The Honors Program gears up for another exciting year

Libby Bullinger, Copy editor

After dealing with many months of virtual events and online learning, Mercyhurst’s Honors Program is ready for a more normal yet improved semester. According to the website, “The Mercyhurst Honors Program offers students an enriched intellectual collegiate experience, both in and out of the classroom.” The program is centered around service, developing leadership and communication skills and engaging in challenging coursework.

One of the biggest advantages of participating in the Honors Program is the smaller class sizes. Although Mercyhurst as a whole prides itself on small class sizes, the Honors Program offers even further individualized attention to aid in student achievement. Other advantages include gaining experience in presentation skills, meeting with faculty mentors, portfolio development and of course graduation with honors chords. Honors Program president Doug Wilsch, a senior majoring in Intelligence Studies and Political Science, describes what he believes to be the biggest advantage to the program as “joining a group of like-minded, dedicated scholars who are all determined to succeed just like you.”

In order to become a member of the Honors Program, students must receive an invitation from program Director Dr. Justin Ross before they begin their first year at the university. If students do not receive an invitation, they are also able to fill out an application to obtain admittance into the program. Throughout their time on campus, students will participate in honors events, service learning and professional development in addition to registering for honors classes. Honor students are required to partake in 30 hours of community service, 24 honors events and 16 honors workshops, but all of this is split into the student’s entire university experience, meaning that it can accommodate even the busiest of student schedules. Honors Program seniors complete an honors thesis that they present in a large academic setting such as a conference or in front of their peers on campus.

This year, the Honors Program is excited to be returning to in-person events. Like every other aspect of campus, the program was hit during the pandemic. Senior Biology major and this year’s Honors Program vice president Avery Corriero mentions that COVID put a strain on the program as a whole in terms of not being allowed to host in-person events. However, Corriero says that “many of those restrictions are either lifted or loosening the semester and we’re very excited to get back to a sense of normalcy with our students.”

Some of the upcoming events for the program include Dinner and Discourse with Professor Davies, a leadership workshop about leadership qualities and self-awareness and a pumpkin carving contest.

In addition to returning to in-person events, the Honors Council is also making some changes to help facilitate the process of going through the program. Honors Program secretary Lauren Tone, a senior majoring in Intelligence Studies, discusses how she and the rest of the executive board

are working to make the program easier to navigate. “As a freshman, I felt it was very difficult to find key information or to see where I was at with my requirements. The e-board has had a few meetings and it [reorganizing the program] is going to be one of our biggest pushes for this year” says Tone.

If students have questions about the Honors Program they are welcome to email or stop by the Honors wing located in the Hirt Academic Center.