Lessons Learned from Lunch with Dr. Rauscher

“Lunch with a Professor” is something the Honors Program sponsors a few times each semester. The event allows students and selected professors to have lunch and chat in an informal setting. In early April, Dr. Lauren Rauscher came to the Honors Student Center and had lunch with a few students. Dr. Rauscher quickly made everyone feel at ease and was genuinely interested in what the students were doing both in finishing up school and over the summer. She made everyone feel like no matter our summer plans —whether we had internships or were just having a relaxing break — that our choice was right for us. During the lunch, I felt as if the students and Dr. Rauscher were both learning from one another. While we discussed everything from trips and internships to home improvement projects, Dr. Rauscher made us feel as if each student truly had something valuable to share that everyone could learn from. After spending over an hour together, the group went their separate ways, but each person felt as if they were important and on the right path.


Dr. Lauren Rauscher, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of WMLP

– Kelly Jones


A Different Perspective of World War I

On March 27, I attended an Honors Roundtable titled “The Forbidden Zone: Women’s Poetry and Boundaries in the First World War” by  author Dr. Connie Ruzich. The Roundtable explored work from many poets around the world and their various perspectives on the war  and its living conditions at the time. While many of the remembered World War I poems are from soldiers themselves, Dr. Ruzich also explored poetry from many female poets whose work may not be as well-known, such as Mary Borden’s “The Song of the Mud.” Through wartime posters and photographs, poetry readings, and interpretations of said readings, Dr. Ruzich kept her audience very interested and engaged for a thought-provoking Roundtable. Dr. Ruzich continues to post research on World War I poetry on her blog. You can visit behindtheirlines.blogspot.com for more of her attention-grabbing work!

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– Emily Raab

My Experience Learning Arabic

“As-salam Alaykom” or hello! I never would have expected that I would know such a phrase. However, a student-run Arabic course on campus has opened me — and my classmates — to a new language and culture! Student teachers were very welcoming, helpful, and made learning a difficult language enjoyable. Attempting to learn a language so different than my own was a one-of-a-kind experience that I highly recommend for any student. I’ve found that trying new things can definitely lead to fresh perspectives. This class was indeed a refreshing introduction into another language: something that is otherwise hard to come by. As a result of this class, this summer I will be taking part in the University of Pittsburgh’s Summer Language Institute in hopes of improving my Arabic-speaking skills!

– Margo Gamble

Presenting my Honors Thesis

Presenting at the 2017 Northeast Regional Honors Conference in Pittsburgh was a wonderful conclusion to my yearlong undergraduate research project, which focused on the best techniques for teaching English Language Learners a Common Core text. I presented my research alongside two other Honors students from the region and we received plenty of thoughtful questions from the audience. Overall, the N.R.H.C. was a remarkable opportunity to interact with other Honors students from the greater area in an academic conference setting.


– Savanah Buhite

Q&A with Editor and Historian John Meachem

As Dr. Chris Howard said, “we should squeeze every opportunity like a sponge and make the most out of it.” The lecture with Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Presidential Historian, former editor-in-chief of Newsweek, and contributing editor to Time Magazine, was one of the many learning opportunities held on campus this spring. During the lecture, Meacham discussed how politics have evolved, political attitudes have developed, and the media has become a contradictory conundrum. During the event, I inquired: “Who do you consider to be the greatest American president, and why?” His answer was: “I believe the greatest was Abraham Lincoln because he conquered a lot of adversity and unified the country when it was deeply divided… Not only is he an incredible example of what a president should be like, but he also showed what it was like to be human.” Coming from a well-known multi-awarded presidential historian, his answer was very powerful and compelling, resonating greatly with the present time.

John Meacham

Meacham with RMU sophomore Danielle Wickland

– Danielle Wickland

Eleventh Annual U.R.C.

The 11th annual Undergraduate Research Conference was held on April 21st. This year, we saw the largest number of participants to date with 22 poster presentations and over 40 papers discussed. The topics ranged from a poster about artificial fingertips to a presentation discussing Korean dramas to a creative project about Lego robotics and piano playing. 17 honors theses were presented at this conference as well.



The Honors Graduating Class of 2017

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– Hannah Arnold


Honors Enrichment Award: Muscle Memory and Learning Hangeul Letters

My second month RMU Honors funded Korean learning experience has been interesting, to say the least.

Korean is more difficult than I originally thought. Earlier this month I realized that learning Hangeul and learning Korean would mean sacrificing quality over quantity. In order for me to learn the language, I need to continue to concentrate my efforts on understanding the Korean alphabet. So I made the decision to alter my expectations; to move the goal posts if you will. My new goal is to gain proficiency in Korean as a writing system first, and as a spoken language second.

As an exercise to improve my learning I began to write out the Hangeul letters. While practicing, I found that my hand and my brain were acting as if they had minds of their own. It turns out that while my mind was concentrating on recreating a letter in Hangeul, my hand’s muscle memory would kick in and try to write in English instead. This mostly happened with the character “ㄹ” which would quickly turn into a malformed “Z” due to my traitorous muscle memory.

Despite some interesting hiccups, a month later, I believe I have met my goal. As of now, I can write in Hangeul at a basic level with decent accuracy. Despite the fact I never learned much Korean translation or conversation, my two months of Hangeul were rewarding all the same. I learned that muscle memory can be an amusing hindrance to writing. I appreciated the challenge of the language. Most importantly, I built a strong foundation for myself to continue my studies of Korea, its language, and culture. I thank RMU Honors, Professor Harold, Professor VanDieren, and Lindsey Sobolosky for generously allowing me to pursue Hangeul this summer.

Jade Lu-Zoller