This May, through UT’s Honors Program, I had the amazing opportunity to visit Zürich, Switzerland; Paris, France; and London, England. Never did I think in my college career would I get to go to any of those iconic places. I was able to visit famous and historic places like the Cabaret Voltaire (birthplace of the Dada movement), the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the London Eye, and the Globe Theatre. This native Floridian also got to experience my first snow! And at the Swiss Alps of all places (not a bad first snow, if I do so say so myself). Not to mention, we got to go to the Warner Bros. Studios in England to visit the actual real-life Harry Potter film sets. The film major and major Harry Potter fan in me were beyond excited. I’m so grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime experience I got to have thanks to the Honors Program!
The recipient of the 2017-2018 Timothy M. Smith Award, Victoria Sunseri, was recently highlighted on UT’s website for her award trip. Victoria used the award money to volunteer with the nonprofit Community Concern in Sri Lanka, learning about human trafficking.
On Friday, April 28th, Faith Taylor presented on her travels as the recipient of the Timothy M. Smith Award for the 2016-2017 academic year. Faith traveled to the Bahamas with Professor Michael Slattery of The University of Tampa to study a coral reef that was documented nearly 50 years earlier. They spent several days snorkeling in the reef, taking photos, and gathering data. This initial visit provided enough information to allow Faith and Dr. Slattery to develop a research program that will continue to investigate the reef.
Kamakshi Dadhwal spent the Spring term at Oxford. Her term there just ended and she sent the following thoughts about her experience:
My term at Oxford was brilliant and eye-opening. I was forced to be alone more often than I ever have been. I was expected to produce work of a higher quality than I even felt capable of. I was pressured to spend hours of each day in the library reading, organising, writing, rewriting, and reorganising arguments. I was pushed to put more into my essays until I was dreaming about them on, at least, a semi-weekly basis. In all honesty, my term at Oxford felt like the most gruelling and stressful eight weeks of my conscious and unconscious existence. However, not only was I constantly challenged during the term, in hindsight, I was also moulded into a new way of thinking about the work of others and that of my own. I have always been the kind of student who absorbs everything and hopes to learn something through knowing it all. Oxford has helped me understand that the power of questioning can move mountains of well-established and widely-accepted knowledge.
Studying at UT is like being at home; I am among people who push me because they care for me and want me to succeed in life. It is the quiet and comfortable nurturing of a mother and father. In stark contrast, being at Oxford is like being in ninth grade; I was the newest in a competitive environment, surrounded by people who have minds far superior than my own. It made me vulnerable at first but has left me with the strength to humble myself to the experience and expertise of others, while keeping an open mind of my own. In the best way possible, my experience at Oxford has crushed my own egotistical sense of self and, for that alone, I would do it again if given the opportunity.
On April 20th and 21st, eight recipients of Honors Undergraduate Research Fellowships presented the results of their work in two separate symposia. The students – Zachary Gregg, Nicholas Braganca, Christian Pilot, Tonie Schankweiler, Daniela Delvescovo, Nicoletta Pappas, Ricardo Thompson, and Kelly Fryar – studied a variety of topics, from the pervasiveness of antibiotic resistant staphylococcus aureus in the Hillsborough River to the factors that contributed to the growth of the Bolivian GDP. Honors Undergraduate Research Fellowships pay students $1,000 to work with a UT faculty member conducting original scholarship.