honors forum: study abroad

Allison Perkins


Every August, the Ina E. Gordy Honors College kicks off the fall semester with Honors Forum.

“The purpose is to provide a challenging educational program for the honor students approximately every other week.  The meetings may include a variety of activities, such as formal presentations, cultural events and discussions,” said Thomas Velek, director of the Ina E. Gordy Honors College.

However, Honors Forum isn’t only for the residential honors students, nor is it limited to the W campus. Instead, it reaches out into the community, inviting anyone and everyone who wants to come benefit from the invited speakers and programs.

The first forum for this semester was on Aug. 29 and was titled “The Study Abroad Experience.” Generally, the first forum of the fall semester centers on the study abroad trip that the junior honors class recently took, and this semester was no exception. As the current sophomores sat eager in their seats, waiting to see where their overseas trip would take them, two of the juniors took the stage and told about their favorite aspects and what they learned while overseas.

To give background, in a normal honors study abroad trip, the students will take two honors classes, both of which take care of the honors requirements for their junior year. This past year, Velek and Beverly Joyce, an associate professor of art, were the two professors while the students studied in Edinburgh, Scotland. History, along with art and culture, were the topics of choice.

However, though the trip is academic, it’s not all about the classroom. From the mouths of the two mentors, Katelyn Calvert and Douglas Knestrict, come their favorite parts about the trip.

“I’ve always liked being the ‘go to’ person, so I really liked that aspect. I love helping people with problems or answering questions that they may have,” Calvert said.

Knestrict said experiencing another culture was his favorite aspect of the trip, and since the mentors weren’t required to take the classes, they had much more free time to do what they loved.

Student-wise, the favorite thing about the trip seemed to be meeting new people. Leana McKnight went on to say that the best thing about Edinburgh was seeing all the things she had only heard or read about. Erica Regl added her own opinion, stating that exploring the city was what she most loved.

The sophomore class this year will be going back to Edinburgh next summer, and if someone ever has the option and opportunity to go overseas, whether with the Honors College or not, he or she should definitely take it. It’ll change their life, in more ways than one.