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BHSU honors program growing

Black Hills State University’s honors program has grown in recent years. This year there are 87 students enrolled in the Honors Program. Twenty-eight of those students are freshman, which is the second largest class to enroll in the honors program.

Honors students are required to complete rigorous honors projects to fulfill the honors curriculum. Five honors students recently completed honors projects in a variety of disciplines.

These students not only participated in the university’s honors program but completed the challenging honors curriculum. The final part of that curriculum is a major research or creative project in the student’s academic field of study. According to Amy Fuqua, honors director, the project must be approved by the Honors Advisory Committee, which is a group of 12 faculty members representing all academic disciplines.

The project, once approved, generally takes at least a year to complete and ends with an oral presentation on campus or at a regional or national conference. This work earns the student six hours of credit. Honors scholars are recognized with the presentation of a gold medallion, which they wear to graduation.

Kaley Greear, English major from Sturgis, wrote a set of thematically related non-fiction essays based on her junior year spent in Scotland—titled “The Iron Palm Tree.” To prepare for her work, Greear studied well-known pieces of travel writing from American and European authors. She began her writing process by reworking material from the journal she kept during her year abroad. The finished collection of writings is a creative examination of the relationship between nationality and individual identity.

Jay Jacobs, biology major from Reeder, N.D., identified some of the plants the Lakota people have traditionally used for medical purposes, and tested each to see whether it inhibited the growth of bacteria.

Chandra L. Miller, political science major from Spearfish, explored the effect of unemployment rates on wage penalties for women with children in the labor market. Miller adds a critical element to research already done on the discrepancy between what mothers are paid compared to their childless counterparts. She hypothesized that in places where unemployment was relatively low (and therefore employers had fewer choices about whom to hire) this discrepancy would disappear. Such findings would indicate that the differences in pay were related to discrimination. What she found, however, was that levels of unemployment did not affect this difference. Therefore, Chandra concludes, differences in pay between mothers and childless women is likely to be the result of the fact that mothers choose more “mother friendly” jobs, which often pay less.

Jacob Miller, biology major from Pierre, did a research project titled “Cancer and Chemoprevention: Designing a Novel Format for the Development and Application of Agents to Present Cance.” He studied the relationship of genetic and environmental factors that cause cancer, making use of the explosion of current research in genomics. Miller examined information about genetic mutations that indicate a likelihood of cancer. Then he studied the sorts of environmental factors (diet, for example) that would either encourage or discourage the development of cancerous cells in people who are genetically predisposed to cancer.

Tonya Morton, English major from Rapid City, wrote two original short stories and a series of analytical papers about specific, well-known short stories.

For more information about the honors program contact Dr. Amy Fuqua, associate professor of humanities and honors director at 642-6397 or Amy.Fuqua@BHSU.edu

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