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Explore. Create. Experience. Minnesota State University Moorhead Honors Program.



Spring 2014

Letter from the Director

Q and A with Honors Learning Community Mentor, Nicole Olson Q Why did you decide to be the Honors Learning Community mentor this year? I was really overwhelmed when I came to MSUM as a freshman. Everything was new and scary for me. In the fall when I heard about the Mentor position I thought I would be a great opportunity for me to help other students get acclimated to campus and make the most of their college experience.

Q What unique opportunities does living in the Honors Community provide to

students that they would not normally get in a regular residence hall situation?

Learning Communities are a great opportunity for students. It’s like having a built in group of friends right when you get to campus. The people living on your floor are the people you have class with so you see a familiar face or two on the first day, and there is always someone around to do homework or study with. The Honor’s learning Community also offers lots of events that include things from meeting faculty and attending museums to eating pizza and having movie nights. It is a fantastic way to meet like-minded people and get involved with your campus.

Q Can only Freshman honors students live in the Learning Community? Currently the Learning Communities are only for freshman students; however we are looking into developing upper- class communities. This would allow students to live off campus or in the residence hall of their choosing while still participating in the community activities. Next year the Honor’s Learning Community, located in West Snarr, will be limited to freshman students.

It’s an exciting time for the MSUM Honors Program! In the 2013-14 school year, there were more than 150 students taking part in the HP, and freshmen enrollments are on the rise. Students in the HP represent a variety of majors, with about 30% in the sciences, 30% in the arts, 15% from business, and 15% from education. Our students are both an accomplished and involved group as you can see from the “Around Campus” stories. We offered a variety of exclusive program events this year including Fall and Spring socials, trips and course travel, classic movie nights, Professional Day presentations, and advising workshops to name a few. The Honors Learning Community was a great place to be with activities coordinated by student mentor Nicole Olson, including a faculty panel, advising sessions, and trivia night. And HP student assistant Sam Szczesny has also been busy coordinating events, managing the list serve, and working on the HP Facebook page. We are fortunate to have a variety of excellent faculty involved with the HP. I want to extend a special thank you to those who taught HP classes this year: Dr. Adah (Film Studies), Dr. Alemadi (Biosciences), Dr. Bramer (Philosophy), Dr. Colson (Anthropology & Earth Science), Dr. Czynski (Philosophy), Dr. Decker (English), Dr. Fasick (English), Dr. Flores-Ibarra (Economics), Dr. Hest (Communication Studies), Dr. Malone (Psychology), Dr. Morrow (History), Dr. Sankey (Political Science). Our students truly appreciate all that you do for them. I am always happy to visit with students and faculty about the HP so please feel free to drop by the HP office in Maclean 374C. Best wishes for a great year! –Elizabeth Nawrot

Explore. Create. Experience.

Professor Profile: Dr. Konrad Czynski, Philosophy

Honors Alumnus News

hilosophy professor Dr. Konrad Czynski has been involved with the Honors Program, teaching the colloquium course and honors encounters. Coming up in the spring of 2015, he will be teaching a seminar course entitled “Journeys in Literature.” Students who have taken his courses enjoy his upbeat attitude, personal attention to students and the free flow of ideas in the classroom. “Literature and history combined,” Czynski says is important in choosing the subject matter for his colloquium course. He also likes to incorporate documentary and other elements that “bring the material alive in a way voicing alone doesn’t do.” In the fall of 2014, his colloquium will center around the Civil War era and the life of Clara Barton. The course will also feature material that focuses this era back to the state of Minnesota, incorporating places and landscapes familiar to many of his students. “The outer and inner journey,” is a theme Czynski says he likes to touch on. “Whenever we as individuals encounter someone in a different location, we learn something about ourselves…I look for works, either historical or literary…where the individuals, real or fictional, undergo a geographical trek, but also a kind of spiritual inward discovery. That deepens the subject, it doesn’t keep us on the surface,” Czynski said. Honors students from many different majors come together in the colloquium course, and Czynski believes that each can take something unique from their experience. “Whatever the major may be, look for echoes in what we read, and draw that into your own writing…what grabs your attention, and why.” Czynski plans on staying involved with the Honors Program, and is looking forward to teaching both the colloquium this fall, and his seminar the following spring, which will continue with some of the same themes. “It’s focusing on literature with the journey theme, inward and outward Czynski said, “We’re supposed to see the seminar as taking the students to a new level… The colloquium is foundational and now I’m building on that.”

Conor Holt graduated with a degree in film studies and moved to Los Angeles. He has interned for Psychic Bunny, a film/commercial/video game production company; Marvel Film Studios and the Slamdance Film Festival. His senior thesis film, “A Better Life”, has been shown at the Twin Cities, St. Cloud and Boston Science film festivals. Simone LeClaire is living in Minneapolis, where she works making documentaries. Her MSUM senior thesis film, “Girl Who Lives in a Tree”, was shown on March 8 at the Fargo Film Festival and was awarded the Rusty Casselton Award for excellence in student film making. LeClaire is also working on a feature length screenplay and feature length silent film she plans to shoot this summer.

AROUND CAMPUS ▸ Renee Fast,Early Childhood/Elementary Education, will be attending Eurospring next semester, tutors elementary school students and received MSUM’s Valedictorian Scholarship.

▸ Grace Luntzer, music education, is learning Japanese.

▸ Kate Aarness, theater arts, is appearing in the production of “Almost, Maine” and “Carrie” this semester.

▸ Ashley Higgins is double majoring in Chemistry and Biology with a minor in Spanish and still finds time to be on the MSUM swim team!

▸ Mckayla Glasser, business administration, is studying abroad in Portsmouth, England on student exchange. ▸ Hayley Hilfer, psychology, is doing her Honors Apprenticeship in the child development lab. ▸ Joseph Cervenka, mass communications, is participating in the Disney College Program.

▸ Emily O’Meara, life science education, is in the Dragon Leadership program.

▸ Eva Rude will be competing in the National Tae Kwon Do competition this fourth of July weekend. ▸ And congratulations HP Graduates John Goerke, Nicole Ballard, Katelin Hansen and Chance Cole.

Minnesota State University Moorhead Honors Program Upcoming Opportunites: Dr. Ananda Shastri Dr. Ananda Shastri has been a professor of physics for the past 14 years at MSUM. His class is offered every other spring, and priority is given to Honors students. In 2015 Shastri hopes to lead students on a one week trip to Hiroshima over spring break. Students will meet weekly for one hour in preparation for their trip. The plane tickets, the hotel and miscellaneous costs add up to about $3,000 per student. It is recommended, but not required for students to learn some Japanese before their trip. Shastri admits, “The more you know [of the language], the more you get out of the experience.” The fall after the Hiroshima Peace Studies Tour (fall 2015), Shastri plans on teaching Honors 318: Issues of the Nuclear Age. This course draws a link between science and everyday life, specifically issues in everyday life. Shastri explains that the class will touch on several topics, from food radiation to science’s impact on politics and the use of nuclear weapons and power. The course includes a lab as well. Neither class is required for the other, but it is recommended for honors students taking the Hiroshima Peace Studies Tour course to take Issues of the Nuclear Age and vice versa. Shastri hopes that students, mparticularly ones living in our area within a short driving distance from missile silos and reflect, will take away something from the classes. “I want them to think about that, and I want them to think about what that actually means. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are lasting symbols we cannot ignore, and (they) force us to think what it means to have nuclear weapons and what it means to use them.” Interested students should look for PHYS 385/ JAPN 385 for the study tour and HON 318 for the seminar course when registering for classes.

Student Profile: Joseph Cervenka, sophomore, Mass Communications oseph Cervenka, better known as JC, started his MSUM career on the second floor of West Snarr hall, in the Honors Learning Community. Since then he has traveled far from his beginnings in pursuit of a lifelong dream. This semester JC is interning for the Disney Company. This internship has brought him to Disney World, Fla., where he will stay until August. Originally from Bemidji, Minn., JC is used to the cold winters of the north, so a chance to escape from the below freezing temperatures was a perk, but not the main goal. “Working for Disney has always been a dream of mine, so when I was accepted into the program, I didn’t think twice about it. I knew that this was something I wanted to do,” JC said. Despite what people may think, participating in the Disney College program was less expensive than attending a semester at MSUM. The most substantial costs to JC were his travel costs. He is taking a couple classes, but his total for tuition and books was only a mere $10. The actual Disney program itself cost $300. JC lives in a cast-member-only Disney apartment, which totals $90 a week, but since he is working and earning a paycheck, he is saving and making money. However, there is small trade off. Even though he is taking a couple classes, they will not transfer to MSUM. Because of that, it is as if JC is taking a semester off, but he doesn’t mind. “Despite not earning credits, I will not be set back in my graduation time. I came in with many college credits from college in the high school/AP courses, and I could’ve graduated in three years had I not done this program. So I will be graduating in four years, despite this experience,” he explained. Doing the Disney College program is, in fact, nothing short of an experience. JC works as lifeguard at the Seven Seas Lagoon at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. He works about 40 hours a week, with days beginning at 6 a.m. “I guard till lunch around noon, then I’m back on the stand from around 12:30 to 5 p.m. Once 5 p.m. hits and my relief comes, I clock out, hop on the next bus home and, depending on how my friends and I are feeling, we may head to a Disney Theme Park for the evening,” JC said. JC highly recommends any interested students to apply for the Disney College Program. “If you’re coming just to enjoy the perks, then it won’t be worth it; you’ll burn out by the second month,” he said. “It’s definitely a ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality here at Disney.” “If you want to know how the top companies in the world and their employees work and the kind of work ethic you need, this is definitely the program for you,” JC said.

Honors Program 1104 7th Avenue South Moorhead, Minnesota 56563

Honors Program 2014-15 Class Schedule Summer 2014 HON 307 Transformations of the Roman World (LASC 5)

Fall 2014

Send news and story ideas to: MSUM Honors Program Web: Email: Phone: 218-477-4104 Director: Elizabeth Nawrot,

Assistant: Samantha Szczesny Newsletter Editors: Kristin Miller, Kjersti Maday, Marie Veillette,

HON 102 Encounters (multiple sections) HON 200 Colloquium (Learning Community section)


HON 200 Colloquium (LASC 6)

*HON 102 encouter events schedule available on the website

HON 302 Tellings and Retellings (LASC 6)

Registration for Fall classes begins

March 10

Spring 2015

Provost Dr. Anne Blackhurst hosts Honors Program students and faculty at her house

April 22

Minneapolis trip to see “Othello� at the Guthrie Theatre and tour the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

April 11/12

MSUM Student Academic Conference

April 15

Last day of class - Turn in final HON 102 Encounter reports and get HON course final contracts signed

May 6


May 16

HON 102 Encounters (multiple sections) HON 312 Journeys in Literature: Classical and Medieval Masterpieces (LASC 6) HON 496 Capstone (LASC 9)

Minnesota State University Moorhead is an equal opportunity educator and employer and is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

Honors Newsletter Spring 2014  
Honors Newsletter Spring 2014