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Washington State University

Honors College Ambassadors

Honors student ambassadors serve as liaisons between the college and prospective students and their families. The ambassadors are current students who represent Honors at academic fairs on campus and university recruitment events. They also visit high schools across the state to share their WSU and Honors Experiences with Washington communities. The program is managed by the Honors College Recruitment Coordinator, Kristen Wedam.


Got a question for the ambassadors?

Corey ConnorsCorey Connors

Hometown: Tumwater, Wa
High School: A. G. West Black Hills High School
Area of study/academic interest: Wildlife Ecology
Involvement/Activities at WSU: WSU Wildlife Society, Raptor Club, Student Alumni Ambassadors, Honors 198 Facilitator, Student Entertainment Board
Hobbies: Reading, hiking, painting
Why I chose the Honors College: I chose the Honors College because I have always done AP or Honors classes and it is something that I have come to expect from myself. However, once I became part of the Honors College, I found myself immersed in a tight-knit community. The Honors College provides a place for students to meet other students from a variety of backgrounds and academic interests. In addition to this, the Honors College provides an opportunity for us, as undergraduates, to interact with and form relationships with faculty. Networking and getting to know faculty is so important because you can learn so much from people already established in your field. Also the faculty are just great people and I love getting to know them on a personal level as well. Priority registration is another of my favorite perks from the Honors College.
How the Honors College helped shape my college experience: The Honors College has helped shape my college experience through its wide variety of topics and people. I love meeting people from all different academic areas that help me think in a different way or look at something from a different angle. I also really enjoy how diverse the class topics are because it broadens my education. I am able to learn about a lot of different topics and discover things that I have never heard of before that I find interesting. The Honors College has shown me how I can broaden my horizons.
How the Honors College prepared me for my future: The Honors College has prepared me for my future by challenging me in a positive way. The Honors College provides a place for students to grow and learn at their own pace. The professors teach you how to take the next step in your learning and I can now transfer this skill to everything that I can. In the future, I can use these skills that I learned from the Honors College to continue to challenge myself to be a better person, to learn, and to grow.
Myths I can bust:
“The Honors College is ‘too hard’ for me.”
“You can’t have a social life as part of the Honors College.”
“The Honors College doesn’t have any real benefits for me. It’s only a ‘title’.”
Fun fact: I have touched the Atlantic Ocean from both sides.

Allisa HorstAllisa Horst

Hometown: I am a navy brat, which has allowed me to see and live in many places in America.
High School: graduated high school from Olympic High School in Bremerton, WA, and attended my first years of high school at Goose Creek High School in South Carolina
Area(s) of study/academic interest(s): Mechanical Engineering with interests in Math, German, and Computer Science
Involvement/Activities while at WSU: work at the CUB as well as at the Lewis Alumni Centre; Society of Women Engineers, and officer for the Student Alumni Ambassadors
Why did you choose the WSU Honors College? I chose Honors College originally for the opportunities that it provides its students.
Why have you chosen to stay in the WSU Honors College? I stayed in the WSU Honors College because of all of the connections I have made with other Honors students as well as the unique courses that are now opened up to me.
How has the Honors College helped shape your college experience? In my few years with the Honors College, it has given me the opportunity to receive several scholarships and become an Honors Mentor after just one year at WSU!
How has the Honors College prepared you for your exciting future? The Honors College has also given me the confidence to continue through my major wholeheartedly, and it has given me many opportunities to grow professionally.
What myths about the Honors College can you bust? A question that I get occasionally is, “Are Honors classes harder than their non-Honors equivalents?” This is NOT true at all, and I personally learn better through the Honors class environment – small class size, discussion based, focused on having the student succeed, not just pass.
Fun fact about you: I am a Disney fanatic, and if you see me on campus, I will probably be wearing my 101 Dalmatians shoes!

Ashley HuynhAshley Huynh

Hometown: Sumner, Wa
High School: Sumner High School
Area of study: Biology and Spanish, Pre-Dental
Involvement: Pre-Dental club, Circle K International, Spanish speaking tables, Honors 198 facilitator
Hobbies: swimming, hiking, cooking, traveling, skiing
Why did I choose Honors College? When I applied to the Honors College the senior year of high school, a few friends were part of the college and recommended I apply. They talked about the small class sizes, interesting course topics, amazing professors, and the tight knit community. That alone convinced me to join Honors, and I am happy I did!
Why stay in Honors? I stayed in Honors because all of those qualities my friends told me about were true. Honors has is a community of friends, academically challenging, support system, provides an introduction to new and different ways of thinking and topics, and has given me the opportunities and experiences that will help me in my future career and endeavors.
How has the Honors College helped shape your college experience? One thing that I really find amazing about Honors is the support and encouragement they offer. Because of the global emphasis, I studied abroad for a semester in Argentina to complete my Spanish major, spent a summer in Mexico conducting research, and traveled to Uganda for my thesis research.
How has Honors prepared you for your future? One benefit about Honors classes is they introduce you to topics that you might not otherwise study and/or be exposed to. Going into a profession such as dentistry, having knowledge about many varied topics is helpful in building connections and relationships with your patients.
Myths about the Honors College:
Myth: Honors classes are harder.
Truth: Honors classes require you to think
Myth: Honors students are only focused on academics, and are not social.
Truth: Honors students are in fact very involved in academic and non-academic extracurricular activities. Many Honors students are part of the Greek system, the previous and current student body presidents were Honors students, and many students are involved in Division I sports, undergraduate research, drama, study abroad, and many more.
Fun fact: Sea turtles can stay underwater for up to 5 hours. And they’re my favorite animal!

Bre KelseyBre Kelsey

Hometown: Everett, WA
High School: Cascade High School
Area(s) of study/academic interest(s): Genetics and Cell Biology, Microbiology, Psychology, French
Involvement/Activities while at WSU: Honors Ambassador, Honors Mentor Program Chair, HSAC Vice President, Undergraduate research assistant in the WSU Infant Temperament Lab, Student Executive Director at the Cougar Leadership Center in Student Involvement
Hobbies: Dancing, reading, doing arts and crafts, singing in the shower (it makes my voice sound better), and relaxing/sleeping when I have time!
Why did you choose the WSU Honors College? As a high school graduate, I was very much a type A student who felt the need for perfection, and the title “Honors” initially grabbed my attention. However, as I learned more about the College, the smaller class sizes and the discussion-based curriculum, I really felt like it was a good fit to help get me out of my comfort zone while still being within a smaller, more tight-knit community. WSU as a whole is a very big place for an introvert like me, and I loved the thought of having a “home base” to come back to in Honors.
Why have you chosen to stay in the WSU Honors College? The Honors College, from day one, has actually helped me break out of my need for perfection and discover where my passions lie, both through the classes I’ve taken, the professors and other faculty I have spoken with, and the students (and friends) I have met. It is important to recognize that your best work doesn’t have to be perfect, and as a student and a future professional I learned how to make mistakes, and recover and learn from them. Hands down, the Honors College and all of my associated experiences and interactions have allowed me to grow and develop into someone who can have this more effective mindset.
How has the Honors College helped shape your college experience? I have been involved in several leadership positions within the Honors College because I wanted to give back in return for how much the experience has aided in my personal growth and development. Through these positions I have gained a lot of leadership experience in different contexts, event planning experience, and most usefully, experience with collaborating and communicating with many people who have very different backgrounds. My involvement with Honors has largely defined the last three and a half years that I have been a student at WSU, because I wanted to get a lot out of it.
How has the Honors College prepared you for your exciting future? The Honors College experience has increased my confidence in both public speaking and my ability to effectively articulate my thoughts. I am also more comfortable with advocating for myself, and these things have been a huge bonus as I am beginning to navigate the professional world beyond college. I have met such a variety of people and had such a rich experience interacting with that diversity that I feel more confident about navigating in professional settings.
What myths about the Honors College can you bust? I think a common misconception is that the Honors College is “harder,” or more like the Honors or AP experience in high school. The Honors classes are structured in a way that make them perhaps more intellectually stimulating, and more than once I have been challenged to think about issues from multiple different perspectives. In my time here, my Honors classes have also challenged me to dig deeper into issues, and start to ask questions about how and why, rather than just learn the material. Most people find this to be very exciting, and not harder at all!
Fun fact about you: I love all that is Disney! I have been to Disney parks 7 times so far in my life (that number will go up!) and my top five favorite movies are all Disney as well.

Keesha MatzKeesha Matz

Hometown: Chehalis, WA
High School: W.F. West High School
Area of study/academic interest: Microbiology
Involvement/Activities while at WSU: undergraduate researcher in a virology lab on campus, Honors freshman orientation mentor, Molecular Biosciences peer mentor, undergraduate research peer mentor, and University Recreation events and trips
Hobbies: Biking, Hiking, Kayaking, Scuba Diving…basically anything outdoors! I also enjoy traveling and learning about other cultures.
Why did you choose the WSU Honors College? I liked the fact that it was a small college within a large research university. This way I could have the scientific research opportunities but still take part in the Honors curriculum.
Why have you chosen to stay in the WSU Honors College? My experience at WSU has been enriched because of the Honors College. The Honors faculty has been so helpful with navigating all aspects of college. Also, I have really enjoyed the discussion based Honors classes.
How has the Honors College helped shape your college experience? I have been able to study abroad in Costa Rica, attend a national science conference, attend Honors conferences, and apply for prestigious scholarships with help from the Honors College.
How has the Honors College prepared you for your exciting future? It has allowed me to strengthen my professional communication skills by attending conferences. Also, Honors classes have helped me improve my writing and presentation skills. The thesis project will also help me in developing research skills necessary for my future plans of pursuing a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology.
What myths about the Honors College can you bust? The Honors curriculum is not harder than the UCORE classes that non-Honors students take. I think they are just different in that they are small discussion-based classes rather than large lecture classes.
Fun fact about you: I have summited Mt. Hood in Oregon.

Bogdan “Theo” MynkaBogdan “Theo” Mynka

Hometown(s): Spokane, Wa; Kharkiv, Ukraine
High School: Lewis and Clark High School
Area of study/academic interest: Music, Vocal Performance
Involvement/Activities: while at WSU STAGE, NATS, ALLEGRO, Theatre, Opera
Hobbies: Singing, binge-watching Netflix shows, poetry, evening strolls in Pullman
Why did you choose the WSU Honors College? I wanted to get a more global education and acquire critical thinking skills in multiple fields of study. Additionally, smaller classes and approachable professors, along with a support network of professors and counselors/advisors.
Why have you chosen to stay in the WSU Honors College? Everyone in the Honors college is Extremely helpful, and the students here motivate me to work harder and explore new ideas.
How has the Honors College helped shape your college experience? The positivity and enthusiasm for excellence is evident in every aspect of the Honors College: from general announcements to one-on-one meetings with faculty and staff, everyone pushes me to put my extra foot forward. Overall, it sometimes seems so natural to work hard for the things I want, because it seems that the people around me want the same thing. The Honors College also provides many job opportunities that all encourage student involvement and advance communication skills.
How has the Honors College prepared you for your exciting future? The Honors College encourages me to challenge my own limits and make sure that my dreams and goals are backed up by plans and realistic approaches to those goals. In essence, shoot for the stars, but make sure you have a plan to get there and what to do when you get there.
What myths about the Honors College can you bust? Not everyone in the Honors College has a 4.0, and we love having fun! The Honors College organizes weekly and monthly events (such as game and movie nights, pool, outdoor events, ice-cream socials) where we can take a break from academics and have some fun with friends and peers.
Fun fact about you: I speak 5 languages! (not fluently)

Alyssa NorrisAlyssa Norris

Hometown: North Pole, Ak
High School: Monroe Catholic High School
Area(s) of study/academic interest(s): Major: Civil Engineering (environmental emphasis), Minors: Math, Ethics, Certificates: East Asian Competency for Engineers
Involvement/Activities while at WSU: Hall Government, ASWSU (delegate, senator, and committee vice-chair), ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers – general member, concrete canoe team), SWE (Society of Women Engineers – general member, Executive Officer, President), Harold Frank Entrepreneurship Institute (Fellow, president), Undergraduate Research, Solar Decathlon, Study abroad, Business plan competition, Tutoring
Hobbies: Dirtbiking, Reading, Fishing, Hiking, Writing poetry, Camping
Why did you choose the WSU Honors College? I chose to be a member of the WSU Honors College because I loved the people that I met when I first toured WSU, as well as the opportunities that they encourage. I liked the idea of having small interdisciplinary classes and the hands-on learning opportunities that were available.
Why have you chosen to stay in the WSU Honors College? The classes that I have taken through the Honors College have been some of my favorites. I have been given so many opportunities through the Honors College including traveling across the country, and abroad. I also appreciate the dedication that the professors and Honors College staff put into their work, and how much they truly care about their students and how much they want to help them succeed.
How has the Honors College helped shape your college experience? I have met some of my best friends through the Honors College, I was able to take courses that challenged me to think about issues I had not considered, and it has opened up opportunities that I wouldn’t have thought possible.
How has the Honors College prepared you for your exciting future? In addition to what I have learned through the Honors College curriculum, I have learned how to conduct and present research, talk to professionals, and become more confident in myself.
What myths about the Honors College can you bust? People in the Honors College only care about grades: while grades are important, most Honors college students are active participants in many on-campus clubs, student government, and other organizations. It is hard to be an engineering student, and in the Honors College there are lots of engineers in the honors college and being in the honors college and in engineering is not difficult, they work with you to make sure that you are able to graduate on time and meet all your requirements for both colleges.
Fun facts about you: Santa Claus of the North Pole is my next door neighbor. I used to race dirtbikes. I have dyslexia. I have seen a polar bear (not in a zoo).

Ryan O’DeaRyan O’Dea

Hometown: Spokane, Wa
High School: University High School
Area of study/academic interest: Foreign Culture, Piano, Chinese, French, International Business
Involvement/Activities while at WSU: Resident Advisor, President of the Global Language and Culture Club, Emerging Leaders, VIP Crimson Leadership Program, Chinese Language Table
Hobbies: In my free time I like to use Rosetta stone to form a basis of other languages, but outside of learning I really like to go and see films down at the Pullman movie theater or go to Dutch Bros in Moscow.
Why did you choose the WSU Honors College? I chose the WSU Honors College because they offer more resources that are available for myself and other students to use. Honors students are able to meet with Honors faculty which are more than happy to provide you with scholarship and internship opportunities. Additionally, I really like to globally minded aspect that all of the classes share.
Why have you chosen to stay in the WSU Honors College? Originally I was a little unsure of what Honors actually did beyond the name ‘honors.’ After taking Honors Economics I learned that each class is as diverse as the individual can make it. If you don’t like the course topic, you can actually choose to research something within the topic that interests you, and then present your findings to your classmates.
How has the Honors College helped shape your college experience? The Honors College has guided me to both study abroad (and plan another trip) and to apply for scholarships I would have never heard of prior to my honors involvement.
How has the Honors College prepared you for your exciting future? Focusing in International Business creates a slew of opportunities, both in the business side of the world, but also through political ties as we study law and trade regulations. The Honors College has, and continues to, help me sift through all of these and truly help me find the program that best fits what I want to do.
What myths about the Honors College can you bust? For some reason, and I am guilty of this too, the word ‘honors’ connotes that the courses will be more difficult, time consuming, and boring. In reality, I’ve found this to be quite the opposite. I don’t have to study for a majority of my Honors classes, due to the discussion based nature we do most of the discussing in class, and in almost every class we end up running past time because students want to continue to sit there and discuss opposing viewpoints.
Fun fact about you: I keep a travel journal and a photography portfolio of all the places I’ve been to! I keep note of what happened during the day, the cities I visited and just generally cool things I find around.

Summer OttSummer Ott

Hometown: Seattle, Wa
High school: Holy Names Academy
Areas of study: Animal Sciences (pre-vet), Spanish
Involvement/Activities at WSU: Honors Mentor, Pre-Veterinary Club Secretary, Research Assistant in the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine
Hobbies: running, skiing, swimming, hiking, playing classical guitar, and working with veterinarians!
Why I chose the Honors College: I was greatly interested in the Accelerated 7-Year program in Veterinary Medicine offered through the Honors College, and was looking for a tight-knit community within the larger university where I would be surrounded by like-minded students.
Why I have chosen to stay in the Honors College: Some of my best friends are in the Honors College, and I love being able to converse with these friends both at the academic level in our discussion-based classes and also on a more personal level outside of class. Additionally, having an advisor within Honors has been a huge asset in my college career, as I’ve received an incredible amount of encouragement and support from her, and from other faculty members in the Honors community.
How has the Honors College helped shape your college experience: The Honors College made my transition to WSU incredibly smooth, as I immediately felt welcomed and valued in this community. Furthermore, Honors has greatly supported my academic goals. One incredible opportunity I was able to participate in last year was an internship with a bovine veterinarian that the Honors College helped facilitate. The Honors College has truly helped me on my way to my future career as a veterinarian, both in an academic sense and in gaining real-world experience.
How has the Honors College prepared you for your exciting future? The Honors College has provided me a great number of opportunities, ranging from a veterinary internship to involvement in research at the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine. The small, discussion-based classes have helped me develop critical thinking skills that I will utilize in my career, and the guidance from Honors faculty has been amazing. I am ecstatic to pursue my career path, and find great comfort in knowing that Honors is fully supporting me in achieving my professional goals.
What myths can I bust? Coming into the Honors College? I was nervous that my peers would be overly-confident and more intelligent than me. However, this notion could not be further from the truth! All of my peers in Honors are incredibly smart, but are also very humble people. Everyone brings unique gifts to this college, and the whole community is overwhelmingly supportive and wants everyone to be successful.
Fun fact about me: I am a 2nd generation Coug!

Kevin PoolKevin Pool

Hometown: Silverdale, Wa
High school(s): Central Kitsap High School & Olympic High School
Areas of study/academic interest: Entrepreneurship, Finance, Engineering & Economics
Involvement/Activities while at WSU: ATLAS Student Organization, ATLAS Program, E-Boeings Connections Program, Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate Club, Honors College Mentor, Honors College Ambassador
Hobbies: Reading, writing, learning, cooking, camping, book collecting, and Cuesports
Why did you choose the WSU Honors College? When I was in high school, I rarely challenged myself and when I attempted to, I would become discouraged as I compared myself with my “more intelligent” peers. I chose the Honors College because I wanted to challenge myself as an individual, improve my oral and written communication skills, and to have an accomplishment to show how hard I worked to succeed.
Why have you chosen to stay in the WSU Honors College? Classes are different in the Honors College. They’re not your basic general education class because they have personality created by the faculty. I love that I am able to receive an education at least equal to if not greater than that of a regular class as the classes foster varied perspectives and topics to keep you interested. I get a sense of satisfaction and excitement when it comes to completing classes and starting new ones because every learning opportunity is by choice and these are not standard classes offered.
How has the Honors College helped shape your college experience? The Honors College has given me the opportunity to maximize my educational opportunities and self-growth. It has helped me improve my critical thinking and oral & written communication skills. For me, it has also encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and introduce myself into uncommon territory such as getting involved in clubs and community service, which have become very common for me. I will eventually travel abroad next spring thanks to the Honors College.
How has the Honors College prepared you for your exciting future? The Honors College has ameliorated my confidence and given me the support to pursue my ambitions no matter the challenge. Working alongside the faculty has provided me with constructive feedback that has improved me as an individual. I’m no longer uncertain about my abilities and potential to succeed.
What myths about the Honors College can you bust? Often what comes to mind when thinking of an honors curriculum are classes designed for smart people. Growing up, I feared I wasn’t smart enough and that often caused me to shy away from challenging myself academically. After joining the Honors College, I learned that everyone is going to learn at their own rate, do their best for themselves, not others, and can always choose to challenge themselves.

Colleen ReynoldsColleen Reynolds

Hometown: Kelso, Wa
High School: Kelso High School
Area(s) of study/academic interest(s): Kinesiology (Sports Science)
Involvement/Activities while at WSU: Lead TA for Human Anatomy for the Kinesiology Program, Honors College Ambassador, Honors College Mentor, Youth Soccer Coach with Pullman Parks and Rec and Cowlitz Youth Soccer Association,Youth Wrestling Coach with Kelso Youth Wrestling Program
Hobbies: Hiking and Exploring the Pacific Northwest, Coaching Youth Sports, Experimenting with healthy cooking techniques, Exploring and developing exercise programs, Reading classic literary works
Why did you choose the WSU Honors College? I chose the WSU Honors College because I wanted the experience of attending a Division 1 university with the academic challenges and prestige of a small liberal arts college. I wanted to know that I could get the experience of a small school, while still having access to the latest research that WSU has to offer.
Why have you chosen to stay in the WSU Honors College? I chose to stay with the Honors College because I have had no reason to leave.
How has the Honors College helped shape your college experience? The Honors College has allowed me to become close with the academic faculty. Currently I am working on a proposal for the National Institute of Health with one of my honors college instructors. The Honors College has allowed me to realize my potential in higher education.
How has the Honors College prepared you for your exciting future? This experience has allowed me the opportunity to consider pursing a PhD, or other graduate degree in my field, that I did not think was possible.
What myths about the Honors College can you bust? The Honors College is an academically engaging experience without the busy work. Everything that I have completed throughout my academic career in the Honors College was beneficial and meaningful to not only my education, but how my education relates on a global scale.
Fun facts about you: I’m a first generation college student. I am the youngest instructor at WSU, and oversee the Kinesiology Anatomy labs. I love exercise and health related topics. I am a huge fan of the TV shows Parks and Rec and The Office. I have a cat that has lived in prison, his name is Reggie. My favorite place in the entire world is Timothy Lake near Mt Hood, in Oregon.

Liz Rice-ReynoldsLiz Rice-Reynolds

High School: Bonney Lake High School
Hometown: Bonney Lake, Wa
Area of study: Genetics and Cell Biology, Psychology, Neuroscience
Involvement/Activities: Undergraduate Researcher (STARS Program), School of Molecular Biosciences Undergraduate Mentor, Honors Mentor, Cougar Connector (tour guide at WSU), Scientista Club
Hobbies: Zumba, Grey’s Anatomy fanatic, Cougar Football fan!
Why did you choose Honors? I wanted a rigorous, liberal-arts university education while still attending a top tier research institution, and I knew that Honors could give that to me! I wanted the big college experience, with all the opportunities that provides, along with a smaller class size and a unique, stimulating curriculum.
Why have you stayed in Honors? I have found that Honors was everything I have hoped for! I have found an amazing group of friends in Honors, and it has allowed me to receive a wide variety of learning in a small, positive environment.
How has Honors shaped your college experience? I have lots of directions I am interested in going in the future, and Honors has helped me explore those options without ever getting off track for my major. I have been able to take classes in the history of medicine, in Neuroscience, and in short story writing, all while fulfilling my Honors requirements! Additionally, the amazing mentorship and counseling in Honors has helped me feel stable in my college plan, which is incredibly valuable to me!
How has Honors prepare you for your future? Honors has already prepared me for my future by giving me a diverse education, allowing me to gain a variety of knowledge that could prove useful in the future. Also, I know Honors will continue to help me toward my goals by providing great study abroad opportunities and helping me connect with internships in STEM to prepare me for graduate school.
What myth can you bust? The “I’m not smart enough for Honors” myth. Honors is not harder than the general university requirements, it is just different, and therefore there is no way you cannot be smart enough for the program. If you are hardworking and excited about learning, Honors is perfect for you!
Fun fact: I love giraffes, and have a collection of giraffe print items (including a stuffed giraffe as big as me!) You could say it’s an obsession.