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2008 News

 HC Student Receives FAU Talon Award in 2008

Ed Fulton December 5, 2008 - Edward Fulton received FAU's Student Talon Award in 2008. Ed, a Flagler scholar, is a junior in the Wilkes Honors College, and studies biochemistry. His particular interest is intracellular transport enzymes and the role these enzymes play in such illnesses as Lou Gehrig’s disease. His goal is to obtain both a medical degree and doctorate in public health policy.

Ed is the second consecutive Honors College student to receive this award. Samantha Montgomery was the recipient of the 2007 Talon award.

Study Abroad Fair: November 20th, 2008, 11 am – 2 pm, HC Atrium

Learn about study abroad options and destinations!

This is part of International Education Week (November 17-21). This is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Dept of State and U.S. Dept of Education is part of our efforts to promote programs that prepare students for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.

Sponsored by the Office of International Programs, Wilkes Honors College, and Office of Diversity Services (Jupiter Student Affairs).

Friday Night at the Movies: All The President's Men
HC auditorium at 7:00 p.m. Friday, November 14th: The spellbinding detective story about the work of the two Washington Post reporters who helped break the Watergate scandal. The story follows Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman), highly competitive and a little more experienced than his partner, and Bob Woodward (Robert Redford), very ambitious and a dog for details. It's through their eyes—skeptical, hungry, insatiably curious—that "All The President's Men" unfolds. It begins logically on the night of June 17, 1972, when five men were arrested in an apparent break-in at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate complex in Washington, and continues through the spectacular series of revelations, accusations and admissions of guilt that eventually brought the Nixon Presidency to its conclusion. (adapted from the New York Times)

Previous films:

Friday, October 24, 2008: Network

For more info contact Amy McLaughlin, 6-8586, amclaugh@fau.edu.

Honors College Anthropologist's Major Achievements

Ten Years of Research Culminate in Major International Achievements for Professor

JUPITER, FL (October 10, 2008) – Dr. Jacqueline Fewkes, assistant professor of anthropology at Florida Atlantic University’s Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, is reaping the fruits of more than ten years of research into trade routes and their influence on modern cultures.  First, her major new book, Trade and Contemporary Society along the Silk Road: An ethno-history of Ladakh, has been released by Routledge Press.  Second, she will present her a summary of her ground-breaking research on the Maldives at a national meeting of anthropologists in San Francisco.

Fewkes’ book is an ethno-historical study of the trade system in Ladakh, a region of northern India that was once a busy center of trade on the Silk Route between central and southern Asia.  Previously a crucial part of a global trade network, Ladakh later became increasingly isolated as national boundaries were defined and enforced during the 20th century. Fewkes’ study provides a cultural history of an important area in Asia, exploring the lives of traders and illustrating how social issues in modern communities are inseparable from events of the past.

Then, during the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in San Francisco, Fewkes will present new research on the Maldives, a small island nation in the Indian Ocean south of India.  Her research there has been supported through grants from Florida Atlantic University, the American Historical Association, and the Library of Congress.  The Maldives have historically been at the center of major trade routes and has different cultural influences from the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe. These influences have produced some interesting cultural practices in a nation that is said to be one hundred percent Muslim.  One practice in the Maldives that is rare in the Muslim world is the establishment of separate mosques form women, overseen by female Imams, the scholars and teachers who lead the prayers.  Fewkes interprets this tradition as a “very interesting social institution for female scholarship and religious life in the Maldives.”

Fewkes has explored contemporary practices in the Maldives and their historical antecedents in order to determine whether specific activities may be connected with major trade routes.  In addition to her presentation, “A Woman’s Place in Islam:  Spatial Practices of Women’s Mosques in the Maldives,” Fewkes will chair the panel of scholars sponsored by the Anthropology of Religion Subcommittee.  The papers presented by this panel of international scholars spans a wide range of religious and cultural traditions from different cultures.  Fewkes regularly incorporates the latest anthropological research into the courses she teaches students of Florida Atlantic University’s Honors College in Jupiter.

byline: Tamara Howard

Local Government Debate
Candidate Debates:

State Representative, District 83: Carl J. Domino (Rep) and Bryan S. Miller (Dem)

Jupiter Inlet Commission, District 5: Patricia Walker and Tom Warwick

Moderated by Alan Gray, WHC student and President of FAU Debate Club. Hosted by the Lifelong Learning Society and the FAU-Jupiter Campus and FAU Debate Club.

Thursday, October 30, 2008, 6pm

Lifelong Learning Society Complex. Free and open to the public. For more information call 561-799-8667

Ann Brown speaks at Honors College
Ann Brown will be the guest speaker at the Honors College's Named Scholar Ceremony during the Honors Forum on October 17, 2008 in AD 119 at 1pm. The topic is consumer product safety. Ms. Brown was a consumer advocate for 20 years before her appointment as Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Her greatest goal was to keep families, and especially children, safe. She believes that consumers, industry and the CPSC have shared responsibilities in promoting safety. Her actions earned widespread recognition and awards.

For further information contact Margaret Allen, 561-799-8105

FCHC Writing Contest
Florida offers a writing contest for students enrolled in honors programs/colleges in Florida. The writing materials must be submitted to the Associate Dean by Friday October 17th and nominated by the College. Nominated entries will be forwarded to the statewide selection committee with winners notified sometime in January.
There are cash prizes ($200 1st place, $150 2nd place, plus conference registration), and winners must be present to receive their award at the Florida Collegiate Honors Conference in Orlando, Feb. 20-22, 2009.

Categories for Submission:

 1. Freshman/Sophomore Documented Research or Critical Thinking
 2. Junior/Senior Documented Research or Critical Thinking
 3. Freshman through Senior Poetry Writing (one poem per student)
 4. Freshman through Senior Fiction Writing

Rules: Complete information is at the FCHC website.

 1. A student may submit only one poem.  Material that has previously won contests may not be submitted.
 2. Winning contestants will be required to present an organized, concise overview (5 minutes) of their papers, an excerpt from the story, or read that poem at the FCHC Conference.

Paper Format:

 1. A submission must be no more than 10 pages, 12 point font.  This excludes outline, notes, and appendices.  Papers should follow MLA or APA format.  Papers submitted exceeding 10 pages will not be considered.  The paper should not contain the student's name or institution.
 2. Include a cover sheet. The cover sheet will be removed before a paper is sent to the judges.  No clue should be given to your identity of that or of your school except on the cover sheet.  The cover sheet is available online.

Submission Process:

Submit four copies of your entry or entries to Mark Tunick, Associate Dean, HC 133, no later than Friday, October 17th, 5pm.

For additional information: contact Mark Tunick, tunick@fau.edu, (561) 799-8670, HC 133.
Debate Watch Parties
Tuesday October 7, 9-10:30 pm in the Burrow: Presidential Debate Watch Party; and
Wednesday October 15th, 9-10:30 pm in the Burrow: Presidential Debate Watch Party.
No matter who you're rooting for you can come out and support your side. If you're not sure who you're leaning towards come out to learn about both candidates. Sponsored by the FAU Debate Team.

Thursday October 2, 2008, 9-11 pm , in the Burrow: Vice-Presidential Debate
No matter who you're rooting for you can come out and support your side. If you're not sure who you're leaning towards come out to learn about both candidates. Sponsored by the FAU Debate Team.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Time: 9:00pm - 11:00pm
Location: In the Burrow

FAU Debate is sponsoring a watch party for the first Presidential Debates between Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain. We'll be watching on the big screen in the burrow so come on out and join us!
Profile of HC Student and Future Leader Jordy Yarnell
JUPITER, FL (October 3, 2008) - Jordy Yarnell is a sophomore at Florida Atlantic University’s Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, with a concentration in psychology and a minor in business.  He’s had a long history with the Wilkes Honors College, beginning after his senior year of high school when he heard a radio advertisement for the Honors Summer Institute.  The Honors Summer Institute or HSI is a three-week residential program in which high ability students take an honors course and receive three college credits.  Jordy studied evolutionary psychology, which helped him decide to come to the Honors College as well as to choose his concentration.  “HSI was an excellent experience, and I recommend it to anyone.  It was intense work but it definitely set me on the course for college and gave me a feeling of what to expect.”  He also chose the Wilkes Honors College for his education because, in his words, “it’s the same environment as my high school:  small class sizes and a lot of teacher interaction.”

During his first year at the Wilkes Honors College in 2007, Jordy joined college clubs addressing such concerns as the environment, astronomy, at psychology.  He also became a representative for the campus in the House of Representatives.  Jordy’s student counselor from Honors Summer Institute got him interested in Student Government and encouraged him to run for House.  Jordy signed up, and the students of his campus elected him for the 2007-2008 school year.  “It was a good feeling to be voted in by my peers.  I’m glad that I could represent the student body at a university-wide level and express their views on different issues.”

In 2008, Jordy Yarnell was elected Speaker of the House, the presiding officer of the university’s House of Representatives and is elected by the Representatives of the House.  As Speaker, Jordy officiated at meetings, maintained the Student Government office, and tried to make Student Government more efficient. He also worked on campus statutes, the laws and guidelines by which the campus and the House of Representatives abide.  During the fall semester of 2008, Jordy was reelected as Speaker of the House in a unanimous vote.

This year, he and the other members of the House are working on a number of issues.  “We had the privilege of speaking with Dr. Corey King, the Associate Vice President and Dean of Students at Florida Atlantic University.  We brainstormed and discussed a lot of great ideas.”  Suggestions for this year include:  an intercampus transit system to and from Jupiter and Boca that would eventually travel to all campuses; passing a resolution to encourage the university’s administration provide lights for the recreation field in the Jupiter campus; revamping Night Owls, a volunteer organization that provides transportation during the night for students who do not wish to walk across campus by themselves; and finalizing the campus statutes.

“I feel like the Honors College has done a great job of taking my academic career to the next level.”

byline: Tamara Howard

Honors College Professor Studies Arsons in Church

Jupiter, FL (September 30, 2008) - Dr. Christopher Strain, associate professor of history at Florida Atlantic University’s Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, sees a defining moment in one of the most controversial events of the late twentieth century. His recently published second book, Burning the Faith: Church Arson in the American South (University Press of Florida), explores the wave of arsons that afflicted American churches throughout the 1990s, as well as the many disputes about their cause.

As Strain reveals, much of the debate about these incidents centered on their sheer frequency. “Churches have always been relatively easy targets for arsonists because they are usually unoccupied during the week and are often located at the end of lonely, dirt roads. Many skeptics claimed that these fires weren’t racially inspired even though there was a noticeable spike in the fires at black churches.”

Attempts to solve the mystery of these fires became increasingly controversial because of their resemblance to hate crimes that occurred during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. “There was a tremendous amount of racial strife below the surface of American life. By the early 1990s, people had become blind to much of this tension. But when the church arsons started to be reported, people began talking about these issues. The fires initiated a frank dialogue about race and the place of race in the United States that had rarely existed before.”

Strain notes that, contrary to popular belief, the church arsons of the 1990s were not just a southern phenomenon. They occurred all over the country, including in California. As interest in the fires grew, Strain was a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, pursuing a degree in history and American studies. The national news coverage about the arsons piqued Strain’s interest, so he began keeping newspaper clippings about the events. Around 2006, he decided to go back and look more closely at critical perspectives in order to determine what had actually happened, not in the arsons themselves, but in the national reaction to the fires.

While conducting his research, Christopher Strain engaged in a series of interviews and examined primary sources. In Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia, he interviewed fire chiefs, law enforcement personnel, sheriffs, and police chiefs that were involved in investigating these fires. He also interviewed pastors, their families, and people in the community. Dr. Strain researched newspapers and media coverage that appeared on the Internet as well as engaging in some investigative journalism. Strain noted that, as the church fires were occurring, news reporting on the Internet was just coming into its own. “In certain ways, the American church arsons were the first major even where the Internet was a significant historical record. I hope that people are able to learn from this book and that community leaders, activists, policy makers, and other people are able to make use of it for the better.”

byline: Tamara Howard

HC Student Receives 2008 Outstanding Research Award

Honors College senior Jodi-Ann Thomas was one of sixteen students to participate in the Florida Mental Health Institute REU at the University of South Florida this summer. She worked with Dr. Ilene Berson, Associate Professor, Early Childhood Education (USF) on a research project titled "Behavior Problems of Young Children Exposed to Traumatic Events". Each year, REU research projects are submitted to external reviewers. Hers was one of 4 papers selected for an Outstanding Research Award.

The paper abstract: Childhood trauma is a prevalent issue that places young children at risk for adverse effects, including mood and behavioral impairments. Trauma exposure is rarely limited to a single event; rather, children are faced with the cumulative effects of multiple trauma exposure at an early age. However, research shows that resilience/ protective factors (i.e., family, school, and/or environmental strengths) may combat the repercussions of traumatic experiences. This study investigated the effects of trauma exposure on internalizing and externalizing behaviors and the moderating effects of resilience for young children. The sample included children from an early childhood system of care site who were diagnosed with a mental health disorder. The findings show that trauma exposure and lack of protective factors were predictive of increased symptomatology. The implications for diagnosis and treatment of early childhood mental health disorders are discussed.

Honors College Professor Researches Aging in Cells

Jupiter, FL (September 10, 2008) - Dr. Paul Kirchman, associate professor of biology in Florida Atlantic University’s Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, has partnered with students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels to conduct research into aging. With the help of several colleagues, Kirchman is striving to understand how and why individual cells age. As part of his study, Kirchman uses a cellular model to show the effects of oxidative damage. Inside cells, organelles known as mitochondria produce energy, which Dr. Kirchman equates to miniature power plants. Unfortunately, like all power plants, mitochondria create pollution, which on intracellular level are oxygen radicals, also known as “free” radicals. One of Kirchman’s objectives is to discover a way either to assist mitochondria in producing less pollution or to capture and cleanse these byproducts before they can cause damage.

Kirchman and his colleagues are observing mitochondrial differences between individuals in order to see if any of them are more efficient, producing fewer oxygen radicals. The researchers are also exploring ways to improve the effectiveness of superoxide dismutase (SOD), an enzyme found in most organisms that use oxygen. SOD protects the cell from some of the harm that can be caused by oxygen radicals. If a more efficient version of this enzyme could be produced, it may result in a longer living cell.

“I believe the most important goal of age research is not to increase the life span of an individual, but to increase a person’s ‘health span.’ Personally I would rather live to be 90 years old and healthy than to 100, but sick for the last twenty years of my life.”

byline: Tamara Howard

Honors Summer Institute Creates Lasting Impression
JUPITER, FL (September 4, 2008) - The Honors Summer Institute is a three-week residential program in which high-achieving students take one of three or four honors courses and receive three college credits. Florida Atlantic University’s Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College began the Honors Summer Institute at the John D. MacArthur Campus in Jupiter on July 9, 2006. At the time, there were 34 rising high school juniors and seniors, each ready to immerse themselves in the college experience. This was an optimal time for these students to experience life at college because they would soon be contemplating which university they would attend.

One student that attended the first year of the Honors Summer Institute was profoundly affected by his involvement. Joseph Praver of Titusville, FL initially came to the Institute because of a recommendation by his mother. “In the beginning, I came because my mom told me it would be good for me, and I found out that she was right.” According to Joseph, it was the summer before he earnestly began considering the college or university he might attend. He enjoyed the Honors Summer Institute so immensely that he chose to apply solely to the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College. “I had such a good experience that I decided not to apply anywhere else.”

Joseph is currently a sophomore at the college, and last summer he applied and became a student counselor at the Institute. “I wanted the opportunity to come back to HSI and see the Institute from the other side of the fence. I’m looking forward to applying next year.”

Wilkes Honors College Convocation 2008
Freshman Orientation at the Honors College concluded with the 10th Annual Freshman Convocation.
In Memoriam: Hank Smith

It is with great sadness that we note that Hank Smith, Affiliate Research Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies in the Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly Saturday, May 24, 2008.  As a wildlife biologist and a 25 year employee of the Florida Park Service, Hank surveyed, monitored and managed wildlife species from Fort Pierce to Key West.  Hank also developed the “Parknership” student intern research program with FAU and PBCC, that resulted in a number of publications.

Hank will always be remembered for his relentless energy, enthusiasm, work ethic and commitment to helping others. He supervised graduate and undergraduate student research projects and Master of Science and Honors College theses. A number of Honors College students co-authored scholarly journal articles with Hank (see the list below). A true friend and supporter of the Honors College and FAU, Hank will be deeply missed.

  • 2007. Carrie Goethel ('07), Henry T. Smith, and Jon Moore, "Ophisaurus Ventralis (Eastern Glass Lizard): A Review of Road-Kill Mortalities and Occurrence in Florida with Notes on an Unusual Event," Journal of Kansas Herpetology 22:13 (June).
  • 2007. Cress, H.L., K.L. Kingsland ('07), H.T. Smith, and W.E. Meshaka. Exotic amphibians and reptiles on buildings: Colonization dynamics and potential species management in Florida. Natural Area News 11(1):1-3.
  • 2007. Rhayfon N. Pancho ('06), William O'Brien, Henry T. Smith, Terje Hoim. "Public Perceptions of Prescribed Fire in Two Florida Communities: A Comparison in Progress," Natural Area Newsletter 11(1):6-7.
  • 2006. Walter Meshaka, Jr, Heather Cress, Kimber Kingsland ('07), Henry Smith, Stephanie Fitchett, Jon Moore, and Ernest Cowan."Hemidactylus (House Gecko) Assemblage Dynamics on South Florida Buildings," Journal of Kansas Herpetology 17:8-9 (March 2006).
  • 2005. Diana Marti ('04), W. O'Brien, H.T. Smith, J.A. Moore, and S. Fitchett. Endangered species, prescribed fires, and public perceptions in a Florida scrub community, Endangered Species Update 22(1):18-28.
Graduation 2008
The Wilkes Honors College Class of 2008 graduated on May 2, 2008. Students received medallions from their faculty advisors at the medallion ceremony on the Jupiter campus in the morning (see photo below), and had their degree conferred by President Frank Brogan at the graduation ceremony on the Boca Raton campus that evening.
Graduating class of 2008
HC Students/Faculty Win University Awards
Honors College faculty and students were recognized for their achievements at FAU's Honors convocation on April 9, 2008 in the University Theatre on the Boca Raton Campus:
  • Honors College student Sarah Fannin was named the University Scholar, which comes with a $1,000 award.
  • Honors College student Edward Fulton was named the University Club Scholar, which comes with a $3,000 award.
  • Honors College Professor Timothy Steigenga (Political Science) received a University Researcher of the Year Award for Creative/Scholarly Research at the Associate Professor Level.
  • Honors College Professors Hilary Edwards (English Literature, Assistant Professor) and Amy McLaughlin (Philosophy, Assistant Professor) received University Teaching Awards.
  • In addition, Professor William O'Brien (Environmental Studies, Associate Professor) was a finalist for the Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award.
Astronaut Speaks at Honors College Research Symposium

JUPITER, FL (April 4, 2008) – Florida Atlantic University’s Wilkes Honors College hosted its 6th Annual Symposium for Research & Creative Projects on Friday, April 4.  This year’s symposium included the inaugural session of the Chastain Honors Symposium Lecture Series, featuring astronaut Tracy Caldwell.

In 1999, Caldwell was first assigned to the Astronaut Office International Space Station (ISS) Operations Branch as a Russian Crusader, participating in the testing and integration of Russian hardware and software products developed for ISS. In 2000, she was assigned as the prime Crew Support Astronaut for Expedition Five to the ISS serving as the crew’s representative on technical and operational issues throughout the training and on-orbit phase of their mission.  In August 2007, Caldwell served as a mission specialist aboard the space shuttle Endeavour.  During this mission, the shuttle docked with the ISS, adding a truss segment, a new gyroscope and external spare parts.

Prior to her work with NASA, Caldwell taught chemistry at the University of California.  She holds a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from the California State University - Fullerton and a doctorate in physical chemistry from the University of California – Davis.

The annual symposium provides Honors College students the opportunity to showcase their thesis work through abstracts, posters and visual arts presentations.  The public is invited to view the symposium exhibits in the Administration (AD) and Honors College (HC) buildings throughout the day.

The symposium and lecture are free and open to the public.  For more information call 561-799-8015.

Debate Team Earns National Recognition

The Florida Atlantic University Debate Team earned national recognition in March! During Spring Break, Team President and Honors College student Alan Gray traveled to the DSR-TKA National Championship at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he and Alexia Ash from the University of Florida advanced to the final round of Parliamentary Debate and were named the National Runners-Up. The following week, four Honors College students (pictured from left to right) Alan Gray, Ashley Irizarry, Wally Manning and Robert Bruton, competed in the 26th Annual Novice National Tournament at the University of West Florida in Pensacola. Alan and Robert advanced to octafinals in Parliamentary Debate and Alan was named the National Champion Speaker. Alan was also a semifinalist in Impromptu Speaking, and the National Runner-Up in Dramatic Interpretation. Ashley competed in Parliamentary Debate, Robert in Impromptu, and Wally in Informative Speaking. Together, the team won 5th Place in the Division III (Small School) Sweepstakes competition, and were the National Champions in Team Quality.

Presidential Election Events
Florida Decision 2008: Jan. 24: The Republican presidential candidates will be on the FAU Boca Campus to appear on MSNBC for a national televised Debate, moderated by Brian Williams and Tim Russert.
Presidential Election Events on the Jupiter Campus:

Monday, Jan 14, 1-2:30 p.m. at FAU Jupiter: "The Supreme Court and the 2008 Election." Featuring Associate Professor Martin Sweet and Associate Dean Mark Tunick from the Department of Political Science, Wilkes Honors College

Wednesday, Jan. 16, 4:30-6 p.m. at FAU Jupiter: "Personality and Politics." Featuring Dr. Kevin Lanning.

Thursday, January 17, 4:30-6 p.m. at FAU Jupiter: "Campus Energy and Resource Tour." Contact: Sarah Fannin (sfannin@fau.edu). Location: FAU Jupiter, Meet in SR Atrium.

Friday - Saturday, Jan. 18-19 at FAU Jupiter: "Campus Camp Wellstone." Two-day training camp for student activism. Contact Laura Aponte at laponte4@fau.edu or Kyle Ashby at kashby@fau.edu or 561-339-1807. Co-sponsored by the Feminist Student Union, Enviro Club, Council of Student Organizations, College Democrats, Student Life & Recreation and the FAU Leadership Committee.

Honors College Alumna Presents her Theater Work in New York City

Autumn Widdoes graduated from the Honors College in 2003 with a concentration in Philosophy. She will present a workshop of her own play "Echoes (1928/2005) Through" as part of the"Page to Stage" series at Dixon Place in New York City. Dixon Place is a laboratory environment that supports the development of new works and works-in-progress which challenge and expand creative forms of expression.

Ms. Widdoes' play is about two lakes and two hurricanes and places in between both: memories, inheritance, invisible bodies, the south and its histories, and different point in time colliding into each other, and is in the form of a choreopoem.

Ms. Widdoes will present the workshop January 28th at 8 pm at the Dixon Place, 258 Bowery, Second Floor, New York, NY 10012. Tickets are $10 - 15 and can be purchased in advance from the Dixon Place website.

Last Modified 11/21/13