THE GOOD YEARS:
FAU's Honors College Students Reflect on Their Undergraduate Experiences
April 15th, 2014 (Jupiter, FL)—The spring semester at the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College at Florida Atlantic University is always a time of excitement and anticipation as seniors prepare to graduate and move on to the next chapter in their professional lives. Despite all of the activity taking place on FAU’s Jupiter campus during this period, students do take time to stop and reflect on what the last four years have meant to them. For many, the time they have spent at the Wilkes Honors College has encompassed some of the defining moments of their lives, and given them memories they will cherish forever.
For students who plan to attend graduate or professional school (roughly 2/3 of each year’s graduating class), their undergraduate experiences have helped them develop valuable research skills that they will take with them into their academic careers. Chris Kaul (pictured), who will be attending medical school at the University of South Florida beginning in the fall, is extremely grateful for the research opportunities he has had at the Honors College. In five years, Kaul hopes to be working on his residency at a major hospital in Florida. He says, “The Honors College has given me incredible chances to grow and expand as an individual. I have made lifelong friends and had jobs that helped me identify who I am. I have utilized my time here to become the best I can be, and I wouldn't have it any other way.” For Kaul, his academic and personal successes would not have been possible without the help of the Honors College’s esteemed faculty. “Although he is no longer here, Dr. Nicholas Quintyne had the greatest impact on me during my time at the Honors College,” explains Kaul. “He was a teacher who not only pushed me, but inspired me to try my best. I wish him the best and am grateful for the honor of having him as one of my professors.”
For Chrystal Wong, the four years spent at the Honors College have been invaluable. “During my time at the Honors College I have been given the opportunity to grow and develop as a person and as an academic,” she explains. Wong is on the verge of completing a concentration in English literature, and has had the opportunity to serve as a teaching assistant for faculty members in both the English and Visual Art departments during her undergraduate years. After graduation, she plans to move to Boston to continue her work as a visual and textual artist. She points to Professor Lemeh, an Associate Professor of Art at the Honors College, as well as English Literature professor Dr. Michael Harrawood and Women’s Studies professor Dr. Wairimũ Njambi as her sources of inspiration and growth. “They have changed me as a person by giving me knowledge and showing me the pathways to alter my perspective and embrace academia,” she says. “I will be forever grateful to them.”
Students from the Honors College are preparing to head off into a diverse range of careers and activities after graduation. Kadeem Ricketts, who has served as the governor of the MacArthur Campus for two years, is excited to be attending the School of Law at Washington University in St. Louis this fall. In five years he hopes to be working as an investment broker or corporate lawyer. Alexa Robinson is excited to begin a career with Toonari Media, a company that focuses in social media investigations and web discovery. This opportunity developed directly out of her research for her undergraduate thesis entitled “Evolving Media: An Analysis of Social Media and Digital Identity.” For Robinson, her time at the Honors College not only allowed her to pursue her passion for studying philosophy, but also opened the door to a relevant and sought-after career.
For other students, the future is uncertain but still full of possibilities. Claire Robinson looks forward to finding a job and then “finding my life’s purpose volunteering across the world.” Robinson’s time at the Honors College led her to become passionate about promoting diversity and understanding through her role as the president of Spectrum, a student organization devoted to providing a safe environment for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer, questioning, asexual, and ally (LGBTQIA) community of Florida Atlantic University on the MacArthur campus. “I have grown and discovered myself here at the HC,” Robinson says. “The accepting atmosphere not only allowed me to be myself but also led me to take an active role in creating an accepting community through Spectrum.” Robinson hopes to continue to advocate for acceptance and understanding wherever she finds herself, and knows that the academic and personal experiences she has had at the Honors College will serve her well in whatever career she may pursue.
As the seniors of the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College prepare to embark on the next leg of their professional careers, they fondly remember the life-changing experiences they have had during the last four years. From exposure to the highest level of academic achievement to daily interactions with a diverse body of motivated students, every moment spent at the Honors College has contributed to the personal and professional development of these young scholars. The Honors College community is confident that no matter where they go, they will contribute to the legacy of academic and professional excellence upheld by previous generations of Honors College graduates.
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