Congratulations to the 2016 Bonderman Fellows!
Congratulations to the fifteen University of Washington students awarded 2016 Bonderman Travel Fellowships! These fellowships will enable them to embark on solo journeys that are at least eight months long and take them to two regions and six countries of the world.
While traveling, students may not pursue academic study, projects, or research. Established in 1995, this fellowship aims to expose students to the intrinsic, often life-changing, benefits of international travel.
Peer Mentors Help New Students Imagine Themselves as Honors Huskies
Honors Peer Mentors enjoy a homemade trifle with hosts Robin & Bob Stacey at a Spring Appreciation Dinner - April 2, 2016
Spring is a great time at the University of Washington! New students and families are attending info sessions and touring campus, while our graduating seniors speed towards their own big transitions — all against the backdrop of our famously beautiful cherry blossoms. Amidst all the activity, it would be easy to feel overwhelmed as a young person at the start of your college career. Luckily, there is a group of Honors students making time to personalize UW.
Honors Peer Mentors share their experiences and insights with incoming freshmen eager to find out what's special about being an Honors Husky. As one of the first people new students connect with, Honors Peer Mentors are making an important contribution to our close-knit community of interdisciplinary learners. We were excited to thank them this year with a special dinner hosted by Honors Hanauer Professor Robin Stacey and her husband Bob Stacey, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.
The Staceys led the dinner guests through a quick demo on how to combine the wealth of ingredients on the table into their own unique spring rolls — a perfect choice for interdisciplinary students used to grabbing knowledge from many places to develop fresh insights and well-informed personal approaches to learning! Conversation ranged from how the undergraduate experience has changed over the past decades to which celebrity couples are most inspiring to students. It was a wonderful evening!
Peer Mentors who couldn't make it to the first engagement caught up for pizza the following week and shared ideas about how to help new students overcome their shyness and what kind of events are the most conducive to build community. Many Peer Mentors will be coming to the next Honors Hearth event on April 21 and encouraging their mentees to attend and get social with others in our community.
UW Honors received approximately 4,000 applications to our undergraduate interdisciplinary program this year and we expect approximately 225 new students to matriculate with us this fall. Student volunteers like our Peer Mentors make a huge impact on our new Honors Huskies as they transition to the UW, making this change less bewildering and more human.
Thank you, Peer Mentors! We appreciate you letting us fill your plates (both literally and figuratively).
Cozy Up to UW Professors at an Honors Hearth Event
Back by popular demand, the Honors Hearth brings Honors students and alumni together with great professors for a free evening of cozy conversation. This is a place to hear reflections from the innovative researchers and thinkers who teach Honors courses, lead expeditions, change laws, and impact the world far beyond our small community.
At this event you'll learn more about the people behind the curriculum! Last year's talks featured intense intellectual conversation as well as dating stories, commiseration on issues of life balance and much more. Our next event is led by faculty hosts Theo "The Law" Myhre and Ursula "Field Master" Valdez, whose discussion will be steered by the questions you pose as you RSVP. Attendance is rewarded with tiny desserts and hot drinks.
Come to the Honors Hearth Thursday, April 21 at 7pm in the Maple Hall Great Room
About our Hosts:
Ursula "Field Master" Valdez
Ursula is a tropical Ecologist and conservation biologist (PhD in Biology UW). Currently she is faculty at UW Bothell where she teaches courses on ecology, conservation and natural history. Ursula runs an Exploration Seminar to Peru now in its 9th installment and conducts research on bird ecology in Peru and (recently) in the Bothell area.
Ursula is also pioneering Honors' Field Studies Program for a second year, teaching the Summer B Term course: "A Natural and Cultural History of the Pacific Northwest" where students conduct research in the San Juan Islands, at Discovery Park, and other exotic locations surprisingly close to home! Student feedback has been very positive, with comments like: "This changed my ideas about how my work in any profession might one day impact the environment," and "It was more fun than any science class I have ever attended.
Theo "The Law" Myhre
Theo holds a number of advanced degrees including a J.D. from Seattle University School of Law, an M.A. in History from Boston College, an M.A. in Modern European Intellectual History from Drew University, a Certificate in Language and Civilization from the University of Paris, and an interdisciplinary B.A. from The Evergreen State College. In 2015, Honors students awarded Myhre the coveted Honors Excellence in Teaching Award (aka "the HETA") for distinguished and engaging faculty who "go above and beyond."
"I must not fail to mention that Professor Myhre's lectures have a soothing feel to them," said Caleb Huffman, who nominated Myhre for the HETA. "I imagine he could quit being a professor and be just fine working as a DJ for an alternative jazz station."
Justice Bobbe Bridge Wins Honors 2016 Distinguished Alumna Award
UW Alumna Justice Bobbe Bridge (B.A. with College Honors in political science) sets a high bar for those who would follow in her honorable footsteps.
Driven to solve complex societal challenges in partnership with individuals and agencies from many sectors, Justice Bridge's devotion is such that she spends her "retirement" urgently addressing systemic failures affecting highly vulnerable populations. In the course of her distinguished career (including eight years on the Washington State Supreme Court), Justice Bridge was deeply impacted by something that needed fixing further up the line from where she was sitting. During her three years as Chief Juvenile Court Judge, she repeatedly encountered troubled youth who were clearly trapped in cycles of systemic failure: foster kids with mental health issues; children removed from abusive homes; and homeless youth, a large percentage of whom were children of color.
"Honor" is sometimes defined as "a great privilege or recognition" but is just as often used to indicate "truthfulness or integrity." Exemplifying multiple meanings of the term, in 2007 (after retiring her seat as Washington State Supreme Court Justice) the Honorable Justice Bridge devoted herself to creating and leading the Center for Children and Youth Justice (CCYJ), whose mission is: "Advancing justice for and enhancing the lives of children and youth through juvenile justice, child welfare and related systems reform." Justice Bridge and the staff of CCYJ work to recognize, fund, and facilitate efforts that make lives better for children who society has, to some degree, failed to consider, much less serve.
Out of those better childhoods come empowered adults, whose potential contributions to society are boundless. But that is not the only or even the best reason to intervene. "We are individuals, but we are all members of a family, residents of a community, citizens of a state and country, occupants of the world," Justice Bridge answered, when asked about her passion for service. She continued: "We are connected to one another and obligated through that connection to assist each other as we are able."
Justice Bridge, who chairs the UW Honors Advisory Board, sees how our interdisciplinary program can catalyze the impact that every student might have on real world problems — where scholars and practitioners from multiple fields must collaborate. She grounds her own accomplishments in interdisciplinary thinking: "My experience with the multi-disciplinary studies in the UW Honors Program—the opportunity to be creative, to think 'outside the box,' to be challenged to solve problems rather than merely recognize them, to experience new ways of approaching an issue, to risk—was a significant early influence for me."
In recognition of her service leadership, drive to make a difference, and continuing public impact, the UW Honors Program proudly names the Honorable Justice Bobbe Bridge our 2016 Distinguished Honors Alumna.
Hooray for these Huskies!
The Dominguez Family drove from Yakima to Celebrate Vanessa's achievement.
UW Honors, the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity, and the Ethnic Cultural Center (ECC) joined forces on February 26th to recognize top-performing freshmen Huskies who demonstrated promise, talent, and great achievement in their first quarter at UW.
During the celebration students, staff, and faculty of the Honors community joined Dean Taylor from Undergraduate Academic Affairs, the wonderful staff and students at the ECC, and friends from across OMAD in congratulating these outstanding students and the friends and family who have helped them achieve academic excellence early in their undergraduate careers.
We invited these talented students to consider applying for second-year admission in the Honors Program, where they will enjoy a rigorous interdisciplinary curriculum, experiential learning, and reflective synthesis, along with in-depth examinations of major global challenges with others from across campus.
What kind of college student gives up thier Friday night to volunteer at a celebration dinner?
This kind: Honors Huskies.
The Drugge Family demonstrates total intellectual fitness.
The Placer Family flew in from San Francisco to attend this celebration dinner. No big deal!
We are so delighted to have collaborated on this lovely occasion and look forward to seeing what the future holds for our high-achieving Huskies!
Departmental Honors Psychology Student Marissa Pighin Tackles ADHD
Students in the UW Honors Program come from every major department on campus, bringing rich diversity to the interests and backgrounds of our community. Departmental Honors allows students the opportunity to explore their chosen major in greater depth, usually with guidance from a faculty mentor. Departmental Honors requirements vary, but usually constitute an additional 10-15 credits of upper-level coursework, additional research or an extended thesis.
Check out this exerpt from a recent article on Departmental Honors Psychology Student Marissa Pighin's work, published on the UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences website:
Seated in a chair in front of a computer, the volunteer plays a video game where the goal is to make an image of a hang glider on the computer screen fly as high and for as long as possible, all through the person's brain rhythms. Pighin is working with Steven Pillen, a UW research technologist, to create the video game. "I want it to be fun!" Pighin said of the brain exercises. "This is my heart and soul."
Students share personal highlights and heartaches in portfolio presentations - with cookies!
December, 2015: UW seniors presented their online interdisciplinary portfolios to several rooms full of rapt staff, students, faculty, alumni, and family members at our first celebratory edition of Honors 496 presentations. Presentations to end the capstone course have always marked the completion of a reflective journey for students but have previously been held in a classroom setting. "I'm glad to see so many freshmen and other students here," said Dr. Julie Villegas, who runs the seminar. "We've rarely had family and alumni attending these presentations and now that's changing. Let's enjoy this for the very special moment it is."
The Autumn cohort breathed a collective sigh of relief as the last audience question was answered and the remaining cookies were cleared away.
"It feels so good to have this out of the way," said senior public health major Marlena Norwood, though she claims she will continue to use her online portfolio to track her reflections on academic subjects as well as personal experiences. "I link to it on my resume," she told us, "and I used it to write a paper while studying abroad in London."
Norwood's family attended the presentations and said they were not surprised by any of the content. "We've all been following her portfolio since freshman year," Norwood's mother said. "It's bookmarked as one of my favorite web pages." Marlena disclosed that her uncle (seen in photo) used to harass her at family gatherings when she would fall behind on portfolio updates.
Presenters were divided into small groups and spoke to distinct audiences throughout the Honors suite. Each portfolio was unique and full of personal statements, examples of hard discoveries, turning points in academic careers, and memories of favorite courses.
"Honors courses for me were always like a breath of fresh air since I was so loaded down with science and math courses," said computer science major Autumn Johnson. She went on to explain how Honors 392, "The Good Life" allowed her to fall in love with the writings of philosophers whose work she would never have experienced by immersing herself only in hard science tracks.
Guests of the event noted how Interdiscipliary Honors students are uniquely preparing to transition into work, travel, or pursuit of graduate degrees. "There is so much confidence, so much excitement," said Honors Advisory Board member Bud Saxberg. "And they know how to speak of themselves."
Come bask in the glory and eat the cookies at Honors' Winter quarter Portfolio Celebrations: Suite 211 Mary Gates Hall.
- Weds, March 2, 1:30-3:00 p.m.
- Thurs, March 3, 3:30-5:00 p.m.
RSVP HERE. All are welcome!
Smarten up about science with Jon Herron!
Student filmmaker Andrew Croneberger teamed up with UW professors Jon Herron and Frances McCue to create this series of micro lectures on popular topics in biology. Find out (among other things) what makes some chilis spicier than others, how modern humans and neanderthals are actually related, and what mice are now able to teach us about Ebola, thanks to compelling new studies.
UW Honors Program's first Global Challenges Event Encourages Student Conversation on Health and Poverty
- by Nicole Einbinder
The HUB South Ballroom was packed on November 3 as over 400 students and other UW community members came together to engage in a discussion on the intersections between health and poverty.
The Global Challenges event, hosted by UW Honors Program, was a year in the making — after last year's HONORS 100 students (mostly incoming freshmen) voiced a desire to engage with the big questions they care about.
In light of Seattle's state of emergency on homelessness and the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe, conversations about poverty are especially crucial, according to Honors Program Director, Relational Poverty Network co-founder, and event moderator, Vicky Lawson.
"I don’t think we can have enough of these kinds of conversations," said speaker LaShawnDa Pittman, assistant professor of American Ethnic Studies, in her opening remarks.