The Western Oregon University Honors Program is a long running academic honors program that accepts applicants during their freshman years of college. While the basis fro selection is bewildering, I joined up at the promise of small classes and a fancy trip to Ashalnd, at the end of my first year. Sometimes I look back at this decision and laugh like a Disney villain watching the hero try to overcome some evil plot. Sometimes I look back and just kind of feel like crying quietly. Either way, I know my college experience would be nothing like it has been had I not made the choice to join.
One of the big draws of the program is that it requires an undergraduate thesis to be started junior year and completed at the end of senior year with the assistance of a faculty adviser, after a proposal is approved. Lucky me, I’m just ending my junior year. My proposal was approved, for better or worse,
Every year the seniors who have completed their Honors theses present them to an audience made up of their friends, family, and fellow students. Looking forward to doing this next spring, I attended these presentations Wednesday, June 5 and Thursday, June 6. I emerged both daunted and excited, after watching seniors present on a variety of topics, ranging from the criminal and racial implications of the “war on drugs” to teaching math to middle-school age children to language acquisition in deaf individuals and the process of writing a novel.
These presentations left me humbled by the passion some presenters had for the work they had spent nearly two years of their lives doing. Education majors, so pervasive on this campus, had a chance to really show people why they cared so much, what they were willing to do in pursuit of promoting effective education practices. Science majors were able to show practical aspects of their focus, like one girl who presented on botanical treatments of HIV/AIDS. I’m eager now to begin to read to my own presentation on my own completed thesis.
By Bonnie Wells