Throughout my junior year, I actively worked to take classes outside of my comfort zone and to challenge myself academically. Despite having no singing experience, I elected to take women’s choir. I also chose to take several challenging classes, including Islamic history and economics. Beyond keeping me busy, I was forced to continuously improve my study habits. I completed a major research project for my Honors children’s literature class (another non-required class to push me outside of my comfort zone…) exploring how children’s picture books are adapted into virtual reality. I presented research at two different conferences. In November, I presented a poster at the National Collegiate Honors Council’s annual conference about the media’s response to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. After qualifying for Phi Alpha Theta (a history honor society), I presented a paper on the 1790’s British departure from the gold standard in New Orleans at Phi Alpha Theta’s biennial conference. (I was accepted into a state Phi Alpha Theta conference to present about the gold standard, but it was snowed out in March!)
I continued to take advantage of unique learning opportunities as Longwood. I got a first-hand look at the political process throughout the fall, as Longwood hosted the vice-presidential debate. My Honors film and bookbinding classes, as well as my French class, incorporated debate-themed material into the curriculum. During the debate, I worked as a student aide to CNN and watched the debate in person. The class material remained deeply relevant, as it helped me better understand the political process I felt surrounded by.
Outside of the vice-presidential debate, I continued to complete numerous research projects, including papers exploring how the eugenics program made Native American tribal recognition and the American media’s response to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. I presented about museum-university partnerships in a poster session at the National Collegiate Honors Council’s annual conference in Seattle in October. I also presented on a panel during Longwood’s Research Day about how American journalism covered the Holocaust. While I wasn’t focusing on history, I pursued art throughout the year; I won Best in Show in the 2017 Longwood Goes Global photo contest.
As part of my membership in the Cormier Honors College, I received many unique academic opportunities unavailable to most Longwood students. Like many Honors students, I took advantage of taking Honors courses both inside and unrelated to my public history major. I enjoyed many seminar-style classes assigning unique projects, ranging from writing a time travel story for Foundations of Western Civilization to an emotional dialogue for World Literature. Additionally, I spent Spring 2016 completing a self-driven research project in the museum studies field, “Handshake: Forming Successful University-Museum Alliances” using the Robert Russa Moton Museum as a case study. My work is not complete; I continued my research into Fall 2016. I presented my current findings at the 2016 Virginias Collegiate Honors Council Spring Honors Conference and Spring 2016 Cormier Honors College Poster Session.