Anderson, Indiana

Honors seniors share projects at Scholars' SOAR

Fri, 2012-05-18 07:55 -- univcomm
May 18, 2012

Scholar’s Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration weekend (SOAR) is always an exciting weekend for the prospective scholar students at Anderson University. This year, however, they had extra cause for anticipation: the seniors of the Honors Program each presented their seminar projects at SOAR for the first time in the program’s history. The project topics, presented March 2 and 3, ranged from the medical field to an elementary school classroom.

Founded in 2006, the Anderson University Honors Program has always tried to provide outlets for sharing the work that the scholars complete within the program. In the past, some students have been able to share their projects at outside meetings, but this was the first time they presented them on campus to more than just classmates and faculty members.

[Photo: 2012 Anderson University grad Stephanie Stichter, an Honors Program student, presents on her capstone project during Scholars' SOAR.]

Dr. Kimberly Lyle-Ippolito, co-director of the Honors Program, has worked very closely with the Office of Admissions to create a new way for the seniors to present their work. “We wanted to not only advertise what our student can do, but show prospective students who attended Scholar’s SOAR what it looks like to be a senior Honors student,” said Lyle-Ippolito.

“The Honors Senior Capstone is the culmination of undergraduate Honors work,” the syllabus for the class reads. It creates an opportunity for the students to not only reflect on their three years of experience in the Honors Program but also to consider the topics that they have studied in their major more formally.

“In this course, they design and implement their own projects,” said Dr. Linda Swindell, who recently retired as professor of psychology. Swindell taught the senior seminar since its introduction. “It is not your typical regurgitation of information. It is an analysis, and then we expect them to answer a question or to present an idea that is groundbreaking at some level.”

The students were not expected to execute the project completely on their own, though. “Each student has a sponsor, and you become very involved in working with your student,” said Lyle-Ippolito, who served as a sponsor this year as well. The sponsors also evaluated the final project and provided the student’s grade to Swindell.

Senior Stephanie Stichter, an athletic training major, selected a topic that was both of interest to her and applicable to her major. “My project looked at the relationship between the hygiene practices of athletes and the contraction of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). I chose this topic because it was a condition that we deal with as athletic trainers, and I did not know much about it.”

Daniel Kelsey, a Christian ministries major with a youth leadership-development complementary major, is also a senior in the Honors Program. His project used the knowledge of the Christian faith that he has been developing through his major to study the concept of time in relation to Christianity. “I looked at some of the different ways time has been conceptualized around the world and what some of the benefits could be for Christians if they choose to look at time both linearly and cyclically.”

Melissa Tucker, a senior education major, observed a classroom during her first semester teaching practicum and found an area that needed improvement. “In this instance, it was the use of problem-solving by high ability 3rd and 4th grade students,” she said. She based the idea on a project from another class, which is relatively common in the senior seminar, but she went more in-depth for the Honors project. “In the next several weeks, I completed a literature review of research currently in the field, collected baseline data, created a plan of action, implemented my action plan for two weeks, and then completed a full analysis of the whole experience.”

The seniors meet once a week during fall semester, and spend a lot of time meeting with their sponsors both in the fall and the spring. Kelsey, Stichter, and Tucker all enjoyed this class set up for their senior year. “I enjoyed being able to spend one last semester with my cohort. I also liked that the schedule was flexible to work around our busy senior schedules,” said Stichter.

During Scholars’ SOAR, the prospective students had the opportunity to choose which projects they would like to hear about. Additionally, the presentations were open for public viewing.

— Marissa Phillips is a junior from Brookville, Ohio, majoring in communication arts. Phillips is an associate with Fifth Street Communications, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.