Honors Special Topics

Honors Special Topics courses are one of the five ways Honors College students complete their Senior-Year Experience. Recent graduate Claire Sullivan created a refreshing Honors Special Topics project that not only beautifully reflects the people and places of Alabama, but fulfilled her requirements to graduate with the Honors Scholar distinction.

Students completing Honors Special Topics work with a departmental professor in their major or minor to execute a project of their choosing. This course is similar to Honors Research as it gives students an opportunity to work one-on-one with a professor on a project that is both interesting to them, and helpful in future endeavors (i.e. resume builders).

Ms. Sullivan, who specialized in feature writing and visual storytelling, worked with Associate Professor Nan Fairley’s Advanced Magazine and Feature Writing (JRNL 4970) to created “HomeGrown” an online magazine that reveals the best of Alabama.

Visit HomeGrown and be inspired!

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Destination Cuba

With diplomatic relations restored between the United States and Cuba, Auburn University students recently traveled to the island nation.

Sophomore Alisa Mobley enjoys the cool mist of a waterfall in the Escambray Mountains.

Eleven students from Auburn’s Honors College, along with Professor Tiffany Sippial from the College of Liberal Arts, were the first to participate in the 14-day Honors College Study and Travel course to Cuba in May.

Read the full article on the Auburn homepage.

Photo: Students from left to right: Victoria Roberson, Kelsey Guyan, Kaitlin Olander, Allison Kilroy, Madeline Sharp, Ashley Kinsey, Alisa Mobley, Kate Duke, Tristan Brown, and Hannah Skjellum pose by the famous words of Cuban nationalist leader Jose Marti , La Rosa Blanca (The White Rose)

Four Auburn University graduates awarded Fulbright Scholarships

Four Auburn University alumni have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships, a celebrated educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. Recent Auburn University graduates Catherine Tabor (Honors College), Andrew Bates (Honors College), Brianna Gorman and Benjamin Cole will continue their studies in Austria, Sweden and Germany. This is the second consecutive year that four Auburn students have received Fulbright Scholarships.

“These Auburn students, now Fulbright Scholars, are community-minded yet have a global perspective,” said Melissa Baumann, Auburn assistant provost and director of the Honors College. “They are international representatives for Auburn University and we wish Catherine, Ben, Andrew and Brianna great success during their fellowship studies.”

Read the full article here on the Auburn University newsroom site.

Record number of Auburn University students receive National Science Foundation Fellowships

Seven Auburn University students and recent graduates have won this year’s National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. Of those seven the Honors College is proud to know and have mentored four winners including Sean Bittner, Connor Dobson, Christy Pickering, and Ben Spearman.

Read the full story on the university’s news page.

Traveling with Grace

Since many of you are traveling during your summer break we thought you might enjoy meeting one of our most recent graduates and traveling connoisseur Anna Grace.  She’s *graced* the plains of Spain and most of Europe, as well as jungles and mountains of Costa Rica.  Anna Grace was able to do all this through Auburn University’s Study Abroad program and used her experiences to write her Honors thesis on “Attitudes of Bilingualism in Madrid.”  Read more on her blog.

Three Auburn University students named Goldwater Scholars

Auburn University Honors College juniors Sara Head, Jennifer Kaczmarek and Natasha Narayanan have been chosen as 2016 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars, an honor bestowed to only 252 students nationwide this year. The scholarship is widely considered the most prestigious award in the United States for undergraduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Both Head and Kaczmarek are chemical engineering majors in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. They are undergraduate researchers on a team led by Elizabeth Lipke, the Mary and John H. Sanders Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering.

Narayanan, a double major in biochemistry and Spanish in the College of Sciences and Mathematics and the College of Liberal Arts, respectively, has conducted two undergraduate research projects, both under the direction of Bradley Merner, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Read more about Sara’s, Jennifer’s and Natasha’s individual projects, read the entire article on the Auburn University site.



Catherine Tabor Receives Fulbright Scholarship

Catherine Tabor, from Centerville, Alabama, has received a Fulbright Scholarship to Austria.

Ms. Tabor, a senior in the Honors College majoring in English literature and German, with minors in community and civic engagement, in addition to psychology will spend the next academic year in Vienna, Austria as a Fulbright Scholar.

Photo 2While in Vienna, Ms. Tabor will spend her time as an English teaching assistant at a local middle school as well as pursuing graduate course work in sociology at The University of Vienna. As part of her unique Fulbright experience, Ms. Tabor will also work with Caritas Catholic Charity assisting children and youth who suffer from seen and unseen disabilities.  Born with a physical disability, Ms. Tabor’s personal experiences have developed into a passion for the welfare of disabled people, especially children.

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“People with disabilities are not often given enough credit for what they can achieve. However, I know they are capable of more; all they need is love, encouragement, opportunity, and perspective. My experiences and compassion have made me a resilient and persistent person, who can adapt, value new experiences, be vulnerable enough to make mistakes and learn from them, and see things from varying perspectives. These traits will help me make the world a better place for people struggling with mental and physical challenges, which I strive to do as part of my Fulbright experience.”


Outside of her work, teaching, and classroom obligations, Ms. Tabor has been extended an invitation to sing with a community-based choir in Vienna – the Brunnenchor.

Among her many activities and awards Ms. Tabor is a volunteer with Lee County (AL) Autism Resource & Advocacy, an Honors Freshman Exploration Peer Instructor, an associate justice on the SGA Judicial Board, the publicity chair for Honors Congress, a certified facilitator of Sustained Dialogue, a 2015 Gilman Scholar, and a coxswain for Auburn Rowing.

When she returns from abroad, Catherine will enroll in law school.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Recipients are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential.

Joshua Passantino Nominated for Udall

Honors College junior Joshua Passantino has been nominated for the prestigious Morris K. and Stewart L. Udall Scholarship for Excellence in National Environmental Policy. The Udall Scholarship was established to provide scholarships to outstanding students who demonstrate leadership, public service, and a commitment to environmental issues.

Joshua_SmallJoshua, from Morris, Alabama, is currently a triple major pursuing degrees in Biosystems Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Spanish. Since the fall of 2013, he has pursued undergraduate research in chemical engineering using cellulose nanocrystals – a natural high strength material found in all biomass – to make high-strength films and fibers. Under the direction of Dr. Virginia Davis in the Department of Chemical Engineering, Joshua’s research is focused on mitigating brittleness in films produced from aqueous dispersions of sulfonated cellulose nanocrystals, without negating the benefits of producing the films from high concentration dispersions that exhibit liquid crystal phase behavior.

Among his many awards and honors, he was a summer 2015 undergraduate research fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, Colorado; president of the Auburn University Student Chapter of Engineers Without Borders – USA; vice-president of the Environmental Awareness Club; Supplemental Instructor (SI) in the Office of Undergraduate Studies; IMPACT Volunteer; and certified chemical and bacterial tester for Alabama Water Watch.

Congratulations, Joshua, and best of luck!

Mizna Kanafani Nominated for Udall

Honors College junior Mizna Kanafani has been nominated for the prestigious Morris K. and Stewart L. Udall Scholarship for Excellence in National Environmental Policy. The Udall Scholarship was established to provide scholarships to outstanding students who demonstrate leadership, public service, and a commitment to environmental issues.

Udall nominee Mizna Kanafani sits in the Auburn arboretum

Mizna, a Birmingham native, is a junior in Environmental Science. Since enrolling at Auburn in the fall of 2013, she has been involved in number of campus-wide activities including: Director of Freshman Forum – a highly competitive freshman leadership program designed to promote campus leadership in freshmen through individual development as well as team building; College of Agriculture Senator; Director of Auxiliary Services with the SGA Cabinet; Camp War Eagle Counselor; Vice President of Alpha Chi Omega; Sustainability for The Challenge; and Tiger Splasher for Auburn Swimming and Diving.

In her role as the College of Agriculture representative to the SGA Senate, Mizna championed a resolution recommending the implementation of composting on campus. Working with her fellow senators, the SGA leadership as well as campus partners such as Dining, Auxiliary Services, Facilities, Waste Management, and the Office of Sustainability, she was able to secure its passage winning unanimous approval.

In addition to her extensive campus service activities, Mizna was selected to Squires, Omicron Delta Kappa, College of Agriculture Deans List, and she was named Alpha Chi Omega’s “Most Outstanding Sophomore.”

Congratulations and good luck Mizna!