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Community Service Required for Incoming Catawba Students to Graduate with Honors

June 11, 2012

Category: Academics, Biology, English, Faculty, Sociology, Students


NicaraguaBeginning with this fall's incoming first-year class, Catawba College students will need to complete community service hours to officially graduate with honors. That proposal was approved unanimously last year by both the Student Council and the Honors Faculty Board at Catawba.

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According to Dr. Maria Vandergriff-Avery, associate professor and chair of sociology and director of the college honors program, this added requirement will not be an adjustment for most honors students. Vandergriff-Avery notes that during the 2011-2012 academic year, Catawba College honors students "were more active in the community than ever before."

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Vandergriff-Avery"They served breakfast at Rowan Helping Ministries, cleaned up trash on the section of Jake Alexander Boulevard that the College Honors Program adopted this year, conducted a trash college/recycle day at the college, and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity as part of their participation in Catawba's most prestigious honor society, Alpha Chi," Vandergriff-Avery shares.

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During the past academic year, 93 students enrolled in honors courses at the college taught by faculty from a variety of disciplines. Two of these honors courses allowed students to travel to international locations – Nicaragua and Ireland.

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PostonDr. Joe Poston, an associate professor of biology, taught "The Birds and the Beans" during fall semester which culminated in a trip to Nicaragua during the college's winter or J term. The students visited coffee plantations and witnessed the coffee harvest, and visited pristine tropical habitats where they witnessed the interactions between coffee production and wildlife. They also observed what life is like in the second poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.

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FullerDr. Janice Fuller, a professor of English and Catawba's writer-in-residence, taught a spring semester honors course, "Ireland: Myth and Reality," that included a trip to Ireland over spring break. While there, students visited the Iron Age fort, Dun Aengus, Kyelmore Abbey, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin Castle and the James Joyce Museum. The trip provided them an opportunity to further understand and differentiate between the myths and realities that surround Ireland.

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As the 2011-2012 academic year concluded, Vandergriff-Avery reports, seven students graduated with honors from Catawba with majors in theatre arts, history, biology, chemistry, environmental science, teacher education and business administration. Each had completed 21 semester hours in the honors program, a portfolio of their coursework, a portfolio narrative, an honors thesis, and the travel requirement.

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The list of 2012 Catawba honors graduates and their thesis titles  follow. These students received special recognition at Investiture, received cords to wear at graduation, and their honors status was noted on their diplomas:

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  • Rachel Leigh Cone of Lexington, N.C., Temperature and Carbon Dioxide Effects on Carbonic Anhydrase in Aiptasia spp ;
  • Julie Roseann Gilley of Dobson, N.C., Would the Cream Still Rise?   An Evaluation of Upward Bound ;
  • Sarah Irene Matulis of Berlin, Conn., Asia vs. The IMF: Why the Countries Fought Back ;
  • Sarah Yie-Wah Morse of North Berwick, Maine, The Implementation of Interactive White Board Strategies in a Local Fifth Grade Classroom ;
  • Claire Elise Robinson of Houston, Texas, What Are You Wearing? Major Theories of Dress, Past and Present ;
  • Sarah Claiborne Robinson of Cartersville, Va., Determinants of Pro-Environmental Behavior in College Students
    Amanda Gwyn Williams of Indian Trail, N.C., A Taxonomy of Scientific Literature: An Exploration into the Art of  Scientific Presentation
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