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Honors Program News

University Honors—A Program on the Rise Kiley Alpaugh ’15 and Alyssa Nastri ’16 Greetings Honors Students! New developments are underway to enhance the Honors Program experience. These changes, summarized below, will result in an enriched and expanded program not only through the Spring 2015 semester, but also for years to come. 2015 Priorities The Honors Committee recently finalized a strategic plan for the upcoming five years. This plan reworks Honors classes to include experiences outside the classroom, boosts Honors Program presence on the UMass Dartmouth campus, offers additional sections of Honors classes, and introduces new incentives to graduate as a Commonwealth Scholar. The Council aims to revamp the peer mentorship program with the goal of creating lasting, supportive relationships between Honors students. The Honors Program continues to become integrated in the local community through fundraising efforts, community

Members of the Honors Student Council

service projects, and off-campus trips to surrounding cultural sites. A main goal for Spring 2015 is to increase student involvement by creating a program that encompasses and supports all aspects of college life, from social activities to academics. The Point System This year the Honors Student Council created the Point System, a new way for students to get great rewards for participating in the Honors Program events. For each event attended during the fall semester, students received participation points that translated into raffle tickets. We raffled off a Texas Roadhouse gift certificate, Mirasol’s gift cards, Chipotle gift cards, and many more prizes at the Fall 2014 Holiday Party. This point system is being continued into Spring 2015, when students with the most points will be invited to the annual Distinguished Members Dinner in early May.

More ways to get involved With the inception of the new Point System, Honors events are now officially categorized into three sections: community service, academic, and social. Community service activities encourage student involvement in the local community; we teamed up with the UMass Dartmouth Rotaract Club for trick-or-treating and an Oxfam Banquet, as well as the YMCA Southcoast Sharing the Harvest Farm for hayrides and harvesting crops. Academic events included a Pizza with Professors event featuring Professor Brian Ayotte of the psychology department, as well as Honorized university events from lectures to observatory sessions. Social events are aimed at strengthening student relationships with stress-free activities such as laser tag, ice-skating, movie nights, and an end-ofthe-semester holiday party. Honors Council Updates For Spring 2015, Alyssa Nastri has taken over as Student Director of the Honors Program. She spent the Fall 2014 semester training to enrich the experience for all Honors students through the Honors Council. This year marks the largest Honors Student Council ever, with 15 active Honors student members. With the increased interest came a new Photographer position that was filled by Council member Nicholas Cyrek. Fiifi Bondzie, Elizabeth Cross, Mollie Madigan, and Tia Martineau also joined Council this year and have been working hard to plan exciting events.

Interview with Professor Catherine Villanueva Gardner

Sharing the Harvest Community Farm SERVICE SPOTLIGHT

Jasmine Lau ’17

Efrain Montalvo ’15

Professor Gardner is the Associate Director of the Honors Program, an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies, and the Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR). She has written several books about female philosophers, and has published articles in journals and edited collections.

In September 2014, I went for my first visit to the Sharing the Harvest Community Farm to participate in the 9/11 Day of Service at the farm. I learned how the farm operates and the ways it supports the community. In 2013, the farm harvested 65,000 pounds of food, which was donated to local sites all along the South Coast. Along with everyone at the farm that day, I was part of an effort to help fight hunger by improving the lives of children and families in our community. Through neighbors helping neighbors, the community created by the farm was providing nutritional and natural food to those in need. We planted a tree, listened to a speech on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and heard songs commemorating our veterans in remembrance of 9/11. Then the time came to get our hands dirty. We were reorganized into groups and assigned tasks. I collected and disposed of the black tarp that was laid down on the farm, and collected all of the butternut squash. What at first seemed like a daunting task became motivating, seeing two hundred people working together toward a common goal. With everyone’s help, we were able to clear the fields of the tarp and harvest hundreds of pounds of not only butternut squash, but several other crops the farm grows, as well. After three hours of learning, being inspired, and making a change, it was time to go home. But I wanted to stay. Before driving away, I found out the farm’s volunteer hours and made a point to go back at least one day a week. This turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. From harvesting and cleaning crops, to ridding the field of weeds, there is enough variety of things to do that it makes going back each week feel exciting and engaging. Knowing I am making an actual difference keeps me going back; having fun while doing it is an added bonus.

How did you become involved with the Honors program? Prof. Gardner: I became involved because of my work with Undergraduate Research. UR and Honors intersect because of the Honors Thesis/Project, and UR often offers financial support to Honors students. Do you like what you do with the Honors Program? Prof. Gardner: Absolutely. The work is very varied. One week I will be working on creating a new course. The next I will be working with the Director to figure out which admitted students to invite to join the Program. However, no matter what I am doing, the work always remains student-centered. What would you say is your favorite part of the Honors program? Prof. Gardner: Without a doubt it would be working with the student directors. The faculty directors meet every Tuesday for about an hour to discuss administrative issues and ideas that could help the program develop. We then meet with the student directors to get their opinions on these issues and ideas. The student directors can really blow fresh air onto our ideas. It is so easy to get stuck doing things the same way. The student directors also lead a section of the discussion by reporting issues and ideas from their own meetings. Is there something you’d like to see changed in the future? Prof. Gardner: I would like to see greater student input. We would like to create a way of Honors students acting more as ‘junior colleagues’. We recognize that there is a power imbalance between students and faculty and it may be awkward for students to speak up the first few times, but we hope that the Honors students also recognize that without them there would be no program and no program improvement. Do you have a favorite class that you like to teach here? Prof. Gardner: Probably PHL 315. It is called ‘Advanced Ethics,’which makes it sound dull, but there is something of interest for everyone, as we cover so many topics. We cover some history, some theories, and my favorite– anti-theory ethics. Do you have any advice that you’d like to give to Honors students? Prof. Gardner: Get involved and make the most of the opportunities at UMassD. I do not just mean leadership or volunteering. Go to events, take a photography or fine arts class for fun, go abroad. I love my job, but I never have the time to do all the things I want to do. If I were to do my undergraduate degree again, I would have taken a history major and a photography minor. I do a lot of traveling, but I am pretty vague about the history of the places I visit. And let’s just say that my holiday snaps leave a lot to be desired.

Honors Program News

Editor: Jasmine Lau ’17 ( Advisor: Dr. Brian Ayotte (

University Honors Program UMass Dartmouth Honors Program 285 Old Westport Road, Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300

International Day of Peace SERVICE SPOTLIGHT

Alyssa Nastri ’16 Alyssa Nastri, Spring 2015 Student Director of the Honors Program, organized International Day of Peace activities on the UMass Dartmouth campus. Honors students were invited to attend or help out for community service event credits. Background The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth commemorated the International Day of Peace (IDoP) in solidarity with all of the world’s nations on Sunday, September 21. This holiday was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly, and is intended to be “devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples” (UN). UMass Dartmouth based their IDoP celebrations around the Peace One Day campaign, founded by former actor Jeremy Gilley. This nonprofit organization pushed for September 21 to officially become an annual day of ceasefire and non-violence worldwide.

One Day One Goal A series of soccer games, known as One Day One Goal, was held on Cressy Field directly following the peace pole rededication. Soccer is known as the “beautiful game.” It is played in all 193 United Nation Member States, rendering it the most universal sport. About 120 students participated in the games, and a number of fans cheered on from the bleachers. International students aided in the music selection, so songs from around the world pumped up the players on the field. The winning team, headed by Erickson Ramos, received a trophy and medals - but most importantly, the honor of being the first annual UMass Dartmouth One Day One Goal champions. In my opinion, however, everyone was a winner on Peace Day because we all worked towards global unity and worldwide peace.

The Kekeli African Drum and Dance Ensemble

Peace Pole Rededication On Sunday, September 21, UMass Dartmouth students gathered to rededicate the campus peace pole, located in the garden outside of the Marketplace. A peace pole is a small monument with the words “May Peace Prevail on Earth” written on each side in various languages. The Kekeli African Drum and Dance Ensemble opened this commemoration, followed by Jessica Miller’s moving performance of the folk song, “Up the Mountain.” Deacon Frank Lucca, a Catholic Campus Minister, and Joshua Hubbard, the student president of Hillel, shared insights and poetry regarding the concept of world peace. Then, volunteers stepped up to speak the words of the peace pole in their native language. This ceremony displayed the unity of the UMass Dartmouth campus, as well as a desire for togetherness and peace.

“Bystander” by Matthew Carreiro ’15

Honors Program Staff Director Avery Plaw, Associate Professor of Political Science Associate Director Catherine Villanueva Gardner, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Women’s and Gender Studies Communications Director Brian Ayotte, Assistant Professor of Psychology Administrative Assistants Cindy Pisapia Elizabeth Goodine

Honors Student Council Board of Directors Director Alyssa Nastri / Associate Director Aliesha Patterson / Communications Director Jasmine Lau / Resident Honors Council Expert Kiley Alpaugh / Event Planner Lauren LaBounty / Secretary Shereen Cruz / Treasurer Lyndsey Brinson /

Office of Undergraduate Research Grant Winners Kiley Alpaugh | Psychology | Professor Elizabeth Richardson “Impact of Therapy Dogs on College Students’ Stress Level” Caitlin Bien | Chemistry and Biochemistry | Professor David Manke “Exploring the Periodic Table for Carbazole Coordination Polymers for Carbon Dioxide Capture” Carlos R. Colon | Psychology | Professor Jennifer Fugate “It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Drone?” Sarah Frade | Chemistry and Biochemistry | Professor Catherine Neto “The Effect of Cranberry Plant Isolates (Vaccinium Macrocarpon) on Cancer In Vitro” Connor Joyce | Economics | Professor Sarah Cosgrove “Video Game Reviews: How Professional Opinion Affects Sales” Lauren LaBounty | Nursing | Professor Maryellen Brisbois “The Experience of Caucasian and Asian First-Generation College Students Attending a Four Year College/University Nursing Program; A Qualitative Study” Kurvin Li | Biology | Professor Kenneth Oliveira “Evaluation of Hormone Use in the Artificial Maturation of the American Eel” Lindsey Ly | Biology | Professor Vanni Bucci “Investigating Antibiotic Induced-Dynamics in the Human Intestinal Microbiota” Leslie Martin | Psychology | Professor Aminda O’Hare “Trait Anxiety’s Effects on Conflict Adaptation of Non-emotional Stimuli” Rathvitou Proeun | Biology | Professor Kathy Kavanagh “Size Proportion Variation in Tetrapod Tail Vertebrae and Caudal Somites: A Test of the Inhibitory Cascade Model” Francis Romeo | Visual and Performing Arts | Professor Pamela Karimi “Breaking News: A Body of Work”

Student Liaison Limar Weis /

Paige Simmons | Nursing | Professor Ashley Wilkinson “Description of Breastfeeding Experienced by Mothers with Infants in a Special Care Nursery”

Event Honorizer Rachel Giusti /

Grace Underwood | Biology | Professor Mark Silby “Rescue Alginated Mutant by Other Wild Type Bacteria”

Community Service Liaison Ashley Thomas / Photographer Nicholas Cyrek / General Members Breanne Hamlet Efrain Montalvo Grace Hartin Tia Martineau Kimberly Vo

Joseph Zottoli | Biology | Professor Kenneth Oliveira “Evaluation of Sustained Hormone Delivery Methods for Maturation of the American Eel”

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Honors program news spring 2015  

The Honors Program News, produced by honors students at UMass Dartmouth, highlights the academic, community service, and social events of th...