Catawba College Hosts 2021 North Carolina Honors Association Annual Meeting
October 4, 2021
The Catawba College Honors Program hosted the 2021 North Carolina Honors Association (NCHA) Annual Meeting on September 25, 2021.
The NCHA is comprised of honors programs and colleges from most higher education institutions in the state of North Carolina. The 2021 Conference reflected the diversity of the organization as students and faculty from public and private two and four-year North Carolina colleges and universities joined together to build connections across our state and among our institutions through sharing high-quality academic research, creative works, and lessons learned in Honors communities during the pandemic.
The theme of this year’s conference, Reengaging Communities, acknowledges the need to reconnect with one another. This shared feeling among all communities—including honors programs and colleges—increased over the past year. This need is also a call to explore new tools and ways of reengaging with one another and reviving our communities. In that spirit, the 2021 NCHA Annual Meeting was hosted virtually, though replicating the traditional structure of an academic conference.
The NCHA Annual Meeting was an opportunity for Catawba College students to showcase their ongoing research. Dee Brantley presented material related to her Honors thesis in “Interventions for Geriatrics with Alzheimer’s.” Delphia Borden also shared Honors thesis research in her presentation, “Mmm, Whatcha Say? A Review of the Influence of Music on American Language.” Miracle Etim-Andy discussed her research project in “Examination of College Students’ Perception of the Usefulness, Fairness, and Risk of Artificial Intelligence.” Finally, Emma Nantz delivered a presentation titled “The Evolution of Sentience throughout the Environmental Movement: The Value of Nature as Defined by Preservationist John Muir and Conservationist Gifford Pinchot.”
Catawba hosted the 2021 Annual Meeting as part of Dr. Maria Vandergriff-Avery’s role as president of the NCHA. Dr. Vandergriff-Avery is a Professor of Sociology at Catawba College and long-time Director of the Catawba College Honors Program (CHP). Catawba College was well-represented at the Annual Meeting as hosts. Dr. Norris Feeney, Associate Professor of Politics and Jefferson-Pilot Endowed Professor, helped Dr. Vandergriff-Avery plan and organize the event in his role of Associate Director of the CHP. During the event, Dr. Vandergriff-Avery and Dr. Feeney were joined as session moderators and presentation judges by additional Catawba College faculty who serve on the Faculty Board of the CHP: Dr. Beth Homan, Professor of Theatre Arts and Department Chair; Dr. Carmony Hartwig, Associate Professor of Biology, and Dr. Kerstin Rudolph, Assistant Professor of English.
Dr. Michael Bitzer, T.P. & J.C. Leonard Chair of Political Science, and Professor of Politics and History at Catawba delivered the keynote address. His address, “Divided Soul of America,” was structured around four questions: what are those principles, values, and/or ideals that make up the soul of America? How does our identity impact and affect the soul of America? How did we get to a level of division/polarization about what it is to be an American? And what, if anything, can be done to address this division and repair the break of America’s soul? The address mirrors the conversations he has with current Catawba CHP students in his fall Honors course bearing the same name as the address.
Finally, a panel of judges drawn from Catawba faculty along with the directors and coordinators of NCHA member honors programs and colleges recognized several students for outstanding contributions to the 2021 NCHA Conference. Cristal Zeballos, a student at UNC-Greensboro, led off the Annual Meeting with an interactive performance of a traditional offering ceremony. Kayla Miller, representing Pfeiffer University, was awarded best poster presentation for “The ‘True’ Meaning of Love: An Evaluation of Different Connotations of the Word Love.” Finally, North Carolina Wesleyan College student Angela Groeneveld, was recognized for best presentation of the conference for “Dear Loved One, How I need You: An Empirical Study on the Relationship between Attachment Styles and Depression.”
A recording of the keynote address may be accessed below:
About Catawba College
Founded in 1851, Catawba College is a four-year, private, liberal arts college conveniently located in Salisbury, N.C. Ranked as one of the best regional colleges in the South, The College offers more than 70 academic programs and three graduate programs offering students the ability to combine and cross majors. Close faculty mentorships and numerous experiential learning options create opportunities for Catawba College graduates to exceed their own expectations and find their vocation. Additional information is available at catawba.edu.