Honors program cohort embodies diversity, high academic achievement

The 2023-24 cohort of the Oglethorpe University Honors program is the largest in five years — and the depth of academic work undertaken by this exceptional cohort also stands apart. A diverse group representing a variety of disciplines across campus, their work has already primed them for success after graduation.

In the Honors program, students have the opportunity to develop their own independent projects, exploring the intersections between their interests, their education, and the broader world. Through close collaboration with faculty mentors, culminating in the completion and defense of an Honors thesis, students are uniquely prepared for graduate study and future academic pursuits.

Mackenzie Roberson, Thalia Boston and Jaely Chavez at the Allied Genetics Conference 2024

Mackenzie Roberson, Thalia Boston and Jaely Chavez at the Allied Genetics Conference 2024

Biology students Mackenzie Roberson ’24, Jaely Chavez ’24 and Thalia Boston ’24 recently presented their undergraduate research at the Allied Genetics Conference, a premier international conference in Washington D.C.

Senior history major Ambrose Blanchard ’24 presented their Honors research paper “She doesn’t like the goths: A Discursive Analysis of the Mütter Museum’s Collection Audit” at the Southern Association for the History of Medicine and Science annual conference in March.

This year’s cohort is showing their creative chops, as well. Two students are presenting unique theses: Jack Bulger ’24, the first Film and Media Studies major to pursue Honors, has written a screenplay, while Jariyah Williams ’24 has crafted a one-person show set to debut in May.

Student Maria Coles ’24 is making use of the wealth of history on Oglethorpe’s campus. Her Honors thesis investigates the history of time capsules; Oglethorpe University is home to the oldest millennial time capsule, the Crypt of Civilization.

Other thesis topics include investigations and studies of educational systems, gender, proteins, foreign government and even live streaming.

Further highlighting the cohort’s achievements are the the two students who have been accepted into prestigious Ph.D. programs—one at Emory and Vanderbilt, and the other at five distinguished institutions.

Another has garnered three acceptances to law school, with a full scholarship offer from the University of Georgia. Their accomplishments underscore the program’s dedication to nurturing scholars who are poised to make significant contributions to their respective fields.

Notably, the cohort includes at least four first-generation students, reflecting Oglethorpe’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, and giving testament to the transformative power of education.

“Being in the Honors program prepares students for graduate school, but its value is not limited to that. Employers see these students as having the discipline to take an idea and bring it to completion with their thesis,” says Dr. Seema Shrikhande, director of the Honors program.

“These students show that they have the grit and the drive needed to take on challenging projects and work through problems to complete what they started. They learn how to present this work to different audiences — experts and the general public.”

Each year, Honors students present the culmination of their research at the Liberal Arts and Sciences Symposium (LASS), the university’s annual celebration of academic pursuit. This year’s LASS program will take place April 24 – 26.

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