October 29, 2015

For immediate release, Oct. 29, 2015
Contact: Esther Watstein 203-332-5226
Professor Kirk Hughes 203-332-5137
Housatonic Community College, Bridgeport, Ct.

HCC Honors Program Challenges Outstanding Students

Photo of the 2015 Fall Semester Honors Class
Wearing clown noses presented to the HCC Honors students by Barnum Museum Curator Adreinne St. Pierre on a visit to Bridgeport’ Barnum Museum as part of this year’s Honors Seminar on Connecticut Uncovered.

TOP ROW—Crystal Ardito, Milford; Kristin King, Trumbull; Devora Whitaker, Bridgeport; Larissa Jacob, Stratford; Stephanie Sura, Shelton; Jessica James, Shelton (head only), Emily Beers, Trumbull, John Kalyondo, Bridgeport (head only), Alice Simmel, Trumbull, Jessica Schmitt, Bridgeport

BOTTOM ROW—Shariz Travis, Bridgeport; Kim Michaud, Milford; Lisa McCree, Bridgeport; Ron Vargas, Bridgeport; David Cleary, Stratford

“I’m learning that there’s more out there.”

“I’m learning to be better...to be smarter.”

“I used to ask, ‘Why?’ now I say, ‘Why not!’ ”

These are statements from students in Housatonic Community College’s Honors Program which challenges and helps outstanding students to excel and work hard.

Housatonic Professor Kirk Hughes, Coordinator of the HCC Honors Program, explains that the program, part of the regular HCC curriculum, invites students who have completed 12 credits, with a 3.5 or better GPA to take the Honors Program. The two-year program includes an a 3-credit Honors Seminar, enhanced course work in at least two program courses in the student’s degree program, and an individual Honors Project with a faculty member of their choice that demonstrates the students’ ability to apply knowledge and skills in a scholarly manner learned in the Seminar. Additionally, students in Honors must fulfill an off-campus community service requirement.

The HCC Honors program was created in 1985 by faculty including retired Professor Grant Roti who says, “We wanted to emphasize individual work and a more challenging pace for our top students. Honors was meant to provide students with an enriched learning experience requiring in-depth analysis and creative thinking.”

The Honors Seminar examines a topic from different perspectives of major academic disciplines; humanities, natural and physical sciences, and social sciences. The specific content of the seminar varies from year to year. It has explored such diverse topics as “Genius” “Perspectives of Intellectual Heritage,” “Searching for Answers: Applying Quantitative Methods” featuring the Weslyan Quantitative Research Center,  and this year’s in-depth examination, taught by HCC Professor Robert Nelson, “Connecticut Uncovered.” Field trips and individual projects are part of the curriculum.

Current Honors students Emily Beers and Kristin King are not complaining about the challenges or the pace. They are enthusiastic and relishing the opportunity to stretch and delve into the subject and the process. Emily says, “Everyone in the Seminar is engaged and involved. The questions and the discussions are far-reaching. It’s exciting to really look into the subject and to realize what you are able to do.”

Kristin agrees, adding, “I like feeling like an adult and scholar in class. It’s good to have so many options presented and to examine a subject from so many different perspectives.”

Honors students receive a special designation on their transcripts and are recognized as Honors students at graduation. These special recognitions are beneficial when the students apply to transfer to four-year institutions. HCC also has an Honors Club which meets throughout the semester to which all students interested in academic excellence can join. Many of these students go on to enroll in the Honors program.

Emma Tecun, HCC graduate and Honors student, now full junior at Quinnipiac University says, “I did things I never thought I could do; blogs about everything, data compilation and analysis, research and case studies. It was intense and totally changed how I look at things, and why I look. We learned in lots of different ways. I think most important is that I learned to be an advocate for myself and how much I was capable of.”

HCC Presidents Paul Broadie says, “I am very proud of the Housatonic Honors Program and the challenge it presents for our students to grow. I commend Professor Hughes for coordinating the program and investing it with creativity and in-depth content.”