Oglethorpe’s Honors Program: A Worthwhile Challenge

Lindsey Mitchell presents her Honors thesis at the Liberal Arts & Sciences Symposium.

As Commencement approaches, there is something I can’t stop thinking about: the moment when I will walk on stage and be “hooded” in front of hundreds of spectators. This simple act signifies and rewards numerous hours of research, writing and editing, all done in the name of a thesis for the Honors Program. In spite of all the time and dedication the process has required, every time I look at my 49-page thesis, I know that the work has been worth it.

The Honors Program is an opportunity for students to further challenge themselves intellectually, both within and beyond the classroom setting. Honors students participate in several cross-disciplinary classes, forging closer relations with peers and faculty from various disciplines who share a common enthusiasm for learning, while developing their own interests and initiative.

“The thesis-building years are not for the faint of heart!” says fellow Honors student Lindsey Mitchell ’13. ”The level of research and writing that is required is excellent practice for students who are interested in pursuing higher stages of academia, and therefore it is very rigorous.”

“The skills you get are pretty amazing,” adds Jef Palframan ’13. “You get to do your own thing… plus, you get to work one-on-one with three PhDs who have something to do with your field.”

Samantha Flynn presents during the 2013 Liberal Arts & Sciences Symposium.

“(The program) allowed me to bridge different fields of interest (political science, political theory, and political philosophy) to answer a question that is important to me,” said Samantha Flynn ’13. ”I plan to expand this thesis into a book after graduation.”

Samantha’s thesis, “Invocatio Dei: The Competing Roles of Religion and Secularization in the Polarization of American Political Culture,” was inspired by the question, “What is the cause of the venom in party politics today?”. The answer, she argues, is found in the role Christianity plays in American politics.

“I specifically focus on the evolution of the modern Left, from its origins in Massachusetts Bay Puritanism, through Progressivism, and into modern liberalism,” she explains. ”I contrast American secularization (which I argue is actually not happening) with European secularization, and reject modern theorists’ interpretations of why secularism happens with a return to Tocqueville.”

Jef’s thesis, “Lifting the Veil of Violence: The October Crisis, 1970” looks at “an event that changed the concept of sovereignty in Quebec.”

Jef Palframan '13

“There are two sides (to the crisis), but if you break the violence down, there’s more than English versus French,” he says. “We’re not against violence as long as that violence is used in the means of the state. When that violence goes against norms, we shy away from it.”

Lindsey’s thesis, “Discovering the Paths and Effects of Time Travel through Science Fiction,” has both academic and creative components.

“The creative portion is about two men who travel to a nearby section of the universe to photograph the way a certain cluster of stars looks in current time,” said Lindsey. “Eventually, the fatalistic nature of time travel catches up to them, (and) the two men are forced to abandon their missions and society, traveling forever forward in time until it is safe for them to return to the Earth. The academic portion is a series of essays attempting to explain the choices I have made within the research available to me. I represent certain areas of thought in the short stories, and the essays are my way of defending and breaking down the difficult theories so that they are understandable to someone who has not spent months researching as I have.”

Here I am presenting my Honors thesis at the Symposium!

My own thesis, “Horror-Comedy: The Chaotic Spectrum and Cinematic Synthesis,” debunks the idea that comedy and horror are disparate genres. By looking at common reactions, plots, and characters in movies, I’ve come to conclude that horror and comedy lie on a spectrum that consists of how threatening, plausible, and likable the characters, monster, and plot are. The Honors Program has added to my Oglethorpe experience in some astounding ways, and it is my hope that other students will participate in the future.

“The Honors Program is an excellent opportunity for someone who wants to dive into a wide variety of specialized topics that are not usually offered as full-length courses,” said Lindsey. “I would say anyone who has a passion for the process of learning would be an excellent candidate.”

Did any of these topics interest you? If so, look for them in the upcoming Oglethorpe Journal of Undergraduate Research. Thanks to all of the committee members who have helped these theses form!

Omicron Delta Kappa Taps 2012 Inductees, Launches Fundraising Campaign

As the holiday season approaches, your thoughts may turn to buying gifts, decorating your homes, or celebrating break with family and friends.   But for me, one thing comes to mind before any thoughts of winter vacation: there is a pig raring to be kissed, and some of you may see me kiss him.

Boar’s Head is an annual OU event centered around the annual induction ceremony of Omicron Delta Kappa, an esteemed leadership society that serves to recognize students, faculty, staff, and alumni for their service in at least one of five key areas.  On November 30th, 17 new members will be inducted into OΔK, including Oglethorpe Trustee Arnold Sidman.

Trustee Arnie Sidman

“Arnie Sidman deserves this honor and we are very happy to recognize him,” says Jef Palframan ’13, current President of Oglethorpe’s OΔK Circle. “(We) are trying to move beyond just students to more faculty, alumni, staff, and trustee members… This shows that leadership doesn’t just start in your junior or senior year. It’s for a lifetime.”

Also being inducted are Dr. Mario Chandler and Dr. Nicholas Maher, alumni Eli Arnold ’06 and staff member Katie Paden.  There are also 12 student inductees: Brittney Blalock ’14, Tirzah Brown ’14, Kirsten Glaeser ’14, Krista Gray ’14, Justin Munson ’14, Corey Ray ’14, Kate Siess ’14, Kendall Burke ’13, Jeet Budha Magar ’13, Marisa Manuel ’13, Caitlyn Mitchell ’13, and Lindsey Mitchell ’13.

In addition, through the end of November, you can assist the OΔK Circle by donating to their fundraising campaign.  The campaign’s purpose is to help Oglethorpe’s OΔK Circle become self sufficient for at least the next five years.  More than half of the $5000 goal has already been achieved, and OΔK hopes to double this goal. OΔK aspires to become self-sufficient and not require SGA funding, because membership is exclusive and extended beyond the student body.


 

If you would like to come to the Boar’s Head Concert & Celebration on November 30th, don’t forget to reserve your ticket by calling 404-504-1074 or visiting the Conant Performing Arts Center box office.

Our Country, Our Voices: Oglethorpe Honors Our Veterans

Photo: David Dixon

November 11th is Veterans Day.  It is an occasion to honor the sacrifices made by the men and women who have served our country, to recognize the families who have stood by them in service, and to reflect upon all of the freedoms that these men and women have fought to preserve.

This year, Oglethorpe University, together with various campus organizations and departments, will host a series of events throughout the week to honor our veterans called “Our Country, Our Voices: Oglethorpe Honors Our Veterans.” The events are in conjunction with the OU Museum of Art’s current exhibition “Burden of Proof: National Identity and the Legacy of War,” which runs through December 9, 2012.

Sophomore Antonio Mántica (left) and senior Jef Palframan, president of the OU Veterans' Club, form sheet metal into large "ribbons." Photo: Krista Palframan

On November 4th, the OU Veterans’ Club launched a yellow ribbon campaign to increase awareness of the day’s significance. Club members constructed and installed 10-foot high sheet metal yellow ribbons at the front entrance of campus. They also plan to hand out 1000 personal ribbons on campus and will host a remembrance event, “Lest We Forget,” on Friday, November 9, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. in Lupton Auditorium. (Find out more about their efforts on their Facebook page.)

Usually closed on Mondays, the OU Museum of Art will open its doors to host a Veterans’ Open House, with free admission to all veterans on Monday, Nov. 12, 2012, 12 noon-7:00 p.m.. Various veterans’ assistance groups will be onsite throughout the day. Plus, the OU Veterans’ Club will be accepting donations for their clothing and coat drive for homeless veterans, and a giveaway of gift items from area businesses will benefit veterans’ services.

Later that evening, veterans of WWII, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan will discuss their experiences and struggles in a panel discussion, “Transitioning to Civilian Life,” at 6:00 p.m.  Many skills learned in combat are not applicable to the workforce, and veterans are generally required to go through an arduous process of re-qualification in order to get work.  Plus, many veterans feel isolated or out of place, unaccustomed to their new lives at home. In addition, policymakers in Washington recently failed to approve a bill that would have eased veterans’ reintegration into the civilian workforce, and recent reports estimate that 88% of veterans will drop out of college.

“It would be wrong of me not to make people aware of this,” said Jef Palframan ’13, president of the OU Veterans’ Club and a veteran himself.  “Our military size is going to decrease… Now starts the work to take care of the guys coming home.”  Admission: $5; free for veterans, OUMA members or with a Petrel Pass. Co-sponsored by OUMA, the Office of Admission and the OU Veterans’ Club.

Other events to commemorate Veterans Day include:

Open Forum/Open Mic: “Empower to Inspire Progress,” Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, 7:00 p.m., OU Museum of Art
What does being American mean to you? What are you doing to make your voice heard? Do you feel you have patriotic obligations? Which American alive or dead inspire you, and why? All are welcome to join this open forum and share your opinions, ideas or a story, song or poem. Admission: $5; free for OUMA members and with a Petrel Pass. Co-sponsored by OUMA and Epsilon Iota Psi.

Lecture: “On the Downstream Biological Effects of Agent Orange,” Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 7:00 p.m., OU Museum of Art
Dr. Karen Schmeichel, associate professor of biology at Oglethorpe, will present about the hotly debated and complex subject of the widespread use by American troops during the Vietnam conflict of the defoliant called “Agent Orange” and its far reaching effects. Admission: $5; free for OUMA members and with a Petrel Pass.

Movie Screening & Discussion: Agent Orange: 30 Years Later, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, 7:00 p.m., OU Museum of Art
OUMA and ECOS (Environmentally Concerned Oglethorpe Students) will co-host a screening of the award-winning 2009 film by John Trinh with open discussion to follow.  Reel Earth – Environmental Film Festival of New Zealand said, “Despite the horror, the film is at times intensely moving and beautiful, showing also the better side of human nature—qualities like kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.” This event is free and open to all.

Omicron Delta Kappa National Conference Gathers Student Leaders

Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) is a national leadership honor society. Jef Palframan ’13 is the current student president of Oglethorpe’s ODK Circle, which was founded 36 years ago.

I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive about attending the 2012 Omicron Delta Kappa National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. this past summer. I, like probably every conference attendee, was intimidated about how I would fit in with some the best and brightest students in the United States. The ODK conference was replete with the future innovators, scholars and leaders who will make a difference in the world for decades to come. Fortunately, I can report that the 2012 ODK National Conference was an engaging, motivating event that showcased the quality of leadership that ODK as an organization embodies and fosters.

In all, more than 200 delegates from almost 30 states attended the conference. The national convention is required every two years in order to ratify any changes that the National Board of ODK has approved. ODK National President Betsy Holloway reported that ODK initiated 15 new circles, and 2800 new members. These increases represent the largest growth in the organization’s history. As well, ODK set a new record in fundraising for scholarships for student members, and announced a new partnership with Nationwide Insurance.

Most exciting, the national branding initiative was announced. In the past, national guidance on official representation of the ODK logo has been undefined. The new logo, seen below, is sleek, simple and dignified. We are looking forward to implementing the new logo anywhere we can.

Besides the new initiatives and announcements, the greatest benefit of attending the conference was the opportunity to share the challenges that our respective circles face. Participation, fundraising, and member selection are some of the common challenges for circles across the country. It was invaluable to hear how others have implemented creative and innovative solutions to these challenges. This experience will allow the Oglethorpe Circle of ODK to improve our effectiveness and make our circle even more vital to the leadership culture on campus.

The conference concluded with a celebratory awards dinner that rewarded those members who had made inspiring contributions to their respective communities and ODK at large. This year’s recipient of the Crown Laurel Circle Award was Col. Ralph Hauenstein who was given the award on the eve of his 100th birthday. Col. Hauenstein served his nation in the European theater under General Dwight Eisenhower as head of intelligence. His service to ODK and his nation was rousing and exemplifies the values of our organization.

For those who are unfamiliar with our organization, ODK is the only national leadership honor society in the United States that focuses specifically on leadership. Induction into the ODK circle is considered one of the highest honors that a student can attain while at Oglethorpe University. ODK is highly selective and only the top 35 percent of students based on GPA are permitted to compete for membership. ODK inducts only one to three percent of the student body per academic year. Initiates are drawn from all pillars of campus life according to the ODK charter; those pillars are scholarship, athletics, campus and community service, journalism, and creative and preforming arts. If you are interested in ODK membership feel free to contact me at jpalframan@oglethorpe.edu to learn more.

Oglethorpe Named to 2013 List of Top Military Friendly Schools

Victory Media, the premier media entity for military personnel transitioning into civilian life, has named Oglethorpe University to the coveted Military Friendly Schools ® list. The 2013 Military Friendly Schools ® list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans, and spouses as students and to ensure their success on campus.

“Oglethorpe University’s continued support to our veteran community is a model to all private institutions in the State of Georgia,” said Jef Palframan, president of Oglethorpe University’s Veterans Club and a veteran himself. ”After the recent Post 9/11 GI Bill changes, many in the Oglethorpe military community thought that they would have to look elsewhere for a quality private education.  By expanding its contributions to the Yellow Ribbon Program, Oglethorpe has reaffirmed its commitment to the Veteran population of Georgia and the United States, and has allowed many student veterans and military family members to remain on campus.” 

Now in its fourth year, the 2013 list of Military Friendly Schools ® is compiled through extensive research and a data-driven survey of more than 12,000 VA-approved schools nationwide. The Military Friendly Schools ® media and website feature the full list, interactive tools, and search functionality to help military students find the best school to suit their unique needs and preferences. The 1,739 colleges, universities and trade schools on this year’s list exhibit leading practices in the recruitment and retention of students with military experience.

“Inclusion on the 2013 list of Military Friendly Schools ® shows Oglethorpe’s commitment to providing a supportive environment for military students,” said Sean Collins, director for G.I. Jobs and vice president at Victory Media. “As interest in education grows, we’re thrilled to provide the military community with transparent, world-class resources to assist in their search for schools.”