News and Publications

The Honors Program strives to keep our students and parents up-to-date and engaged with what is happening in the program and around campus. We also try to highlight our student's works and give them an opportunity to try a hand at journalism. In this pursuit, we have maintained three main publications:
As well as running our Twitter Feed, Facebook Page and the blog below.

June 8, 2015 -- John Kaffezakis

Beth West, a 2010 graduate of the Honors Program, posted the following on Facebook which was picked up by our :

It is now official...I will be leaving ABAC to take a position at Thailand's leading satellite operation company. Looking forward to new experiences, but will miss working with wonderful colleagues and students at ABAC.

ABAC is the Assumption Business Administration College and is a part of the Assumption University of Thailand. We at the Honors Program would like to congratulate Beth on pursuing this wonderful opportunity.

If you are an alumni that also has big news, please email us at honorsprogram@gatech.edu

Posted June 8, 2015 - -  GT News Center

Georgia Tech recently chose to make creating sustainable communities a pillar of its undergraduate curriculum through the new Serve•Learn•Sustain initiative, but it’s not the only university in the city working to expand this aspect of undergraduate learning. 

Emory University’s Piedmont Project, which began in 2001, is a faculty development program designed to help educators incorporate sustainability and environmental issues into their courses. This year, Emory invited Georgia Tech faculty to participate in a two-day summer workshop that’s part of the project.

Monica Halka, associate director for the Honors Program, took the opportunity to meet with peers from around the area to discuss how they are addressing sustainable communities in their classrooms. Participants came from disciplines as varied as health sciences, dance, film, or environmental studies. 

“We all had different perspectives on sustainability — there are so many ways to think of it — but with a focus on place: the Piedmont,” Halka said, referring to the geographical region that encompasses the Atlanta area. 

Part of the two-day workshop discussed making personal connections with community partners to find the right opportunities for university partnerships. Some outside groups may want to work with students but are not aware of some of the challenges, such as trying to fit a project into the timeline of a semester. 

“You can’t do this work unless you have personal connections,” Halka said. “You have to find people who want to work with students and, really, who have a project ready to go.”

When these challenges are faced and worked through, though, the partnerships can be extremely rewarding for both sides. Halka teaches an urban forests class that focuses on the role of trees in cities, frequently partnering with Trees Atlanta. One recent project was to conduct a tree survival inventory to help the organization determine which trees grow best in which places in the city. They also have worked with Georgia Tech Facilities Management on a soil study to determine the same thing on campus, and to look at stormwater management. 

“Students just love it,” she said. “They feel like they’re doing something real.” Many of Halka’s students have continued to volunteer with partner organizations such as Trees Atlanta, even after they finish their work in the course. 

The Piedmont Project also was a chance for university peers to find ways to collaborate with one other. This year, Halka hopes to work with a professor from Georgia Perimeter College who specializes in microbiology and can assist with training students on how to take soil samples in urban environments. In exchange, Halka will introduce the Georgia Perimeter group to Piedmont Park, where she routinely takes classes for field work.

While Georgia Tech has an influence around the globe, Halka emphasized the importance of working with local communities and doing work on and around Tech’s home. 

“If you can’t get your own house in order, how can you go out to other places to help?”

In recent years, she’s made a concerted effort to work community involvement into Honors Program courses. Chris Burke, director of community relations for Government and Community Relations, teaches a course focused on public school outreach. Kelly Comfort, associate professor in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, has taught a class that incorporates outreach with Hispanic communities.

The biggest challenge Halka has found in getting more faculty involved is that they are not formally trained on how to do it. 

“It’d be nice if it were the culture here to get involved in this work,” she said.

An experimental atomic physicist by trade, Halka transitioned into working in sustainability after coming to Georgia Tech nine years ago. While teaching a class that required students to calculate their carbon footprints, she discovered hers was larger than anyone’s, thanks to the international travel she took several times a year. She began trying to offset her emissions by volunteering with Trees Atlanta, which led to the development of her urban forests course.

“I found that the work I was doing wasn’t benefiting the world,” she said. “Urban forest work is kind of a nascent science, but I hope I’m becoming one of the experts in my old age.”

February 14, 2014 - -  Honors Program Staff

Kevin Humphries, a remarkable Honors Program graduate of May 2011, is truly following his passions.  Initially a Biology major at Georgia Tech, Humphries quickly became disillusioned with the idea of pursuing a career in traditional laboratory research.  During his first year in college, the Honors Program helped him figure out what field would be the best fit for his particular skills and interests.  “During my freshman year, Dr. Halka organized a session with the pre-Health counselor for Honors Program students.  Due to typical Tech busyness, I was the only student to show up and got the whole time to myself to talk about public health as a possible career.  The Honors Program also encouraged me to go on my first public health related trip, a medical relief trip in Costa Rica, during Spring Break and also funded my flight ticket.   I had a great experience in Costa Rica!”

After a bright undergraduate career, Humphries decided to obtain a Masters in Public Health (MPH) from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.  From there, he earned an internship in Ghana to study ethnobiology through the Carter Center.  At present, he hopes to obtain a two-year fellowship from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and continue on to a Doctorate in Public Health.  Humphries has also found the time to serve as a GED tutor through Youth Enrichment Services in Atlanta.  “I help students prepare for the GED and lend a helping hand, holistically, by inspiring them to maximize their potential.”

When asked how he achieved the aforementioned accolades, he cites the Honors Program as an essential part of the process.  “The Honors Program faculty and staff were always happy to help me with recommendation letters to numerous scholarship and internship applications.  These letters helped me get the internship in Ghana and accepted into the Rollins School of Public Health.  On top of all of this the Honors Program provided great camaraderie, extremely interesting classes, and a network of supportive people.”  We’re excited to hear how Humphries will continue to make his mark in the dynamic and inspiring field of public health. 

Kevin Humphries

February 05, 2014 - - Dr. Greg Nobles, Director, Georgia Tech Honors Program

The Honors Program is working with the Office of Housing to develop a contiguous and self-contained bloc of rooms in the North Avenue Apartments, the goal being a more coherent and intentional living-learning community that would include a range of HP students from second-years through fourth-years—or beyond.  Right now, the first step is to identify those HP residents already in North Ave. and to see how many of them plan to stay on in in the proposed HP bloc in the coming year.  Once we have that information, we will know how many spaces can be allocated to rising sophomores.  The timing for creating this housing arrangement in North Ave. is tight, and details will follow as soon as possible, but current first-years who desire to live in the HP bloc next year should begin NOW to come up with a group of four (or in some cases, six) roommates who will commit to being part of the North Ave. Honors Program community. 

 

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