Honors Students Headed to Philly

Dr. Amy Smith has led Hilbert College’s Honors Program since 2001. Smith said students usually have at least one opportunity to travel with the program.

This year, Smith is taking three students participating in this year’s Northeast Regional Honors Council Conference. The conference theme is “A More Perfect Union: Creating and Restoring Community in an Age of Disruption” and Smith’s students will cover topics on political platforms, residential segregation, and substance abuse.

To be considered for the program, students must apply with a letter stating why they feel they deserve a spot in the program and a letter of recommendation.

Smith’s advice for students interested in the program is to come willing and ready to learn.

“The kind of student who is willing to take a little bit of a risk to explore new areas and try different things, they want to expand their horizon,” Smith said. “Sometimes they’re asked to do things they aren’t always comfortable with, but it’s beneficial in the long run. . . I like students who are willing to do that, speak up in class, challenge ideas and opinions, even if they’re mine. Students who are thinking, that’s one of the key things. They aren’t always the best writers or test-takers, but they’re good thinkers and like to think. I think that’s another important attribute to have that aspect to them as well.”

There are many benefits exclusively for honors students; students get early registration, a scholarship, courses solely for honors students, traveling, the honors lounge, and more.

Smith took students to Italy, England, Barcelona, Kenya, Costa Rica, Hawaii, California, and more during that time.

“I enjoy taking students somewhere they’ve never been before,” Smith said, “Even if I’ve been there before, getting to see them experience it for the first time is neat because then it is new for me, also.”

Last spring Smith took her Reading and Writing Buffalo class, offered exclusively to honors students, to San Francisco, CA. Students visited Yosemite National Park, Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate National Recreation Center, and explored the city of San Francisco. During this trip, students learned how to navigate public transportation, and Dr. Smith challenged students to look at different ways to navigate on feet in a big city.

This program budget covers most, if not all, of the cost of the trip.

“Depending on the number of students and where we’re going, sometimes students have had to pay a little bit toward the trip, but I don’t think I’ve ever asked students for more than maybe $50 to $75.” Smith said.

Junior Andrew Wozniak has been in the program since his freshman year and says his favorite part of the program is the opportunity for experiential learning. He took the Reading and Writing Buffalo class and is one of the students who went to San Francisco last spring. Wozniak’s favorite part of the trip was visiting Yosemite National Park. Growing up as a boy scout, he said, “nature was my forte.”

Any student interested in applying to the honors program should contact Dr. Amy Smith at asmith@hilbert.edu.

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