University Honors Program Alumni Newsletter Header

Fall 2019

Stay In Touch! Be sure to let us know what you are doing by completing this short form.

I am pleased to share the latest news about the University Honors Program to our alumni and friends.

The academic year is off to a great start. The Honors faculty and staff are truly excited to have our students back on campus. We kicked off the year with the Honors Welcome event. Dr. Temple Grandin, Professor of Animal Science, spoke about autism. First-year students were given copies of her book, “Animals in Translation,” at Ram Orientation to read before the event.

The Program has experienced unprecedented growth. We welcomed the largest entering class of 495 students this fall. These first-year students and transfer students raised the total number of Honors students to a new record 1,790 of students. Fifty-two instructors now teach 113 Honors seminars this academic year. The Program is managed by an exceptionally talented and dedicated staff: Diane Burton, assistant director; Judi Bryant, program coordinator; Lori Williams, program assistant; Shivon Pontious, advising, student success, and special projects coordinator; and Katie Paecklar, administrative assistant.

The strength of the Honors curriculum is the Honors seminars. This fall Honors faculty are teaching twenty-eight HONR 192 sections, fourteen HONR 292 sections, eight HONR 392 sections, three HONR 399 sections, and seven HONR 492 sections. An exceptional and enthusiastic group of 54 peer mentors lead the twenty-seven HONR 192 recitation sections. About 161 students will be completing their Honors thesis in HONR 499 this fall.

The mission of the University Honors Program is to help our students to become better people by emphasizing effective written and oral communication, professional development, interdisciplinary learning, creativity and problem solving, and critical thinking. These skills are critical to the success of our graduates in their chosen careers.

Don Mykles, Director

Put your money where your PRIDE is. Every donation can make a big difference.

Donate now!

Faculty Awards and Recognition

Honors Professor of the Year Award

Gerald Callahan

Professor Gerald Callahan was selected as the Honors Prof of the Year. Dr. Callahan has a joint appointment in Microbiology/Immunology/Pathology and English. He has been associated with the Honors Program for almost 30 years. His student nominator had many good things to say about his seminars but these words stood out: Dr. Callahan is truly the epitome of a phenomenal role model… He plants the seed in our brains that allows us to think critically across disciplines.

Honors Adviser of the Year Award

Fred Hoerndli

Dr. Fred Hoerndli, Biomedical Sciences, was recognized as the Honors Outstanding Adviser for 2019-2020. His student nominator has worked in his lab since its creation in 2016 and had this to say about him: the incredible mentorship Dr. Hoerndli strives to provide, by not just serving as an advisor in the academic sense, but also caring for your well-being as a whole individual and wanting to provide an environment that never makes you question your worth or abilities, only one that challenges you to grow.


Honors Freshman Fall Welcome

Temple Grandin, Animal Sciences professor, spoke to the first year students on the day they moved onto campus. Students had discussions of her book, Animals in Translation, before hearing her address.

Red Light Challenge Concert

On Wednesday, October 16th at 4:30pm, the band Red Light Challenge presented a free concert for Honors students. The band played outside Newsom in the courtyard. This band is composed of Honors Program alum Sean Luster, and his brother, Kyle.


Keller-Lawrence Scholarships

Two seniors earned a $6,000 Keller- Lawrence scholarship for 2019-20.

Samantha Lauth

Samantha Lauth, an anthropology and natural resources major, with a minor in international development, will be graduating in the spring of 2020 but not before she completes her internship with Trees, Water, & People. The organization works with Guatemalan and Honduran communities to design cookstoves according to cooking needs and cultural context. She is also travelling to South America with CSU’s Communities and Conservation Study Abroad program. Water security, resource harvesting, and human- wildlife conflict will be addressed and Samantha will conduct ethnographic field research.

Lauren Fredeen

Lauren Fredeen, a Human Development and Family Studies major, has a career goal of becoming an occupational therapist. She is most interested in working with children and adolescents with disabilities. She has extensive experience with outdoor education and has worked with several young people with disabilities. In addition to serving as a Ram Welcome leader, Lauren has participated in the CSU LeaderShape program.

Cilento Scholarships for Outstanding Students

The estate of Elizabeth and Louis Cilento is funding five $4,000 scholarships for serious students.

Hannah Hurlbut

Hannah Hurlbut is pursuing dual majors in International Studies and Communication Studies with a minor in Chinese. Her intent is to pursue a Master’s of Public Policy and a Master’s of Science in Foreign Service at Georgetown University followed by the Young Professionals Program of the United Nations. Hannah is the president of the Chinese Language Club, Vice President of the Council of International Student Affairs and Ambassador in the College of Liberal Arts.

Kelly Sheridon

Kelly Sheridon is pursuing a major in Chemistry and a major in History with the ultimate goal of working in historic preservation. She is founder of the CSU chapter of the national society for women in chemistry, Iota Sigma Pi. She has worked on ionic liquids in Dr. Krummel’s research lab and on protein crystallography in Dr. Snow’s lab. She helped to found the first BIOMOD team in the state to compete in bioengineering competitions.

Amanda Merkley

Amanda Merkley is a transfer student majoring in Computer Engineering. In her two years at CSU she has conducted research in the High Speed System Simulation Lab. She focused on numerical algorithms for stochastic system modeling. Last summer she participated in the Research Experience for Undergraduates in the CSU Math Department. She has authored scholarly papers and traveled to India to present one at the Electrical Design of Advanced Packaging and Systems Symposium. She is the president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers chapter at CSU.

Vladimir Munoz

Vladimir Munoz is a Finance major in the College of Business where he has co-founded the Money Management Club. He also served as team captain for the ethics case competition and as a member of the Career Management Center’s Student Advisory Board. He participated in the College of Business Mentoring Program and the Finance Club. As a first year student, he was president of the Ingersoll Hall Council and he served as the CSU representative to the National Residence Hall Honorary.

Grant Zimmerman

Grant Zimmerman is a biochemistry major looking to become a pediatrician. He is looking to enlist as an officer in the military after graduation in order to pursue his medical education. He has worked in Dr. Hansen’s research lab at CSU and has volunteered at Poudre Valley Hospital. He serves as the secretary of the Biochemistry Student Association and an Admissions Ambassador.

Willard Eddy Legacy Fund Scholarship

Austin Fearn

Austin Fearn is majoring in Applied Mathematics and Economics and is minoring in Philosophy. He hopes to join the Peace Corps after graduation and before working for the Congressional Budget Office. He eventually hopes to run for office. He participated in the Undergraduate Research Experience in Math, served as the Vice Chair of the University Technology Fee Advisory Board and has been a senator in the college of Natural Science. The scholarship award is $3,500.

Students First Award

Danny Sanchez

Danny Sanchez is a civil engineering major who aspires to work with Engineering Ministries International in designing basic infrastructure in developing countries. He has been very active with the Navigators and is a member of the engineering Honors Society, Tau Beta PI. He has been a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers for three years. He has also worked in the 3 D Printer Lab and the CSU Hydraulics Lab. The award is $3,000.

Liberal Arts Award

Brenna McWhorter

Brenna McWhorter is an Art major with a an Interdisciplinary Italian studies minor. She is currently studying abroad in Florence, Italy where she is a volunteer tour guide at the largest Franciscan church in Italy. On campus, she is a member of the Italian Club and a participant in the Undergraduate Research Fair. Her involvement in the CSU Arts program has led her to a new position in the fall as the Collections Manager for all the artwork in the Lory Student Center. The award is $1,600.

Spots Scholarship for Summer Study

Cassius Boyd

Cassius Boyd will be using this scholarship to help support his US Department of Energy’s Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship. He will be working with the National Renewable Energy Lab to conduct research. His career goal is to develop affordable solar energy using photovoltaic materials. Honors Alumna, Julia Riegel, has funded this $1,500 award.

Gladys Eddy Scholarship for Leadership, Citizenship and Service

Claudia Perez

Claudia Perez is a communication Studies major with minors in Legal Studies and Ethnic Studies. She aspires to go to law school and serve in the Peace Corps. She has conducted independent study on Restorative Justice Education. She just returned from an Alternative Spring Break trip to San Francisco to learn about the complexity and impact of the criminal justice system. She has extensive involvement with El Centro and the College of Liberal Arts in her background. She plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Georgetown.

Outstanding Students

Kira Patrylak and Kai Calder were awarded Pacesetters Scholarships. The award recognizes students who "set the pace" by living a well-balanced life of academics, extracurricular activities, and community service. They serve as leaders to their peers and will continue to do so past their collegiate years. They will participate in the Homecoming Parade and appear at the Homecoming game.

Jordan Dunlap and Kimberly Shelton were among the Best In Show prize winners for the Undergraduate Research Showcase.

Alumni Activities

Sean Luster, 2013 Business Administration graduate and former Honors Peer Mentor, and his younger brother toured the Northwest last year, making 170 performance as the band, Red Light Challenge. They will be appearing at the pregame festivities for the Broncos Thursday night game on October 17th. More importantly, they will play for Honors students at CSU on Wednesday, October 16th.

Monika Schneider, a former CSU honors student in Social Work, had her senior Honors thesis published. She worked with Brenda Miles to submit the work to Taylor and Francis Online. The title of the work is "Syringe Quantity Limitations Syringe Exchange Program Participant Health Behavior and Satisfaction".

Daiszha Cooley, Neuroscience and Psychology graduate in the class of 2018, is currently working at the Center for Public Health Practice in Denver before pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Health.

Morgan Wade is currently studying at Oxford as a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Biosciences Program. She hopes to complete a dissertation in the area of plant immunology.

Megan Burnett Tarasiewicz is a first year medical student at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

Allison Reser, 2015 graduate in Environmental Science and Sustainability, is working in New York City for Earth Angel, a small sustainability consulting firm serving the movie and TV industry.

What's New In Honors

Honors Study Abroad

Classes have been added to the summer 2020 schedule. A course in Asian Film in South Korea and a Conservation Biology and Culture course in South Africa join the list of honors courses offered in England, Italy, and Zambia.

Honors Summer Institute

Last summer the University Honors Program offered for the first time an Honors Summer Institute, a one-week residential program for high school seniors. The purpose of the HSI is to recruit students to CSU and the Honors Program. Over the week, 16 students and 4 Honors peer counselors took part in a mix of academic and artistic immersive experiences, along with recreational activities. Students lived in the Honors Hall and ate meals together in the Ram’s Horn. The week was capped with an overnight stay at CSU’s Mountain Campus. The HSI was made possible by a gift from Jack and Nadine Murray.

The Honors Program partnered with other departments that have summer programs for high school students. "We offered classes in some areas that they might not have considered for majors," Zwick-Tapley said. The list included construction management, art and social justice, anatomy, mask-making, fashion fundamentals — where the students used a computer program to design their own fabric and then made a bag out of it — and natural resources.

The students also went rafting on the Poudre River, swam at Horsetooth Reservoir, and attended a drive-in movie at the Holiday Twin in Fort Collins.