It is the special mission of the Honors Program to enrich the college experience of each Honors Program student and to promote the intellectual growth of every student at Saint Michael's by contributing to the overall academic culture of the College. In addition, Honors Program members encourage active involvement in service to the community. Current and newly graduated members are eager to describe the opportunities and benefits of membership in the Honors Program, as is evident in the testimonials below.
Erica Begin '12
College is the perfect place to develop into an adult; however, it is intimidating to separate from everything one has ever known. In leaving behind my small farm town in Connecticut last year, I was leaving behind the only place I have ever lived. In my hometown I had family and friends that were unwavering in their support; however, in Vermont I had nobody. But I soon came to realize that I was not alone. Hundreds of new students were feeling the very same apprehension. I came to realize within my first weeks at Saint Mike's that it is not hard to find a place. The honors program is my place. This program has opened me up to many opportunities.
Through the honors program and honors committee, I formed relationships with many older, more experienced college students. They helped me survive my first few months at school, coaching me through the rough periods of loneliness and homesickness. These men and women provided me with the guidance I needed to make the most of my career at Saint Michael's College. I have gained mentors in both my fellow students and the various faculty members that dedicate their time and knowledge toward bettering the honors program.
Being a part of the honors program, and even more as Class Representative for my freshman year, helped me to ground myself during the confusing transition that is the first year of college. It is an organization that encourages both academic and social structure.
Nicole Cote '12
I transferred to Saint Michael's College after previously attending a large state university. As an Honors student at Saint Michael's, I was able to take even smaller classes with people who were equally invested in their education as I. Specifically in Honors Colloquium I attended various cultural events: from art shows to talks by Buddhist monks. Though at first I stayed close to my background, after seeing what other students enjoyed, my interests vastly expanded. The Colloquium, and the rest of the Honors Program, lends itself to what you want from your education. You can explore new interests with other academically vigorous students, or hone the skills you already enjoy. Yes, there are different and additional requirements for Honors students, but I felt that education is costly, and so I definitely wanted to make the most of every semester. The program really culminates at graduation when the purple and gold medallion sets you, and your accomplishments, apart from the rest of your class; there is definitely a great feeling of pride in that moment!
Emily McNally '12
I was invited to participate in the Honors Program after my senior year of high school. Having participated in AP and honors courses throughout high school, deciding to take part in the Honors Program at Saint Michael's seemed like a logical step for me. I registered for my first honors course my first semester at Saint Michael's: Peace and Justice First Year Seminar with Professor Bolduc. I was delighted with the lively discussions our class had about important issues like war and peace and global poverty. I felt this did much to develop my reading and writing skills and helped me transition from high school to collegiate level work. The small class size, personalized attention from Professor Bolduc, relationships with other driven students and the intellectually stimulating class room experience all help assure me that I had made the right decision when I chose to participate in the Honors Program. The Honors Program at Saint Michael's has been a real privilege for me, and one of the most valued aspects of my education. The opportunity to work with such talented faculty and students in a small group setting was challenging and rewarding.
Working as a member of the Honors Program Student Committee has truly taught me the importance of taking every opportunity to take control over your education. Being involved in choosing classes and hosting events ensured that I received the greatest possible benefit from the Honors Program, as well as teaching me valuable leadership and organizational skills. The skills I have learned in my capacity as officer on the Student Committee helped me transition into two intern positions: one at the Vermont State Legislature and another with Sister Cities International, an international non-profit in Washington, D.C.
The Honors Program creates an academic and social environment that is conducive to intellectual and personal growth. I am happy with my decision to participate and look forward to other opportunities the program will provide for me to grow and learn.
Alex Orlando '12
Throughout my four years at Saint Michael's College, I came to appreciate the importance of developing a close camaraderie with both my professors and classmates, engaging in intellectually rigorous and fulfilling discussions and pushing against my own limitations as a student. The accumulation of these values didn't happen overnight, and the Honors Program is an environment that promotes both academic and personal development.
Although I didn't become a member until my sophomore year, taking my first honors course, Modern Civilization, was a formative and exciting experience. The scope of our discussions extended way beyond the boundaries of the classroom, and opinions and perspectives were consistently being challenged, molded and solidified with eloquence and conviction. Overall, an atmosphere of mutual respect and a high intellectual standard set the tone of our largely discussion based classes. These qualities are certainly not exclusive to the Honor's Program, and were consistent themes of my education at Saint Mike's, but they reinforced what a privilege it was to be a part of this group of people.
The Honor's Program is a welcoming environment that rejects exclusivity and elitism, empowering students to take agency over their own learning and their development. I'm grateful for the opportunity to work with such awesome faculty members and students, forming friendships and convictions that will stay with me far into the future.
Christopher Santoriello '12
Choosing to participate in the honors program has afforded me greater control over my own education. Working with the faculty on a more intimate basis, small class sizes, and a higher level of intellectual discussion and stimulation are some of the many benefits of the honors program. While students can anticipate honors courses to be academically challenging and rewarding, one’s experience in the program is largely self-determined. Given the fact that most courses in the honors program are discussion based, students are often given the intellectual freedom to focus on areas of the course which are of most interest to them. By taking three honors courses in my first-year, I can attest to the fact that honors students will become more active, engaged learners. In addition, the experiences which students have in honors classes will prepare them to become leaders of discussions in courses taken outside of the honors program.
While the focus of the honors program is an enriched academic experience, there are social aspects of the program as well. In my first year, I had the privilege of serving on the Student Honors Committee, which are elected, and run by, honors students. The committee organizes many social events for honors students and the larger student body throughout the year. Students should view participation in the honors program as inclusive of their college experience. Honors students are an integral part of the college community, not a segregated group. Put simply, participation in the program is an all-encompassing element of the college experience.
Christina Dennis '11
The Honors Program has afforded me the opportunity to be part of a smaller academic community within the overall community that we call St. Mike’s. With class sizes that are smaller than the average it has made taking courses more worthwhile and beneficial. Capping classes at 15 allows for more discussion with other students who share the same passion and enthusiasm towards learning as me. Discussions are not just based on the readings but are integrated with current events to bridge the gap between learning about history and living in the current world.
As an officer of the Honors Program it was surprising, at first, how much influence students have over the program as a whole. Over the past year the students within the committee have created numerous academic and social programs to enhance the Honors Program as a whole. We work in conjunction with the faculty and are always present when every decision about the program is being made.
Being part of the Honors Program has helped me to find my place at school. Because of the ability to easily be involved with the Student Honors Committee I decided to go to a meeting my first year. Ever since then my leadership abilities have grown at a tremendous rate. I am grateful that a few upperclassmen, who are now great friends, came to me my first year and asked if I wanted to be a bigger part of the Honors Program because it has made my overall experience at St. Mike’s that much better—both academically and socially.
Emme Hughes '11
I was admitted into the Saint Michael's College Honors Program after my first semester freshman year, and ever since then I have been constantly reminded of the fantastic academic resources available at this school. The Professors are brilliant and are forever willing to share what they know with their students. A member of the Honors Program has the privilege of being in small classes which allows for provocative and stimulating discussions to take place in the classroom. You find yourself pushing the boundaries of what you are willing to talk about. Because of the honors classes I have taken here, I have learned to think in completely new ways, which I know will translate into success for me in the future.
I have truly enjoyed living in the Honors Housing on campus. Contrary to what some may think, you are not segregated from the rest of the student body. This past semester, I was living in one of the suite buildings, Pontigny, and the eight of us girls sharing a suite were all honors program students, but the rest of the building was filled with the other members of our class.
The Honors Program has sponsored speakers and panels, organized dances and quiz shows, and hosted coffee hours. There are social as well as academic reasons for being active in the Honors Program.
Abby Meachem '11
I was invited to join the Honors Program after my first semester freshman year. I was happy to be accepted to the program since I had heard great things about the Honors classes that are offered at Saint Mike's. Shortly after my invitation, I enrolled in my first Honors course.
I am now an English and Theater double major, and many courses have been offered that are relevant to these fields of study. In some instances I was able to get to know students who are primarily involved with other departments. For instance, this past semester I took the Honors Colloquium. I think my favorite part about the class was that I was given the opportunity to learn about different subject areas from students in those departments. I looked forward to having intellectual conversations with my class each Wednesday. At the end of the course, some classmates and I chose to collaborate on a creative project. We chose to write a play that incorporated many topics we had touched upon in our weekly meetings. This was definitely one of the most rewarding projects I have had the chance to work on because it not only gave us a way to reflect on our semester together but it gave the four of us an opportunity to become better friends.
Ultimately, the Honors Program has enriched my overall experience at Saint Michael’s College.
Shelby Superneau '11
I was very excited when after my first semester here at Saint Michael’s College, I was invited into the Honors Program. I began attending program meetings in the Fall of ’08 and learned about how dynamic and student driven the program truly is. The Honors students created the standards, requested that certain courses be offered as honors courses and came up with social events that were not only fun but reached out to the Burlington community. I was one of the students who organized the "Pirates and Ninjas" dance in the spring of 2009, which was a huge success and helped us to raise money for the Burlington Boys and Girls Club.
Honors program students have the freedom to take offered honors classes but also to make a regular course into an honors course. For example, I was able to make my “United States History since 1865” course into an honors course. I benefited from the one-on-one research, editing advice and mentoring which helped me to expand my knowledge of women’s experience in the workforce during and after World War II. This helped to make my schedule more flexible so that I could handle my double major, take honors classes, and plan my study abroad trip to Rome.
Jonny Drummey '10
I have found that being a member of the Honors Program has not only been an accomplishment in its own right but also a tremendous privilege. It is a pleasure to be acknowledged for one’s hard work during the semester with a Dean’s list letter in your mailbox, but as a member of the Honors Program I am constantly reminded of the opportunities afforded to me because of my participation in the program. I am offered select courses that enroll only a small number of other program members as well as granted extra accessibility by professors who set aside select hours for meetings and just plain conversations. Also as one half of the representation for the class of 2010, I have come to appreciate the full scope of the program and the dedication of many of its members who work to uphold its standards of accountability and excellence.
Like most things in college and, more broadly speaking life, things are what you make of them, and for me the Honors Program has been a tremendous asset in allowing me to set and reach my academic goals while a member of the Saint Michael’s College community.
Zac Pratt '10
The Honors Program helped me immensely during my time at Saint Michael's College by pushing me to do things that I never would have done otherwise. I pushed myself to take Honors courses in Philosophy and Economics, two subjects that were both outside of my major and ones where I had little experience. Also, the Honors Capstone project was a great way for me to explore a different aspect of my interests. Being a Computer Science major who was interested in going to law school, I decided to make a website compiling statutes, cases, and reactionary statements to digital music and the downloading and exchange of said digital music.
Not only did this project prepare me for law school, but it is already paying other dividends. In a random encounter, I met the professor of two classes at the University of Iowa (where I am currently studying law) called Law of Electronic Media and Cyberlaw. I told him about this website I made during my senior year at St. Mike's, and he was intrigued enough that he wanted to see it. He told me that he normally gives some optional reading regarding this subject, but it is heavy reading and not too interesting. After viewing my Honors Capstone project, he asked for my permission to distribute the URL to his classes to replace the reading he normally gave. Before I even started my regular classes during my first semester at law school, I already have work that will be given to law students, probably for years to come. If it wasn't for my involvement in the Honors Program, I never would have made this website, but since I did, I am already starting to make connections that could help me when I finish law school.
Thomas Sawyer '10
I joined the Honors Program my first year at Saint Michael’s. At the time, I was a declared Biochemistry major, with several hours of lab work ahead in my college pathway. During my sophomore year, I declared a double major in Philosophy, after taking a course called the Philosophy of Society with an honors component. During my time at Saint Michael’s, I was under a very rigid course schedule but desired to maintain my standing in the Honors Program, knowing all of the academic benefits and extra challenges it affords. The Honors Program director and committee were very accommodating to my situation.
As a member of the Honors Program, I was able to undertake several unique independent studies in my regular courses, namely the Philosophy of Society, Medieval Christianity, Ancient Greek Philosophy. These independent projects trained me to lead scholarly discussions both inside and outside the classroom, to prepare and execute mini-theses in preparation for my senior theses, and to read several other texts outside of the classroom that complemented my studies within it. Moreover, I was privileged to have taken the Honors Colloquium, a unique liberal arts course involving current events, thesis-writings, student-lead discussions, and extracurricular attendance to theatrical performances in downtown Burlington at the Flynn Center, with the Dean of the College, someone who I otherwise may not have gotten to know. Lastly, I successfully completed an Honors Capstone Project for one of my senior theses, which elevated thesis work to the graduate level and allowed me to present my work publicly to the Colchester Community at the St. Michael’s annual Undergraduate Symposium. Overall, I spent invaluable time getting to personally know my professors, learning of their scholarly involvements nation- and world-wide, and share news of exciting new advances in their fields of study. On a personal level, I matured as a student academically and socially. And, I feel all the more prepared for an upcoming interdisciplinary graduate study in Bioethics because of it.
The Honors Program at Saint Michael’s is burgeoning both in its course-offerings (content) and social opportunities (context). It is a very exciting time to be a part of the Honors Program and I would encourage all incoming and current students to become involved. Whereas my experience was more academic given my particular situation, there are all kinds of community involvements available, and many more experiences to be had (e.g., a member of the Honors Steering Committee, research trips, an Honors community-service project leader, an Honors-funded internship). In the Honors Program, you are surrounded by students who have a genuine passion for learning and faculty who have a genuine passion to guide them in their college experiences. Moreover, contrary to any preconceptions, the Honors Program is neither haughty nor elitist. It integrates well within the Saint Michael’s Community as an opportunity, founded upon strong moral principles and available to those who want to get more out of their college experience.
Emma Stenberg '10
My education at St. Michael's was enriched by my membership in the Honors Program. The opportunity to live with other Honors Program students during my first year was an invaluable experience; being surrounded by like-minded students was a wise start to my college career. Academically, the program offered accelerated and advanced courses in the Liberal Arts, through which I delved more deeply into introductory theories in Philosophy and the Humanities. Beyond the fulfillment of graduation requirements, these honors courses bettered my critical thinking skills and introduced me to a world of theory outside of my English and Education majors.
The program's Colloquium was one of my most rewarding interdisciplinary courses, in which my classmates and I attended numerous cultural events on campus and at the Flynn Center for Performing Arts in Burlington. Not only did we attend interesting and engaging performances, but we were able to spend evenings downtown where we enjoyed the ambience of a cultured college town. My membership in the program means most to me not in the distinction with which I graduated, but in the experiences that it afforded me while at St. Michael's. My academic and extracurricular life was bettered by this opportunity.
Erin Doyle '09
Being a part of the Honors Program is like shorthand for a willingness to do in-depth work. This understanding opened many doors for me, including a paid summer internship studying stream health with Vermont EPSCoR and travel to present this original research. It was a rewarding and memorable experience in which we learned from experts and then taught environmental analysis techniques to high school teachers and students.
My senior seminar project in history was entitled “Missionaries on the Civil Rights Frontier: the Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester in Selma, Alabama.” Because the Honors Program requires a more in-depth senior capstone experience in the major, I visited the archives of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Rochester, New York. There, I was able to interview Sisters who had worked with Edmundite Priests in Selma, Alabama during the 1960s. This research trip was generously funded by the Honors Program Faculty Committee. The class introduced me to hands-on archival projects including oral history and material collections. I was able to research diaries, original correspondence, photographs, and internal publications of the hospital, school, and nursing home operated by the Sisters. My independent honors work solidified my interest and I now plan to pursue a Masters in Library and Information Science.
I also learned many helpful leadership and organizational skills by participating in the Honors Program Student Committee. We created strong friendships across class years, which is one of the goals of the program and something I truly value both as a student and graduate. We are so fortunate to have a faculty committee that values, listens to, and engages student members. Get involved, I’m glad I did.
Gary DuBreuil '09
My personal experience with the Honors Program has been positive. Enrolling in honors classes has been a particular benefit; I have been given the opportunity to learn at an accelerated pace with some of the most creative, interesting, and impressive faculty on campus. Personal relationships have developed with several of these honors faculty -- relationships that may never have been built had I never taken honors classes fostered by the Honors Program.
I discovered another personal benefit in an Honors Program requirement -- enrollment in the Honors Colloquium. The Honors Colloquium mandated attendance to several types of cultural events both on and off campus. This mandate forced me to attend several enjoyable and enlightening events I definitely would not have otherwise attended. My enjoyment of these events awoke in me a desire to attend other events of a similar nature, building a foundation of a personal cultural conscience.
In my experience, the Honors Program is suited to our student body. It is exactly what I would want from a school like Saint Michael’s -- I never felt that it was over-exclusive or built on unfair standards. The benefits of the program, as well as its strong presence on campus, have grown in recent years to match the programs of similar institutions, but the integrity has been retained. The Honors Program undoubtedly feels a duty to its students. It serves its students without making life too difficult; meaning that the challenge is available for those up to it, but forced upon no one. Students have the opportunity to exist in the program in whatever capacity they wish, from powerful elected officials to “under the radar” honors students.
Kara Garvey '09
Taking part in the honor's program provided me with a classroom environment small and ambitious enough to accommodate and let flourish the student-led discussions that were so integral to the classroom technique. Greater responsibility was put in the hands of the students to come to discussion prepared to contribute their insights and greater opportunity arose for independent research endeavors. In my honor's level senior seminar I was successful in contacting the office of the playwright whose work I had chosen to study and was able to include this communication in the final product of my thesis. The honor's program encouraged me to take initiative and help design the direction of each course.
John Lucy '09
The Honors Program at Saint Mike's is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Because the class sizes are smaller, you quickly become friends with fellow students on the same intellectual plane who share a deep commitment to learning without sacrificing the "fun" factor of college.
Perhaps the best characteristic of the honors program at the school is the way it challenges you. Many of the classes don't require you to take exams, but replace that silly test of knowledge with the challenge that you think more critically, express your thoughts more eloquently, and invest yourself in the reading to the point that you can start saying, "Well, as Hawthorne might say..." Your final senior project will magnify all these factors of your learning and challenge you to work harder than you ever have. At the end of four years, you will be able to look back proudly at the work you accomplished on your senior project and in improving your mind. If you have any ambition to be famous, as a scholar, researcher, or journalist, or any number of things, this is surely the place to be.
Shannon St. Pierre '09
When I started at Saint Michael's College, I wanted to be involved in community service and in the Honors Program, so I welcomed the possibility of combining the two. Starting a few years ago, we began working with the MOVE office to organize and run Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, which is intended to share with our campus community the issues of homelessness on local and national levels. In November of 2008, I was one of the main organizers of the week's events and personally planned "The Sewing and Knitting Party" where we made hats, neck-warmers, and scarves for those in need. I loved being able to get other Honors program students involved in the project and I'm proud to say that our sewn and knitted items helped keep people warm this past winter.
Mallory Wood '08
Participating in the Honors Program was one of the smartest academic decisions I made as a student at Saint Michael's. My academic experience was enriched by small, discussion-based courses where I was able to learn how to thoughtfully develop and articulate ideas, listen and consider the thoughts of others, and respectfully propose alternative views and opinions. This skill has been invaluable in my experience in the business-world where expressing one's viewpoint concisely, yet eloquently, is imperative.
I was fortunate to begin working for the college as soon as I graduated in the Admission Department. One year into my position I was handed the social media/online component of the office's marketing efforts, a division of marketing that is new and quickly changing. In order to be successful in this field one has to be innovative, articulate, a quick thinker, and have the ability to analyze from many different perspectives - three skills I learned by being in the Honors Program. Less than a year after being handed this project I was promoted to Assistant Director of Marketing with a focus on Social Media Development. I think part of the reason I was promoted was because I worked really hard to prove that social media is an increasingly important piece of the institution's greater marketing efforts. In this new position I have had multiple opportunities to speak in front of large audiences about "Using YouTube for Recruitment." The Honors Program and particularly the "honors component" in my Senior Seminar gave me experience speaking in front of groups of all sizes so that today I feel quite comfortable when addressing an audience.
Overall, it was an excellent decision to be a member of the Honors Program. I would strongly encourage any student who qualifies to participate in the program, no matter their chosen area of study, because of the life-long skills you will learn.