A student and faculty delegation from Missouri State University’s Honors College attended the National Collegiate Honors Council Annual Conference in Boston, MA in November 2012. The NCHC conference assembled more than 1900 participants from honors colleges and programs across the United States in order to discuss current issues and best practices in honors education.
Lynn Andreas and Maria Jones, seniors majoring in Cell & Molecular Biology, joined Dr. Joshua Smith, Rich & Doris Young Honors College Professor of Biomedical Science, in delivering a presentation entitled Department-Wide Impact of Student Success through Peer Instruction & Mentorship in Science Courses. The presentation highlighted BMS 490 Peer Instruction in Biomedical Sciences, which was collaboratively created by Dr. Smith and his students in order to train Cell & Molecular Biology majors to serve as classroom peer mentors to students completing courses such as BMS 231 Human Genetics and BMS 307 Human Anatomy. Dr. Smith commented, “Collaborating with Lynn and Maria to put together the conference presentation was very easy because of the enormous amount of presentation experience they have had at MSU.” Maria added, “Getting to work with professors outside of class is really great and we are much more likely to go to them when we need help academically or with professional questions.”
Lynn and Maria also delivered poster presentations on their own research in cellular biology, which focused upon Cancer research and Alzheimer’s Disease. Maria shared, “I loved participating in the conference and getting to present my research and thoughts to my peers and other professionals. It was confidence inspiring and a great networking experience. I made good friends that might be future colleagues someday.”
In addition to attending presentations by other honors students and professors, Lynn and Maria had the opportunity to participate in a series of enrichment activities and to interact with their peers. Lynn noted, “We got to see Harvard, MIT, and eat at a famous restaurant all within one afternoon!”
The Honors College has sent students to the NCHC Annual Conference for four consecutive years, with the aim of supporting undergraduate research and providing students the opportunity to develop the skill sets necessary to make professional presentations. Lynn reflected, “I greatly benefited from participation in the NCHC conference in multiple ways. Being able to present our ideas on larger scale was rewarding and might be able to help other programs. The networking I was able to do at the conference through the poster session and various other talks was invaluable.” Maria commented, “I am really glad that I was able to participate in NCHC and I am so appreciative that the Honors College was able to provide funding for this opportunity.”
The Honors College is currently exploring fund-raising opportunities that will allow students to attend the 2013 NCHC Annual Conference, which will be held in New Orleans, LA. If you are interested in supporting opportunities for students to complete and present original research, please visit the Honors College website.