August 30, 2010 (Jupiter, FL) – If you’re a Florida resident, you’ll probably want to learn the name Cassidy Henry. Cassidy, a senior at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University, was chosen by Senator Bill Nelson to represent the entire state of Florida at the Henry Clay Center for Student Statesmanship in Kentucky. As described by the Clay Center itself, this program “educates a new generation of leaders in the principles and practices of statesmanship as exemplified by the great Kentucky statesman, Henry Clay. This exposes a top college junior from every U.S. State to a curriculum in diplomacy, dialogue, listening skills, negotiation and mediation.” For Cassidy, who is pursuing a concentration in International Studies and a minor in History, this program was a perfect fit.
Cassidy participated in a week of courses on diplomacy, international affairs, and U.S. politics. She had the opportunity to meet prominent individuals such as the U.S. Deputy Ambassador to Iran, John Limbert, Kentucky Supreme Court judges, the Kentucky Secretary of State, and Former U.S. Ambassador Cary Cavanaugh, who currently serves as the Dean of the University of Kentucky’s Patterson School of Diplomacy. The students also participated in a debate of the Annual Threat Index Facing the next generation. Cassidy’s group debated the challenge of switching to renewable energy from fossil fuels. After the debate, the participants chose the water crisis as the greatest threat.
The experience that Cassidy received at Florida Atlantic University prepared her well for the intense discussions that occurred through this program. She credits the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College both with helping her attain this honor and with making her ready to succeed at all the experiences it involved. For instance, all Honors College students must complete either an extensive internship or a study abroad experience, and Cassidy was first introduced to Senator Bill Nelson as part of her internship in the summer of 2009. In addition, Cassidy said, “The references provided by professors that actually know you has been invaluable ... The [Honors College] teaches you to work hard and always search for answers even if you are not sure of the question.”
Cassidy goes on to say that she “fell in love” with the Honors College during her first tour of the campus in the spring of 2006 and how this feeling was reinforced when she attended the first Honors Summer Institute of the same year. “I love the small class sizes and personal attention given by professors. Even the professors that I have never had before are willing to work with me. I love the community that the [Honors College] fosters of caring and commitment to academic excellence.”
Jeffrey Buller, Dean of the Harriet Wilkes Honors College, noted “Practical experience at a very high level is an integral part of our curriculum. There’s something important that occurs when a student completes every single course at the honors level. It prepares them to take on challenges that are amazing for anyone, but absolutely incredible for an undergraduate. Cassidy Henry strikes me as the perfect example of what the Honors College is all about, and Florida Atlantic University is delighted that it was one of its own who represented our state at the Henry Clay Center this summer.”
byline: Tamara Howard