A a lover of all things theatre, I was quite pleased when I found out Tanner Sebastian was writing a play for his honors thesis. While I was having nothing against traditional theses, I think it takes a certain energy to craft a successful piece of stage work. And let it be known his play was immensely successful. Not only was I brought to tears, but after leaving I was gripped by philosophical questions. Additionally, this play rendered a theatre’s worth of college students dead silent. To quiet that many twenty-somethings is a true testament to the power of his work. Thank you Tanner for the fantastic work. You did honors proud.
My experience in the Honors FYSP class has been something worthwhile. From the informational classes, to the corny ice breaker games, to be thrown into a group with a bunch of strangers, has really prepared me for starting my education at RMU. I entered the first semester knowing a lot of safety information and tips to make the transition a little bit easier. We learned about studying abroad, relationships, the SET transcript, public safety. Having Katie Connell and Rob Dougher mentor us, who have been here and experienced RMU for 3 years already, and getting to talk to other Honors kids really made me feel more comfortable. They gave us great tips, which gave us a head start on starting college. I met some great people before the semester even started and I couldn’t feel any happier or more settled at RMU, ready to enjoy the next 4 years.
The Honors FYSP experience this past summer has provided several benefits for me. At the Welcome Luncheon on Move-in day, I had the opportunity to meet other honors students who shared the same drive and determination to succeed. Our FYSP mentors, Katie Connell and Rob Dougher, were incredibly nice to us and very informative. While the FYSP experience consisted of many events, my favorite part was the dinner and book discussion at Dr. Dell’Omo’s house. Of the two dinners offered, I attended the one which discussed The Smartest Kids in the World, written by Amanda Ripley. I enjoyed analyzing educational systems around the world with my peers. It was an absolute privilege to be invited to such a formal and engaging event. During the entrire course, the faculty and upperclassmen involved treated us very well; they inspired us to be model students and citizens to both RMU and the community. The Honors FYSP course engaged me before classes even began. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!
On Friday September 12th, Honors Students kicked off the semester by attending a Pirates game at PNC Park as the Bucs took on the Chicago Cubs. It was a great way for everyone to catch up after summer break, and also make some new friends. We had great weather, and to top it all off the Pirates beat the Cubs with a score of 7-3. Hopefully, we will be able to attend some more games in the future when the Pirates kick off the 2015 season in the spring.
In March, I was lucky enough to be selected to attend the Undergraduate Research at the Capitol event, which highlights undergraduates who have completed various kinds of research at universities around the commonwealth. Each student or group of students conduct a poster presentation and are given the opportunity to interact with legislators and staffers. I presented on my honors thesis, entitled “The Relationship between Government Revenue and the Income Tax Rate”. I would encourage future thesis writers to pursue this presentation opportunity. It is an annual event in March.
You have three minutes to develop a character, a conflict, and a resolution – basically the rules for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition. Being nominated is a wonderful honor – being nominated once again after participating in the competition previously is an opportune second chance. KCACTF respondents frequently attend Colonial Theatre productions: I was nominated first for my performance as the smart-aleck Al Joad in The Grapes of Wrath. I attended the region festival with my partner, Braelin Stuver, and performed a short scene from Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie. We did fairly well and received great feedback, but did not advance.
The competition relies solely on three things: partner chemistry, practice, and (most importantly) selected material. Learning from my mistakes from last year, I plan to being my search soon for the most appropriate and impactful scenes that I can use to showcase my development as an actor. The role that allowed me a second respondent nomination was that of Antonio Salieri in Barbara Burgess-Lefebvre’s production of Amadeus; it remains to be the most taxing role I’ve encountered. Surviving the show’s run after nearly ninety minutes of personal monologues and conversations – many of which were melodramatic – was enough reward for me. Receiving the Irene Ryan Nomination is an additional honor that I will gladly tackle again next January. Furthermore, the KCACTF respondent put myself and Rachel Stetz in a pool of potential scenes from numerous regional shows to be performed at the next festival. If selected, we will be reprising our roles of Antonio Salieri and Constanze Mozart for all KCACTF Region II participants to see.
On February 26th a group of honors students joined Professor John Locke as part of the lunch with a professor series. In addition to teaching classes on campus, John Locke serves as Director of Student Activities and Leadership Development through Student Life, and thus is a familiar face to students around campus. The discussion held throughout the afternoon consisted of topics such as RMU history and fun facts, the direction RMU is heading in the future, and Disney, a personal favorite of John Locke. All in all, the event made for an enjoyable afternoon for those involved. We would like to thank John Locke for taking time out of his day to spend with us, and would love to have him join us again in the future!
Iryna Fedets, Senior Policy Analyst for Economic Freedom in Europe and Central Asia at the Heritage Foundation, and Ukraine native, recently spoke at a roundtable presentation in the Business Building. Iryna gave a brief overview of the protests occurring throughout Ukraine and summarized Russia’s role in the turmoil that is still taking place. She discussed her country’s corruption and even included a story about her sister’s university giving out A’s in return for bribes, which both intrigued and baffled the audience. Iryna said she will continue to remain hopeful towards Ukraine’s future. Recently, President Obama promised to impose harsh sanctions on Russia if they continue to ignore Ukraine’s sovereignty. With any luck, this will allow the situation in Ukraine to improve.