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It’s an Honor

At SMCC, students with a GPA of 3.3 or better are given the opportunity to join the Honors Program, a group designed to further engage students in their education through a combination of honors classes and other honors options. Beginning in the fall of 2016, the group has had over 900 students, collecting roughly 20-40 students each semester. Though there are no specific qualifications to join the Honors Program, while participating in the group students must complete any combination of four honors courses with a minimum of a B grade and maintain a grade point average of 3.30. Students may also do an “honors project” and choose a subject they are passionate about to create a presentation using extended research on that subject. I spoke with the group’s coordinator, Eben Miller, who has run the program since it began in 2016. When asking him about the benefits of joining the program he said, “The benefits of participating in the Honors Program include: The fulfillment of deep engagement in your education, whether in an academic, trade, or professional discipline. Additional recognition at graduation if they have completed the program. Appealing to future employers and four-year colleges.” He also mentioned that students that have previously been a part of the program have transferred to four year schools such as Smith, Mt. Holyoke, and even Bowdoin College. 

I also spoke with an active member of the program, Brooke Pidhajecky, who is a third semester nursing student at SMCC. Upon asking her about why she joined the Honors Program, she talked about the honors project she is doing and how it is beneficial to her major. She told me that she is doing research through the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, which promotes breastfeeding in the labor and delivery setting. She went on to state, “The goal of my project is to determine what barriers hospitals might face in gaining certification in this program as well as ways hospitals who are not accredited can implement the practices of the initiative.” Not only will the Honors Program look good on her transcript, but it is also giving her an opportunity to do hands-on research and develop deeper insight on her topic of interest. It will help better both her project topic and her personal education. “I have had the opportunity to work closely with my advisor and other professors in the nursing department. Additionally, it’s been interesting to take what we learn in the classroom and apply it to a real world setting,” she said. 

All SMCC students should look into how they could benefit from the Honors Program. With our fall semester quickly coming to an end, our spring semester is the perfect opportunity to join the program and embark on a new challenge in your education. For more information on the Honors Program, check out this link: https://www.smccme.edu/academics/enhanced-learning-opportunities/honors-program/ and reach out to Eben Miller at emiller@smccme.edu

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