Honors students gather for networking conference

Erin Beck


Thirty-three students and faculty from the Honors College hit the road bright and early April 12 for an eight-hour road trip to Dubuque, Iowa. The group traveled to the regional Upper Midwest Honors Conference.

Held near the Mississippi River at Clarke University from April 12-14, the UMHC hosted a number of universities from North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois.

According to Dr. Timothy Nichols, dean of the Honors College, the UMHC provides an opportunity for students to present a wide cross-section of their Honors class experiences and other Honors-related activities at a collegiate level.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to network, to get to know other Honors students from across the region, sharpen their communication skills and build community among their own fellow Honors College students,” Nichols said.

Students were kept busy at the conference with presenting and attending presentations given by other Honors students.

“Presentations are wide-ranging, from examples of programs or courses to student research projects and interests,” Nichols said. “But not all presentations are research-based.”

Presentations from the SDSU Honors College included “Outcasts United”, the university’s common read, a study abroad trip and an owl research project, among several others.

“It really is about the student experience,” Nichols said.

Dr. Dan Kemp, an Honors College calculus professor, emphasizes the importance for Honors students to attend UMHC. According to Kemp, the UMHC provides students the chance to expand their network in the Honors College and become more comfortable with presenting, a skill that will come in handy later on.

“It’s important that students and faculty get to socialize in an informal manner,” Kemp said.

Honors students took away a variety of messages from UMHC.

“I think that the Honors Conference is a great way to get ideas from other schools in the region about ways that we can improve our program,” said Hanna Larsen, a junior psychology major. “It’s also a great way to build the Honors community. It’s good to meet other Honors students and make relationships with faculty outside of the classroom. I think [it] helps create that community feeling.”

Ben Stout, a junior park management major, said he believes UMHC offers more than just community for Honors students.

“I made a lot of contacts,” Stout said. “I learned about our National Park Service Program, which directly relates to my major. The UMHC provides students an opportunity to learn. I think that’s pretty neat.”

Next year’s regional Honors Conference will be held in Duluth, Minn.