Motivated to Change the World: The Ron & Laura Strain Honors College

Nearly 280 students are enrolled in the Honors College for the 2017–2018 academic year.

When University of Indianapolis students seek extra academic challenges and a unique community, they look to the Ron and Laura Strain Honors College — where the curriculum merges with independent study and leadership and service opportunities.

Sophomore Chase Frazier, computer science and computer engineering major, sees that opportunity paying off as he works to distinguish himself in his job search after college.

“Through some of the honors courses I have taken, I have been able to learn skills and knowledge and apply them to my other classes,” Frazier said. “Being in the Honors College has given me the opportunity to meet and converse with so many students that I would not have met within my major.”

Honors classes allow the students to take more ownership of what they’re doing. The Honors Thesis, which students work on during their senior year, encourages students to explore a topic they are passionate about and to take on a challenge.  Students initiate project ideas on their own and work in consultation with a faculty advisor who helps mentor and prepare them for graduate school or a career path. The projects are presented at Scholar’s Day in April each year.

During the 2016-17 school year, research topics ranged from “Setting Tolkien: Exploring Middle-Earth Through Music Composition” by Jessica Spiars ’17 (music) to “Assessing Engagement and Knowledge Regarding Advanced Care Directives” by Jacob Bradshaw ’18 (public health). On Scholars Day in April 2017, Spiars won the Ron & Laura Strain Honors College Best Presentation for her project, while Bradshaw was honored with the Ron & Laura Strain Honors College Best Poster Presentation.

Other Honors College thesis topics include:

“Hope in a New Land: Developing an After-School Program for Refugee Children” by Kendra Shaw ’17 (international relations)

“The Effects of Hair Color on Judgments of Warmth and Competence” by Taylor Welch ’18 (psychology)

“Analysis of the linkage between the OR6A2 Olfactory Receptor Gene and Taste Preference for Coriandrum” by Delmar Oropeza ’18 (biology) and Sierra Corbin ’18 (biology)

“The effects of white engobe on cone 9-10 glazes” by Cheyenne Granger ’20 (art)

“Physical Therapy Clinical Instructor Shortage: Why Not Be a Clinical Instructor?”  by Barbie Kimmel ’17 (physical therapy)

This story has been corrected from the original version published in the Sept. 8, 2017 edition of Portico.