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Washington Monument with the WWII memorial in the foreground

Students accepted to the Honors Program as incoming freshmen have already displayed their commitment to academic excellence, which is why the program is designed to help stretch the student experience well beyond the comfort zone of a classroom.

Dr. David Brown, Director of the Honors Program, recently returned with a group of Honors and Leadership students from a weekend in Washington, D.C.

“The first night in D.C. we had dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant, and we had one student who had Ethiopian food before  — one out of 20 students,” Brown says. “We get a lot of students who have not had a lot of experiences in a big city, so it’s important as a part of their educational experience to also get out and experience other things.”

Laila Hakki ’22 (Cleveland, Ohio), a History Adult/Young Adolescent Education major who is also pursuing a Teacher Leadership Certificate, had been to D.C. before but wanted to attend this year’s trip because it would be with a new group of people to see how it would differ from her previous visit.

“One of my favorite parts was experiencing different types of food that I have never had before, like Ethiopian and actual Ramen; I love trying new foods and I had never even thought of trying these before,” she says. “So, a lesson I learned is just to accept and be willing to try new things because you never know what you’ll have to adapt to, and in the case of trying this new food, it may end up being something really amazing.”

Brown says the program includes special events almost every month, including watching a play at Ohio University or a show at Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville.  Recently they also began organizing one major weekend trip each year.

“This year we went to D.C., and last year we went to New York City,” Brown says. “All of the trips are, in some way, related to cultural events.”

The cost for each student is low — $100 for the D.C. trip and $200 for the New York trip — and the price includes transportation, lodging, meals and tickets to any shows or other events on the itinerary.

In D.C., the students visited the National Zoo, toured the Memorials on the Mall at night, toured Smithsonian Museums, attended a performance by the National Symphony Orchestra in the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, visited the United States Holocaust Museum and enjoyed multicultural dining.

“Although this was not my first trip to D.C., it was definitely the most informative and memorable trip I have taken there,” says Adriana Sevy ’22 (Vincent, Ohio).

Sevy, a Health Science major, says she enjoyed getting to know her peers and professors better during the trip, as well as learning new things, particularly during the group’s visit to the Holocaust Museum.

“I wanted to be a part of the Honors Program not only for the extra push academically, but also for the trips like the D.C. trip,” Hakki says. “When I was looking through the website trying to decide if I should join, I saw examples of past trips and cultural experiences they did and it seemed like a really great time.”

Honors students take five courses that help them hone their research skills, live among an Honors and Leadership cohort, and graduate with curriculum honors. They are also encouraged to apply for an Honors Fellowship, which provides funding that supports a one-on-one independent project with a faculty member.

“The courses they take in the Honors Program incorporate some type of research skill so students can develop those abilities,” Brown says. “By the time they graduate we would like them to have some type of significant research or creative project that they’ve conducted with a faculty member — even if that project is not in their major.”

Upcoming Honors Program events

Sushi and a movie — Learn how to make sushi and watch an appropriate movie during dinner at Dr. Brown’s home (first week of spring semester).

Rent – National Broadway Tour — Ohio University (February 26th)

Anita Hill, “From Social Movement to Social Impact:  Putting an End to Sexual Harassment in the Workplace” — Memorial Auditorium, Ohio University (April 1st)