September 27, 2018

Honors Wednesday Memo

Opportunities and Information for Honors Students

edited by Brad Rentz

Volume 2, Issue 6

September 27, 2018  


Message from Dean Jeff Vahlbusch 

Dear Honors students and friends,

Honors advising for Spring 2019 has begun in the Honors College!  For Honors students across our campus, here is this semester’s new and improved version of:

How to Choose an Honors Course

1.     Honors strives to “do undergraduate education as well as it can be done” (Dr. Sam Schuman).

2.    The center of all Honors education—far more important than perks, privileges, or credentialing—is Honors courses.  Therefore:  choose well.

3.    Your course choices at university are opportunities, decisions that give you chances to develop at high levels, influence the quality of your life to come, set yourself apart.

4.    Choose HON seminars and other Honors courses that will challenge you to stretch and grow—intellectually, personally, professionally—and invite you to explore and understand the world in different and diverse ways.

5.    Every Honors course is an elevator speech, a powerful interview story, just waiting to happen.

6.    Never take an Honors course only to meet requirements, or just to earn a perk. Choose Honors courses that meet requirements and take you to new and challenging places—in your mind and your skill set, in your experiences, in the world.

7.    Honors education is a great place to venture into areas you don’t know, and to explore subjects you think you dislike or think you are not ‘good’ at.

“In learning,” the great literary critic Austin Warren said, “only everything is enough.” 

Don’t settle for less.



We would like to follow-up on last week's promise to share ways that we as an Honors College community can help with recovery efforts from Hurricane Florence. Here is a link from the Appalachian and Community Together (ACT) office outlining Hurricane Relief Efforts:


This week Jeff made a guest appearance in Dr. Mary Valante's first-year seminar, HON 1515: Voyages, specifically to lead a discussion of James Joyce's Dubliners.

Photo by Garrett McDowell.


Upcoming Opportunities: 

Dr. Vahlbusch will be delighted to assist with applications! 

Scribendi Submissions Open

The literature and arts magazine for honors students is now accepting submissions for its annual publication! Submissions are due by October 5 and there is even $250 worth of awards available. Please visit to learn how to submit your work.

Study Abroad: Secret Codes of World War II

This coming spring, for two credit hours, you can travel to London to study British and World War II history, the art and science of cryptography, and the famed Enigma and Turing bombe cryptographic machines used during the second world war. For more information, please visit

Graduate and Professional School Fair

On Thursday, October 4 from 10 am to 2 pm in the Grandfather Mountain Ballroom of the PSU, there will be representatives from over 35 colleges, universities, and professional schools across the Southeast. There will also be free stick boy cookies available! For more information, please visit

George Williams Garrett Memorial Scholarship

The George Williams Garrett Memorial Scholarship provides $1000 support to students in the Honors College at Appalachian who are interested in pursuing careers in scientific research. Honors College students in good standing and performing research in fields related to the Biomedical field are eligible to apply for this award. This scholarship is to fund expenses outside of the classroom and can be used to cover costs associated with research or travel.  Apply for this scholarship by noon on October 19! Please visit for more information about this scholarship.

Southern Regional Honors Council (SRHC) Submissions Open

The 2019 annual SRHC conference will be held in on Memphis, Tennessee on March 28 through March 30.  Submissions to the SRHC are due by December 1 for various categories like short digital film, art exhibition, and many more. For more information about this conference, please visit  


Stay in the Know…

AHA! meets today (9/27) in the Honors College Library at 5:00

Self-Harm: What is it and how can I help myself and others?

Self-harm or self-injury affects many of us, whether we struggle personally or know someone else who does. Yet this topic often goes un-discussed or misunderstood. Come learn in a non-judgmental space about how you can raise awareness and support yourself or friends.  The discussion will be held from 5:45-6:45 pm in the Beacon Heights room of the Student Union (417).

Seeing the Weave: Textile based abstraction from the Piedmont

This is a thematic group show featuring diverse works — from painting, quilts, weavings and textile to sculpture and video — that use textile design, history and construction to engage with the legacies of artistic abstraction. In the last twenty years, there has been a global upsurge in contemporary art making based in textile materials, designs and histories. This exhibition is now on view and will be available until October 5 in the Smith Gallery in the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts.

Anthropology Brown Bag Series

On the second and Fourth Wednesdays of each month in Belk Hall 342 at Noon, there will be a series discussing various topics in the field of Anthropology.  On October 10, “Applying anthropology: Place-based practices in Appalachia and Wales” will be the third series. Be on the lookout for more updates in the Wednesday Memo about this series in the future!  For more information on the brown bag series, please visit

Surviving Auschwitz Speaker

ASU’s Peace and Genocide Education Club invites the public to a conversation with Dr. Susan Cernyak-Spatz, a survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau.  The event will take place on TuesdayOctober 2, at 7:00 pm at Plemmons Student UnionRoom 201B Table Rock, on the ASU campus. After a screening of various audio-visual testimonies Dr. Cernyak-Spatz has given over the years, she will answer questions from the audience. The program is free of charge and open to the public. For more information, please visit

Smith Gallery Presents Penland Director Mia Hall

The Smith Gallery at Appalachian State University will host a public lecture by Mia Hall, director of Penland School of Crafts, on Thursday, Oct. 4 in Rough Ridge (room 415) at 6:30 pm in Plemmons Student Union. Preceding the talk, Hall will host a meet and greet in Beacon Heights (room 417) in the union. These events are free and open to the public. In her lecture, Hall will speak about her career in the arts and education as well as her vision for Penland School of Crafts. For more information, please visit

Honors Alumnus in Graduate School Speaker Series

In I.G. Greer on September 26 from 5:30 – 6:30 pm the speaker series will highlight Appalachian State alumni who are leaders in our state and nation.  The first speaker is Jonathan Kappler who serves as the executive director of the North Carolina Free Enterprise Foundation. For more on this speaker series, please visit

Honors Faculty-led Study Abroad to Vienna

This summer study abroad program, Culture and the Arts in Vienna, consists of two interdisciplinary honors courses that study the art, literature, psychology, politics and music of Vienna from around 1700 to the present, with a focus on Fin de Siècle Vienna (1880-1917) and the effects of that time that still shape the cultural life of the modern city.  The trip will begin on May 14, 2019, and end around June 3, 2019.  Please visit for more information.


In the Honors Spotlight 

Mathew Streets Interns at the Polish History Museum 


Matthew (right) is with his brother Clark in front of Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany.

Photo submitted

Honors rising junior Matthew Streets has spent this summer interning at the Polish History Museum in Warsaw, Poland. As Matthew explained,

“The Polish History Museum was founded in 2006 but still does not have a physical location. In May of 2018, the specifics for construction were finalized and the museum aims to open its permanent exhibition in 2021. Despite this lack of a physical space, the museum has held numerous exhibitions and has formed partnerships with other museums and historical associations.”

Matthew is a history major and is also pursuing minors in both Spanish and Africana Studies.

For more on Matthew Street’s exciting summer internship, please visit:   


Devin Hoffman (’17) Builds on Honors Foundation at Virginia Tech


Hoffman behind the Virginia Tech paleontology booth at the Radford Science and Technology Festival

Honors Devin Hoffman (’17) is a former Chancellor’s Scholar and 2016 Barry Goldwater Scholarship in Excellence in Education recipient who majored in geology and worked with Appalachian State University's Department of Geology Professor Andy Heckert as his mentor. Upon graduation in May of 2017, Hoffman received a funding award from the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). With that, he is currently pursuing his doctorate in the Department of Geosciences at Virginia Tech University with Dr. Sterling Nesbitt as his advisor. Hoffman explains that his Honors experience at Appalachian has provided the foundation for all of his pursuits.

“Writing a thesis was great practice for writing scientific papers, which is something I will be doing the rest of my life as it is a major part of being a vertebrate paleontologist. I have also been able to write two scientific papers based on my work in my Honors thesis, which gives me a head start in my publications and a competitive advantage. From my research I learned how to ask deeper questions. A part of what I was looking at in my Honors thesis is now being incorporated into one of my Ph.D. dissertation chapters.”

For more on Devin Hoffman’s prestigious work, please visit


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Have news to share? Submissions to the Honors Wednesday Memo can be made by emailing Any content received by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday will be considered for the following week’s issue.