There are now over 1000 alumni of the Wilkes Honors College!
We are extremely proud of our alumni and stay in touch with them. Our graduates work as scientists, doctors, lawyers, academics, business owners, and community leaders.
The profiles featured here are just a small sample of our successful alumni.
Alumni Profiles A - F
Maria de Lourdes Aitken, '13
Maria graduated from the Honors College in 2013 with a concentration in Biological Chemistry. Her thesis was titled " Development of Cell-Based Assays to Screen for GABA-B Receptor Allosteric Modulators". She now attends Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
While she was a student at the HC, Maria served as a Student Body Representative on the FAU House of Representatives, and served as a research intern at the Scripps Research Institute and the FAU Center for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in the Neuroscience Department. Maria chose the Honors College because "...it offers opportunities only available in such a close-knit and ambitious environment. While the coursework is demanding, the faculty and your fellow students support you, inspire you, and help you rise to the challenges you are facing."
Read more in 10 Questions with Maria de Lourdes Aitken.
Megan (Allore) Bishop, '12
Megan attended the Honors College from 2008-2012. She is originally from Stuart, FL, and attended Martin County High School. She concentrated in history, writing her thesis on a 1990s feminist punk movement called riot grrrl. Megan was extremely involved at the HC, serving as a Head Orientation Week Leader and Director of the Council of Student Organizations. She was also involved in the Ambassadors, Spectrum, Enviro Club, and Homecoming Committee, representing the Jupiter campus on Homecoming Court in 2010. Megan is also a Flagler Scholar and the recipient of the 2011 Student Talon Award. Megan studied abroad in Amsterdam the summer before her senior year. After graduating from the HC, Megan served with AmeriCorps at City Year in Miami, FL. After her term of service, she continued at City Year as Evaluation Manager, tracking data for over 6000 schoolchildren, reporting to grants, and training 30 staff and 200 AmeriCorps members in data management strategies. Megan is currently enrolled at the University of North Carolina School of Law. She is pursuing a career in public interest law related to disability rights, criminal justice reform, and capital punishment defense. Additionally, Megan married fellow Honors College alum Eric Bishop. They were married May 24, 2015 at the Honors College, sharing their vows under the bougainvillea in front of friends, family, and faculty.
Blake Bailey, '14
Blake, a graduate of Ely High School in Coconut Creek, Florida, enrolled at the Honors College in the Fall of 2010. He concentrated in Neuroscience and worked as an assistant to the Florida Atlantic University Program Board, as well as interned at the Max Planck Florida Institute. Outside of class, Blake was the Program Board Coordinator his senior year, the founder and Vice President of the FAU Prowlers, a school spirit organization, and founder and president of the Running Club. He is passionate about student involvement, and served as an ambassador for the Honors College, Wing Representative for MacRSA (a resident student organization), member of the Wilkes Honors College Premedical Society, and was an orientation week leader for two years. Not only was Blake an active member of the campus community, he also volunteered for the Jupiter Medical Center, and spoke at numerous conferences and award ceremonies, including LeaderShape South Florida 2012 and the opening of the Max Planck Florida Institute. You can now find him in Washington, D.C. where he is co-founder and CEO of his new app, VENN.
Skylar Benedict, '15
"I was born and lived the first four years of my life in Tallahassee but spent most of my childhood in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
The Honors College was honestly not even on my radar until I visited some family friends who work at Harbor Branch while considering colleges my junior year of high school.
While like most I was attracted as a high schooler primarily to large, well-known universities, in retrospect going anywhere but the Honors College would have been for me a loss. Not only did the size of the student body fit the level of socializing that I preferred, but the small class size allowed my invaluable access to and time with professors who have played a potent role in shaping what I am today.
I came to the Honors College intending to major in anthropology because it seemed similar to archaeology (I’ll be honest, my interests weren’t too developed at that point) and instead discovered a dynamic and fascinating field that drove me to study and travel within not only the Middle East and North Africa, but South Asia as well. I am currently a Masters degree candidate in the Masters of Arts in Arab Studies program at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.
I came to Georgetown to cultivate the seed that was planted studying Arabic and Muslim communities around the world while at the Honors College. This was a seed that demanded that I view my world with a transnational perspective; a seed that drove me to seek connections disparate places, peoples, and languages, and inspired me to forge a worldview that is both interested in and compassionate towards people who live far away from me.
This is a seed that would not have been planted or nurtured in the same fashion had I not come to the Honors College."
Case Boeshaar, '11
Case grew up in Damascus, Syria before moving to Florida for college. He later graduated from the Honors College in 2011, with a major in Political Science. After spending some time working in education and IT in the Palm Beach area, he decided to pursue a Master's degree. In 2016, Case graduated from Georgetown University with a Master’s in Public Policy. He believes that his time with the Honors College helped prepare him for the rigors of a graduate level education. Case is currently working for the National Endowment for Democracy as a Middle East and North Africa Assistant Program Officer in Washington, DC.
Austin Boyle, '06
Austin graduated from the Honor's College in 2006 with a major in Economics. He then went on the earn a PhD in Economics from Florida State University. You can find Austin today teaching economics at Penn State University.
Morgan Cable, '05
Morgan grew up in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and was exposed to space exploration and planetary science at an early age through the Kennedy Space Center. She found FAU's Wilkes Honors College to be a "perfect fit" because of "the small class sizes, closely-knit student community, and the opportunity to do research working alongside Ph.D. professors and publish in peer-reviewed journals.
"As a chemistry major, I received a much broader education than I would have elsewhere, with exposure to topics such as interpretation of poetry and ancient Greek philosophy in the same building where I also took organic chemistry and quantum physics. This education prepared me very well for the rigors of graduate school at the prestigious California Institute of Technology. I was able to think outside of the box and find creative solutions to problems that other students trained only in the pure sciences failed to see."
Morgan is a postdoctoral fellow at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. She earned her Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 2010. She enjoys surfing, soccer, flying Cessna 172s, mountain unicycling, and teaching at a space camp in Seoul, Korea. She aspires to continue working through NASA to discover more about the universe and our place in it, and to pursue her dream of becoming a NASA Mission Specialist.
Mila Curry, '08
Mila graduated from the Honors College in 2008 with a concentration in Psychology. In 2011, she graduated with a Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Miami.
Imarhia Enogieru, '13
Imarhia graduated from the Honors College in 2013 with a concentration in Biological Chemistry. She now attends Harvard Medical School.
She fell in love with the HC because of the "...close-knit community the students and faculty create, as well as the interdisciplinary courses that allow students to learn about advances in other subjects than just their own concentration." While at the HC, Imarhia was the president of the Wilkes Pre-Medical Society, wing representative for MacRSA, and a member of the Invisible Children club, which raises money for victims of civil war in Uganda.
Paul Fletcher, '06
Paul Fletcher concentrated in History at the Honors College and now is working on his doctorate at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, where he seeks to understand the role played by the telegraph in nineteenth-century colonial governance, particularly in communication between London and colonial Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Fletcher notes that "because of the Honors College s rigorous curriculum and, at times, intense work load, I have the self confidence to grapple with the demands of a PhD and the conferences, seminars, and other academic flotsam and jetsam that go along with it.
Samantha Fow, '08
Samantha went to Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy before joining the Honors College in 2005. She graduated from the Honors College in 2008 with a concentration in Economics, and currently attends Vermont Law School, which offers one of the nation's top programs in environmental law. She was elected the Environmental Editor for the 2011-2012 Vermont Law Review, and recently accepted an offer to clerk for the Environmental Protection Agency.
Samantha feels that "the education that I received at the Honors College was integral to my success in law school, and formative to my professional identity. As an Economics major, I was exposed to a rigorous and thought-provoking program that taught me concepts that I apply every day studying environmental and energy regulation." Samantha did her honors thesis on "The Political Economy of Domestic Corn Ethanol Production," and she notes that "the EPA actually asked me about my thesis during my interview for the summer clerkship, and I was able to explain exactly how writing the paper helped me to channel my academic interests into a professional pursuit."
Alumni Profiles G - M
Jennifer Geiser-Chiampou, '02
Jennifer was interested in both law and economics, so she designed her own individually designed concentration in "Law and Economics" and her thesis, on antitrust law, was supervised by two faculty, one in each area. Upon graduation Jennifer earned a law degree (J.D.) at Georgetown University Law Center and is presently a General Civil Litigation Attorney in West Palm Beach.
Lindsay Gorgen, '15
"I'm from Zephyrhills, FL.... yes, like the water. I attended Zephyrhills High School. I chose the HC for the rigor of the academics and the access to highly esteemed research institutions nearby. I studied biology at the HC and worked in a neuroscience lab at Scripps. I also founded a club, MoveBeyond, to share my passion for movement and overall health and well-being with my peers. After graduation, I began working at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa in clinical trials research. I also have been teaching yoga classes at a local studio. I just recently accepted a position with the CDC, which I'll begin on Oct 3, 2016 after relocating to Olympia, WA."
Jensen Grant, '06
Jensen graduated in 2006 from the Honors College with a major in Political Science, and went to law school at American University's Washington College of Law. Upon receiving his law degree in 2009 he returned to South Florida where he works at the local law firm at which he interned while at the Honors College.
Michael Habib, '16
Michael Habib is an alumni from Palm Beach. He went to high school at the The King's Academy in West Palm Beach. He came to the Honors College for its outstanding faculty and the intimate small school feeling that the Honors College could offer. As student, Michael was involved in Student Government and chaired the TEDxFAUJupiter committee. He is currently attending the University of Miami's School of Law.
Jared Hesse, '14
“I was born and raised in Pembroke Pines, Florida and I went to high school at Charles W. Flanagan High School. I wound up choosing the Honors College based on word-of-mouth recommendation: my sister is also an HC alumni! I also visited my sister to scope out the school before committing to application. It was in October, just in time for the Halloween Ball. I was attracted to the small class size, rigorous course work, and general expertise of the faculty. I had a sense that if I worked hard, that the school would have immense value. I also liked how the students were like a cozy little family. At the Honors College, I worked extensively in Student Government - I started out as elections commissioner for the campus for two years and then became Chief of Staff my final year. I was also an OWL, was involved in a few clubs, and worked as a summer janitor, too! I also interned at the Max Planck Institute for Neuroscience for about two years into my final year. My thesis, titled Meaningful Links: Articulating the Structure of Personality Psychology received an Outstanding Thesis Award. I won the Bigony-Pay-It-Forward Scholarship, was briefly a Kenan scholar , and was a Named Scholar. After the Honors College, I was accepted to the Master's in Psychology program at Wake Forest University. I completed my Master's while working in a Parkinson's research lab at the school's neighboring hospital. I produced some published posters, wrote yet another thesis on network science and Parkinson's disease, and worked on a few grants. Currently, I'm living in Las Vegas and working full-time as a data scientist for a healthcare analytics company. I definitely would not have made it without my time at the Honors College.”
Caitlyn Hood, '15
Caitlyn was an active member of the Honors College community with dual concentrations in Biology and Spanish. You could find her around campus working as an Orientation Week Leader (O.W.L.), a Resident Assistant (RA), or participating in various clubs, including the Sailing Club, as Vice President of Citizens of the World, Secretary of Spanish Club, or Vice President of the Running Club.
Caitlyn also enjoyed contributing to the community, and participated in Alternative Spring Break with both Give Kids the World in Orlando, Florida, and as the site leader at the Nature Conservancy in Tallahassee. She is studied Spanish language and culture in Costa Rica for six months, and was a Medical Scholar.
Adam Iglesias, '03
Adam graduated from Palm Beach Gardens High School in 1999 and was a member of the inaugural class at the Honors College, graduating in 2003 with a concentration in Psychology and minors in Spanish and Biology. After graduation, Adam obtained his Master s in Experimental Psychology at FAU in 2005 and then received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2010. Presently, he is in private practice in Palm Beach Gardens, FL and is an adjunct instructor at FAU.
"At the Honors College I learned how to write at the graduate school level and process large quantities of information. The Honors College lets you develop intimate working relationships with your professors. I fell in love with research, teaching, and academia at the Honors College. It provided me with a foundation and set the stage for my future training as a clinical psychologist."
Evan Jackson '15
Evan came to the Honors College in 2011 from Fort Lauderdale High School. He concentrated in Anthropology and minored in French Language, and now works in the airline industry. Evan was the Programming Director of the MacArthur Campus Resident Student Association (MacRSA), the Special Events Chair for the Admissions Office, Student Ambassador, English as a Second Language Instructor, and active church member in both Jupiter and Hollywood, FL. In the past, Evan has served on the 2012 Homecoming Committee and has visited Haiti twice on humanitarian missions. He enjoys golfing and would like to learn how to play the organ.
Evan loves the Honors College because "...it is truly unique. The professors, classes, and students are truly extraordinary and matchless. At the HC, you're part of a family. I came from a small high school where I knew the majority of people, and I wanted to continue to have that same feeling when attending college. I was unsure for a while where I wanted to go, but after I learned about the HC and after visiting, I knew it was the place for me. I love the intimate and academic setting and community the Honors College offers that you can't find anywhere else. It's a great feeling when the Dean knows you by name! It truly feels like home."
Elizabeth Johnson, '13
Elizabeth arrived at the Honors College in the Fall of 2010 from Polk State College's Collegiate High School in Lakeland, FL. She majored in Anthropology with a concentration in Environmental Studies.
While at the HC, Elizabeth was active in campus life and served as president of both the Environmental Club and the Anthropology Club. Elizabeth loved the community created at the Honors College because "[all of] the students and professors have an appreciation for one another's disciplines and interests, and this creates a really strong feeling of community that stretches from the classrooms to the professors' offices, from the residence halls to the dining hall, and every place in between."
Samantha Johnston, '15
Samantha came to the HC in 2012 from Gaither Higher School in Tampa, Florida. She was an Honors College Ambassador and majored in Marine Biology with an Environmental Studies Minor. During her time here, Samantha worked with the Jupiter Program Board and was an Orientation and Welcome Leader. She now lives in Tampa.
Interview with Samantha
Melissa Karlin, '02
Melissa, who majored in Biology at the Honors College and did her thesis on the movement of gopher tortoises, earned her Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, where she used remote sensing and GIS to analyze habitat quality indicators for red wolf colonization in North Carolina. Her research involves analyzing historical land use changes in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to identify habitat loss as it applies to the gray wolf.
Following the completion of her Ph.D., Melissa went on to work as an environmental scientist in Ft. Lauderdale, then as an Assistant Professor of Wildlife Ecology at Saint Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas.
Christopher Kaul, '14
Christopher Kaul grew up in Ohio and went to high school in Boca Raton. He said that he had “always dreamt of becoming a doctor and chose the FAU Honors College because [he] believed it was the best way to accomplish that goal”. During his time at the Honors College, Chris was able to perform research at Scripps, observe surgeries in Boca Raton, and learn from excellent professors. As a result, he was accepted into the USF Morsani College of Medicine where he will graduate with my medical degree in the Class of 2018. Chris stated that “the Honors College provided me with the foundation and frame work to be an amazing medical professional, as well as provided me with friends and a family that will last a lifetime”.
Echo Keif, '08
The Honors College is like clay in your hands, you can mold it and your experiences into whatever you want, says Echo Keif, who came to the Honors College from Vanguard High School (Ocala, FL). Echo enjoys art so much that she founded an art-based Student Government club called Different Strokes and painted a mural on the wall in the Dining Hall. Echo concentrated in Economics and Interdisciplinary Mathematics and wants to become a professor of Economics. Echo is now a Foster Care Coordinator at Washington Humane Society.
Kristina Klaas, '11
Kristina graduated from the Honors College in 2011 with a concentration in International Studies and minor in Spanish. During her years as a student Kristina received various awards, including the Distinguished Community Service Award in 2010 and 2011, Owl of the Year – MacArthur Campus, and O’Hagan Scholar. As an Honors College student, Kristina studied abroad in Guatemala, interned at El Sol, Jupiter’s Neighborhood Resource Center as Grant Writer and member of the Development Committee, served as a Breakthrough Miami student mentor, and interned with Summerbridge Hong Kong.
In addition to her academic pursuits, Kristina was involved in numerous on-campus clubs and activities. Kristina was the President for the Corn Maya Club and coordinated Fiesta Maya, an annual community-wide celebration of Mayan culture in Jupiter, and student volunteers for adult ESL classes at El Sol. She also served as the Special Events Coordinator for the MacArthur Campus Ambassadors and was involved in campus clubs such as SAVI (Students Advocating Volunteer Involvement) and Enviro Club. The Honors College provided Kristina with the opportunity “to receive a highly personal and well-rounded education. Becoming involved in the Honors College is very easy to do and everyone is a part of the HC community and family. I would never have had the same experience at any other institution.”
Kristina is presently Development Associate with Palm Beach Opera where she writes grants, maintains all grant reporting, and assists with donor relations and special events.
Alex Lange, '12
Alex came to the Honors College in the Fall of 2008, having just graduated from William T. McFatter Technical High School in Davie, FL. Alex was a Leadership Scholar, providing him with financial aid as he continued being a leader on campus. During his time at the HC, Alex was involved in a number of organizations, including Spectrum, MacRSA, Program Board, Campus Ambassadors, the House of Representatives, and the Jupiter PrOWLers. In his senior year, Alex was elected Campus Governor through Student Government. Alex also interned with Compass, Inc. in Lake Worth, FL and Loyola University in Chicago, IL. Having graduated in 2012, he is now working on his M.Ed. in College Student Affairs Administration at the University of Georgia. His degree was conferred in May 2014.
Alex loved his experience at the HC because "...it allowed me to have a variety of opportunities academically and socially, but my peers are some of the best people I have ever met and those I will keep near and dear for a lifetime. I developed into someone I never thought I could be."
Kathryn Lewis, '04
Kathryn came to the Honors College from Jupiter High School and concentrated in Political Science. At Stetson Law School, she served as an articles & symposia editor on the Stetson Law Review, which published her law review comment "Streets of Wrath: The Constitutionality of the Town of Jupiter's Non-Solicitation Ordinance." After graduating from Stetson, she returned to Palm Beach County and began her legal career at Gunster Yoakley, where she practiced in the areas of business and employment litigation. Kathryn then transitioned into criminal law and is currently an Assistant State Attorney for the State of Florida, handling various felony cases including DUIs, economic crimes, burglaries, organized thefts, drug trafficking and violent crimes, including weapons or serious bodily injuries.
This Fall, Kathryn returns to the Honors College as an adjunct faculty member, teaching Law and Society. "Returning to the Honors College is both a privilege and a dream. As I've continued throughout my legal education and career, I've realized that the Honors College prepared me not only to love learning because it will help me succeed, but to love learning just for learning's sake.
Read the article When the Student Becomes the Master: Honors College Alumna Returns As a Professor.
Wendy Martinez-Vulin, '06
Wendy Martinez-Vulin is a graduate student at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She is concentrating in Conflict Resolution and Government with a regional focus in Latin America. Wendy received her Bachelor s degree in International Studies from the Honors College in 2006.
From 2006 to 2010, Wendy worked at the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, D.C. and witnessed over 25 electoral processes in the region, allowing her to experience firsthand the strengths and challenges of the region s democratic institutions.
A native Nicaraguan, Wendy is interested in strengthening the relationship between the United States and Latin America by helping to create effective and sustainable foreign policies between the two regions.
Wendy is the Director for Career Development for the Latin American Graduate Organization at Georgetown University. In her spare time she enjoys running, yoga, traveling with her husband, and playing a great game of Scrabble.
Jenny McIvor, '04
Jennifer ( Jenny ) McIvor is a 2004 graduate of the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College who concentrated in Environmental Studies and now works as Environmental Coordinator for the MidAmerican Energy Company (owned by investor Warren Buffet) at the Walter Scott Jr. Energy Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Her main tasks center on ensuring strict compliance with environmental regulations and permit requirements governing the company s state-of-the-art power plant. In her own words, My job is to make sure the plant achieves and maintains compliance with those permits, with zero tolerance for violations.
After graduating from the Honors College, Ms. McIvor completed her MS in Environmental Management from Yale University ( 08) and a JD in Environmental Law ( 07) from the Vermont Law School. She served as a clerk for the Nebraska Attorney General and for The Wilderness Society in Washington, DC. Jenny was admitted to practice law in the State of Nebraska in September 2008. She is the Honors College Distinguished Alumna for 2009.
Alumni Profiles N – Z
Hannah Norcini, '13
Hannah, who attended the International Baccalaureate program at Rickards High School in Tallahassee, FL, graduated from the Honors College with a concentration in psychology and criminology in the spring of 2013. While at the Honors College, Hannah was very involved in several campus organizations, including the MacArthur Resident Student Association, Honors College Ambassadors, and the Student Government Association. Most notably, she served as the Students Advocating Volunteer Involvement Director for the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 academic years. Her time as SAVI Director motivated her to join the Peace Corps, where she worked as a Community Health Volunteer in Mpanda, Rwanda from 2013-2015. Now, Hannah is an AmeriCorps VISTA Leader at Florida Campus Compact in Tallahassee working with VISTA Members around the state. Hannah is thankful for her time at the Honors College, as it allowed her to grow intellectually and to form intimate bonds with both fellow students and professors. She credits her experience here as leading her on her path in the non-profit field today.
Melanie Oates, '16
“I was born and raised in Jupiter, FL and I attended William T. Dwyer High School. I chose the HC because of its small class sizes (which allow you to have better relationships with your professors than other colleges tend to allow) and it was very affordable (because it’s a state school) but has the feel of a private college in regards to its standards of education and the overall atmosphere. During my time at the HC, I was an International Studies major, an El Sol scholar, the President of the Spanish Club, Vice-President of the Corn Maya Club, a Kenan Scholar, and I took part in Dr. Cañete’s Madrid, Spain Summer study abroad program. I am now an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer working at the HC as the Mentoring Program Developer. More specifically, I am developing a new mentoring program between HC students, as the mentors, and low income children from a local elementary school, as the mentees. We have just established a partnership with Big Brothers Big Sister.”
Christopher Olbrych, '16
Hi all, I'm Chris Olbrych from Boynton Beach, FL. Before the HC, I attended the International Baccalaureate program at Atlantic Community High School in Delray Beach, FL. I chose the HC because it felt like a family. Faculty, staff, and students are invested in our development as students and challenge and support us throughout our time there. While at the HC, I served as a Resident Assistant for on-campus residents in addition to joining and leading multiple clubs on campus including the Environmental Club, Newman Club, and Corn Maya Club. My time at the HC influenced me to continue serving students in the field of Higher Education. I'm currently serving in a graduate assistantship on the Boca Campus while pursuing a Masters of Education with a focus in Higher Education Leadership so that I may continue to play a role in developing well rounded individuals ready and willing to affect positive change in their communities. Feel free to reach out to me with questions you have about my experience or questions you may have at email@example.com.
Justin Pacific, '03
Justin Pacific was one of the college s original Trailblazers. Hailing from Somers Point, New Jersey, Justin was part of the first freshmen class in 1999. After graduating from FAU in 2003 with an Honors College concentration in Psychology, Pacific remained at FAU for graduate school and received his M.A. in Psychology in 2006. He then entered the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Justin credits the Honors College with giving him a good foundation for these different programs. The discussion-based classes were a great preparation for graduate school and beyond. The comfort I obtained from routinely defending my ideas in front of my peers carried over to situations that required me to speak in other types of public settings, including making oral arguments during appellate processes and advocacy proceedings.
Looking back on FAU, Justin comments: I greatly enjoyed the friends that I made and the peer-level interaction I had with the faculty.
Alan Peña, '08
Alan Pena graduated from Cooper City High School in 2004 and went to the Honors College in the fall of that same year. He says that he chose to attend FAU's Honors College because it was highly recommended, close to home, and had good scholarship opportunities. He concentrated in Political Science and had minors in Law & Society and History. Alan was involved in several campus organizations including Corn Maya and the Student Government Association (SGA). He said, Both Corn Maya and SGA greatly influenced me. I thoroughly enjoyed helping the local community through Corn Maya and had the honor of being a part of its development and partnership with El Sol. SGA was a capstone to my Political Science concentration; everything I had studied, from campaigning to political decision-making to the legislative process to punctuated equilibrium, was represented microcosmically in my two years in SGA.
During his undergraduate career, Alan decided that he wanted to be a military officer, and he believed studying government and foreign policy would best advance that career. For a time, Alan was a commissioned officer in the United States Army stationed at Fort Riley, KS at the 1st Infantry Division. He now works at Family Elder Law. "I always go back to what I was taught at the Wilkes Honors College to execute my job effectively. I spent a year in military training at four different Army posts to learn how to be a Soldier, but an officer is required to advocate, organize, plan, write, research, speak publicly, present ideas, think critically, and solve problems through unfamiliar territory. The Honors College built the foundation of these leadership skills through the liberal arts education, tough classes, and the thesis process, as well as the extracurricular opportunities."
Shaleene Persaud-Vazquez, '04
Shaleene majored in Biology/Pre-Med at the Honors College, graduating in 2004. Upon graduating from St. Matthew's University School of Medicine in May 2008, Shaleene will practice as a physician in under-served areas of Florida.
Niina Pollari, '06
Niina Pollari is a poet, editor, translator, and graduate of the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature in 2006. Niina’s outstanding thesis, “ …At the Ear of Eve”: Hearing, Gender, and the Physiology of the Fall in John Milton’s Paradise Lost, won an honorable mention in the highly competitive Undergraduate Studies Essay Competition from the prestigious database, Early English Books Online, in 2006. Her thesis later led to an invitation to present her research at the Milton Symposium at the University of London in 2008.
Upon graduation from the Honors College, Niina headed off to Sarah Lawrence College, where she received her Master’s in Creative Writing in 2008. Since then, she has presented at several conferences, including the &NOW Literary Festival focused on experimental literature, where she gave a talk on narratorship in the work of Tytti Heikkinen in October of 2011. Niina’s writing has been featured in numerous literary journals as well as the Brooklyn Rail and Jezebel.com. The Warmth of the Taxidermied Animal, her translation of the poems of Tytti Heikkinen, was released in 2013 from Action Books, and she is also the author of two chapbook-length volumes of poetry: Fabulous Essential (2009, Birds of Lace) and Book Four (2012, Hyacinth Girl). In 2012, with Judy Berman, she edited a collection of essays called It's Complicated: Feminists Write about the Misogynist Art We Love. Currently, Niina Pollari is a project specialist at the crowdfunding website Kickstarter, where she's been since 2012, as well as coordinator for the POPSICKLE Literary Festival and a freelance translator. She is scheduled to speak in June 2013 at Book Expo America on the topics of self-publishing and crowdfunding.
Kadeem Ricketts, '14
Kadeem came to the Honors College in 2010 from Nova High School (Davie, Florida). He was involved in many activities and organizations on and off campus including the Honors College Ambassadors, Special Olympics, Intramural Basketball and Volleyball and the Film Club. He served as the Treasurer of Student Government and the Treasurer of the student spirit organization “prOWLers.”
Kadeem, concentrated in economics and minored in mathematics, decided to come to the Honors College because “The faculty and staff are all approachable and are deeply invested in the success of all of the students. The small class sizes also create an environment where everyone is encouraged to and, in some cases, required, to participate. The learning experience is unlike any other.”
Alexa Robinson, '14
Alexa came to the Honors College in the Fall of 2010 from Winter Park High School in Winter Park, FL. She was interested in music and fencing, and created the Fencing team Dumbledore’s Army on the Jupiter Campus. She was also involved with the Debate Team. Alexa likes the Honors College because “I can get to know my peers and professors better than I would at any other college. That really means a lot to me.”
Peter Salomone, '08
Peter Salomone transferred to the Honors College in 2005 and graduated in 2008 with a concentration in philosophy. "I have been spoiled by the Honors College," he says. "A great campus, incredible professors, the freedom to customize my education... Any and all academic institutions I attend in the future are bound to disappoint. It's a wonderful price to pay for a truly unique undergrad experience." Peter has received his M.A from University of Florida and M.F.A from Wake Forest in documentary film. He produced a documentary on homelessness in Gainesville called Civil Indigent, and is presently working full-time in Miami as a video editor for a web-based travel series and enjoying the job very much.
Megan Selby, '06
Megan, who attended Indian River High School, majored in Environmental Science at the Honors College and completed her thesis on the role of zoos in the future of biodiversity conservation. She received a Masters of Environmental Science at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She is now working on a Ph.D. in Environmental Management, Conservation and Development at the University of Aukland in New Zealand and is currently researching gibbon conservation efforts in West Java, Indonesia. Selby most recently purchased a zoo in Nelson's, New Zealand.
Jocelyn Skolnik, '07
Jocelyn Skolnik graduated from the Honors College in 2007 with a major in Political Science. During her years as a student she won more than a dozen awards, including a recognition as Outstanding Senior at the Wilkes Honors College and Owl of the Year for the John D. MacArthur campus in Jupiter. Skolnik was also a member of the Golden Key Honor Society and the Sigma Delta Phi Spanish Honor Society. While at the Honors College she met Guatemalan Nobel Peace Laureate, Rigoberta Menchu, served as interpreter for the Sister Cities signing ceremony for Jupiter and Jacaltenango, Guatemala, and provided interpreter services for the Guatemalan President Oscar Berger when he visited Jupiter. Skolnik notes that she loves the chance she was given to mold my own experience and make the most of my education. It is very easy to get involved at the Honors College. The personalized attention you receive there is priceless.
She presently is the Director of the El Sol Neighborhood Resource Center in Jupiter, FL where she coordinates all programs offered by the facility, such as a hiring center, courses in speaking English, reading Spanish, and mastering computer skills. She works closely with 63 partners (religious, international, private, and public institutions) and more than 120 volunteers.
Janeen Smith, '14
Janeen began attending Emory Law in the Fall of 2014. Upon earning her J.D., she plans to seek a legal clerkship and eventually practice appellate law.
"The best part of being an HC student is that my professors know me well and are able to guide me toward activities and academic pursuits that interest me. I also like the sense of camaraderie that I share with my fellow students. My favorite experience at the HC was participating in Moot Court. I had the pleasure of working with real lawyers and competing in a regional competition. It affirmed my decision to pursue a legal career. I would advise prospective students to visit and sit in on a class that interests them. It is really exciting to see how engaging our classes are."
Richard Smith, '12
Richard came to the Honors College in the fall of 2008 from Port Saint Lucie High School (Port Saint Lucie, FL). He majored in biological chemistry with a minor in history. Currently, Richard attends Drexel Medical School in Philadelphia. He recently completed a year-long research experience at the NIH and has a paper up for review and publication.
He enjoys listening to a wide variety of music and playing ping pong. During his time at the HC, Richard was active in several campus organizations, including Student Government, Environmental Club, and Jupiter PrOWLers (campus cheer/spirit club). He also worked as an intern at Max Planck Institute in the Department of Digital Neuro-Imaging.
Richard chose the Honors College primarily because of its small class sizes and its opportunities for science and medical research. “I didn’t want to get lost in a lecture hall of a large university, or be regarded as just a number or another face in the crowd by a professor. So far, I haven’t regretted my decision of choosing the Honors College, and I have made the most of the available research opportunities by participating in internships at bothScripps Floridaand theMax Planck Florida Institute.”
Alexis Stellner, '06
Alexis came to the Honors College from Cardinal Newman High School (West Palm Beach, FL) because of the professor-student ratio. She says she enjoyed the newness of the school because it allows the university to always try new ideas and include new classes, clubs, and student-made concentrations. An English Literature major, Alexis graduated in 2006 and attends graduate school at the University of Kent and plans on becoming a college professor.
Walteria Tucker, '04
Dr. Walteria Tucker is a native and lifelong resident of Belle Glade, Florida. In the summer of 2003, she became the first and only Honors College Student to receive a full merit scholarship at Bryn Mawr College s prestigious Institute of French Studies in Avignon, France (L Institut d tudes Fran aises). That summer she also earned her certificate in Business French from the Paris Chamber of Commerce with the second highest distinction (avec mention bien). In 2004, she graduated from the Honors Collegecum laude, where she concentrated in International Studies and minored in Spanish Language and Culture. She was the first Honors College student to be awarded FAU s highest undergraduate distinction, the Kenneth R. Williams Leadership Award. In that same year, she was also named University Scholar and Owl of the Year for the McArthur Campus of FAU. In 2006 she was one of 25 recipients of a McKnight Doctoral Fellowship (Florida Department of Education) and in 2008 she was one of 88 doctoral students in the nation to be named a PEO International Scholar.
In 2011, Walteria successfully defended her doctoral dissertation and graduated from FAU with a Ph.D. in Comparative Studies. Dr. Tucker s research focuses on race and representation in Hispanic and Francophone Caribbean Literature and on the literary images of Haitians in Hispanic Caribbean literature specifically. In August 2011, Dr. Tucker returned to the Honors College to teach Spanish and French language and culture. She currently teaches Spanish and Humanities at South Florida State College in Avon Park, Florida. Dr. Tucker plans to one day become the president of a Florida university. Most recently, Dr. Tucker was named the 2012 Distinguished Alumna for the Wilkes Honors College of FAU.
Christina Turn, '13
Christina, a graduate of Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School, is from Tampa, Florida, and enrolled at the Honors College in the Fall of 2009. She graduated in 2013 with a concentration in Biology, and now attends Medical School at the University of Florida.
While at the HC, Christina worked as a laboratory assistant at the Center for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. Outside of class, Christina spent her time completing undergraduate research and volunteered at the Children's Cancer Center of Tampa and at El Sol. On campus, she served as the president of the Corn Maya Club, the co-president of the Catholic Newman Club, and the volunteer coordinator for the Wilkes Honors College Premedical Society. She was also a member of the Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and Yarnatics (a crocheting and knitting service club). Christina loved the Honors College because of its "...family atmosphere, its high academic standards, and the many opportunities for academic, social, and leadership growth."
Alejandra Uribe, '15
“I was born and raised in South Florida, but my family is originally from Colombia. I attended West Boca Raton High School and I graduated from the HC in May 2015.
I chose the HC because it just seemed like the perfect fit. It was close enough to home that I could visit whenever, but also far enough that I had to live on campus. The HC’s tight knit community allowed me to form long lasting friendships. While at the HC I was involved in basically everything. I was a student ambassador for the admissions office giving tours to perspective students and doing student panels whenever needed. I was also a choreographer for the Owelettes & Co Dance Team, I played soccer during intramural, and I was president of both the Pre-Law Society and Spanish Club. I was also involved in student government where I held a university wide position of Chief Justice of the Student Court where I helped organize events with other SG members.
I am currently a second year law student at Michigan State College of Law focusing primarily on criminal law. I am also vice president of the Latino Law Society and an intern with the admissions office.”
Fernando Varela, '15
FAU Honors College student Fernando Varela transferred to the Honors College from Palm Beach State College in the Fall of 2013. Varela attended the Honors College as one of the Wilkes Humanities Scholars. The small campus and research opportunities were the major reasons he choose the college. He regularly volunteers his time at El Sol resource center in Jupiter, Florida teaching English to Spanish speakers. He says he knows how it feels to be in their shoes, because he learned to speak English just five years ago. After he learned to speak English many more opportunities opened up for him and he wants to provide that ability to others. After Varela completes his Bachelor’s degree in Hispanic Literature and Latin American Studies, he plans to attend Graduate School and pursue a PhD in Hispanic Literature.
Interview with Fernando
Maria Vizcaino, '04
Maria went to a magnet High School in New Jersey, where she was exposed to small classes and a tight-knit school community. With the dream of becoming a marine biologist, she found the community and opportunities afforded at FAU’s Wilkes Honors College a “perfect fit” to pursue her dreams. The environment assisted in fostering strong ties with both fellow students and professors, which helped shape her future career. While at the Honors College, Maria took a microbiology class that expanded her awareness of the unseen world. With this new interest, she then pursued a semester at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute located in Ft. Pierce, FL, where she was able to incorporate both marine biology and microbiology with her love for chemistry. Being at the Honors College was “An amazing experience. I built life-long friendships, and was exposed to really unique experiences – I got to travel to the Amazon, take classroom trips down to the Keys, and sail from Tahiti to Hawaii during my Semester Abroad experience at Woods Hole”. Maria graduated with a concentrations in chemistry and marine biology, and went on to pursue a Ph.D. at the Medical University of South Carolina where she studied the chemical role of marine microbes in corals. Maria is currently a postdoctoral associate at Yale University, and is currently working on identifying bacterial small molecules involved in regulating human-bacterial interaction. She aspires to continue focusing in the chemical ecological role microorganisms play in their hosts and hopes to work her way back to the marine environment.
Connor Voirin, '16
Connor Voirin was a 2016 graduate from Winter Springs, Florida. He attended Winter Springs High School where he maintained a 4.2 GPA. He chose the HC because of “the small class sizes and opportunities to work at Scripps and Max Planck.” At the Honors College, Connor’s concentration was in biology where he worked as a biology lab TA, a lab animal technician, an organic chemistry summer tutor and lab TA. He did his thesis research on conservation biology about geckos and he worked in a neuroscience lab at Scripps. As of Fall 2016, Connor is an M1 at Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Taylor Welling, '15
Taylor is the 2012-2013 Shoaf Memorial Scholar and Director of Jupiter Campus Recreation.
"I chose the HC because I greatly value the rigorous academics and the environment of high intellectual standards and pursuits," she explains. "Aside from the amazing academics, the thing I like best about being a student in the Honors College is that I am not only in complete control of my own academic success, but my peers and I have the great privilege of having a huge voice in the direction our campus takes in certain issues. After spending just one week in Student Involvement and Leadership, it is clear to me that this is a student-run campus (with the support of our amazing advisors, of course)."
Taylor tells new HC students to "[get] involved in something you like as soon as you can. You'll find people with similar interests, forge amazing relationships, grow as an individual, and make an impact on the community of the Honors College."
Robert Wicks, '09
Robert 'Bobby' Wicks graduated from Jupiter High School in 2005. In 2009, he graduated from the Honors College with a concentration in American Studies. That summer, he attended Columbia University s Publishing Course, studying all aspects of book and magazine publishing. He currently lives in New York, where he works at Oxford University Press as a publicist. Every day at the Honors College was a defining experience for me, he says. There was never a time when I felt as though I wasn't growing as a person, thanks to the efforts of the faculty and staff. There is a genuine culture of excitement towards learning shared by everyone at the HC, and the benefits of an education there follow a person far into the post-collegiate world.