By Olivia Power
Have you ever wondered what opportunities come with being an Honors College undergraduate fellow? Fellows gain research experience, the opportunity to work with a professor in their field, and financial compensation (just to name a few). Read more about two Honors students’ experiences with undergraduate fellowships below.
The Honors College Undergraduate Fellows Program allows students to work one-one-one with any university faculty member to conduct a research project. Honors College Dean John Emert says that fellowship opportunities hold unlimited benefits for students, both immediate and long-term.
"It prepares our students quite well for further research, distinguishing themselves from other graduates, and positions them very well for certain major national and international scholarships," Emert said. "Our scholarship winners have quite often first been Honors fellows."
For students like Lucas Clay, a senior natural resources and environmental management (NREM) major, one fellowship project has lasted for five semesters. Clay is finishing up a research project with Dr. John Pichtel that began during his sophomore year at Ball State.
"In the beginning, it was more of [Dr. Pichtel’s] project. He definitely showed me what to do, and exactly what he wanted me to do, but then left me alone in the lab. I was the sole researcher for most of the project," Clay said.
For other students, like senior vocal performance and creative writing major Valerie Weingart, the span of one year can hold two separate fellowship research projects. Weingart is currently working with Dr. Heather Platt on a music history research project, and will work alongside Professor Beth Dalton of the Honors College next semester.
"I had expressed some interest in studying history and musicology as a potential grad school thing. She is working on a project and [Dr. Platt] said if you want to get some hands on experience you can help me with the project," Weingart said.
Next semester, Weingart will work on an expansion of her Honors thesis project, which aims to incorporate opera into the Honors humanities sequence.
"Beth Dalton was my professor for the whole humanities sequence, so it's exciting to come back and work with her and hopefully have an impact on the class,” Weingart said.
Clay’s project, which he will build upon for his Honors thesis, involves studying phytoremediation--a process which uses living plants to clean up contaminated soil, air, and water--and informed his own decision to pursue a graduate degree in soil science.
“I don't think that a normal experience in the natural resources department would have led to this type of knowledge [and] this type of expertise in my field,” Clay said. “As I'm applying to grad school right now, it's really opened doors, I think, in terms of having some research experience, basically. It's also helped mold what I want to do . . . I don't think I would have gone into [soil science] had I not had this experience.”
While Weingart is preparing to pursue graduate school in creative writing, she says that her research for Dr. Platt fulfills her as both a writer and a vocalist. Over the course of the semester, Weingart will analyze newspaper articles about Marguerite Hall, a famous opera singer from the 19th century who no one has ever written anything about, and compile the first biography of the singer.
“It's so cool because I am a writer, and we create characters. This is what we do. It's like I'm meeting [Marguerite Hall] and I'm bringing her back, and it's the same process you go through when you write something creatively: you meet this characters in your mind and then you bring them to life,” Weingart said of her research.
With such abundant advantages, there are also sacrifices, as both Clay and Weingart mentioned.
“It's 10 hours of research per week, and that's hard to fit into your life,” Weingart said.
Clay says although scheduling time for research is difficult, time management skills and “forward thinking,” makes fitting in the extra research possible.
Selecting a topic which interests you will serve as an internal motivator for this undertaking, according to Clay and Weingart. Students are often given the chance to select their own topic, and can work with their faculty advisor to decide what research will entail.
“Make sure the topic is something that you find interesting and that you're passionate about because that makes it much easier to do the independent work and to be self-motivated,” Weingart said. “I look forward to it. Everyday when I go [look at] the newspapers, I wonder what I'm going to find."
Choosing to work with a professor who you have a strong relationship with can benefit both parties involved.
“Make relationships with your professors,” Clay said. “If the professors know what you're interested in and you know what they're doing in their own research fields, that might be a good chance to put two and two together and you can figure out something where you can help them with their research and they can help you with yours.”
Both The Honors College and Ball State pride themselves on providing students with immersive experiences that go beyond the traditional bounds of a classroom. Taking on a fellowship during your time as an undergraduate allows for this experiential learning.
"Overall . . . it's just been a really immersive experience to help you learn about your field,” Clay said. “I would suggest it for any Honors College students who want to learn more beyond the classroom. I think that's absolutely huge for understanding what you're getting yourself into."
Honors College Fellowships are open to any Honors College student who has completed two semesters, completed two Honors courses, has an overall GPA of 3.33 or higher, and is eligible to work as a fellow for 10 hours per week under university guidelines. Currently, fellows are compensated an average of $1,080 per semester for their work. To apply for an Honors College Fellowship, download the application here.
By Dylan Patterson
SHC's once-a-semester tradition returned to give Honors students a sneak peak at the courses being offered next spring.
This Tuesday from 7:00-8:30, Student Honors Council held the Curriculum Crash Course (CCC) — one of their most recent traditions — in the Exhibition Hall at DeHority Complex. This event acts as an opportunity to give Honors students a chance to view some of the upcoming courses for next semester. With 11 different course panels to visit, some containing more than one course to inquire about, it may have been difficult to get information on everything.
The CCC offered sneak peaks on Bruce Geelhoed’s Honors 199, focusing on the history of the Ball Brothers and late 20th-century U.S. history. Other courses present were Dr. Matt Hartman’s “Reacting to the Past,” a colloquium that takes in-depth, immersive games about past movements and peoples and uses them as a teaching tool. Laurie Lindberg also featured two of her colloquiums, focusing on Sherlock Holmes and British Fantasy.
While all are worthy of a spotlight one in particular taught by Dr. Tim Berg stood out.
The HONR 390 colloquium offered by Dr. Berg will be a photo theory and philosophy course. In this course, students will explore what it is like to to live in a reality where future and past collide through photography and what it means to see through still images. This course will also allow students to try their hand at photography with no prior experience or knowledge, and Dr. Berg is more than willing to help. This is a hands-on course, but not a how-to, so having Dr. Berg as a resource is an exceptional opportunity.
You can look forward to readings such as Ways of Seeing by John Berger, Beauty by Roger Scruton, On Photography by Susan Sontag, and more.
This year, organizations also took advantage of the CCC. The Odyssey, the official Honors College literary and creative publication, had a table to discuss the submission process. This year, The Odyssey has no theme and is looking for any and all creative submissions. The Honors Peer Mentor program was also handing out brochures, advertising the opportunities possible through them.
With the second half of the semester upon us, the CCC was a great way to learn about what is available in the spring and to meet prospective professors. If you missed it be sure to talk to your advisor for information and make those appointments!
By Cailon Nicoson
This semester’s DeHority Has Talent was an eclectic mix of impromptu stand-up, piano covers of Radiohead, and a death drop. Cailon Nicoson brings you all the highlights below.
Last Friday night was DeHority Complex's annual variety show, "DeHority Has Talent," and if you weren't there, then you definitely missed out.
Not only was this event an opportunity for free food, which every college student is on the search for, but it was also a chance for students living in DeHority to showcase their talents.
The night featured musical talents such as guitar, ukulele and piano playing, as well as singing. There was a very memorable, soulful rendition of “I Will Survive” which everyone was extremely hyped for. Dancing, slam poetry, and even comedy were brought into the acts as well. Throughout the night there was a steady stream of karaoke, which many people joined in jamming along to. Some highlights included the Pokémon theme song and “All Star” by Smash Mouth.
The night was definitely a good way to end a stressful week of classes and allowed everyone involved to appreciate the talents of those around us. Plus, everyone knows that it's really karaoke that makes the world go round after all.
By Noah Patterson
This weekend marks Ball State's 2017 Family Weekend, which means the Honors House's annual Backyard Bash is back again. If you missed the festivities, don't worry: News & Notes has got you covered.
By Kayla D'Alessandro
In the Student Center Ballroom, on April 26, 2017, the second ever Honors College Student Recognition Ceremony took place. The night began at 6 p.m. in the Alumni Lounge, where students to be recognized and their guests socialized for an hour until 7 p.m., when the ceremony began. I spoke with Katherine Emberton, a graduating English education major before people started to take their seats. Emberton and her guest were happy that the ceremony gives recognition to all of the hard work the seniors have done through their undergraduate career. When asked what her stand-out experience at the Honors College was, she told me the colloquium on Planet of the Apes, taught by Jason Powell, was her favorite. The ceremony honored students receiving special awards the following awards:
Provost Prize for Outstanding Senior
Joe and Carol Trimmer Awards for Outstanding Senior Honors Thesis or Project
Academic Honors in Writing
C. Warren Vander Hill Award
After these accolades were handed out, red and white rope cords were presented to every Honors College senior graduating in May, December, and June. All-in-all, it was a night for guests to see what their loved ones have achieved over the past four years.
By Tanner Prewitt
The Student Center Ball was transformed last Friday as the Student Honors Council enchanted the evening. Honors College students were cordially invited to the Honors Formal, called The Stardust Ball. The evening was filled with music, dancing, and delicious hors d’oeuvres provided by the Cardinal Kitchen.
Prom dresses were removed from their plastic sleeves and suits were dusted off as students filled the ballroom, ready to have a spectacular evening.
“It was a really fun evening with friends,” Lydia Kotowski, a freshman political science and pre-med double-major, stated. “The food was also quite good.”
Not only were Honors students invited to the formal, but friends not in the Honors College could attend as well. Eric Peters, a first-year student in the College of Architecture and Planning, brought a non-Honors friend with him.
“It was a great evening to have fun with friends, especially ones that may not live on-campus or are in DeHority,” Peters said.
The minimal decorations created an impressive space that managed to charm everyone whom attended the Stardust Ball. Twinkle lights, candle lights, moss and pebbles, tulle, and wooden platters created the whimsical forest, while glittery Mason jars and golden balloons enchanted the ballroom with magic. There was even a Snapchat filter created by an SHC member that attendees could use when they posted pictures.
Kim Zinn, a freshman accounting and finance double-major, thoroughly enjoyed the evening. “The food, the music, and the decorations were wonderful! Everyone had a great time and danced the night away.”
It’s safe to say the evening was spell-binding!
By Mary Cox
Editor's Note: News & Notes and the Honors College do not necessarily share the views of the interviewees of this article.
For these three students Honors means getting involved in the political process.
In the first week of President Trump’s new administration, demonstrations and dissenters have been at the top of the headlines. Whether fans or foes of our nation’s new leadership, thousands across the country, and even more worldwide, have begun to mobilize. Perhaps the most notable was the global rally the day following Trump’s inauguration - The Women’s March on Washington held Saturday, Jan 21. From 30 people in Stanley, Id. (half the town’s population) to around half a million in Washington D.C., Sister Marches in over 600 U.S. cities saw an estimated attendance of 4.2 million people. This in addition to 300,000 people internationally.* At least three of those people were Ball State Honors students.
Roommates Madeleine Robling and Margo Morton, both Honors College sophomores, were presented with tickets to the march in the capital through a friend’s mother and both eagerly jumped at the opportunity to attend.
“I felt really comfortable attending after I found out the official platform. They made a point to make sure the official platform of the event was more intersectional and covered things like police brutality and criminal justice reform and different issues you might not instinctively put as a women’s issue,” Robling said.
After a ten hour car ride the pair were excited to find themselves surrounded by an electric camaraderie and enthusiastic crowd. The prospect of sharing such an amazing experience was moving for the two young women.
“Even before we got to the main part of the march, we were surrounded by people who were attending, and it was cool to see everyone so excited about it,” Morton said. “I think it was a really cool experience to be there with two of my best friends. It made me feel good to know that these important people in my life are also passionate about the things I feel strongly about.”
Anna McAtee, another Honors college sophomore, also made the journey to Washington, D.C. She recalls being packed in the D.C. Metro station with hundreds of women, men, and children, many of whom she made quick friends with, chanting and singing together as one of the highlights of the day.
“I wanted to make a voice for myself. Usually, I am very passive-aggressive and do not voice my opinion. The Women’s March on D.C. was a perfect way for me to have a positive voice in this country,” McAtee said on why she decided to attend. Like Morton and Robling, she described the crowd as electric, positive, and upbeat, once again emphasizing the magic of seeing so many people from so many different backgrounds coming together for a common cause.
“I’ve never been around so much positive energy in my life. It was one big party of love.” McAtee said.
The march started with a large cast of speakers: Congresswomen, celebrities, and movement leaders - such as the mothers of the Black Lives Matter movement. For Robling the most powerful was Kamala Harris, a senator from California. Senator Harris, who is the second black women and first ever Indian American to be elected to the United States senate, spoke on the diversity of issues that affect women. She discussed the fact that everything from education reform to the economy are women’s issues.
“It’s not just reproductive justice, it goes so much beyond that,” Robling said .
However, after nearly four hours of speakers, all three women noted that there was a tangible sense of restlessness throughout the crowd. Some ansty demonstrators in the area around Robling and Morton even began chanting “Let’s march now!” during a few of the less mainstream presenters, a disappointing moment that Robling described as callous and insensitive.
“We were listening to speeches for hours on end and where we were standing, there wasn't even a speaker, so we could barely hear,” Morton said. “I understood why people were annoyed, but they started to ignore the people talking — and those people were spreading really important messages, and I thought that was what we were all there to support.”
The march also received public backlash and negative coverage from some media outlets. Some of the criticisms cited, which came from Republicans and Democrats alike, included a singularity of issues with the right to choose being the sole focus, a lack of inclusivity—especially towards trans-women and the non-able bodied—and that the protestors were simply ‘whining’ about the results of the election. While Robling concedes that the crowd was predominantly white and there was a lot of work to be done to make the march more inclusive of other identities, she said that to boil it down to just pro-abortion and anti-Trump does the march and the momentum it created a huge disservice.
Morton emphasized again the plurality of women’s issues and the importance of leveraging her privilege as white women, saying, “Even if someone feels that they face no issues of inequality here in America, they are just one person — and there are people in this country and all over the world who are facing problems we can barely imagine. When I was at that march, I was doing it for a lot of people, across a lot of social groups.”
Robling agreed, saying, “Even though we might all be going through a slightly different form of oppression because of the new administration, we’re all there together to make sure no one was left behind.”
McAtee stressed that this wasn’t a negative or hateful march, but rather a moment of unity and solidarity.
“This was a peaceful march to show that women and men of all races still have a voice in this country,” McAtee said. “It was women and men coming together to say, ‘We are here. We welcome anyone. We care for anyone. You are not alone.’”
Overall, all three women had an amazing experience and plan to attend more marches in the future. They all also plan to remain involved locally through various forms of activism, such as calling their congressional representatives and attending local town hall events. For example, Morton is hoping to keep up with the Women’s March “10 actions for the first 100 days” campaign**, and Robling hopes to leverage her position as president of Ball State Democrats to organize students and educate others on how to continue being involved in the political process.
“It’s important to understand that a march shouldn’t be your end goal,” Robling said. “I think part of the reason that the Democratic party has been struggling in years past is because a lot of people think that marches and protests and petitions are an end goal rather than a tools for organization.”
Morton, Robling, and McAtee all encourage others to attend a march in the future if it’s something they’ve been considering. Morton’s advice would be to bring a friend, wear comfortable shoes, and do research to make sure the march and its organizers align with your goals. Robling suggests getting involved with a political organization on campus*** so that you don’t have to do it all yourself; a group will keep you informed, help you become involved, and keep you accountable she says. Getting involved on campus is also a great way to make a difference right here in Muncie if you want to help up but can’t make it to a march. McAtee says that there are multiple opportunities to connect to the community through Ball State Voluntary Services. This is how the momentum of positive change these women brought home from the march will last through the next four years.
* Crowd size statistics from Vox. Follow the hyper-link above for a more in-depth analysis.
** For more information about the march, including the mission statement and the “10 actions/100 days” plan visit the website here: https://www.womensmarch.com/
*** Some political organizations on campus include Ball State Democrats, Ball State GOP, The Liberty Coalition, and The Progressive Student Alliance.
By Mary Cox
Dr. John Emert, Acting Dean of the Honors College, introduced the college’s brand new monthly lecture series as an opportunity to bring together students, faculty, and the larger community. The format of the series champions the Honors philosophy of raising and celebrating voices across academic disciplines and from various backgrounds and life stages. This description, perhaps, enhanced the poignancy of the short story about isolation and disjointment shared by the series’ inaugural speaker.
Beth Dalton, a professor for both the English Department and Honors College, presented an excerpt from a piece titled “Invisible Woman” from her short story collection Women Walking Alone. The collection is one of two, along with a novel, that Dalton completed as part of her Master’s of Fine Arts residency program for creative writing at Spalding University in Louisville, KY.
“Invisible Woman” tells the tale of a woman who has just turned 50 struggling to feel as though she belongs, or is even seen, at a business conference. As she goes through her day, Clara, the main character, has an elevator door closed in her faced, a tray of breakfast food dumped on her, and is snubbed by one of the speakers she attempts to introduce herself to. All are experiences that Dalton pulled from her real life, albeit, she admits, slightly embellished.
“[A colleague] once said the me that once you reach a certain age, if you’re a woman, you disappear. I’ve found that to be very true,” Dalton said.
Beyond Clara’s unfortunate encounters, though, it seemed to be the countless people who looked past her instead of at her that ultimately broke her. It was certainly the aspect of Clara’s story that struck a chord with me. While not everyone knows the invisibility of age, I think everyone can relate to feeling alone in a crowded a room (especially those of us who had an angsty punk rock stage in the eighth grade).
Personally, as someone who has consistently struggled with my weight since 6-years-old, I can definitively say that there is a stark difference between being looked at and being noticed. To combat never being the thinnest person in a room, I always forced myself to be the smartest or the funniest or have the cutest shoes. But when people know you as “the funny girl,” that’s usually all they know about you. The part of me I forced them to notice to distract from the parts I didn’t want them to notice was all they cared to learn about. Maybe I am funny and smart, and maybe I am overweight, but good or bad none of those things are all that I am. Similarly, Clara could be the oldest person in the room, she could be the best at her craft, she could dress in bright colors and, sure, that could get her noticed, but none of those aspects of Clara are Clara - no one noticed her.
That is, in part, why Dalton’s lecture was so compelling. A room full of people all came to listen to a woman who had previously felt invisible. To really, truly, fully learn about her journey. They came to notice.
Editor's’ note: next month’s lecture will be about a project exploring the history of the Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Honors House, presented by Dr. Bruce Geelhoed.
By Afrah Ali
Honors College students were invited by SHC to gain a sneak peak at the various courses and colloquia (along with the professors teaching the courses) being offered for the 2017 spring semester this past Thursday, October 25.
“I was in between a couple of classes, so this event really helped me decide. Seeing the professors provided me with a better feel of what classes to take,” freshman Taylor Scher said after attending the Student Honor Council’s Curriculum Crash Course.
SHC president Valerie Weingart explained how the event is a growing tradition within the Honors community. This was the third year for the event, and this year a table with graduate school options was a new addition for students.
“Since each section of a specific Honors course is taught by a different profesor, we put on this event for students and professors to meet face-to-face for a deeper grasp on the offered courses,” Weingart explained.
Although all Honors students received a PDF explaining the classes, this event was beneficial for students as it gave them the opportunity to interact with the different professors teaching courses next semester, allowing students to see if there was a connection, spark, or shared passion between themselves and potential professors.
Honors colloquiums may not be offered annually by specific professors. This year marks Professor Beth Dalton’s second time teaching “Laughing in a Corner: The Literary Legacy of Jane Austen.” Throughout the colloq, students are expected to read select works by Austen while delving into the author’s intentional choices.
“Most people know Austen for her romantic relationships within her works, but this course examines what her works truly represent rather than what has been said about them,” Dalton explained. “Jane Austen is one of my personal favorites. The colloquia allow professors to teach a certain enjoyment of theirs.”
Honors colloquia differ from traditional courses, such as Professor Michael O’Hara’s “Theatre, Politics, and Religion” class. The course begins with a full reading of The Oresteia from theatrical, political, and religious perspectives. From there, the students decide the semester’s curriculum by voting on the plays to be read. O’Hara summarized the course as an analyzation of chosen documents throughout the history of human thought. He emphasizes it to be a class open to students from all majors, not just those involved in theatre or political science because each individual possesses a unique lens to contribute.
Freshman Evan Hatfield said the event was beneficial because it especially allows underclassmen to get their foot in the door in preparation for future years within the Honors College.
Events, trends, and happenings in the Honors community and beyond.