Departmental News

Berry and Simonalle Receive Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grants - 09/17/13

Simonalle_Gwen2.jpgCongratulations to senior Honors students Jessica Berry (accountancy) and Gwen Simonalle (French) who each received $1,000 Study Abroad Grants from the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.  Each year the Society awards 50 $1,000 grants to support undergraduates who want to expand their knowledge and experience by studying abroad.  Gwen Simonalle (top right) is taking classes in interpretation and translation at the Université Catholique de l'Ouest in Angers, France, during Fall 2013.  Gwen shared, "This experience is very valuable to me, as post-secondary training in these two fields is difficult to find stateside. But even more than that, I am drinking in the French culture and discovering resources of independence and determination in myself that I never knew existed. Thanks Phi Kappa Phi for giving me a hand along the road to my dreams!"

Berry_Jessica2.jpgJessica Berry (bottom right) is also studying abroad this fall. To help her adjust to different cultures and languages, she spent a few weeks travelling through Italy, Germany, France, and Great Britain before beginning her semester in Spain. She hopes the experience will continue to expand her global perspective. After graduating in December 2013, she will begin working with General Electric in their Financial Management Program.  

For more information on the Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grants, visit their Awards website.

ACC 2010 Honors Class Contributes to Food Pantry - 10/24/12

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Maggie Houston’s Fall 2012 Honors ACC 2010 class successfully raised funds to purchase food items for the WSU Friendship Food Pantry’s Rowdy 500 food drive. The class was able to contribute 39 items (8%) toward the pantry’s 500-item goal! The Rowdy 500 food drive was held October 8 – 14, 2012.


2011 University Event Features Honors Research - 05/25/11

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The University's 2011 Celebration of Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities, held on April 8, showcased lectures, posters, videos, slideshows, and other presentations of both undergraduate and graduate student research and scholarly activities from across the University. Of the 49 undergraduate presentations, 31 were University Honors Program students in biological sciences, biomedical engineering, chemistry, clinical lab science, electrical engineering, history, nursing, psychology, and social work.

Jennifer Bauer refers to a slide during her presentation of "Investigating Sources of Intron Nucleotide Diversity Within the Species Anas."

Honors Students Among Libraries' Top Scholars - 05/25/11

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Four graduating Honors seniors* were among the six selected by their dean’s offices for recognition as the WSU Libraries' 2011 Top Scholars. Each year since 1995, the WSU Parents Association donates to the libraries' collections in each student's name a book from their field of study.

The 2011 Top Scholars are (front row, from left) Carolyn Little (CONH) and Theresa Kaufman (CEHS); (back row, from left) David Beach (COLA), Zachary Gault (COSM), Ryan O'Connor (RSCOB), and Kevin McReynolds (CECS).

*Honors students are in bold.

Study Abroad Opportunities Announced - 03/01/11

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Honors in Paradise!

Spend three glorious weeks in Costa Rica and earn Honors credit! Immerse yourself in the culture as you stay with host families and travel to beaches, rain forests, volcanoes, museums, villages, farmer's markets, and much more. No Spanish required; no prerequisites! View photos from the 2010 program.

November 21 - December 9, 2011

Contact Robert (Bobby) Rubin for details on academic credit, costs, etc.

History and Memory in Italy!

Earn academic credit while traveling to Rome, Florence, Pisa, and San Gimignano with expert guides Dr. Susan Carrafiello and Ms. Jane Blakelock! Details on the academic program, excursions, costs, and enrollment information can be found in the 2011 Italy brochure.

December 5 - 18, 2011 (Dates subject to change)

Earn credit for UH 201, UH 400, or ENG 399

Contact Megan Trickler in the University Center for International Education at 775-5745 or

Winkler Recognized as Teacher of the Year - 07/07/10

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Jonathan R. Winkler, Associate Professor of History, was recognized at the June 10 Honors Graduation Ceremony as the 2010 Honors Teacher of the Year. Dr. Winkler is a historian of U.S. diplomatic, military and naval history, and international affairs in the modern era. He is the author of Nexus: Strategic Communications and American Security in World War I (Harvard 2008), winner of the Roosevelt Prize in Naval History (2008), and the Ohio Academy of History Outstanding Book Award (2009). His current research examines how the U.S. government coordinated commercial and military communications networks to meet transforming strategic interests across the entire 20th century. In 2010-2011, he will hold a Junior Faculty Research Fellowship in International Security from the Smith Richardson Foundation.

Dr. Winkler's students have described him as a challenging and engaging professor who encourages them to look beyond names and dates in the study of history.  According to his student nominator, "The goal of a history teacher should be for the student to understand why history unfolded the way it did, not rote memorization of names and dates.  Professor Winkler excels in this."

Dr. Winkler earned a B.A. from Ohio University's Honors Tutorial College (1997) and an M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. (2004) from Yale University.

Joy Davis Receives Fellowship - 05/05/10

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Joy Davis (B.S. '09 Mechanical Engineering; University Honors Scholar), a graduate student in WSU's mechanical engineering program, has been selected to receive a 2010 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship. Her application was selected by the Air Force from over 2,600 applications received this year. The NDSEG Fellowship is sponsored and funded by the Department of Defense (DoD). NDSEG selections are made by the Air Force Research Laboratory/Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFRL/AFOSR), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Army Research Office (ARO), and the DoD High Performance Computing Modernization Program Office (HPCMO). The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) administers the NDSEG Fellowship. Congratulations, Joy!

Kenton Retires after 35 Years of Service - 03/01/10

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Mary Kenton, Senior Associate Director of the University Honors Program, retired from the University on February 28, 2010, after 35 years of service. Since 1976, Mary held Assistant, Associate, and Senior Associate Director positions in the Honors Program, helping transform it from an idea into a thriving program of over 900 students. She successfully and loyally served all four Honors directors and worked effectively with a wide range of faculty, staff, and students. Mary played a critical role in advancing all facets of Honors education at Wright State. Thanks to her leadership, the Honors Program pioneered innovative academic programs like service-learning and learning communities that are now part of the academic fabric at Wright State. 

It was the Honors students, however, that were Mary’s primary focus. She began nurturing them even before they arrived on campus, patiently answering any and all questions they or their parents had about the application and scholarship process at Wright State. Throughout their academic careers, she made herself readily available to any student who had questions or concerns about the Honors Program or any aspect of life at Wright State. As the former advisor to the Student Honors Association, she led students on numerous cultural and academic outings, including trips to the annual meetings of the Mid-East Honors Association. Her unselfish efforts enhanced student success and satisfaction, and Honors alumni frequently remind us of how much Mary meant to their educational experience at Wright State University.

Mary also collaborated effectively with numerous university offices, including Admissions, Financial Aid, the Registrar, University College, and Residence Services. Additionally, she provided meaningful contributions to numerous university committees ranging from the University Budget Review to the University Scholarship Review Committee. Perhaps her most important university service, however, was her commitment to gender equity. She served on the Gender Equity committee, attended Title IX conferences, educated the university community about Title IX, and worked as an NCAA certification reviewer. 

Mary’s presence, both in the Honors Program office and in the University community, will be sorely missed. We thank her for her contributions and leadership and wish her a happy and healthy retirement!

Butler Receives Phi Kappa Phi Emerging Scholar Award - 09/17/09

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Baylee Butler (political science major, philosophy minor) was awarded one of sixty national Emerging Scholar Awards from The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Baylee is the first student from WSU to receive the $250 award, which recognizes outstanding rising sophomores studying at Phi Kappa Phi member institutions. Baylee serves as vice president of the Student Honors Association, social programmer for the Residential Community Association, and is a member of the Liberal Arts Dean's Student Advisory Board. Baylee's long-term plan is to become a prosecuting attorney. To learn more about the WSU chapter of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, visit its Web page.

WSU's Phi Kappa Phi Chapter Recognized as Chapter of Merit - 08/04/09

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Wright State’s chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi received a 2009 Chapter of Merit Award. The award, sponsored by the Society’s Headquarters in Baton Rouge, LA, recognizes chapters that satisfy the administrative and service goals of the Society, e.g. keeping Bylaws compliant with the Society, scheduling regular chapter meetings, holding annual inductions, following reporting guidelines, nominating students for scholarships and awards, etc. The chapter received a $100 cash award, a Presidential Citation, and will be recognized on the Society’s Website, in forthcoming publications, and at the next convention. For more information about Phi Kappa Phi, visit the Society’s Website and the WSU chapter’s Website.

Nathanson Receives Teaching Award - 07/14/09

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Dr. Carol Nathanson, associate professor in the Department of Art and Art History, is the recipient of the 2009 Honors Teacher of the Year Award. Nathanson has been at Wright State since 1979 and specializes in modern and contemporary art—especially American/British connections—and issues relating to women artists. In addition to her professional publications and exhibitions, Nathanson has served and consulted on numerous local and regional arts boards, journals, and panels.

According to her student nominator, “Dr. Nathanson demonstrates a real passion for art and being able to share that passion with others truly makes her a great teacher.” The nominator emphasized that Nathanson “has the ability to give art a refreshing point of view with her enthusiasm and wit.” Although the student found her to be a “challenging” teacher, he also felt that her style instilled “a better understanding of the art world, in turn generating a more cultured person.”

Nathanson’s degrees include an A.B. from Mount Holyoke College (1966) and a Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University (1973).

Rolfes Receives Distinguished Alumni Award - 07/14/09

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Danielle Rolfes ('97 B.S. Accountancy; University Honors Scholar) was recognized as the 2009 Honors Distinguished Alum. Rolfes is a partner at Ivins, Phillips & Barker in Washington, D.C., and has been with the firm since 2002. Her practice focuses on general corporate income taxation, with an emphasis on international and tax accounting issues. She writes and lectures frequently in her field and has participated on expert panels hosted by the American Bar Association, the D.C. Bar, the Federal Bar Association, and BNA Tax Management. Rolfes, a certified public accountant, is a gold medal winner for achieving the highest score on the CPA exam in the State of Ohio.

From 1997 to 1999, Rolfes was an accountant at Procter & Gamble, where she worked full-time on the implementation of the cost accounting modules of SAP, an enterprise-wide software system.

She graduated with honors from Harvard Law School in 2002 and earned her LL.M. in Taxation, with distinction, from Georgetown University Law Center in 2005.

Director's Student Advisory Board Formed - 07/06/09

The Honors Director's Advisory Board was formed to help foster communication between the Honors student body and the Honors administration. Congratulations to the following Honors students who were selected to participate on the advisory board for the 2009/10 academic year:

  • Lan-Anh Thi Bui (junior, biology)
  • Amber Crowley-Gall (sophomore, biology)
  • Renea Hamilton (sophomore, business economics)
  • Elizabeth Swartzwelder (junior, biology)
  • Rehab Talat (junior, biomedical engineering)
  • Brandy Zapata (sophomore, mass communication)

Helena Traner Awarded Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship - 05/21/09

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Congratulations to Helena Traner, International Studies and Political Science major, for receiving one of sixty fellowships awarded each year by the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. These $5,000 fellowships are awarded nationally to members entering their first year of graduate or professional study. Nominated by the WSU Chapter, Helena has been actively involved on campus as a member of the College of Liberal Arts Dean's Advisory Board and as a team member for several years on the award-winning Model UN team, most recently serving as head delegate. In 2007 and 2008, Helena received Presidential Commendations of Excellence for Extracurricular Activities for her work on the Model UN team. She has been also been involved with the WSU chapters of Alpha Lambda Delta, Golden Key, and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. In the community, Helena has been involved with Circle K International and the Dayton Humane Society. Helena will graduate from WSU this June as a University Honors Scholar and plans to attend Case Western Reserve School of Law in the fall.

President Hopkins Hosts Fireside Chat - 02/27/09

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On January 14, Wright State University President David Hopkins held a “fireside chat” with nearly more than 40 students in the Honors Community. The highlights of his discussion included the Centers for Excellence and their importance to an improved regional and national academic profile and funding, and the continuing emphasis on innovation and new community partnerships.

Dr. Hopkins also responded to questions from the students, who wanted to know about the effects of the economy on tuition and other academic costs, campus growth and the related physical logistics, and the conversion to a semester system. (On this issue, Dr Hopkins emphasized that the conversion would not negatively affect students currently enrolled.)

Huntting Brown Honored as 2008 Teacher of the Year - 07/01/08

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Hunt Brown has spent his entire career as an environmental biologist and environmental lawyer. For nearly twenty years, he has shared with the Wright State community his commitment to life-long learning and has always been supportive of the University Honors Program. 

In 2007 he designed and taught a highly successful Honors course--UH 203: "Working Towards Sustainability"--an intersession class that combined several weeks of classroom instruction with experiential learning and serious community engagement, including a week-long trip to New Orleans for reclamation work and additional study. For many of the students who participated, the class was a life-changing experience. One of Hunt's nominators wrote, "He worked just as hard as all of the students, if not harder. He really was an inspiration of living out what you teach." Another student called him "one of the most dedicated teachers at WSU and the Honors Program." She concluded, "The trip itself is something I'll remember for the rest of my life, and I know it could not have been possible without Hunt. He's amazing!"

The University Honors Program is pleased to recognize his signficant and ongoing contributions by naming him 2008 Honors Teacher of the Year.

Two Honors Students Receive National Scholarships - 05/15/08

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Honors student James Dahlman (junior, biomedical engineering) received a 2008 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, awarded nationally to outstanding undergraduate science students who are active researchers. Since 2006, James has been conducting research under the direction of Dr. Daniel Miracle at the Air Force Research Laboratory Materials and Manufacturing Directorate. James plans to pursue a Ph. D in Materials Engineering so he can conduct research in medical materials and teach at the university level.

James is the fifth student from Wright State to receive a Goldwater Scholarship, awarded by the Goldwater Foundation, a federally endowed agency established by Congress in 1986 to honor the memory of Senator Barry M. Goldwater. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. Congratulations, James!

photo of shawn danielsAlso receiving national scholarship recognition is Shawn Daniels, who was 1 of only 60 students nationwide to be awarded a $5,000 graduate fellowship from The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Shawn will graduate in June 2008 as a University Honors Scholar with a double major in Latin and Greek in the Department of Classics. This fall Shawn plans to attend the University of Florida with an Alumni Fellowship, which will cover his educational expenses and provide him with a generous stipend for the next five years. Shawn was also accepted for graduate studies at the University of Michigan and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Shawn has been an active member of the campus community.  In addition to tutoring in Latin and Greek, he has worked as a Teaching Assistant in Classics and served on the Dean’s Student Advisory Board.  His most notable achievement was the revitalization and reorganization of the Classics Club. Serving as president this year, he helped the group decide on a variety of activities including a museum visit to Indianapolis to see a traveling exhibit from the Louvre, a six-hour “Rome” Marathon (viewing the HBO series), and a spring play reading party. Congratulations, Shawn!

2008 Honors Institute to Focus on Creating

photo of carolyn watkins photo of jared diamond We are pleased to announce the 2008 Honors Institute on "Creating Sustainable Environments" to be held January 28 and 29, 2008. A collaboration with the WSU Presidential Lecture Series, the third annual Institute will feature a January 28 keynote address by Dr. Jared Diamond--Pulitzer Prize recipient and award-winning academic. Diamond, universally regarded as one of the great minds of our time, is author of the Pultizer Prize-winning book Guns, Germs and Steel and its followup, Collapse. Through his books and lectures, Diamond explains the environmental and geographic reasons why certain human populations have flourished, while others, such as the Vikings in Greenland, the Maya, and modern-day Rwanda, have fallen apart. His research offers insights into such questions as: What makes certain societies especially vulnerable? Why didn't their leaders recognize and address their environmental problems? And perhaps most importantly--What can we learn from their examples and do differently to avoid their fates? Diamond's address--"Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed"--will be presented on January 28 at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Apollo Room.

Then on January 29, the Honors Institute day-long Symposium will feature luncheon speaker Carolyn Watkins from Ohio's Environmental Protection Agency.

Both events are free and open to the public. However, the January 29 symposium requires advance registration, which will be available online in mid-December. For schedule and registration information, watch the Institute Web site for updates at

Honors Receives 2007 President's Award for Outstanding Collaborative Unit - 09/15/07

The University Honors Program, along with the College of Engineering and Computer Science and University College, received the President's Award for Outstanding Collaborative Units at a September ceremony in the Student Union Apollo Room. With the goal of enhancing their students' experiences in the crucial first quarters on campus, Honors, Engineering, and University College created several new intitiatives, including:

  • a reception for Engineering and University College students to meet advisors and faculty in an informal setting;
  • the first joint Academic Advising Day for Engineering and University College students intending to major in computer science and engineering; and
  • the creation of ten new learning communities that brought together first-year Honors and Engineering students in an academic setting.

Cathy Sayer Recognized as the 2007 Honors Teacher of the Year - 06/01/07

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Cathy Sayer (lecturer, Department of English) has taught writing and literature at Wright State for fourteen years and, for much of that time, in the Honors Program. She is a pioneer in the service learning concept at WSU, incorporating it into all of her courses, affording students the opportunity to achieve academic learning objectives through community service. Appropriately, Cathy was recently appointed University Director of Service Learning.

Cathy is a serious yet respected writing teacher. Her students acknowledge almost universally that they learn a great deal about writing in her courses--and have to work hard for it. Cathy's student nominator said, "Ms. Sayer has been an inspiration, and I count myself lucky to have had her for Honors English." And then the ultimate compliment: "I have received a grade of A+ on every writing assignment that I have had since her class!"

Cathy's accomplishments and service have been recognized across the campus. The College of Liberal Arts presented her with their Outstanding Teaching Award in 2004, the award for Overall Excellence in Learning Community Instruction in Fall 2005, and the Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate in 2006. The University Honors Program is pleased to add "Honors Teacher of the Year" to her achievements.

Scott DeHart Receives WSU's 2007 Student Employee of the Year Award - 05/15/07

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Scott DeHart (sophomore, management/French minor) was recognized in April as the 2007 WSU Student Employee of the Year. Scott works as a sutdent assistant in Modern Languages where his creativity, initiative, and ability to treat everyone with respect and courtesy have made him an excellent member of the staff. Nominator David Garrison, chair of Modern Languages, described Scott as "… the most mature, prolite, professional, and dedicated student worker I have every seen."

A 2005 graduate of Unioto High School in Chillicothe, OH, Scott regularly returns to his high school to promote the importance of taking foreign language classes. His career goal is to work for an international organization blending his skills and knowledge of management with the French language.

Roger Fecher Receives a 2007 Barry Goldwater Scholarship - May 2007

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Honors student Roger Fecher (junior, biology) won a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship awarded nationally to outstanding undergraduate science students who are active researchers. Roger has worked with Dr. Robert Fyffe in the Center for Brain Research (now the Wright State Comprehensive Neuroscience Center), which is currently working to improve understanding of the nervous system's communication mechanisms in health and disease, with primary focuses on neuronal development and response mechanisms to disease and injury. Roger plans to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. in neuroscience toward the goal of conducting medically-oriented research at a prominent university.

Roger is the fourth student from Wright State to receive a Goldwater Scholarship, awarded by the Goldwater Foundation, a federally endowed agency established by Congress in 1986 to honor the memory of Senator Barry M. Goldwater. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. Congratulations, Roger!

The Second Annual Honors Institute was an Outstanding Success! - 02/15/07

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This year's event focused on poverty and society and drew a crowd of more than 1,000 to Dr. Wangari Maathai's January 30 keynote address on "Empowerment and the Escape from Poverty" in the Student Union Apollo Room. On January 31, nearly 250 community members, faculty, staff, and students participated in the full-day symposium, featuring Ambassador Tony Hall as the luncheon speaker.

This year's Honors Institute Student Fellows put thought into action by implementing the Student Microfinance Campaign to establish a Village Bank through FINCA International in the African country of Malawi.  To date, nearly $5,200 toward the $5,000 campaign goal has been raised! For more information on the 2007 Honors Institute's speakers, microfinance campaign, and other activities, please visit the Honors Institute Web site.  Also, check out our Photo Gallery to view pictures from this year's event.

The third annual Honors Institute in 2008 will focus on the environment. Watch for updates!

Costa Rica Program Receives Excellence Award - 10/01/06

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On Tuesday, October 24, the University Honors Program, the Department of English Language and Literatures, the Department of Modern Languages, and the University Center for International Education were presented the President's Award for Excellence for Outstanding Collaborative Units for the Ambassador Program to Costa Rica.

Since 1995, Bobby Rubin (former Honors Faculty-in-Residence), along with Dorothy Alvarez, has taken more than 100 students on a "December in Paradise" trip to Costa Rica, always with excellent results. The trip has been so successful that it seemed more students should be able to participate. To achieve this goal of accessibility, additional courses were offered for credit this fall. Honors students could opt to take a seminar on Latin American culture, while Modern Languages students could earn credit for their immersion in Spanish, and students in the Teaching English as a Foreign Language program earn practicum credits by teaching in a Costa Rican school. As a result, a record number of thirty students from all three departments spent three weeks in Costa Rica this December with Rubin, Alvarez, and Spanish instructors Heather Blubaugh and Jennifer Cabrera.

Monica Snow from the Raj Soin College of Business captured the essence of the program when she wrote, "The Ambassador Program to Costa Rica offers academic credit and a richer learning experience to a far larger number of students because of the outstanding cooperation among these four units. Students benefit by more in-depth instruction and practical applications of the skills they seek for their specific majors. This highly successful program demonstrates the value to students when the university offers innovative, multi-disciplinary courses during the intersession." In addition, Manley Perkel, emeritus professor of mathematics, who nominated the program for the award, called it the "perfect study abroad vehicle." Honors director Susan Carrafiello noted that winning the award was a wonderful recognition, but the real reward is seeing the lasting impact this program has had on the students who have participated.