Simpson Honors program turns three years old

Students taking the Honors course, Choking on Plastic, pose by their final project.

Submitted by Maeve Callan

Students taking the Honors course, Choking on Plastic, pose by their final project.

by Bailey Earls, Staff Reporter

In Fall 2018, Simpson College implemented an SC Honors program joining the many private colleges that have already done so. 

There are currently 54 participants in the program, with an additional estimated 36 incoming first-years in the fall. The program is not only open to upcoming first-years but also to current students. Current students not in the program are able to take one Honors course.  

Junior Elise Sturgeon has participated in the program since its founding. 

 “My biggest takeaway is that a good educational experience is not just about learning some facts for a test, but a meaningful experience in a class that is personal and led by students,” said Sturgeon. “I’ve not only learned about topics I never would have learned about in my major, but I’ve learned about myself.”

The Honors Council, which oversees the Honors program, is made up of the program director Katie Smith, a variety of faculty who have taught, currently teach, or will teach in the future, a student representative, and other faculty representatives on campus.

“It’s been a really rewarding experience to be in this position,” said Smith. “I really enjoy the relationships that I have developed with the students. I loved the experience that I had teaching in the program a couple of years ago.”

 The SC Honors program gives students the opportunity to learn a wide variety of subjects outside of the student’s area of study.

“Being able to connect with and be taught by all these different professors has allowed me to gain more knowledge in areas that have nothing to do with my major or minor,” said junior Carter Fricke. “But they have a great significance in our society.”

Upcoming first-year or prospective students are sent an invite to the program if they are considered high achieving. 

Current students do not receive an invite but are able to apply on the school website as well.  They may be identified by a current faculty member as high achieving in their courses and be encouraged to apply to the program. The qualifications for the program are not definite but may contain ACT scores and an essay.

The Honors Program has many beneficial purposes, such as a marketing perspective for the college, a connection with the liberal arts, and a way for students to think about and solve real-life problems. 

At the end of the year, Simpson plans on having SC Honors students showcase their work in the Symposium.

Additionally, the Honors senior capstone is underway for the first time this semester, and it is possible the projects will be presented at the research and creativity Symposium. 

In addition to being an Honors student, Sturgeon also served as the SC Leader for the Honors Program. 

“I absolutely loved being an SC Leader for the Honors Program.” said Sturgeon, “While I think it is helpful to have an SC Leader that understands the honors program and the mindset of honors students, I don’t think that it is a necessary requirement for the Honors SC Leader to be an honors student.”

Since the program is very new, The Honors program has been creating a student honors organization that they are working to implement this semester.

“If you have the opportunity to join the honors program, do it,” said Fricke, “The amount of new knowledge that you will gain is enough of a reason on its own.”