Aspirations Issue 3, Volume 2

The Move to Illges Hall

In the Fall of 2017, the Honors College moved from its home in the Schuster Student Success Center, to the 3rd floor of Illges Hall. While we’re still settling into the home that we moved into the week before Fall classes began, the students have made it feel like home our first semester. While December brought Christmas lights and ornament painting, students utilized their new space well this semester. New spaces in the building give our students a place to do just about everything, from studying in our small computer lab, to thesis defenses in our new conference room. Our move also granted us our very own event space, and tiered classroom.

The Dean utilized the tiered classroom for her Scholarship Across the Disciplines course while the students used the new event space for their Honoris Causa meetings. Our new space was crawling with students this semester from those sleepy few hanging out in the Bird’s Nest, to the students who started keeping their own coffee pot on the floor in a public area for when staff were out. We hope the presence of the Honors College in Illges will grow even stronger as students acclimate to the amount of space we have in our new home and as we begin utilizing our new spaces for inaugural college events such as the proposed Sorting Banquet for freshman each September 1st.

If you haven’t come by yet to see our new space, feel free to drop in anytime! We are always willing to give quick tours of our floor and discuss event spaces with you!

NCHC 2017: Just Honors

In November, Cindy Ticknor, Laura Pate, and I had the opportunity to travel to Atlanta to attend the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) annual conference entitled, ‘Just Honors.’ We presented three different sessions over the 5-day conference; Using First-Year Seminars to Launch Assessment of Programmatic Learning Outcomes; Me, Myself and I (Need Help!): Managing Honors Students’ Progress Using D2L, Banner and Electronic Systems; and Getting to the Point of Honors: Using a Point-Based System to Better Serve Your Students. Our presentations were well-received, and I, personally, felt as though we represented Columbus State University’s Honors College in an extremely professional and positive light.

There were a multitude of sessions for the three of us to choose from to attend, so we decided our best strategy was to divide and conquer! We experienced sessions on Embedding Wellness into the Honors Curriculum and The Middle Age Slump: How to Sustain an Honors Program for the Long Haul to The Power of Critical Reflection and Enriching the Honors Community Beyond the First Year, just to name a few. Needless to say, we all came away from the conference with a plethora of new and exciting ideas. We are planning a retreat in early January to debrief from this amazing event and discuss which ideas we may want to incorporate into our Honors community and curriculum.

Since last month’s conference, many directors of honors programs from around the state and the nation have contacted us regarding our research, our NCHC presentations, and our Honors College. These honors professionals were impressed with the work we are doing at Columbus State and are still asking questions regarding how our Honors College works. In addition, they are seeking out our advice on how these things might work for their honors programs and how they can best implement them. I must say, it is a great feeling, knowing that our efforts in the Honors College are being recognized nationally and that we are making a positive impact.

Stay tuned for the next issue of Aspirations where we will update you on the wonderful new ideas and additions you will find in the Honors College at Columbus State University that stemmed from our experiences at NCHC 2017!

Dr. Susan Tomkiewicz, Director of RiverPark Campus, Honors College

Students show off their Honors College Milestone Pins, signifying their completion of 80% of the Honors College curriculum

The Inaugural Honors College Black & White Ceremony

This December the Honors College hosted our inaugural Black & White Ceremony. Hosted by The Loft in downtown Columbus, the awards ceremony honored four graduates of the Honors College, as well as 10 students who were the first-ever recipients of the Honors College’s Milestone pin. Designed to mirror the Honors College seal from the diploma, the Honors College Milestone pin is awarded to students who have completed eighty percentage of the Honors College curriculum.

Our Black & White Ceremony was held on the evening of December 5, the Loft provided a glamorous and rustic aesthetic for our event and as finals had not yet started, our students were in good cheer. Students were encouraged to wear black and white only, and to bring their thesis or contract mentors. While word of the gathering went out late, we still had a good attendance that ensured an intimate networking event that would benefit our students. We look forward to hosting this event again next December, and we hope that you will be on our list of pin recipients!

The Birth of the Pin

Each year the Honors College sees fantastic students move onto their next career goal without graduating from Columbus State. In the past we’ve had students leave in sophmore year for Physical Therapy programs, dental programs, and many other graduate-level courses. The Honors College wanted to find a way to stay connected to these brilliant students who would have completed their Honors Thesis and the Honors curriculum had time allowed. Many of these students served on the Honoris Causa student board, and participated as Honors Ambassadors at Honors Orientation and other recruitment events during their time with Columbus State. While they might not be walking across the stage with Honors College regalia on their shoulders, they will always be part of the body of the Honors College at Columbus State.

Angelin Shajan, recipient of the 2014 Faculty Cup

The VCOM-Auburn Connection

The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) is a four-year osteopathic medical school with a satellite campus just across the river at Auburn University. This program receives 7,000 applicants a year across each of its campuses, but it just so happens that VCOM-Auburn is home to not one, but four Honors College alumni. We reached out to our VCOM students to find out if they felt their connection to the Honors College helped them at VCOM.

The newest member of the Honors-VCOM family is a recent graduate of the Honors College, Jared Beis. When speaking to Jared, he told us, “Personally, I love having other Honors College alumni at VCOM. It's cool to see familiar faces.” The students have each other for more than comfort, however, one student, Angelin Shajan who graduated in 2015 tells us, “[Valerie Staples] is my VCOM mom! I can go to her with anything.” Valerie Staples graduated the Honors College in 2014, and Angelin isn’t the only Honors student she’s mothering at VCOM. Valerie’s oldest son, Micah Staples is not only also at VCOM with his mother, he’s also an Honors College alumni!

Micah and his mother give VCOM a unique story for their admissions panelist, in fact, Micah thinks the Honors College helped him learn how to stand out for admission panels like those at VCOM. “Standing out is very important when interviewing to get in. You might get asked about any hobbies or interests you have, and what kind of volunteer work you have done. The Honors College fosters an environment where you can do cool, oddball stuff and also get important work done. You volunteer, and can talk about these things to connect with your interviewer and really stand out when the admissions committee has to make a decision.” Jared Beis also speaks highly of the Honors College and how his time here impacted his admissions into VCOM, “honestly speaking, I don't think I would have gotten into VCOM without the Honors College. The Honors College opened so many opportunities for me that helped me pave the road to where I am now.”

The aim of the Honors College is, of course, to prepare our students for their future, whether it be graduate school, like VCOM, or to step into a career after completing their undergraduate degree. Angelin Shajan seems to think we served her well, saying, “I feel like at VCOM a student's GPA carries more weight than their MCAT score when it comes to the application process. Being around like-minded, bright, and goal-driven students at Honors College made it a lot easier for me to become a successful applicant. The Honors College holds its students to a higher standard and teaches us hard work, professionalism, teamwork, and always striving to be your best. And all these skills I gained from the Honors College made my transition into medical school a smooth one.” Valerie agrees that the Honors College set our students up for greatness at VCOM. “I think that being in Honors made me a better planner. I knew I needed to get stuff done to graduate, and it made me more aware so that I didn’t drop the ball on anything in the admissions process at VCOM,” says Valerie of her connection from Honors College to VCOM-Auburn.

Having alumni at VCOM-Auburn is something that the Honors College is extremely proud of, and we love to see where our students have gone. All the way to Antarctica, or in Auburn at our back door. The Honors College wants to know where our alumni are and what they are accomplishing. Do you have a story you'd like to share? #SendIt to Honors@ColumbusState.edu

Attention Alumni!

The reserved table for our Faculty Nominees at the 2017 Annual Awards Banquet at the Cunningham Center

Call for Alumni Nominations

Each year we present alumni awards for Community Impact and Global Impact. See the criteria for each of these awards below, and submit your nominations by March 1st to Dr. Cindy Ticknor at ticknor_cindy@columbusstate. edu. Nominees will be asked to submit their CV upon nomination for our committee to review.

Criteria for Alumni Community Impact Award Nomination

• The nominee must hold a bachelor’s degree from Columbus State University and have completed the requirements of the Honors Program or Honors College.

• The nominee must have distinguished himself or herself in his or her professional or personal life by demonstrating through and/or research focus on the Chattahoochee Valley Region.

• The nominee would demonstrate the ability to have disregard for the impossible when it comes to their research, action, and/or advocacy.

• The nominee must have exemplified high moral character and integrity and be held in high esteem by his/her fellow alumni.

Criteria for Alumni Regional Impact Award Nomination

• The nominee must hold a bachelor’s degree from Columbus State University and have completed the requirements of the Honors Program or Honors College.

• The nominee must have distinguished himself or herself in his or her professional/ personal life by demonstrating thought and research focus on a Global Level.

• The nominee would demonstrate the ability to have disregard for the impossible when it comes to their research, action, or advocacy.

• The nominee must have exemplified high moral character and integrity and be held in high esteem by his/her fellow alumni.

Honors College Graduates: Fall Thesis Highlights

This December, the Honors College saw many great students defend their undergraduate thesis. Some defended as they prepared to walk across the graduation stage, others prepared for final semesters as student-teachers or abroad.

Kimberly Apple graduated from the UTeach program with a bachelors in Mathematics. She studied optimal colorings, similar to those found in the famous Four Color Problem. Rather than determining that it only takes four different colors to color a map, she applied graph theory and linear programming to explore the colorings of Platonic and Archimedean solids. Her paper, mentored by Dr. Eugene Ionascu, was selected as one of the top ten in the country in the National Collegiate Honors Council’s Portz Competition. Returning to CSU as a non-traditional student, Kim made the decision to join the Honors College and work on her degree in Mathematics Education. Kim was able to publish three problems- two in MAA and one in the Cannadian MAA (CMA), was a finalist for the National Collegiate Honors Council's Portz Scholars Award, and successfully defended her thesis entitled, “Optimal half-dependence arrangements in graphs of regular and semi-regular polyhedra.”

Abby Gibbons defended her thesis during the fall prior to leaving for Oxford University. She’ll be graduating in Spring 2018. Her work analyzed travel texts from the fourteenth century authored by two Christian travelers, Marco Polo and John Mandeville, and one Muslim traveler, Ibn Battuta. She brilliantly argued that fourteenth century travel literature presented a paradigm based in sensationalism and de-emphasized populations in key cities of Baghdad and Jerusalem. The authors focused on entertainment and wonder, rather than education and dissemination of knowledge. Her thesis, entitled “Silent Cities: Sensationalism and Removed Populations within Fourteen Century Western Christian and Muslim Travel Accounts of Baghdad and Jerusalem,” was mentored by Dr. Ryan Lynch. As Abby will be abroad for part of the spring semester, she has managed to complete her Honors College requirements ahead of schedule. During her undergraduate career, Abby's love of history has led her to volunteering with the CSU Archives. This has been a rich experience for Abby and also equipped her to do some research on the family behind Illges Hall, the new home of the Honors College.

Manuel Parrachavez graduated with a degree in Computer Science after defending a senior project that developed a strategy to detect computer network intrusions entitled, “Using Self-Organizing Maps for Computer Network Intrusion Detection.” Working with Dr. Shamim Khan, Manuel implemented a self-organizing map and compared it to other neural network implementations to compare effectiveness. The self-organizing maps worked remarkably well in detecting anomalies. Manuel has finished up his degree in a mere 3 and a half years. He also managed to fit in an internship in Germany over a summer and remained active with Honoris Causa, our student-led organization.

Karolyn “Kallie” Turner developed her senior project as part of her internship at the Columbus Museum. Under the direction of Dr. Barbara Johnston, she developed lesson plans for children visiting the museum that integrated her major, Art History, with science and math for her thesis entitled, “Lesson Plans Integrating Art with STEAM: Providing Students with Universal Education Experience.” Kallie undertook the interdisciplinary challenge of researching the role of museums in education, Georgia standards for math, sciences and art, and the historical pieces available in the museum. The lesson plans bridged the gap between schools and the museum allowing students to experience STEAM (Science,Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics).

Sam Resenhouse also integrated an internships with his senior project in Computer Science. He developed an algorithm using natural language processing that could detect if radiological reports contained positive indications that a patient might have an abdominal aortic aneurysms for his thesis entitled, “Detecting Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms in the Clinical Narrative.” These aneurysms are a leading cause of death in the Western world and the algorithm provided promising way to efficiently and effectively identify patients at risk.

Alex Jones graduated with a degree in English, specializing in professional writing, and developed a thesis entitled, “Pick Me! Pick Me! Using Aristotelian Rhetorical Persuasion & Advertising Appeals for Self-Promotion.” Alex examined how the three classical rhetorical means of persuasion (ethos, pathos, and logos) could be used for self-promotion, and used cases from elimination-style reality shows, Survivor and Big Brother, to support his argument. He completed the work under the mentorship of Dr. Eliot Rendleman. Alex also graduated in less than 4 years, but during that time he has been a vital part of Honoris Causa, serving in an officer position since his sophomore year. Alex served two years as Main Campus Secretary, and one semester as Vice President before his graduation. He has already landed a job following his internship at WTVM.

Want to hear more about our graduates? Check the next edition of Aspirations, out in May of 2018, for information on our May graduates and their theses. Until then, enjoy your 2018 and thank you for all you do for the Columbus State University Honors College.

A Semester In Photos

Our students took part of CSU's Annual Day of Service and helped clean up 2nd Avenue in Columbus, GA. From mowing lawns and leaf-blowing, to cleaning abandoned porches and putting down pine straw, our students enjoyed their opportunity to improve our community.
The Honors College took 51 students and staff to get a view of the full Eclipse, stopping in the parking lot of Augusta Tech to put on our safety glasses and enjoy the view.
Students enrolled in HONS300 course: The Science of Beverages had the opportunity to visit local beverage production companies in Georgia. Students learned about beverage manufacturing from Cott Beverage's David Ragland, as well as brewers at Omaha Brewing and other beverage masters at Richland Rum and Warm Springs' Winery. From the science to the machinery, students got to learn how the things we consume are created!
In October, our Senior Advisor, Ms. Suzes Casseus (center) showed our Honors College students how to keep reaching for the stars as she moved on to accept a position elsewhere. Staff from across campus and students from every discipline and class came to see her off!
While the Science of Beverages class toured facilities, HONS3000: Eco-Gardening toured with Doug Dorough, a master landscaper, to learn about how landscaping has to be mindful of positive and negative attractants and the environment where the plants will be. Doug even took our students to the Little White House, where he manages the landscape, to show them the benefits of the butterfly garden that he designed.
As classes neared a close, our students got in the holiday spirit. Honoris Causa, our student-led organization, donated to The Tree Trail, a senior project fundraiser for the Servant Leadership program, and purchased a tree. Students then met across both campuses to design ornaments that would be used on the trees featured in the Broadway median in downtown Columbus, GA.
Each Fall semester, we end our time together with a Holiday Party at the Dean's house. Featured here are our first and second place winners of the "Ugly Sweater" contest. As you can see, our students take it above and beyond sweaters by decorating from head to toe in holiday spirits.

That's all from the Honors College this semester! We look forward to sharing our adventures with you in 2018.

Created By
Darci Burdett


photos provided by staff and students in the Honors College.

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