The University of Rio Grande’s Honors Program works to engage gifted students through specialized curriculum, honors seminars, and a capstone project that challenges all perceptions to achieve maximum potential. Each year, the program’s seniors present their senior projects to faculty, administration and classmates on campus. The program is proud to announce this year’s group, Chloe Nared, Daniel Carroll, Lauren Mitchell, Lucas LeMaster and Stephany Davies, have successfully completed their presentations for 2018.
Nared, an accounting major from Cincinnati, focused her presentation, “Financial Freedom: A New Approach to Financial Empowerment,” on three methods of perusing financial freedom including financial education, collaborative economics and creating opportunities through entrepreneurship. She said she hopes to turn her research into action after graduation.
“This project created an opportunity for me to have a platform to talk about things I care about share more information on them,” Nared said. “I hope to go out, implement these methods, help others learn to use them and create new opportunities for myself and for my community.”
Carroll, an English major from Liverpool, England, said his project, “From Council-Estate to Summer Camp: One Englishman’s Exploration of Self through American Society,” was inspired by the cultural dissonance of coming from a working class area in England to a student in America. “This research was exactly what I needed to reflect on myself and my academic journey through American culture,” Carroll said. “I’m a first generation college student, so when I first came here, I was interested in different disciplines and took a variety of different classes. Looking back on my time at Rio, I think that opportunity has really helped me form this project and become the person I am today.”
Mitchell, an Diagnostic Medical Sonography major from Wellston, said through her project, “America: World Leader in Health Inequality,” she sought to compare health care in America to health care in other developed countries and research why one of the most developed and wealthiest nations in the world still has individuals dying because of unaffordable health care costs.
“Being in a medical setting, I’ve seen how letting symptoms go unnoticed really can be detrimental. I would like to expand this project because this is something important to me,” Mitchell said. “I think it’s great that the honors program at Rio allows us to choose these projects on our own because it sparks a genuine interest in our work and our research. The program has made me a better academic.”
LeMaster, an English major from Oak Hill, chose his project, “Charmed or Condemned?: The Persecution of Witchcraft in Real Life and Popular Culture,” to examine the persecution of witchcraft in society through the lens of popular culture. He said he wanted to analyze how witchcraft and persecution has been portrayed in popular films, television series and books.
“Researching this project has been a lot of fun because not only did I read a lot of academic literature on the topic, I was able to go back and rewatch televisions shows and reread books to analyze them,” LeMaster said. “I’m really glad this project with the honors program gave me the opportunity to do research on something different that wouldn’t have fit into another class.”
Davies, a chemistry major from Gallipolis, investigated the use of wild rye to remove heavy metals from land and water for her project, “Healing Our Land: Phytoextraction of Arsenic and Lead by Canadian Wild Rye.” She said she enjoyed researching new ways to remove pollution from the earth.
“I grew up in this area, so I wanted to tie my project into issues here in Appalachia. I’ve learned a lot from my work, and this is something I would like to continue pursuing in the field. I’m grateful to my professors for guiding me through the experiment,” Davies said. “I think it plays well to the honors program to have such a diverse group of senior projects. It’s important for us to have the opportunity to do presentations like this while we’re students because it’s great practice for our careers.”
Dean of the School of Arts and Letters and Honors Program Director Dr. Heather Duda said she is very proud of the work the Rio Grande Honors Program students put in during their final year at Rio and wishes them luck for their futures.