Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Suffolk Honors Students Attend NCHC

Melissa Hanson  Assistant News Editor

The 47th annual conference of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) took place from Wednesday, Nov. 14 to Sunday, Nov. 18 held in the Sheraton Hotel in Boston.

Because the conference was local, Suffolk University’s honors program was able to take 10 students to the conference, as opposed to past years when the number of students who could attend the conference was limited by travel costs.

“This is a great opportunity for our honors students to see and meet other honors students from all over the country.  It is also an opportunity to learn from other honors programs,” said Agnes Bain, director of the College of Arts and Sciences honors program.  The CAS honors program has been traveling to the conference since 2005 and taking students since 2006.  Juniors Annie Duong, Caitlin Lezell, Cori Simmons, sophomores Tyler Dube, Stefani Falkowski, and freshmen Brendan Clifford, Melissa Jean, Ajia Zimmermann, and Liza Hurley were this year’s student attendees.  Agnes Bain, Sharon Lenzie, and Rachael Campbell were also attended the conference to represent Suffolk University.

NCHC takes place once a year and invites honors programs across the nation to join together and learn from each other.  Each year there is a theme to the conference.  Because of Boston’s history as one of the cities that fought for independence from Great Britain, the theme this year was “challenging structures.”  The theme is picked about a year in advance so that the NCHC council can chose seminar topics and speakers to feature through the conference.  A theme is also put in place to give students a broad focus on which to submit research to present at the conference.

A large aspect of the conference is the student research panels and poster sessions. Students subject abstracts and plans for research the spring before the conference in order to receive the opportunity to present their research while attending.  The panels are designed to group about three students who have similar research to present together and the posters are grouped into large sessions by topic and presented in ballrooms of the hotel.

Suffolk had two students, Lezell and Simmons, present papers they have written for courses at Suffolk, and one student, Duong, present a poster she researched on her own.

Lezell presented research on immigration laws in the United States, specific to Mexicans and refugee law.  She told the crowd what she had learned so far and how she plans to continue her research.  She presented alongside a student who researched urban gardening and one who looked into American education.

“I thought it was a great experience. This conference should encourage Suffolk to strengthen its Honors Program,” said Lezell.

Simmons had researched the Middle East. Her fellow panelists included an international student who reported on his studies while traveling in Jordan and a student who looked into clinical trials and globalization.

Duong presented a poster on health care in Boston’s Chinatown.  Her poster was a part of the health sciences poster session.  Duong stood by her poster as students from other universities and colleges asked about her topic and research.

“Having the opportunity to present a poster allowed me to share a project that I spent a lot of time working on. I also gained tips and suggestions from other attendees, which will be extremely helpful when I continue with my research,” said Duong.

Lezell and Simmons were also student moderators for other research panels during the conference.

“Thanks to the conference, I plan to submit a proposal of my own for next year,” said Dube.

Wednesday was just a registration day.  Students checked in at the hotel and received the schedule for the week, handouts, and an NCHC mug as a gift

Thursday was when the conference really began.  At 8 a.m. the introductory speakers presented their ideas on where the GPA of honors programs should stand.  They discussed the pros and cons of both high and low grade point averages.  The end of the session allowed for commentary from the guests of the lecture. It appeared that many honors programs require a maintained GPA of 3.5 like Suffolk does.

The rest of the day was filled with various breakout sessions, mostly aimed for the faculty and deans of honors programs.  The evening included the welcome ceremony and the plenary speaker, Michael Sandel.

“He managed to get both the students and faculty involved,” said Jean. “The entire hall was in discussion at one point because he posed questions that were interesting and controversial.”

Friday and Saturday allotted more opportunities for students to interact with one another.  These days not only had sessions held by faculty members and professors, but also were filled with the poster sessions and research panels.

“What I really liked about the conference was hearing from other honors programs and how they do things at their schools,” said Falkowski.

Sunday was a quieter day with a few presentations to close the conference.

Throughout the weekend Suffolk Graduate School had a table in the lobby of the hotel handing out brochures in the hopes to gain interest from students about the graduate school programs.

The honors students who attended the conference were able to learn from the presentations and bring back ideas to improve Suffolk’s honors program.

“Going to this conference made me more proud to be an honors student,” said Zimmermann.

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Suffolk Honors Students Attend NCHC