Honors Tutorial Spotlight: Shannon Fernandez-Denmark and Samantha Courtney

Shannon Fernandez-Denmark and Samantha Courtney beginning their PowerPoint presentation for eighty enthralled fourth-graders at Cimino Elementary

An Honors Tutorial can go just as far as a student’s imagination, passion, and ingenuity can take it. This allows for Honors students to develop creative opportunities for themselves with the help of willing professors, which is exactly what Honors students Shannon Fernandez Denmark and Samantha Courtney did alongside Dr. Ann Williams, Professor in the Biology Department. Rather than simply internalizing course material and vocabulary pertaining to the Microbiology course, they wanted to take it a step further; they wanted to teach a course to eighty fourth-graders at Cimino Elementary. What could be better proof of proficiency than being able to translate the content in a fun and exciting way to young children?  On November 15th, Fernandez-Denmark and Courtney saw the actualization of their project with an hour-long “Microbiology: Food and You” presentation. They received an extremely positive response from not only their advising professor, but also the students and teachers at Cimino Elementary. These two students stand as one more example of the dedication and creativity of many of the students in the Honors program.

Oxford Abroad Showcase: Gontse Molosiwa

Honors student Gontse Molosiwa has taken hold of one of the many opportunities the Honors Program has to offer: the Oxford Abroad Experience. Read below to hear her take on this incredible personal journey:

Gontse taking in the sights in front of Oxford University (2018)


Picturesque, picturesque, picturesque…and did I say picturesque? This word is embedded in my mind whenever I walk the streets of Oxford. The buildings ooze of history and it is a very student friendly city. The University of Oxford is a masterpiece in itself. It is made up of 38 colleges and I am associated with Christ Church. The tutorial system has enabled me to have in-depth one-on-one conversations with my tutors about subjects I care about such as economic development and business ethics. It is a rigorous system but I am grateful for this opportunity because it has completely changed my perspective on academia. I highly encourage my peers to study abroad here! Oxford University embodies an intellectually and visually stimulating environment and I am grateful to the Honors Program for this opportunity. The highlight of my study abroad happened in October. I got to see to my president (H.E Mokgweetsi Masisi) give a lecture about democracy and economic development in Africa at the Saïd Business School! I even got interviewed by the Botswana Television News afterward and was featured in a news segment back home. Oxford has been lovely so far. I get to meet new people every day, travel to new places, and broaden my mind. What more could one ask for? 

One of the goals of UT’s Honors Program is to help provide opportunities such as those Gontse has experienced. Of course, it’s not up to just the Honors Program; students need to seize opportunities as well!

Honors Tutorial Spotlight: Gabrielle Cohen

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A showcase of the intricate and fascinating ceramics of Gabrielle Cohen.

Honors tutorials provide the opportunity for students to not only create their own unique Honors experiences but also explore individualized avenues within their disciplines. Gabrielle Cohen took the opportunity of a tutorial to heart, working alongside Jack King, Professor in the Art and Design Department, to craft herself the opportunity to dive deep into the world of ceramic sculpting. The results were, according to Professor King, inspiring. Cohen created a series of masterworks, revealing a keen focus on the interaction between positive and negative space, as well as the best possible glaze to complement her original formations.  Dr. Jack King had only great things to say about his student’s accomplishments:


In every aspect of her project, I have been extremely pleased with Gabrielle’s work and remain most confident she will prove to be one of the better artist’s we will have graduated from the University of Tampa. It has truly been an honor to have worked closely with her this semester.

With her newfound knowledge, Cohen plans to complete a larger, more detailed project of the same kind, continuing the pursuit of an increasingly skilled craft. 

Honors Symposium: History of the 2nd Amendment with Dr. Cornell

The packed room of Honors students present for the final Symposium, facilitated by Dr. Saul Cornell

Dr. Saul Cornell is a prolific scholar with an impressive academic pedigree. Currently, he has an endowed Chair in American History at Fordham University and previously worked as a professor in history at Ohio State University and was the director of the Second Amendment Research Center at the John Glenn Institute. It was a great honor to have Dr. Cornell speak for our final symposium of the semester: “The History of the 2nd Amendment.” As a scholar with significant expertise on the wording, historical context, and public impressions of the 2nd Amendment, he had a unique and dynamic understanding of the way that this famous element of our Bill of Rights was meant to be perceived. He was able to present a new interpretation of the current political climate regarding gun legislation: both liberal and conservative stances misunderstand the 2nd Amendment’s few, short phrases. In reality, the 2nd Amendment is a simple commentary on the regulation of militias, a concept foreign to many of the loudest voices in this debate. Dr. Cornell also discussed the jurisprudence surrounding gun laws in the United States, and how much of this ties back to race relations in the United States.