The Florida Political Science Association (FPSA) conference at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) in Ft. Myers was an unforgettable experience. I enjoyed being around other political scientists looking to explore different questions relevant to our world today. It was fascinating to see what undergraduate and graduate students are coming up with and what research topics are seeing more interest.
Being able to present my research regarding the effects of education on perceived government threats with my partner, Anne Kerda, was very exciting, especially because we received helpful feedback to aid us in moving forward with this line of research. The faculty in the political science department at UT were especially helpful in preparing us, allowing us to excel and stand out at the conference. The amount of preparation we had compared to other presenters truly puts into perspective how much our political science department pushes us for exceptional achievement.
Prior to the FPSA conference, I had attended other conferences, but this one was by far the best one! I felt right at home with “my people” [other political scientists] and I was thrilled to share the experience with UT colleagues. In the end, I was happy to hear that the next FPSA conference will be held at our very own campus, so I definitely look forward to participating in the conference again next year!
Dr. Cheri Etling-Paulsen led a Coffee Conversation on March 20th in the McKay Hall common room exploring the question, “What is causing major swings in the stock market – and does it really matter?” The conversation explored what the stock market is, what factors influence stock prices, and explored how a variety of factors contribute to market volatility.
My time studying at Oxford University has seemed to fly by! I only have a few more weeks until I return home to Florida and I’m just so happy with my experience here. It has been quite snowy in Oxford over the past month, which I have thoroughly enjoyed, as I am originally from New York and we definitely don’t get this weather in Florida!
Following the completion of my tutorials, I was able to do some traveling and the first place I went was Paris, France. I visited the Louvre and Eiffel Tower, amongst other places, and it was truly captivating.
I feel that I have learned more about myself and have developed more independence through this experience. Having to research a topic myself and glean the important information to put into an essay is quite different to the normal “lecture-style” of teaching back home. While different, it was really effective because I knew that I needed to completely understand the topic in order to write about it and discuss it with my tutor. Living and learning in a new country can be a scary thing, but once you embrace it and get used to the way of life, it becomes something so unique and incredible. I feel that this experience has helped me develop myself in ways that I would not have been able to back at home and it has helped me prepare for my future education at pharmacy school. I would highly recommend this experience, as it is a truly one-of-a-kind experience that many people do not have the opportunity to take advantage of.
Dr. Jen Wortham’s HON 102 (Pathways to Honors) students recently climbed one of the iconic minaret’s in UT’s Plant Hall. Above are some of the pictures. Dr. Wortham is a UT alumnus and didn’t have this opportunity when she was a student here. She noted that her Pathways mentor was able to arrange it, the students loved the opportunity, and she thought it was a great bonding experience for her class.
UT Professor of Film, Animation, and New Media, Santiago Echeverry, presented his work The Cabaret to Honors students on March 21st. Professor Echeverry uses 3D capture technologies to explore a variety of spaces, including gay and drag nightclubs. The resulting video footage can then be used to create animated films and prints that display remarkable depth and novel perspectives. Examples of his work can be found on his professional website.
Below are some answers to common questions we have received about applying to continue in Honors:
Question: What happens if a student signs up for an Honors course and then is removed from Honors?
Answer: This question has been raised by several first-year students who have asked what will happen if they sign up for an Honors class for the fall semester, apply to continue in Honors at the end of the spring semester, and then don’t get into the Honors Program. To date, this has only happened one time. When it did happen, we let the student stay in the Honors course.
Typically, students who show enough interest to apply to continue in Honors and who put the time and effort into putting together a compelling application are going to be accepted into the Honors Program. As a result, it is unlikely that this will happen.
We strongly encourage students ending their first year at UT to enroll in Honors courses for the subsequent fall semester.
Question: When are decisions on applications to continue in Honors made?
Answer: We start reading applications as early as we can and make decisions as quickly as possible. There are two factors that delay this process.
First, letters of recommendation don’t always arrive by the deadline (which is okay; we don’t hold that against students as we know faculty are busy).
Second, we typically have over 100 applications to read and evaluate. That simply takes time.
The deadline for first-year students to apply to continue in Honors is the Friday before finals. We will start reviewing any applications that are submitted before the deadline as soon as they are submitted but it may take us until the end of May to evaluate all the applications. As noted above, just because you haven’t received a decision on your application doesn’t mean you shouldn’t register for Honors courses in the fall.
Things are going great here in Oxford. It has been a little bittersweet now that the term has officially ended, but overall it has been an amazing term. I am still working on my research on British butterflies with one of my tutors. We are getting ready to analyze the data for the two species of butterflies that we decided to work with: The High Brown Fritillary and the Dark Green Fritillary. Sadly, my other tutorial, Marine Vertebrate Zoology, has ended; however, my last essay I had to write was my favorite as I got to write about my favorite animals: sharks and stingrays.
In addition to my studies, I was able to take a trip to Portsmouth recently and visit the British Naval Yards. It was absolutely incredible being able to see some of the old battleships and learn about the history of the British Navy.
In other news, my rowing team was able to qualify for the biggest race of the term: Torpids. This is a race that lasts 4 days where boats try to “bump” each other in order to earn a set of blades. This was the first year since 1999 where Christ Church Boat Club was able to have 3 women’s boats qualify and compete in Torpids; however, there was one force that held us back in Torpids: mother nature. During the week of Torpids, the “beast from the east” decided to visit the UK and with it came a lot of snow which held the city in a standstill. Shops were closed, tutorials were cancelled, and 2 of the 4 days of Torpids had to be cancelled completely. Regardless of the snow and the bitterly cold weather, it was an amazing rowing season and I am so lucky I was able to compete in a few races with my amazing team.
This entire experience has been incredible and it has taught me so much about independence, confidence, and perseverance. I have had to learn how to problem solve, but also how to ask for help when I need it. I have learned not just in an educational sense, but I have learned about myself and about life and that will stay with me forever.