, and author(s) must be received by March 18th.  A draft of the abstract must be submitted to your advisor by March 15th. See the detailed instructions for submission and use the abstract form found on the Honors College Website.

2010 Symposium for Research and Creative Projects

Tamara Howard, “The Quintessential HC Student,” to Lead Statewide Organization

Tamara Howard (2nd from right), with (from left) Dr. Larry Faerman (FAU), Cassidy Henry (Honors College),
Louis Reich (USF), Michaele Antoine (FAU) and Alex Lange (Honors College)

Jupiter, FL (February 22, 2010) –
            Recently, ten Honors College students acted as delegates at the Florida Association of Residence Hall’s annual conference. The Florida Association of Residence Halls (FARH) was established to coordinate state residence hall association activities and represent and serve the collective interests of all residents. 
            Four of the Honors College delegates presented programs at this year’s conference. Cassidy Henry and Ashley Irizarry led a program called “Dealing with Your DH”, a presentation discussing how to build a dialogue between the student body and the school’s dining hall (or “DH” for short). Kaleigh McKnight and Miguel Rivera presented “Ice, Ice Baby”, a presentation that outlined several different kinds of icebreakers that can be used to create a more familiar and welcoming environment.
            In 2009, Honors College students were elected to three of the five student positions on the FARH State Board of Directors. Alex Lange was elected Associate Director, Tamara Howard was elected Associate Director for Administration, and Cassidy Henry was elected Associate Director for Recruitment and Retention.
            In 2010, Tamara Howard became the new Director for the entire FARH organization. In accordance with her duties, Tamara will represent the state of Florida at the regional level at conferences in March and September and at the national level in June.  Jeffrey L. Buller, the dean of the Wilkes Honors College said, “The Honors College experience at Florida Atlantic University was never just about taking challenging courses and getting good grades.  It also included an extensive residential and co-curricular program aimed at building leadership and developing ‘the whole person.’  I think Tamara’s a perfect example of the success this concept has had.  She’s recognized throughout the campus as an effective student leader, excels at a full range of academic pursuits, and devotes her time to making all students’ experience as satisfying as possible.  Tamara’s the quintessential HC success story.”

You or someone you know could be the next success story at Florida Atlantic University’s Wilkes Honors College.  And it all begins with a call to the Honors Admissions Office at 1-800-920-8705.

Honors College Student Presents Solo Art Exhibit

A new medium of art makes its debut on February 25, 2010 at the Hibel Museum, featuring the creative expression of Honors College student Michael Metzner. 

Michael’s photographic works depict a priceless collection of hand-painted fans from the museum’s rare treasures.  But the captivating element is how the artist photographer tells a story with each photo, involving a model and environmental accents that take the work to another dimension.  As Michael shares his vision: “I express the essence, and transcend it into the extraordinary”, surely the riveting results deliver on that statement.

The February 25 opening night “Vernissage” of the exhibit will include a Reception featuring artistic creations by Kelly’s Catering, along with world-renowned harpist Charlene Conner. A special dedication will be made to Edna Hibel in celebration of her 93rd birthday.  

This is the first time another artist has been invited to stage a one-man exhibition alongside Hibel’s Masterpieces. Metzner was born in New York, where he lived for thirteen years before relocating to Wellington, Florida five years ago.  Michael graduated high school from Wellington Christian School in 2008 and is currently pursuing degrees in both Biological Chemistry and Art at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College in Jupiter, Florida, and currently has an internship with The Scripps Research Institute

Michael has always been fascinated by the art of photography, but did not get his first camera until Christmas 2007. After spending one year learning about his new hobby, Michael began to take it seriously after he won the Home Grown Artist award in 2009 ArtiGras, a nationally recognized art show, and was featured on ABC as one of the artists selected for this amazing honor. Since then, Michael has continued to enjoy great success in photography. He was a finalist in the Nikon’s “College Photography Competition,” and saw one of his photographs published in the book, Best of College Photography 2009, printed in June 2009. He is currently working on a project called, “Perceptions of Beauty,” which explores the many different points of view that exist on what constitutes “beauty”. In the spring of 2010, Michael will have a number of his photographs displayed in a travelling art exhibit at Penn State University. His self-published magazine, MW, will be printed at some point during the summer of 2010 and will contain all of his work that relates to this conceptual project. He is also an accomplished pianist.

The exhibit will be displayed from February 25 through until March 6, 2010. The “Vernissage” opening night reception will be held February 25 from 6:30-8:30 pm at The Hibel Museum, located in Abacoa, Jupiter.  It is tucked back on the corner of University and Main Street on the Florida Atlantic University John D. MacArthur campus. Valet parking will be available.  Admission is complimentary, but proceeds from sales will go to Art Scholarships for underprivileged children. The Hibel Museum of Art (a non-profit 501c3, surviving solely on donations from the public) greatly appreciates all donations. Please RSVP by February 18 to 561-622-5560.

Honors College Faculty Member Dr. William O'Brien Explores Segregation in the State Parks

obrien Jupiter, FL (Feb. 18, 2010) - Back in November, 2009, Dr. William O’Brien, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University’s Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, was an invited participant in the conference of the South Eastern Division of the Association of American Geographers (SEDAAG) in Knoxville, Tennessee. Established in 1947, SEDAAG exists to advance investigations in geography and to encourage the application of geographic findings in education, government, and business. One of Dr. O’Brien’s areas of research involves the history of racial segregation in the South during the Jim Crow Period (1876-1965), particularly as it affects the rise of the state park system (1920-1965).

Dr. O’Brien’s presentation entitled, “State Parks and Jim Crow, or America’s Best Idea Meets America’s Worst Idea,” provided a summary of many years of analysis and longitudinal study.  As Dr. O’Brien describes his work: "The Southern racial segregation system known as Jim Crow has been well documented in areas such as education and transportation.  But little work has been published on the exclusion of African-Americans from the region’s state parks. Tracking the emergence and establishment of state park systems during the Jim Crow years, I document the slow official response toward making facilities available to Southern black populations from the 1920s until the mid-1960s."

Dr. O’Brien notes that, even though it may not be readily apparent, this research is perfectly interlaced with his other work in promoting environmental studies and sustainable energy policies.  “A large part of environmental history,” he says, “concerns ways of preserving natural areas, and so we think about national parks as being the most famous of those preserved spaces.  But as people realized that many other places were beautiful and worthy of being preserved, they gradually developed the idea of the state park system.”  Across the country, states began preserving areas for parks, and the goal was to make those natural treasurers accessible to as many people as possible. 

Dr. O’Brien continued, “The slogan in the 1920’s was ‘A State Park Every Hundred Miles.” The basic concept was that there would be a state park within driving distance of everybody.  Of course, at that point in the South, when legislators spoke of ‘everybody,’ they frequently did not include African-Americans. They didn’t care that a significant part of the population would have access to none of those parks. Eventually and gradually some park facilities were created for African-Americans, but these areas were almost always separate facilities. Even then, there were never that many parks available to members of minority groups.  Nevertheless, state parks were supposed to represent a democratic ideal of access to everybody that did not quite work out.”  That disconnect between ideals and reality helped inspire Dr. O’Brien’s study.

When asked how the Honors College encouraged him in this work, Dr. O’Brien said, “The Honors College creates a really great research environment that makes it possible to pursue these kinds of projects.  As a professor, it’s part of your job to produce and publish innovative scholarship. What’s nice about the Honors College and FAU as a whole is that it takes seriously the idea that you need to excel at teaching, but you also have to be a role model in the area of research. It an atmosphere where you’re motivated to do both in a productive way.”

As a distinguished teacher, scholar, and department chair in Florida Atlantic University’s Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, Dr. William O’Brien is a superb example of FAU’s commitment to a faculty that serves the greater good at the same time that it serves the university’s students.

byline: Tamara Howard

Honors College Faculty Member Dr. Julie Earles Conducts Research into Memory and Eyewitness Testimony

Dr. Julie Earles Jupiter, FL (Feb. 1, 2010) - Dr. Julie Earles, Associate Professor of Psychology at Florida Atlantic University’s Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, is currently studying how people successfully form, store, and retrieve memories, and the circumstances in which our memory systems fail. The main application of her research is in eyewitness reports to criminal events. As anyone can imagine, memory failure is especially an issue when it comes to these reports. “There are many examples of people who have been wrongly convicted of crimes based on false eyewitness memory, yet too often in our court system we still place a great deal of weight on the testimony of confident eyewitnesses,” said Dr. Earles.

Dr. Earles is interested in figuring out why eyewitnesses make errors. In her lab, she and her students have test subjects watch movies that contain actors performing various actions. They ask the participants to try to remember who performs which action in film clips they have seen.  Later, Dr. Earles and her students test the memory of the participants.  They show the participants three basic types of events. Old events are exactly like the ones they saw before.  New events contain an actor that they have never seen before performing an action that they have never seen before.  Conjunction events contain an actor that they saw before performing an action that they saw before but that had previously been performed by someone else.  A “yes” response to a conjunction event would represent what is called a “binding error” in memory.  “This is the type of memory error that often occurs with eyewitnesses to a crime. The eyewitness remembers the crime and remembers the accused person, but incorrectly binds the person with a crime that was actually performed by someone else,” said Dr. Earles.

“In the lab, we manipulate conditions to determine when and how these binding errors occur.  We have found, for example, that if people are distracted or are under time pressure when making a response, they tend to make eyewitness errors.  But these errors occur because of difficulties remembering the actor and the action, not because of an influence of distraction or time pressure on the binding of actors with their actions. We have also discovered that while people are more likely to remember criminal actions than non criminal actions, they are just as likely to make binding errors with criminal events as with non criminal events.

The potential of this research is immeasurable.  Nevertheless, Dr. Earles has increased the impact of her studies even more by including a number of Florida Atlantic University undergraduate students as her research partners.  She has co-authored articles with several of these students and, each spring, in the Research Symposium conducted by Wilkes Honors College students, the discoveries begun by Dr. Earles’ research team are presented to the public.  As dean of the Wilkes Honors College, Dr. Jeffrey Buller, said “We put a premium on significant, peer-reviewed research that enables undergraduate students to work closely with an accomplished faculty mentor.  And that’s just the type of research that Dr. Earles is doing.”  All of which suggests that there is one thing that easy to remember: Tomorrow’s important discoveries are being made by faculty members and students at FAU’s Wilkes Honors College today.

byline: Tamara Howard

Counselor Day

The Wilkes Honors College will be hosting a luncheon for high school guidance counselors on Wednesday, January 27th, 2010 from 9am-2pm.  The program will include panel discussions from current students, mini classes taught by Honors College faculty members, campus tours and a luncheon.

To RSVP for the program, send an email to sprior@fau.edu by January 20th.

Another Wilkes Honors College Student, Christina Turn, Receives National Recognition

Jan. 22, 2010 - Wilkes Honors College student Christina Turn, has been selected from 190 entries nationwide for an award in a national civic engagement competition, by an esteemed panel of judges that includes the Dean of Iona College, a Columbia University Professor, and Charles Bass, former member of the House of Representatives.

The Wilkes Honors College now has had two of the honorable mention recipients in the first two national competitions held at ourvoiceourcountry.org.

Between the two competitions Wilkes Honors College students were competing against 753 other entries nationally. The earlier recipient, last September, was freshman Kelly Novinski.

The www.ourvoiceourcountry.org's Scholarship Competition requires participants to identify what they believe to be the most urgent problem facing our nation, and to nominate an expert in the field ready to post an achievable solution -- which may later be presented to key leaders in Congress as an outcome.

Ms. Turn chose "Ending the Cycle of Poverty and Homelessness" as her topic.

Last Modified 11/8/16