Fulbright Virtual Information Session

Students who wish to travel abroad, work, live with and learn from different cultures as a Fulbright U.S. Student are encouraged to attend a virtual Fulbright Scholarship information session on Monday, April 6 at 3 pm CST. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for individually designed study/research projects or for English Teaching Assistant Programs. This event is open to all Auburn University juniors, seniors, graduate students, or anyone with future interest in applying.  

During the virtual information session future applicants will learn more about campus and national deadlines for the 2021 scholarship, resources and support provided by Auburn University, online workshops provided by the Miller Writing Center, hear details about life as a Fulbright scholar, and have their questions answered. 

The Auburn University campus-wide intent to apply deadline is May 1, 2020.

To attend the moderated event, login to the following Zoom broadcast on April 6 at 3 pm CST. 

Fulbright Information Session

Time: Apr 6, 2020 03:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada) 

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://auburn.zoom.us/j/214104108

Connect using Computer/Device audio if possible.

Or Telephone: Meeting ID: 214 104 108

    Dial: +1 312 626 6799 (US Toll) 

        or +1 646 876 9923 (US Toll)

Or an H.323/SIP room system:

    H.323: 162.255.37.11 (US West) or 162.255.36.11 (US East) 

    Meeting ID: 214 104 108

    SIP: 214104108@zoomcrc.com

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

For additional information about the Fulbright Scholarship or the virtual information session, contact the Honors College Coordinator for Scholarship and Research, Alex Sauer at ras0046@auburn.edu.

Regarding Remote Instruction

Auburn University will transition from on-campus instruction to remote delivery beginning Monday, March 16 and continue through the rest of Spring semester in response to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

University officials ask that students refrain from returning to campus after spring break. University officials will subsequently determine if students will return to campus for the remaining weeks of the spring semester. 

Auburn faculty will contact students on steps they should take to continue their academic coursework.

Your Honors advisor will be available to you remotely. If you have advising or registration related questions you can email your honors advisor directly or at honors@auburn.edu. Please do not drop classes. If you have any questions about your schedule, please contact your advisor.

All Honors College events are suspended until April 10 including the Honors College Film Series, Cater Porch Talks, Cup at Cater, Career Workshops and the newly developed Honors Exhibition. 

Honors College student organizations meetings and service projects are suspended during this time. This includes Diversity in Honors, Honors Serves and Honors Congress. If you registered for the Honors Congress Formal, more information will be emailed to you shortly. We encourage organization leaders to utilize online platforms, such as Zoom, to continue any necessary organizational meetings.

Ask an Honors Student – Academic Peer Coaching will be available virtually. You will receive more information with dates, times, and platforms from Ms. Yvette Stone. 

Parents and guardians should be reminded that they can visit the Auburn University Parent Portal for more information. For the most current up-to-date information please visit Auburn’s COVID-19 information page.

The Miller Writing Center will continue assisting students with their needs. More information can be found on their website. 

All university domestic and international travel is suspended through April 10.

Dining facilities, libraries and residence halls will be closed through April 10. University officials will make arrangements for international students and others who are unable to return home. Students who have specific questions should contact the Division of Student Affairs. 

Decisions have not yet been made on spring commencement, summer study abroad programs or other events and activities beyond April 10.

The university medical clinic remains open. Those exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms should immediately call the Auburn Medical Clinic at 334-844-9825 before visiting the clinic. 

University officials will make arrangements for students who do not have access to the technology needed for remote instruction. 


Auburn officials urge the following safety precautions:

– Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds

– Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve

– Don’t touch your face, especially your eyes, mouth and nose

– Disinfect commonly touched surfaces, including mobile devices

Auburn’s COVID-19 information page will be updated daily. 

It’s All About the Journey

Even though Justin Rist didn’t receive the Fulbright scholarship he applied for, he said the process has been very beneficial to him in professional connections, communication skills, and application experience. Rist, an industrial and systems engineering major, applied for the Fulbright Germany Research and Travel Award. 

The Application Process

Rist heard of the Fulbright Award while studying abroad in Bavaria, Germany after meeting the former Fulbright scholar Dr. Paul Harris. Afterward, Rist began working with Alex Sauer, the Honors College Scholarship and Research Coordinator, and professors in industrial engineering. He was put in contact with Dr. Shulz at FHWS in Schweinfurt, Germany, to design a project that they were both interested in and would work well for his application. This project involved applying data analytics to improve the play of foosball, a popular sport in Germany. 

For the application process, Rist had to submit his plan of study, which included a detailed explanation of the research project, a timeline for the completion of the project, and an explanation of the courses or other activities he would do to supplement the research. He also had to take a language proficiency exam, provide a statement about cultural engagement outside of research, and provide letters of recommendation.  

Professional Connections

Rist needed to show that he was able to complete the project within the grant period, so he formed relationships that could help him achieve it. Two German companies, Holisticon and Leonhart, were willing to provide him and Dr. Schulz with information and funding. 

He plans to continue working with Dr. Schulz on the project without the grant while he is getting a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering in the US. Even though he did not receive the scholarship, he still was able to strengthen his research portfolio from these connections and the project.

Communication Skills

Creating and maintaining these relationships with professionals and companies in Germany gave Rist stronger communication skills. He said it was intimidating at first to set up meetings with Germans he had never met before, but he was able to gain valuable relationships he otherwise would not have had access to. 

Rist said the main communication skills he strengthened were his confidence and initiative. He realized that even though it was intimidating to talk to his superiors, they were willing to take time to help him and wanted him to succeed. For example, he was only able to set up the meetings by himself, so he had to take the initiative and make that connection. As he progressed in the application process, making these connections became easier since he had built up his confidence.

Application Experience

Going through this application process prepared Rist for his graduate school applications. He said they had many similarities, including the letters of recommendation. He was able to use many of his recommenders from the Fulbright scholarship for the graduate school applications since they were eager to help Rist and were already prepared to write another letter. 

The tone of his writing was also similar in both applications. He understood how to write about himself in a way that made him an appealing candidate. Even though each application is specific to the program he applied to, he knew how to “brag on” himself in a formal way. 

Through the application process, he was able to take his love for sports data analytics, which he thought could only be a hobby, and turn it into a research project. He also had a greater appreciation for Germany and hopes his relationships there will lead to more opportunities to visit the country and work on his fluency in the language. 

If you are interested in the Fulbright, or other national prestigious scholarships, please contact our coordinator for scholarship and research, Alex Sauer.


Story by: April Garrett

Ada Ruth Huntley new SGA President of Auburn University

The Honors College recently followed up with new SGA President and Honors College student Ada Ruth Huntley, to ask her what this historic win means to her.


Ada Ruth told us, “I am so blessed and excited to get to serve as Auburn’s SGA President. This university and the people in it mean the world to me, and I am thankful that so many students believed in my ability to do this job. I am also very thankful to everyone in the Honors College for their support, and I am also thankful for the opportunities that I’ve had to grow as a leader within the college. I would not be the leader I am today without those experiences.”

Congratulations President Huntley – we are thankful for you!

You can read more about this story in Auburn Universities Student-run Newspaper: The Plainsmen.

Link to the story: https://www.theplainsman.com/article/2020/02/column-new-sga-president-is-shattering-glass-ceilings1

Locke’s Life-Changing Experience

It is not often that a student has a genuinely life-changing experience, but that is how Riley Locke, a sophomore in computer science and Honors College Ambassador from Clanton, Alabama, described the 2019 Global Grand Challenges Summit. 

The summit, held every two years and rotating between three countries, is an organization of students and engineers from the U.S., U.K., and China that formed in 2008 to set engineering goals for improving the planet. The goals set by the academies of engineering from these countries range in disciplines from education to medicine to cyberspace to the environment. 

Each country sends 100 students to attend the summit, and Locke was one of the 100 students selected from the U.S.  He was the only student selected from Auburn University. 

Dr. Edward Davis, an assistant professor in materials engineering in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, chose Locke to participate in the summit held in London this September. Dr. Davis said Locke is a “highly motivated student” and that during the summit he was able to engage with current leaders in engineering and the next generation of engineers.

As a student in the Auburn University Grand Challenge Scholars Program (AUGCSP), Locke had the opportunity to express interest in the summit. The AUGCSP’s primary goal is to produce students with the skills, broad knowledge, and ideas to develop solutions to the world’s most pressing technical issues and the engineering grand challenges.

Locke wants the organization to  grow not only within the engineering department but also into other departments. One of the focuses of the program is multidisciplinary study, and Locke said that this crossover to other departments is where the magic happens.

The Trip

On the first day of his ten-day trip, Locke attended the finale of the intercountry competition where five teams from each country who had won a competition in their respective country competed. 

For the rest of the first half of the trip, Locke participated in the student-collaboration lab event. Six-member teams—consisting of pairs of students from each of the three countries represented at the summit—collaborated to come up  with a product that would help solve one of the grand challenges. Locke joked that this hefty task placed “no pressure” on them. 

A mentor assisted each group. Locke’s group actually used their mentor’s own research to inform their product proposal. Their mentor, a chemical engineering professor from China, is working on the creation a model for turning bamboo into aerogel insulation. Since Locke’s  academic focus is coding, he said this product made him “get out of [his] comfort zone” and explore another kind of engineering. 

During these first few days, the students also went to break out sessions where they learned about entrepreneurship, how to grow the Global Grand Challenges program, and the theme for this year’s summit. The theme, “Engineering in an Unpredictable World,” encourages students to think about how engineers can help solve the challenges created from a global population of 10 billion people, and whether AI and other transformational technologies can change our world for the better.

The summit took place during the last five days of Locke’s trip, where he said, “things get really fancy.” The trip became a business formal event with well-known academics, industrialists, entrepreneurs, and invited speakers from around the world.

The Results

Locke was able to connect with leaders of Lockheed Martin. When he returned to Auburn the next week, Lockheed Martin was recruiting on campus. He said it was “kind of like fate.” Locke spoke with the recruiters and was able to get a summer internship with the company. 

When asked about the most important experience of his trip, this networking opportunity was one of Locke’s top choices. Another key experience was befriending fellow students from all three countries. During the day, he said, “you give it your full attention because it deserved your full attention,” and afterward, “you go out at night with other students to see the city and have fun.” The pace of the ten-day experience was tiring, but Locke still wishes he could have seen more of London.

As possibly the youngest student participant attending the summit,  Locke felt mentored by every other student. They encouraged him in his education and his fight against the “imposter syndrome” that is common to college students. Locke said these students getting jobs at large companies and doing incredible things inspired him.

The Big Picture

The summit also helped Locke see the big picture of what engineers can do. Dr. Davis described the summit as showing “that engineering serves humanity and that engineers should work together to solve society’s problems.” 

Locke’s participation in the summit, the networking with leaders in engineering, and the friends he made from around the world all helped him realize that he is capable of more. He said he recognized his own self-worth within the field and elevated his dreams for the future. 

El viaje por encima de los demás–Lindsey’s Adventure in Cuba

Honors student Lindsey dubbed her recent trip to Cuba "the trip above all others." Keep reading to learn why:

Day 1
It was an early morning start at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, but I had finished finals and was about to embark on a trip that I had been dreaming of for years. At the airport, our group was able to all meet for the first time. The group included four college students: Sam, Mac, Julia, and me, and a handful of adults that included Auburn University professors, the Dean of Liberal Arts, and Honors College faculty. After a short two hour flight we got our first taste of Cuba by walking off the plane onto the hot tarmac of the José Martí airport. Our tour guides David and Alpi lead us to the bus we would be using all week and took us straight to lunch. We all spent the time on the bus getting very excited about the old cars and the beautiful scenery. Everywhere you looked there was a new art piece, murals, and graffiti. Alpi explained to us that the Cuban government promotes the arts and sees graffiti as artistic expression. Post food and a quick trip meeting, we were taken to our lodging. The college students stayed at an amazing apartment with a rooftop terrace. We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the terrace before dinner at Fabrica de Arte Cubano. The four-course meal was delicious and included a traditional Cuban experience. Right as my main course of fish was placed in front of me, the power went out for the whole block! Ending dinner in the dark was an interesting experience. Generators quickly worked to power up the essential lights, but that meant we could not experience the club and art exhibit that Fabrica de Arte Cubano is famous for. When we left to go back to the apartment, the line to get in was around the block and looked to be a half of a mile long. Though we did not to see a lot on the first day, I was already in love with Havana.

 

Day 2
Cuba runs on a different time than Auburn. I am not talking about Central versus Eastern time zones, but instead I am referring to the slowed pace that all Cubans subscribe to. We started the morning by heading to a restaurant within walking distance from the apartment for breakfast. After drinking some Cuban coffee and waiting for a while, we found out that the restaurant did not have any breakfast food. It was common to find that places had run out of certain foods or places to be randomly closed. So after a breakfast of granola bars back at the apartment, we visited Callejon de Hamel, a street that is covered in art and is also the home of the Sunday Santeria street celebration. Santeria is the Afro-Cuban religion that emerged from the Africans that were brought as slaves to Cuba. On Sundays at twelve they dance the rumba and the street is filled with people coming to watch the dancing and listen to the music. We went before the dancing started so we could see all the beautiful murals and art pieces on the street. For lunch we had a cooking lesson at Villa Costa Habanera. The house had turned into a bed and breakfast and the cook gave cooking lessons back in the dining room/kitchen. The lesson started with learning to make mojitos. We were then split into pairs to learn how to make the rest of the dishes. Sam and I were put on beans while the others made the pork and tostones. Before we were able to eat we had an exam with the winner winning a prize. The others decided I should be the winner and started laughing when the prize ended up being a shot of rum. I don’t drink and it was hilarious that that was the prize. I ended up sharing it with everyone because I did not like the taste. The food we made was some of my favorite from the entire trip and I am looking forward to making the food again at home. After lunch we went on a walking tour of Old Havana and we saw the four plazas. We ended the night with another delicious dinner, a walk down the Malecon (the sea wall where everyone meets to hangout) and a trip to my first ever bar, King bar. Our first full day was full of surprises and lots of firsts for me and I could not wait to see what other things I would see over the next week.

 

Day 3
The sound and smell of someone cooking breakfast is a perfect way to wake up. I don’t normally eat a lot for breakfast, but in Cuba we did not eat lunch until two or three so a large breakfast was necessary. A lady came into our apartment and made us a fresh breakfast of omelets, ham, cheese, fresh fruit, bread, and papaya juice. Our guides picked us up and we headed to the Partagas Cigar Factory for a tour. The original factory was under restoration so we toured their temporary facility. The building was very hot and had very little air flow. We got to see the different stages of the cigar from the sorting of leaves and removal of the leaf veins to the building of the cigars to sorting and packing. They also had tasters and quality control rooms that we did not visit. Post-learning about cigars our group went to a salsa lesson. Each person was paired up with a dancer. I got to dance with Irwin and he really helped me understand the counts and where my feet were supposed to be. I had a lot of fun counting 123 567 as we spun around and did the combination of eight steps we learned. After the lesson we were all starving, so we headed to our longest lunch the whole trip and the one place I had WIFI the whole trip. The meal of pumpkin soup, shrimp in tomato sauce and a dessert of chocolate mousse was delicious but dragged on for over three hours. Once we finally were done with lunch, we headed to the Museum of the Revolution before it closed. The city of Havana is 500 years old in November of this year, so a lot of places were under restoration to prepare for the celebration and the Museum of the Revolution was one of them. All the exhibits had been moved around and were not in a easy to figure out order, but were written in both Spanish and English so we were able to piece together the history. It was interesting to read about the revolution from the side of the revolutionaries and not through an American lens. The museum’s building was previously the Presidential Palace. After we went through all the exhibits inside the building, we headed out to the backyard to look at some of the vehicles used during the revolution and behind glass was the yacht, Granma, that Castro, Che and 80 other fighters rode from Mexico to Cuba. We ended the night at a local community project called Muraleando. We met the founder, an eccentric man whose catchphrase became an inside joke for the rest of the trip, “and I NEVER lie!” The site was originally held a water tank for the steam trains but turned into a trash dump before Muraleando moved in. The entire place had been turned into a giant art project using items found when they were removing the trash. Kids in the community can come and learn art, film and music skills for free. We had the opportunity to listen to two of the bands that were formed at Muraleando. The first band played traditional Cuban music while the second played music that was closer to American classic pop. That night we learned who was good at dancing and who enjoyed dancing. The night ended in lots of laughter and smiles.

Day 4
We left Havana for Cienfuegos and started to see a different side of Cuba. Leaving Havana behind we saw less cars and more open fields and green space. We traveled southeast to the other side of the island, stopping at Playa Larga for a hike with a naturalist at the Enigma de las Rocas. The hike was fascinating with all the greenery and water everywhere. One thing that I thought I would never see in a forest was crabs. There are no poisonous animals in Cuba so we did not have to worry about the large array of crabs, lizards and iguanas we saw on the trail. Towards the end of the trail we came up to a cenote filled with brackish water; this is where fresh water and seawater mix. The naturalist showed us where we could jump off the six meter cliff into water. All four college students all jumped in multiple times while the adults took pictures. I was terrified to jump the first time, but as Sam put it I hesitated on hesitating and jumped in with no problem. The water was so pretty and the perfect temperature to cool off in after walking in the Cuban heat. When the adrenaline of jumping caught up to us and we were all tired, we hiked back to the bus and headed to lunch at a local house. It was an array of fresh seafood, fruit, salad, rice and beans. Lunch was followed by a bus ride to Playa Girón to visit the Bay of Pigs museum. I used my limited Spanish skills and context clues to read the exhibit signs. Just like with the Museum of the Revolution it was interesting to read about the Bay of Pigs invasion from a non-American view. After learning about the Bay of Pigs we headed out to one of the landing sites of the invasion to have some relaxing time on the beach. The beach was very different from other beaches I have visited. The sand was mostly coral and due to seaweed there were only certain areas where you could walk into the ocean. The beach also had the remnants of old defensive strategies like sniper pods along beach and poles to slow down a land invasion. After a couple hours at the beach we travelled to Cienfuegos where we spent the night. Dinner was a late affair with bets on whether or not dinner would last to 11:30 or midnight (11:30 won). This night also started our napkin folding competitions that happened whenever our food was taking a long time. The night ended with another walk along the Malecon.

Day 5
Cienfuegos is very different from Havana because it is has a smaller population. The city is turning 200 this year so it has a more modern architecture than Havana. The view from the rooftop terrace at the place we stayed was of the sky trees and one to two story houses. Downtown had one central market road that we got to explore. Julia and I spotted a toy store and we were surprised at the sparseness of the store. There was about ten total different types of toys sold and then baby supplies like diapers and shampoo. It was a drastic difference to the toy aisles in America. At the end of the market street, there was the central square with the Thomas Terry Theatre which we got to tour. Next we toured an eccentric sugar plantation house. The house was built with lots of design styles mixed together. The front room was Moroccan while other rooms had mixes of renaissance and baroque; the styles really work well together. We ate lunch there and then headed down the road to Trinidad. At one point in the drive, the bus stopped at the side of the road at a fruit stand. The owner of the stand let us try all the fruit and honey he was selling. The honey was so good we all ended up with a bottle of it. I was worried about if it would actually get back to America but it did. Once we got to Trinidad and ready for dinner, we were supposed to go on a walking tour of Trinidad but it was lightly raining and some of the members of the group did not want to go on the tour in the rain. Our guides took us instead to a pottery store, where we got to try our hand at the pottery wheel. My bowl ended up looking okay in the end but I messed up a lot. They let us wander around the back of the store to see what else they were making and sitting there was a 1915 Ford Model T! It was so cool to see a Model T in person with its hand crank engine and wooden wheels. The owner told us, they were slowing restoring it when they can find the correct parts. Dinner was on a rooftop and there was a giant tree extended over all the tables. While we were waiting for dessert, a band came over to us and our driver got up and sang with them and then salsa danced. He was really good and it was a departure from the stoic nature we had seen of him previously. After dinner half of the group went back to their rooms while the other half went to an outdoor Cuban bar and then when that place closed at 1am we went to a club that was in a cave. It was so cool going down into the cave and how the sound carried in the different areas.

Day 6
I wrote a lot more than I thought I would for the previous days, but today was our slow relaxing day. We started with a trip to a sugar plantation where we got to try fresh sugar cane juice that we juiced using a machine from 1884. Then we climbed a tower with very steep ladder-like steps. The view at the top made the climb completely worth it though. You could see all the old sugar cane fields in the distance and mountains. The rest of the day was spent at an all-inclusive resort on the prettiest beach I have ever been on. The water was crystal clear, the sand was soft, rocks formed a natural pool area, and mountains were in the background. It was a great day to stop and recharge before heading into the back half of the trip.

Day 7
This day started with a hike in one of Cuba’s national parks. Our guides David and Alpi told us it would be an easy trail, but I would not say the same; it had a lot of steep inclines to climb and lots of rocks and roots to watch out for. The nature along the hike was beautiful but once we came upon the waterfall, it made the hike worth it. We got to jump off a cliff into the water. The waterfall was next to a cave, so we swam towards it and went about ten feet in before we saw the bats and left. After jumping in a couple more times and learning most of our group that did not jump in the water had already started back, we got out and hiked back to the bus, joining the others. We had lunch at pirate themed paella place outside of Trinidad. Where we were sitting we could see how they stylized the backyard to look like the deck of a ship. The paella was really good but so much food that Julia and I ended up sharing and we still had leftovers. After lunch everyone was really tired and we had a couple of hours of free time in Trinidad so Julia, Sam, Mac, Wade and I chose to take a nap and then walk around Trinidad’s main square before dinner. May 10th was David’s, our guide’s, birthday so we went out after dinner to celebrate. We went to the club in the cave again and danced for a while and then went to a beach. By the time we got back to our home in Trinidad it was five in the morning.

Day 8
Today was the day I realized the trip was almost over since we spent the day driving from Trinidad back to Havana. The drive took a lot longer than I thought it would but we stopped along the way to help break up the trip. Our first stop was to a community project that helps families with special needs children. We were able to meet two of their families for a brief minute while delivering food. Our next stop was at the farm of ceramicist Hector Correa. His wife made us a delicious lunch and then we got a quick tour of the farm. On the farm they kept bees and I was able to drink fresh honey right out of the hive. Our next stop was at the overlook Mirador de Bacunayagua, where there is the tallest bridge in Cuba. The view was amazing with greenery all down the valley and a view of the ocean in the distance. We finally got back to Havana with just enough time to change clothes before heading out again to see the 9 pm curfew canon at Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana. The boom from the canon was so loud that we could hear it the next night in Old Havana across the bay. We ended the night with dinner and a trip to Espacios.

Day 9
Our last full day was very busy since David and Alpi wanted us to see as much possible. The first stop of the morning was to a cigar shop. Pretty much everyone in the group bought cigars, but I definitely bought the least with only two. Next we visited another art street, Fusterlandia. The artist started by decorating his house with tiles and it slowly moved into the street. The house was multiple levels of what I can only describe as a Cuban tiled version of Dr. Seuss land at Universal Orlando. Everywhere you look there is something new your eye notices. Across the street there was a tiled mural of the Granma yacht with Castro, Che and some other revolutionaries. We then visited an art studio to see some professional art pieces. Lunch was a happy affair because we had been craving pizza for days and we finally got to eat one. After we ate David and Alpi brought out a cake to celebrate our trip and roses for all the women on the trip since it was Mother’s Day. We keep the excitement up from lunch and went on the classic car tour. The four college students all rode together in a pink Buick that the boys picked out. I don’t know what year the car was because I forgot to ask in my excitement. The funny thing about the pink Buick is days earlier I bought a postcard of cars on a Havana street and the first car in the picture is a pink Buick; I did not realize the connection until I got home and I looked at the postcard again. We had our last Cuban dinner in Old Havana with an University of Havana professor. The night ended at the Buena Vista Social Club, where we listened to Grammy award winning artists and got to get up and dance on the stage. It was a great way to end our final night in Cuba.

Day 10
Our final day was bittersweet because I was ready to go home and see my family, but I was not ready to leave. This group started the trip basically not knowing each other at all, but we became really good friends. We started the morning by saying goodbye to Julia as she left to go meet her Cuban family for the first time. Afterwards we headed to an indoor market where we were able to buy all the souvenirs we had space for. With our bags full and our wallets slightly lighter, we headed to the airport where we had to say goodbye to David and Alpi. They helped us so much on the trip and were so fun to be around; it was hard to say goodbye as we entered the security line. After a short plane ride we stepped back on American soil and the trip officially ended.

Cuba was such an amazing country and exceeded my expectations every day. The people were so nice and always tried to talk to us even with a language barrier. I am looking forward to returning one day to explore more of this extraordinary country.

Honors student Regan Moss switches to new research-based graduation distinction

Regan recently decided to switch to one of our new research-based graduation distinctions. Read more about what prompted her decision:

Why did you decide to switch to the new distinction?

I decided to switch because I see research as an integral part to my long-term career goals, as well as a key element to my time at Auburn. Auburn was recently named an R1 research institution (War Eagle to that!), and the Honors College is constantly providing new outlets for growth and opportunities to learn. This new distinction allows for me to become more immersed in the world of research while also allowing me to continue managing my time to complete my Honors College degree and learn from others within the Honors community.

What do you see as the benefits to switch?

This new distinction allows for me to grow as a research assistant (e.g. grasping a greater understanding of my role as an undergraduate in a lab, learning about different research methods, and opening my mind to varying areas of research). I can learn more about the world of research in general–both on and off campus– develop better techniques, and hold myself responsible to conduct ethical, replicable, and overall scientifically-sound research. Furthermore, I will be surrounded by others also involved in labs. I undoubtedly will be able to learn a substantial amount from not just the professors, but also from my peers. I am excited to hear about others’ research, and for the chance to grasp a greater hold on my future research goals and ideas.

How did you go about making the switch? 

I made the switch by contacting my advisor. I made a few adjustments to my 4-year plan in respect to the added course requirements listed and then scheduled an appointment.

Was it easy to make the switch?

It was incredibly easy to switch from my previously designated distinction. I had an idea prior to meeting with my advisor as to how it would work with my schedule, as well as a basic understanding of the new course descriptions. Mrs. Hunter made it very painless and easy and provided a lot of very helpful input in regards to structuring my 4-year plan and ideas for personalizing the courses that have some variability (in respect to my own interests and involvements.)

Honors College adds new research distinctions for graduates

The Honors College at Auburn University is introducing two new graduation distinctions: Honors Research Scholar and University Honors Research Scholar.

These new distinctions reflect the Honors College’s commitment to help expand Auburn University’s enterprise as an R1 Carnegie Research Institution and to uphold the Honors College mission statement to “seek truth with courage and conviction.” With the new distinctions, students now have the ability to plan a deep, impactful and individualized research experience with the full support of the Honors College faculty and staff.

These distinctions support Honors students who are engaged in transformational undergraduate research at Auburn. The 2017-18 Honors College annual report showcases the variety of research being performed by Honors College students, from developing new tests that will quickly detect radioactive and toxic heavy metals in drinking water after a nuclear contamination event to studying canine breast cancer in order to enhance human health and wellbeing. In this vein, the distinctions act as a springboard, providing students with a curricular framework to structure these experiences.

“I’m excited for this opportunity to encourage and celebrate the amazing research of our Honors College students,” says Honors College Director Tiffany Sippial. “Graduating as an Auburn University Honors College Research Scholar will allow our students to tell the story of their research journey within the Auburn University Honors College. Their diplomas will now testify to their status as trained, experienced researchers whose work in the lab, field or archive is deserving of special recognition.”

For many years, students have had the opportunity to graduate with one of two traditional distinctions: Honors Scholar and University Honors Scholar. Both distinctions require 24 hours of Honors coursework, three of which must be in Honors participation courses. University Honors Scholars must complete an additional six hours of coursework deemed as Senior Year Experience.

The two new distinctions mirror these traditional distinctions in many ways. Both still require 24 hours of Honors coursework, including three hours of participation courses. However, the new distinction require that one of these participation hours be the “Honors Lyceum: Research at Auburn” course. Other specific requirements of the new distinctions center on intensive research training: three hours of these classes must be Honors Research Methods and six hours must be Honors Research Seminars. University Honors Research Scholars are also expected to complete six hours of individualized Senior Year Experience courses.

Alex Sauer New Scholarship and Research Coordinator

The Honors College is thrilled to welcome Alex Sauer, our new Scholarship and Research Coordinator! We are so excited to welcome him back to Auburn
to be a part of our team.

Let’s learn more about Mr. Sauer:

Name: Alex Sauer

Hometown: Charleston, SC

Degree(s): M.S., Psychology (Auburn University); B.S., Psychology (College of Charleston)

Why did you choose those degrees?

I have always been fascinated by Psychology, and more specifically, the study of behavior. As a child, I loved teaching our dog tricks and marveled at the way she seemed to “understand” what I was saying. As an undergraduate, I had the opportunity to work in an animal lab. In this lab, we taught rats to do some amazing things, but more importantly, we could apply the principles we learned with the rats to help human beings. This experience was simply amazing, so I majored in Psychology. After graduating with my B.S., I wanted to continue researching both human and animal behavior so I decided to get my M.S. in Psychology as well.

What brought you to the Honors College?

As a graduate student at Auburn, I worked as a teaching assistant. It was here that I discovered my passion for teaching and helping students realize their academic goals. When the opportunity presented itself to help Honors College students at Auburn get involved in research and guide them toward scholarships and career opportunities, I knew that this was the job for me.

Do you have any hobbies?

I really enjoy playing video games. Some of my favorites include: The Legend of Zelda, Elder Scrolls, and Super Mario. I also have two adorable dogs that need lots of love all of the time.

What are small things that make your day better?

Seeing puppies or dogs of any age…have I mentioned that I really like animals?

Movies, TV, or Books – or all three?

All three, for sure!

You’d be surprised to know that I can… 

Juggle, hula hoop, and use a pogo stick…I’m basically a clown.

What do you hope to accomplish here at the Honors College?

I want to be a reliable resource to guide students toward scholarships to help fund their college experience. I want to be a useful starting point for students that want to be involved in research opportunities. I want to prepare students for the next steps in their career after they graduate. But above all else, I want to help students realize their full potential.

What are you most excited about working at the Honors College?

I have heard some amazing things about Honors College students, so I cannot wait to start interacting with them and hearing their ideas and ambitions.

What advice would you give to an Honors College student?

Never be afraid to ask for help! Just because you are an Honors student does not mean that you will not need support, advice, or assistance. We have a dedicated staff here at the Honor College, and we will always be more than happy to help you in whatever way we can. But we cannot help, if you do not ask.

Do you have a favorite Auburn memory / or Auburn area memory?

The first time I “rolled” the trees at Toomers Corner is probably my favorite memory. I just remember the excitement as, all of a sudden, it looked like a blanket of snow had fallen over the entire area. I never knew that toilet paper could be beautiful, but in that moment it was.

Best way to contact?

Email is definitely my preferred method of communication, but you should  feel free to drop by my office in Cater anytime.