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Washington State University

Honors College Mentors

The Honors Mentor program pairs incoming freshmen with current Honors students based on shared academic areas of interest. Mentors strive to integrate the new students into the Honors community throughout the year by being resources to answer questions and by organizing activities where new friendships are forged. Their most important job is to help new students adjust to, and engage with, the academic challenges that a top-tier research university offers.

2017-18 Honors College Mentors


View Previous Mentors

Jessi Howe, Mentor Chair

Jessi Howe, Mentor ChairFrom:  Bothell, WA

Year in School: 5th Year Senior

Major: Civil Engineering

Minors: Environmental and Ecosystem Science

Hobbies: I spent my first four years competing for the Women’s Varsity Rowing team, but after exhausting my eligibility, I will help out with the team as a volunteer and spend a lot of time reading books and watching movies. I also ride my bike a lot – this summer I’m doing the Seattle to Portland bike ride with my dad! Overall, I’d rather be outside in nature. I love hiking, backpacking, camping, laying in my hammock, rowing, cycling, and simply exploring our beautiful world!

What is your favorite place on campus? My favorite place on campus is the new PACCAR Environmental Technology building. This building is LEEDS certified silver which means it is very environmentally friendly! Currently, the building only houses faculty and graduate students, but the 2nd floor lobby is open to everyone and is an excellent place to study! It’s a lot quieter than other places on campus because the building is outside of the main areas of campus and therefore receives less people traffic. Also, it’s simply a beautiful building and all the green features inside of it make me happy!

Is there anything special about living in Pullman or about being a Coug? The best thing about Pullman and the WSU campus is the atmosphere which surrounds both. Pullman is a happy, friendly little city. I always feel safe walking around Pullman and overall there is a pleasant feel to the town – even in the middle of the winter. College students account for about 2/3 of Pullman’s population which means us college students never quite feel out of place. Despite being small, there is always something to do, you just have to put in a little effort to go find that something!

What advice would you give to incoming freshman? I would tell freshman to get involved right away and get familiar with the entire campus. It may seem overwhelming to come to college and get involved in a club right away, but you will learn to adjust and you will probably be able to handle more than you will give yourself credit for! During the first couple of weeks, check out all the clubs you might potentially be interested in and then dedicate yourself to the ones that best fit your life plans and college schedule. Personally, I’d recommend everyone in the Honors College checks out HSAC (the Honors Student Advisory Council), because this is a club within the Honors College so you will immerse yourself in the Honors College community right away! Second, I’d tell everyone to explore the entire campus because every building on campus is unique and you never know where you might find your special place to study! Being familiar with the entire campus helps make it feel like home.
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Hayden Arend

Hayden ArendFrom:  Anchorage, AK

Year in School: Junior

Major: Chemical Engineering

Minors: German, Mathematics, Chemistry

Hobbies: I enjoy spending time outside, no matter the season. Some things I like to do include skiing, hiking, biking and fishing. When I’m not in school, I enjoy spending time with friends.

Has being in Honors given you any unique experiences or opportunities? Being an Honors student has given me the opportunity to represent the college and its students on the Associated Students of Washington State University (ASWSU) Senate. In this role, I write and publish legislation with the sole purpose of making the WSU student experience the best it can be.

What is your favorite place on campus? My favorite place on campus is the Aerospace Club Room. This club has connected me to so many amazing people and given me so many great experiences and I love spending time there.

What advice would you give to incoming freshman? The advice I would give to incoming freshman is to branch out and get involved in some way. That could mean a club, committee, research, getting a job, Greek Life, or a myriad of other things. From my experience, involvement is the most important thing you can do to feel included and engaged, especially when you’re away from familiar friends and family.
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Julianna Brutman

Julianna BrutmanFrom:  Bothell, WA

Year in School: Senior

Major: Neuroscience

Hobbies: Presently, I have three pet betta fish: Sultan, Siyan, and Soros. I am also working on my gardening skills with a plethora of mums and petunias, although the rabbits have decided to wage war against me this year. Occasionally I bake cookies, and recently, I have started to learn how to make sour dough bread. I am actively involved in undergraduate research, and was selected as a 2017 Goldwater Scholar this year. As far as academic involvement goes, I am the Secretary of the Honors Student Advisory Council, Vice President of Neuroscience Club, and a College of Veterinary Medicine Promoter.

Plans for Summer 2017: This summer, I will be working on a Washington State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Program Summer Undergraduate Fellowship that focuses on understanding the genesis and maintenance of obesity in females. I will also be frequenting Ferdinand’s Ice Cream Shoppe.

What is your favorite part about the WSU Honors College? Honors is fun because the students, as well as faculty, come from very diverse backgrounds. All Honors students are alike in the sense that we value learning, however, we differ significantly in how we personally relate to the subjects that are taught in Honors College courses. This diverse array of perspectives always leads to fascinating conversations, as well as unexpected learning outcomes, which is what makes these courses unique and valuable.

Is there anything special about living in Pullman or about being a Coug? Even though Pullman is in a very rural area, there are tons of things to do around here. Importantly, there are clubs and activities that suit every interest.
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Zili Chang

Zili ChangFrom:  Bellevue, WA

Year in School: Sophomore

Major: History

Minors: German, English

Hobbies: I spend my free time reading and streaming TV shows and movies. My favorite genres to read are historical fiction and historical nonfiction. Two of my favorite TV shows are Flight of the Conchords and Arrested Development. I also enjoy visiting art museums in Seattle and San Francisco.

What is your favorite place on campus and why? I like the Fine Arts Center, which is home to the Department of Fine Arts and the WSU Museum of Art. A lot of student artwork is displayed on the building’s walls and throughout the main lobby. It is a fun and inspiring place to visit! Professional art exhibits are on display throughout the year at the museum, too.

What is your favorite part about the WSU Honors College? I like the small class sizes provided by the WSU Honors College. They allow for increased face-to-face time with professors, as well as increased familiarity between students. I also like the perks that come with being an Honors College student. For example, there are distinct study abroad scholarships available to Honors College students. Also, Honors College students get to check out library books for extended periods of time. 

Is there anything special about living in Pullman or about being a Coug? I like Pullman because it is located in such a beautiful area. Awesome views of the Palouse can be found all over campus, and the climate in Pullman is so fun! It was 30 degrees in April, then up to 80 degrees less than a month later.
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Marissa Chukwu

Marissa ChukwuFrom:  Lagos, Nigeria / Brooklyn, New York

Year in School: Senior

Majors: Zoology, Biology (Pre-Medicine)

Hobbies: Besides my love for science and medicine, I am a painter and have been painting since I was 7. I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria and was born in New Jersey so I love to travel and meet different people from different cultures. I love taking pictures of scenic views like vivid Pullman sunsets. I enjoy watching Grey’s Anatomy because it gives me a feel of what it takes to be a surgeon. And finally, I love to style hair. I have been styling my hair and other people’s hair for a good three years. It allows me to experiment with my look, express myself and be creative.

Has being in Honors given you any unique experiences or opportunities? The Honors college has created an environment for me which allows me to succeed. I enjoy the class structures and the relationships that I get to have with my colleagues. You get the sense of being part of something bigger, where everyone is working towards a similar goal. Being an Honors College student has also helped me with my confidence and organization, which in turn has given me the ability to succeed at my medical internship and other volunteer opportunities. Above all, the Honors College gives you the ability to be confident in many academic disciplines outside of your major and provides experiences that allow you to actively learn in and out of class.

Is there anything special about living in Pullman or about being a Coug? I come from big cities where a lot of things are happening every day, all the time, and it is hard because you tend to get lost in it all as a young adult. Pullman has such a friendly and softer approach to living; I never knew a college town could be so nice to live in. The peace and serenity that Pullman brings has impacted my learning experience greatly in a way I could have never imagined. Here in Pullman you can stay focused so easily and everyone is so friendly that the stress of being a science student is lowered. Being a Coug has made me change my perspective on life and has given me the confidence and happiness that I need to thrive in my major.

What advice would you give to incoming freshman? “There is no such thing as a stupid question.” My mother taught me this in high school and this quote has been one of my guiding factors ever since. There are numerous advantages, opportunities and knowledge just waiting to be picked up. You would be surprised how much you can gain if you just ask. I always tell people to not only apply this to your academics but to everyday life. “Regardless of who you meet and how long you may know them, always try to learn something from every person you meet.” Knowledge is power, you may never know who you may be standing next to and what they know. Go Ahead and ask away, you’ll hardly lose anything if you do. Also, be true to who you are. These next few years are all about you and an opportunity to explore the things you may like or dislike; life is way easier when you find happiness in the things that make you YOU.
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Paige Danielson

Paige DanielsonFrom:  St. Cloud, MN

Year in School: Junior

Major: Electrical Engineering

Hobbies: I am a member of the Washington State University Women’s Rowing team. Other activities I enjoy are distance running, biking, and spending time outside. In my spare time, I also enjoy reading books and baking.

What is your favorite part about the WSU Honors College?  There are many things I like about the WSU Honors College. The one that stands out to me to the most is the community that I get from the Honors College. WSU is a large school, but it feels a lot smaller in the Honors College community. I enjoy being around other students who are dedicated to their academics, yet who also are a lot of fun to be around. As well, I have thoroughly enjoyed the Honors College classes I have been a part of. The smaller classes are fun and interactive. Additionally, the professors are wonderful and helpful. In the Honors College, everyone wants each student to do their absolute best and are very willing to help.

Is there anything special about living in Pullman or about being a Coug? It might sound cliche, but there is nothing like being a Coug. The community feel is everywhere and I feel like the whole college is my extended family. Few things make me as proud as saying “Go Cougs” and the Coug family is everywhere: here in Pullman, across the state, and even across the country.

What advice would you give to incoming freshman? Don’t stress too much. Stress enough to get everything done that you need to and do your work, but there are things out of your control. If you need help, ask for it! It’s not worth getting worked up when there are easy solutions available; there are more resources on campus than a person can utilize!
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Olivia Dietrich

Olivia DietrichFrom:  Olympia, WA

Year in School: Junior

Major: Microbiology

Minor: French 

Hobbies: I enjoy being with animals. I can’t have other types of pets in my apartment, so I’m currently obsessed with my betta fish Lumière. When I’m home over the summer, I get to spend time with my two dogs, cat, and three ducks. I also enjoy photography and community service.

Plans for Summer 2017:  I will be studying abroad in France for six weeks. It is a faculty led trip and I’ll be getting French credits which will allow me to complete my minor. I will be staying in Paris for the majority of the time, but we will also be taking a few excursions to other parts of the country.

Has anything surprised you about being in the Honors College? I was surprised by the classes. My English 298 class was on food consumption and my Honors 280 class was on the Vikings. Both were very interesting, but I had not expected to learn about either during college.

What is your favorite place on campus and why? My favorite spot on campus is on top of the library looking over the practice football fields. I lived in Global Scholars Hall during my freshman year and whenever I needed a study break or just wanted to take a little walk, I would go to the top of the library. I like it because you can watch football practice or look out and see so much of Pullman and the rolling hills. It’s beautiful at night too.
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Mikayla Engstrom

Mikayla EngstromFrom:  Granite Falls, WA

Year in School: Junior

Major: Biochemistry (Pre-Medicine)

Minor: Spanish, Biology

Hobbies: I am a very outgoing individual so I really enjoy meeting new people all the time! I love reading, crocheting, crafting of any sort, hiking, playing and watching sports, and of course adventuring.

Plans for Summer 2017: This summer, I am going on a study abroad trip to Ecuador for one month! I will be taking Spanish courses abroad while completely my Spanish minor, and getting honors credit as well. We will be visiting many different regions of Ecuador including the Andes mountains, the Galapagos, the coast, and a few Cloud forests near the Amazon basin. After I return, I will be spending the summer in Pullman working in a research lab.

What is your favorite part about the WSU Honors College? I really enjoy the small class sizes and varied topics throughout each section. It is very easy to find a class that interests you and is unlike any other you have taken in all your other classes. I also find that there is a great sense of community within the Honors College and within each of your classes. It helps to make strong connections and build relationships throughout WSU.

What is your favorite place on campus and why? My favorite place on campus would have to be Martin Stadium. Every time I walk by it, football game or not, there is such a joy that runs through me. I am constantly reminded of all of the hours I’ve spent cheering on our teams at sporting events, spending quality time with friends and family, and the happiness that college can bring you.

What advice would you give to incoming freshman? If I were to give any incoming student a piece of advice, it would be that if and when the going gets tough, never be afraid to speak up and ask for help. There are so many resources – Honors staff, older students, WSU faculty, clubs, tutors, etc. – who know exactly what you are going through and want to see you succeed. Don’t think you have to give up, take a leap to step outside of your comfort zone and search for help. It will be there when you need it. Advisors help a lot too!
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Amethyst Freibott

Amethyst FreibottFrom:  Prescott, AZ

Year in School: Senior

Major: English

Minors: Comparative Ethnic Studies, Communication 

Hobbies: As an English major, I love to read. Mostly memoir or non-fiction essays. I am also an avid videographer and photographer; I go on video adventures with my little brother and we film random short films or montages. That’s what I originally wanted to study in school, but was driven to English because I wanted to be a storyteller more than anything.

What is your favorite part about the WSU Honors College? The community – of both students and faculty – sets the WSU Honors College apart. I met my best friend at Honors College orientation and I met my mentor and thesis advisor in my first Honors College course. I think the small class sizes and discussion based learning have been the perfect combination for me to find my niche at WSU.

Is there anything special about living in Pullman or about being a Coug? As an out of state student, Pullman is especially nice because, as a college town, almost everyone is moving here for the first time. We’re all learning together what it means to be an adult and there’s something really special about Cougs helping Cougs. 

What advice would you give to incoming freshman? Don’t be afraid, it’s only college. It’s not the end of the world. Make mistakes and take some time to be “selfish” enough to figure out who you are but selfless enough to try everything and meet everyone.
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Sarah Hiller

Sarah HillerFrom:  Richland, WA

Year in School: Senior

Major: Accounting and Finance


Sports – I enjoy playing and watching sports. My favorite sports include basketball, football, soccer, skiing, and tennis.

Travel – My family travels often around the US and Canada. I’ve always had an urge to visit Europe so last summer I decided to study abroad in Spain for six weeks. I also spent time in Portugal and Italy last summer.

Music – I love how music can bring people together. Discovering new music makes me excited. I used to play piano, but I haven’t practiced in a while.

Has anything surprised you about being in the Honors College? A nice aspect of the Honors College is having smaller classes, but what has surprised me most is how many of the same people were in my classes both semesters my freshman year. Several people from my Alive! session and Honors College Orientation were in my classes, so it was great to have some friends and familiar faces in my classes before they even began!

Has being in Honors given you any unique experiences or opportunities?
The Honors College is always looking for ways to help its students learn and grow. For me, becoming an Honors College Mentor has been a great opportunity. I have been able to give back to the WSU and Honors College community by sharing my knowledge each year to new students.

What advice would you give to incoming freshman? My advice for freshman is to get involved! Don’t be afraid to go to events by yourself to meet new people. Maybe none of your friends want to go to an event that you are interested in. This is your chance to branch out and meet new people who are interested in the same things that you are interested in.

There are so many wonderful opportunities at WSU for you to take advantage of and grow from. My freshman year I got involved in an accounting organization on campus called Beta Alpha Psi. By my sophomore year I was attending almost every meeting and by my junior year I was the Vice President of Finance for the organization. This had led to many great friendships and professional connections.

Lastly, I highly recommend checking your WSU email every day. I try to check it at least every morning (you never know when a professor might send out an email saying class is cancelled). WSU also sends out emails to students discussing important upcoming events (that sometimes have free food), which you don’t want to miss out on!
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Allisa Horst

Allisa HorstFrom:  Bremerton, WA

Year in School: Junior

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Minor: Computer Science, Mathematics, German

Hobbies: During school, I have 2 jobs and a research position, which I love! Outside of school and jobs, I like to play Halo with some friends, I play Dungeons and Dragons once a week, and I enjoy going to the Rec Center when I can.

Plans for Summer 2017: This summer, I am in Germany! I got a research position through the DAAD RISE program at Dresden TU. Outside of my research, I am practicing my German with my roommates, and I plan to do a lot of traveling on the weekends and holidays.

What is your favorite part about the WSU Honors College? My favorite part is the feeling that you always have support. This goes for my friends and the faculty within the Honors College. Through every step of my journey, my friends are there for me, and the Honors College is always willing to help where they can!

What advice would you give to incoming freshman? I would say to understand that we [the mentors] are always here to help! We, as upperclassmen, have taken those hard classes you are going to face, and I know at least I dealt with homesickness a lot. So please don’t feel like you are someone that we won’t understand.
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Maddie Kasimanickam

Maddie KasimanickamFrom:  Pullman, WA

Year in School: Junior

Major: Zoology (Pre-Medicine)

Hobbies: Some of my hobbies include playing tennis, learning new songs to play on the guitar, singing, and photography. I am also a member of the American Medical Student Association club on campus and the WSU chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta, a Pre-Medical Honors Society.

Plans for Summer 2017: Since I’m from Pullman, I often spend my summers relishing in the fact that the majority of students have left town, and I can finally go in and out of Wal-Mart in a timely manner. This summer is no different. To keep myself busy, I am diving into undergraduate research by working in the laboratory of Dr. Raymond Quock, a professor in the Department of Psychology at WSU and with the Honors College. I was very fortunate to be awarded a CAS Mini-Grant of $3000 by the College of Arts and Sciences for my summer research, and my research is focused on the effects of the use of Hyperbaric Oxygen to reduce the symptoms caused by opioid withdrawal in humans, using rodent models.

Is there anything special about living in Pullman or about being a Coug? During my first two years of college, I have come to realize that the phrase “Go Cougs!” symbolizes a lot more than a simple cheer for a college sports team. Being a Coug is a chance to not only study at a wonderful university but it is also an opportunity to be surrounded by people who encourage you to pursue your life goals. Being a Coug is also a chance to give back. Not only do Cougs help other Cougs, many students who attend WSU also aspire to aid communities far and wide through a variety of approaches, ranging from new ways to cultivate crops to providing better healthcare for poverty-stricken areas. Being a Coug is a lifetime commitment and after living in Pullman for so long, I can easily admit that Pullman provides a wonderful society where college students, or anyone for that matter, can develop amazing relationships with other community members, and discover their purpose in the world.

What is your favorite place on campus and why? Ferdinand’s Ice Cream Shoppe! They make some of the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted, and I love going there with friends who are from out of town to show them a small part of why Pullman is so special.
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Jaquie Kunz

Jaquie KunzFrom:  Sunnyvale, CA

Year in School: Junior

Major: Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Sciences

Minors: Comparative Ethnic Studies, Biology

Hobbies: I like to hike, play with my dogs, read, take care of my plants, and talk about my nine-month old niece.

Plans for Summer 2017: I am working as a gardens and food pantry intern at the Community Action Center in Pullman. This job allows me to combine my love for nature with my knowledge of local food systems (which I learned about through one of my Honors classes).

Is there anything special about living in Pullman or about being a Coug? I love living in Pullman. It is a true college town – everyone is involved in WSU or supportive of WSU. It makes me proud to call myself a Coug. I come from a more urban background, so coming to a town like Pullman is a nice change, since the people are friendlier and the lifestyle is more relaxed.

What advice would you give to incoming freshman? Talk to strangers. I know it goes against everything your parents told you, but talk to people in your dorm or your classes. People always appreciate a compliment or an offer to help them carry groceries or boxes. WSU is such an awesome community of individuals. You will probably have something in common with these “strangers” and you might find your new best friend!
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Madison Leas

Madison LeasFrom:  Los Angeles, CA

Year in School: Junior

Major: Anthropology

Minor: Political Science (Pre-Law)

Hobbies: My hobbies include reading, listening to music, cooking, backpacking, and scrapbooking. I also really love animals—dogs, cats, birds, and goats. When I was in high school, I trained parrots to do tricks!

What is your favorite part about the WSU Honors College? Within the Honors College, we find a wide variety of people from all aspects of life and from all different academic backgrounds. I like the fact that I can take an Honors class—on a subject that I am not at all familiar with—and hear the differing opinions and interpretations of my classmates. I think that the Honors College represents the brilliant makeup of the university. I love it.

Has being in Honors given you any unique experiences or opportunities? Although I know it sounds a bit odd, I believe that the Honors College has given me the special opportunity to believe in myself academically and professionally. Due to the Honors College and the amazing academic advisors at WSU, I gained the strength to apply for competitive internships, job positions, and scholarships. I think that the Honors College teaches students that they can strive to do better, be better, and promote social change. That is an amazing opportunity in itself.

Has anything surprised you about being in the Honors College? I think that I am always surprised by how active and involved members of the Honors College are when it comes to events and fundraisers. I am always surprised to hear about fun events taking place in the Honors College lounge or library throughout the semester and even during Finals Week. The Honors College offers so many opportunities and resources that promote campus unity.
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Katie Lober

Katie LoberFrom:  West Richland, WA

Year in School: Sophomore

Major: Bioengineering

Minor: Mathematics

Hobbies: I love musical theatre! I also love to play the saxophone. In my free time, I love hiking with my two dogs, Cleo and Cody.

Plans for Summer 2017: This summer I will be moving to Rapid City, South Dakota to participate in a National Science Foundation REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) at South Dakota School of Mines. I will be working in a research lab along with faculty and graduate students on a biochemical engineering project involving protein extraction from soybeans.

What is your favorite place on campus and why? My favorite place on campus is the very top floor of the Owen Science and Engineering Library because it is by far the best place to study. It is never crowded and it offers some pretty spectacular views of campus.

What advice would you like to give to incoming freshman? My first piece of advice would be to get involved. Getting involved is the best way to make friends and to set yourself up for a successful future. One of the best ways to get involved in the Honors College is to join HSAC. It’s a fun way to meet other students as well as Honors College faculty. My second piece of advice would be to think ahead: meet with your academic advisor early, reach out to find research as soon as possible, make a four year plan, look for summer jobs during the beginning of second semester, research graduate and professional schools. It is so important to be prepared and showing initiative is a great quality to have.
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Brandi Long

Brandi LongFrom:  New Glarus, WI

Year in School: Sophomore

Major: Psychology

Minor: Women’s Studies

Hobbies: I enjoy hanging out with friends, watching Netflix (scaring the pants off of myself with horror movies), listening to music, making Spongebob references, napping, gasping at cute dogs, finding places on campus to sit and hang out, and watching sunsets.

What is your favorite part about the WSU Honors College? I love the fact that class sizes are so small— it was definitely a weight lifted off my chest. Having primarily classes of 25 rather than 300+ made it easier to transition from a high school of 300 people to a larger institution like WSU. In most of my Honors College courses, the desks/tables have been situated so that all of us students face each other, which is much better for discussion, as well as actually knowing the faces of the people in my class. This means that I get the opportunity to know my peers and professors on a level deeper. As much of a community as WSU is, the Honors College feels like a smaller-scale, tight-knit community within the broader context of being a Coug.

Has anything surprised you about being in the Honors College? When I applied for the Honors College, I didn’t know a lot about it. I assumed honors classes are a lot more rigorous than regular classes, and that it would be filled with competition and chock-full with super-focused-on-academics types. I was pleasantly surprised— yes, the classes are rigorous, but just in different ways than regular classes. The Honors College fosters more of a fellowship between classmates, allowing the collaboration between those of different walks of life, especially because the class sizes are so small. And lastly, Honors College students vary greatly in personality, majors, and experiences, and you never know who you’ll make friends with!

What advice would you give to incoming freshman? Make time for you, take naps or chill in other ways when you need, don’t be afraid to take classes on random topics you know nothing about, keep track of assignments and due dates (the syllabus is your best friend!), strike up conversations with those you sit next to in classes,  pet all the dogs you can on campus.
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Keesha Matz

Keesha MatzFrom:  Chehalis, WA

Year in School: Senior

Major: Microbiology 

Hobbies: I enjoy exploring the outdoors through hiking, biking, and kayaking. I am also an avid traveler who loves to experience new places and cultures. In my free time at WSU, I like to go to the student recreation center, hike Kamiak Butte, or go for a bike ride.

Has being in Honors given you any unique experiences or opportunities? The Honors College helped me to travel to Boston last summer to present my research at a national conference. Also, with the support of the Honors College I was able to participate in a full immersion Spanish program in Costa Rica during the summer after my freshman year.

What is your favorite place on campus and why? The student recreation center is a great place to take a break from homework and studying! They have a great facility that offers lots of classes and activities that help you stay active while at WSU.

What advice would you give to incoming freshman? Don’t be afraid to ask for help. From my experience, faculty and students are more than happy to help you out. Also, get outside of your comfort zone while you are at WSU. You will be amazed at how many opportunities open up if you show interest and engagement.
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Acacia Neveux

Acacia NeveuxFrom:  Hockinson, WA

Year in School: Sophomore

Major: Zoology (Pre-Vet)

Hobbies: I love to go long distance running, hiking, swimming, and any other outside activities. I also love to dance, sing, and watch musicals.

Is there anything special about living in Pullman or about being a Coug? Living in Pullman has been such an amazing experience. It’s one of the most peaceful areas that I have ever lived and it’s been such a nice place to focus on my studies. I love the hills because it gives the campus a more dynamic feel. Being a Coug is also really special because there is such a strong connection between everyone on campus because of the passion everyone shares for this university.

Has anything surprised you about being in the Honors College? One of the things that surprised me most about the Honors College is how interactive and engaging the classes are. I am able to have a more meaningful connection with my professors and am able to learn on a more dynamic level. I was also surprised how much of an interactive setting each class had. There were always group projects that were assigned which meant that it was necessary to work with others on a daily basis. I was able to learn a lot about team work and group effort.

What is your favorite place on campus and why? My favorite place on campus is the bear habitat. In April the bears come out of hibernation until October and they run around their enclosure. It’s fun to see because WSU is the only place in the world that does research with Grizzly Bears. I also am a fan of the greenhouse in the Abelson building because its full of amazing and beautiful plants.
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Ryan O’Dea

Ryan O’DeaFrom:  Spokane, WA

Year in School: Junior

Majors: International Business, Chinese, French

Hobbies: When I’m not in the classroom or working as a Resident Advisor I enjoy heading outside to take some photos. I prefer shooting landscapes and cities, but am working on portraits to try and expand my photography portfolio!

Plans for Summer 2017: This summer I am super excited to continue my education abroad. I will be traveling to Taipei, Taiwan to take classes in Chinese language at the National Taiwan University while working at a marketing internship for the International Taipei Arts Festival.

Has anything surprised you about being in the Honors College? When I first came into the Honors College I thought that it would be a replica of AP classes in high school: term memorization, tons of notes, stress, highly focused on as much content in as little time as possible. However, Honors College classes focus on critical thinking as opposed to learning how to fill in a bubble on an exam sheet. For example, in my Honors Economics course instead of learning simple macroeconomic regression from our book, we looked at long rung aggregate demand and supply models for current world events and problems.

What is your favorite place on campus and why? My favorite place to go on campus is Kimbrough Hall. I enjoy sitting in the chairs directly outside of the concert hall where you can listen to music from the practice rooms, see friends, or soak up some of the sun that filters through the large glass windows. It’s also located right next to coffee shops, so I have easy access to caffeine.
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Alex Phung

Alex PhungFrom:  Mill Creek, WA

Year in School: Sophomore

Major: Biochemistry

Minor: French 

Hobbies: I dabble in the occasional PNW-venture, but when I’m not doing that or getting down with my friends, I’m working out or going on a drive. When I’m back in Pullman, I’ll probably be heavily involved with my fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta.

Is there anything special about living in Pullman or about being a Coug? There’s this strange thing about Pullman, and I think it’s one of the things that unites us as Cougs. While the amount of activities in Pullman may initially seem scarce, over time you’ll make friends, find new hobbies, and WSU will begin to feel like home to you.

What is your favorite part about the WSU Honors College? My favorite part about the Honors College is the class structure. The smaller class sizes enables one to get to know their range of diverse fellow co-eds better, while also facilitating a better teacher-student connection (which really comes in handy when it’s time to visit the professor’s office, trust me). Meanwhile, the actual curriculum is focused on discussion over testing, allowing a greater understanding of the material to be gained from trading opinions and ideas with other classmates, versus cramming the material the night before a test (if you’re like me at least).

What advice would you give to incoming freshman? MANAGE YOUR TIME. I say this having learned it the hard way: balance your time. Read your syllabi, mark down the important dates in a way you’ll remember, and do the work before you go have fun. But when disaster strikes, stay calm, organize a plan of action, and things will shape out alright.
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Becca Polsin

Becca PolsinFrom:  Bremerton, WA

Year in School: Junior

Major: Civil Engineering

Minor: German 

Hobbies: I love exploring! I enjoy hiking, driving to new places, trying out a new restaurant or shop – I just want to learn more about where I am. My favorite place so far has to be the water tower on campus. The night sky is crystal clear and even though it is right on campus, it takes me away from school for a bit. I also enjoy sports, watching and playing. Volleyball is one of my favorite at WSU and sailing has to be my all-time favorite.

What is your favorite part about the WSU Honors College? The Honors College is a supportive tight-knit family inside the larger cougar family. The professors care for each individual student and their learning goals. The support inside the classroom motivates me and others to expand worldly knowledge and really appreciate other views. The Honors College challenges me to investigate and research global issues that I would have never had the exposure to otherwise.

Has being in Honors given you any unique experiences or opportunities? Going into college I assumed all classes would be 100+ students with no personable professors, but the Honors College quickly changed that. Not only have all my professors known my name, they also care about my personal life. My English professor, who has since retired, noticed a drastic change in my performance in class and made time to meet with me and find the cause. He supported and mentored me, going beyond the expectations of a college professor.  The Honors College is also very supportive of study abroad, providing financial support and academic support. I would not have had the opportunity to travel this summer without them.

Is there anything special about living in Pullman or about being a Coug? Pullman is the best college town: beautiful sunsets, lively weekends, and home to the BEST COLLEGE. There is no way to describe the bond Pullman has to its residents. I learned over the summer how truly amazing this little town can be. The cliffs, the dunes, the farmers market are all unique to this town. Pullman takes stress away, the snow falling right when you need a spontaneous photoshoot and sledding break. It is a home away from home.
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Kevin Pool

Kevin PoolFrom:  Silverdale, WA

Year in School: Senior

Majors: Entrepreneurship, Finance

Hobbies: Reading, writing, learning, cooking, camping, book collecting, and Cuesports

Has being in Honors given you any unique experiences or opportunities? 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.

Is there anything special about living in Pullman or about being a Coug? Being a Coug puts you in the cougar family and gives true meaning to the quote “Cougs help Cougs” because we are always willing to help each other no matter the situation. I’ve seen moments where the cougar community has come together to provide food, blankets, clothes, et cetera, without hesitation because another Coug was in need.

What advice would you give to incoming freshman? Don’t be afraid to get involved in class and outside of class. Getting involved may appear to be the most daunting task, especially if you’re shy, but it’s worth it in the end. It’ll maximize your college experience and encourage self-growth.
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Colleen Reynolds

Colleen ReynoldsFrom: Kelso, WA

Year in school: 5th Year Senior

Major: Sports Science/Kinesiology, Pre-Med

Hobbies: I love to hike and explore all over the Pacific Northwest, I also enjoy running, weightlifting, teaching, cooking, and exploring. Lately I have also been attending autocross events across the Pacific Northwest, and creating anatomy games in my free time.

What I like about the Honors College at WSU: There are so many things I appreciate about the Honors College, but most importantly the Honors College makes me feel like a person and not just a number. Coming from a small town to a large University I was afraid I would get lost in the shuffle. But, the Honors College has not allowed that to happen they have helped me every step of the way and I appreciate them for that. In addition, I have taken classes that given me a much better understanding of the things I am most passionate about, the flexibility in class topics has allowed me to stay engaged in classes that ordinarily I would not have the slightest interest in.

What has surprised you the most about being in the Honors College? What surprised me most about being in the Honors College was the variety of classes and the amount of knowledge I obtained from those classes, in addition I was shocked at how welcoming and helpful the Honors faculty and professors are. The faculty and staff of the Honors College are wonderful resources and very friendly and incredible mentors.

If you could give one piece of advice to any incoming student, what would it be? If I could give one piece of advice to an Honors Student it would be appreciate every moment of your time in undergrad. This experience will go by very fast and don’t be afraid to try new things, even if it sounds impossible there are people within this program who will help you no matter what you are trying to accomplish.
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Megan Rosenkranz

Megan RosenkranzFrom:  Vancouver, WA

Year in School: Junior

Major: Psychology (Pre-Med)

Minors: Biology, Chemistry 

Hobbies: I have played piano for 18 years and violin for eight.

What is your favorite part about the WSU Honors College? The Honors College is one of the first positive interactions that I had here at WSU. Both of my parents are alumni but until I came to campus and had the opportunity to meet with advisors, I didn’t know if WSU was right for me. However, when I heard students speak and had the opportunity to speak with Honors College advisors, I really felt like WSU could be my home. My favorite part about the Honors College is the small class sizes I couldn’t find elsewhere. That, along with stories from other students made it clear that this is what I was looking for as a freshman.

Has being in Honors given you any unique experiences or opportunities? Honors has provided me with many opportunities, but one of the most notable being the research position with the WSU College of Nursing. I had the amazing chance to do research at Pullman Regional Hospital on the hospital to home transition after hospitalization for CVD in the rural older adult. The researchers are now my thesis advisors as I work on writing up the results of the study.

Is there anything special about living in Pullman or about being a Coug? Pullman is a pretty incredible place, and you don’t really get the true feel for it until you are living on campus. Everyone is family and we all help each other out, Cougs help Cougs and that isn’t exemplified anywhere better than Pullman.
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Sarah Schroeder

Sarah SchroederFrom:  West Richland, WA

Year in School: Sophomore

Major: Bioengineering

Minors: Mathematics

Hobbies: I love theatre in all its aspects, especially musical theatre. I can slip a show tune line into pretty much any conversation. I also love playing soccer, spending time with my friends, being outdoors, reading, and cooking.

What is your favorite part about the WSU Honors College? My favorite part of the WSU Honors College so far is that it makes a big university feel small. The Honors College community allows me to always know someone in my Honors College classes from the moment I walk in the door, which is incredibly comforting. On top of that, smaller class sizes make getting to know classmates and professors easier. I have thoroughly enjoyed all my Honors College classes thus far.

What is your favorite place on campus and why? My favorite place on campus is the market under Global Scholars Hall. It’s like a mini grocery store on campus, and they have pretty much anything you could want food-wise. They always have late night nachos, a killer salad bar, and frozen yogurt too. There have been many a time that I have gotten dinner there after a late test. The market always had my back, and it’s pretty much my favorite place.

What advice would you like to give to incoming freshman? I would just say to get involved as early as possible, whether that means in clubs, in sports, in research, or just in a study group. Joining groups is probably the best way to make friends because you already will have something in common! Also, being involved makes a big difference in feeling like you belong here.
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Claire Severin

Claire SeverinFrom:  Anacortes, WA

Year in School: Sophomore

Major: Chemical Engineering

Minors: Mathematics, Chemistry, Computer Science

Hobbies: I really enjoy hiking, whether it is in the San Juan Islands or around the Palouse, and getting fresh air at beautiful locations. While on these daytime journeys, I like developing my photography skills (pun intended). On rainy days, I often find myself in the kitchen, either baking or cooking for my family and friends, or cuddled up with a good book and cup of tea.

Has being in Honors given you any unique experiences or opportunities? Through the Honors College, I have had the opportunity to connect with upperclassmen on a more personal level, obtain advice and meaningful information about classes and teachers, and make some pretty great friends through my involvement in the Honors Student Advisory Council (HSAC).

Has anything surprised you about being in the Honors College? I had originally applied for the Honors College because I was accustomed to being in AP and Honors classes in high school and wanted to continue on a rigorous path towards my degree. Instead, I was introduced into a much more well-rounded curriculum that helps shape students into more knowledgeable members of society after graduation. The Honors College acts as a gateway to the world, whether taken literally from the encouragement (and offered support) to travel abroad or for our lives after graduation. I was definitely surprised by this kind of environment in the Honors College rather than the purely academic one as I was expecting.

What is your favorite place on campus and why?  I have two favorite places on campus for different reasons: the basement of Wegner Hall and the tree tunnel that runs from the  WSU Historic Memorial Arch up to Thompson Hall, passing by Honors Hall. Wegner is where I spend a lot of time studying for exams, working on ChemE homework with classmates, participate in AIChE meetings (a chemical engineering club) or making batteries and fixing solder joints for the AIChE Reaction Car Team. The tree tunnel is my non-academic favorite place because the lighting there, especially right before sunset, is so magical and calming. It’s especially great for taking pictures or enjoying a great book.
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McKayla Wixom

McKayla WixomFrom:  Vancouver, WA

Year in School: Senior

Major: Zoology (Pre-vet) 

Hobbies: I actually went to an art school in Vancouver, WA growing up 6th grade to 12th grade, so the arts have always been a big part of my academic and creative process! I am a visual artist (painting, drawing, etc.) and I actually work as a commissioned portraitist—funnily enough usually for portraits of people’s pets! I also have been dancing since starting art school as a 6th grader, and at WSU I’ve been an active member and choreographer for Group Effort Dance Company—a multicultural, student-led dance team on campus that performs nearly every other weekend! I also teach Modern dance with the University Recreation Center—come take my class in the fall! Outside of the arts and academics, I am an avid member and student leader within Resonate Church, a campus ministry at WSU, and seek to do everything I do heartily, as for the Lord, rather than for man (Colossians 3:23).

Is there anything special about living in Pullman or about being a Coug? When I first got to Pullman, I hated it. Vancouver is a huge city full of so much art and culture and fun things to do. But, after a year here, I soon realized that Pullman is just the same. All the same opportunities—interesting and novel lectures, cultural events, new movie releases, swing dancing, art walks, farmer’s markets, etc.—that I had back home are available in Pullman, only the ones here are all within walking distance! There is never a lack of things to do in Pullman.

Has anything surprised you about being in the Honors College? I think what I found most surprising was the fact that I was so cared for and so known by the Honors College faculty. The professors remember me. The administrators know me. The Dean calls me by name every time I see him in passing. The Honors College is an intimate community.

What advice would you give to incoming freshman? Find your community! You WILL be the people who you hang out with—surround yourself with the kinds of people you aspire to be. The beginning of the year is a great time to connect with RSOs (student clubs) and other organizations. Put your name down, try them out, and see if you like it. There is a club for nearly every hobby under the sun here! School is wonderful, but find for yourself a creative outlet, too. As Honors College students, it can be easy to eat, breathe, and live school. But I sincerely believe that you will be bettered by a well-rounded love for the arts/sports/etc. and a love for people as you find your niche here at WSU. Welcome to the family!
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