BEHIND THE SCENES:
Honors College Intern, High-Achieving Student, and Author
May 1, 2014 (Jupiter, FL)- For almost four years, Megan Geiger, now a senior at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, has been responsible for writing these weekly newsletters as the Student Intern to the Office of the Dean. Since her freshman year, Geiger has highlighted and shared the numerous accomplishments of other students, professors, and the Honors College community. However, while she wrote about students presenting at national and international conferences, and faculty members receiving prestigious grants and recognitions, Geiger was also pursuing achievements of her own.
Throughout her undergraduate career Geiger has received several high academic honors. In 2011 she was nominated and chosen as the Most Outstanding Freshman of her class by the Honors College faculty. Similarly, in 2013 she was also awarded the Most Outstanding Junior award. Most recently, Florida Atlantic University’s President, Dr. John Kelly, presented Geiger the Stan & Renee Wimberly Scholar award at the 44th annual Honors Convocation––the highest academic accolade presented to a student at Florida Atlantic University. The Wimberly Award and scholarship was established in 1992, and is awarded annually to an outstanding student by the Honors Convocation Scholarship Committee. Moreover, Geiger has not only been recognized as a high-achieving student by her professors and the university, she has also gained the respect and admiration of her peers. The Honors College Senior Class of 2014 has chosen her to give the graduation address at their Medallion Ceremony Friday, May 2. “I am so honored to be this year’s Medallion speaker! Having the chance to stand up in front of the people who I have spent these four incredible years with is a huge blessing,” says Geiger.
As a senior, Geiger has recently finished and presented her thesis research titled, “He Has Asked Us to Live Our Lives for Tomorrow: A Longitudinal Analysis of Sermon Discourse in a United Pentecostal Church Congregation” at the Florida Atlantic University’s Undergraduate Symposium. Her thesis used sermon transcripts from two distinct time periods as a data source for understanding the development of Pentecostal thinking, focusing on the subjects of education, marriage, divorce, and homosexuality. As a member of the Pentecostal church herself, Geiger is delighted to have had the opportunity to approach her own faith through an academic medium. Geiger also presented her findings regarding the significant role of faith, specifically religious faith, in secular society at TEDxFAU. “The most challenging aspect of these studies has been balancing my religious activities with my desire to fully participate in secular academia… religious knowledge is an inherent part of the human experience, and deserves to be recognized as such, without being stigmatized as backwards or outdated,” explains Geiger.
In addition to her academic studies, for the past year Geiger has worked with Dr. Daniel Raviv, a professor from the College of Engineering at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, to transform his classroom PowerPoints and activities into a guide to divergent thinking. Partly Funny with a Chance of Brainstorms, which Geiger co-authored with Dr. Raviv, was published earlier this month. Its purpose is to help readers improve their innovative and creative problem solving skills, and to help them apply these skills to their everyday problems and real-world issues. Geiger’s role in this project included organizing the materials to be covered in the book, and creating the text and explanations that would facilitate the understanding of the material. In addition, Geiger also had to work with the book’s illustrator, Pamela Noguera, to develop the graphics, and to format the manuscript for publication. When Dr. Timothy Steigenga referred her to Dr. Raviv for this project, she was immediately excited about his work. “I’ve always felt like there needs to be a greater exploration of creative thinking in formal education, and that is what Dr. Raviv’s work is all about,” states Geiger. For Geiger the most challenging part of producing this book has been communicating its information and ideas through a traditional text format. However, she feels that the book is anything but traditional, and hopes the readers feel the same way. “I’ve gained so much valuable experience in writing and editing, and I’ve gleaned so much from my work with Dr. Raviv. He is brilliant, and inspiring, and wants to use his knowledge to make education better for every student, which I think is incredible,” shares Geiger.
To Geiger, a student’s undergraduate years are about finding out who you are. She believes students should venture out, take classes with different professors, and be exposed to different disciplines. “That is exactly what the Honors College is all about; the faculty and students have been my greatest source of guidance and inspiration, and they have made me realize what things are the most important me,” explains Geiger. As Geiger prepares to continue on to her graduate career, she hopes to earn a Ph.D. in Religious Studies, and one day teach and conduct academic research like many of her professors at the Honors College. “Students should always take advantage of opportunities to work with the faculty. They are doing amazing research, and students could benefit from their expertise and guidance,” says Geiger. Geiger is very thankful for the constant guidance and support she has received from the faculty and staff at the Honors College through every step of her undergraduate career, and is especially thankful to Sandy Ogden, Dean Jeffrey Buller, and Dr. Timothy Steigenga.
Megan Geiger is a shining example of the kind of interdisciplinary scholar the Honors College seeks to develop. Through its innovative curriculum, tight-knit student body, and collaborative faculty, members of the Honors College community hope to inspire more students to take advantage of all the opportunities their undergraduate careers afford them. The Honors College is very proud of all of Geiger’s academic achievements, and wishes her the best on her future professional and academic endeavors.
About Florida Atlantic University: Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit www.fau.edu