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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.


2018-19 Honors College Mentors

 

View Previous Mentors

Olivia DietrichOlivia Dietrich

Hometown: Olympia, Wa
Area(s) of Study: Microbiology
Involvement at WSU: Honors Mentor Chair; Co-President of Circle K International; Promoter for the College of Veterinary Medicine
Hobbies: Reading; hiking; kayaking; playing with animals; taking photos; watching Netflix

What is your favorite place on campus and why?
My favorite place to study is in the Owen Library because it’s rarely crowded and you can find quiet spots on the upper floors with beautiful views.

Myths you can bust about the WSU Honors College:
“Myth: Honors courses are harder than UCORE courses.

In my experience, the Honors courses have not been harder than the UCORE courses that my friends have had to take. I haven’t had to take exams and my professors have been reasonable with the amount of work they assign. I think the topics are a lot more interesting too. I’ve had a class on Vikings with the Honors College to complete my Honors 280 credits, which has been one of my favorite classes.”

What is your favorite weekend activity in Pullman?
My favorite weekend activity is going to the Cougar football games at Martin Stadium. I haven’t missed a game since attending WSU. I also love going to visit the grizzly bears on campus. It’s always a fun way to relieve a little stress.
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Claire SeverinClaire Severin

Hometown: Mount Vernon/Anacortes, Wa
Area(s) of Study: Civil Engineering (Water Resources/Infrastructure)
Involvement at WSU: Assistant Honors Mentor Chair, Honors Student Advisory Council (Secretary), Alpha Delta Pi, WSU Residence Life (Residential Tech Assistant), American Society of Civil Engineers, Society of Women Engineers
Hobbies: Photography, making puns and dad jokes, baking, being outside (crabbing, hiking, etc), volunteering with FIRST Robotics

Why did you join 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. Yeah, it’s kind of cheesy, but it’s also very true.

What opportunities or experiences have you had through the Honors College?
Through the Honors College, I have had the opportunity to connect with students on a more personal level, obtain advice and meaningful information about classes and teachers, and make some pretty great friends through my involvement and leadership in the Honors Student Advisory Council (HSAC). Being in the Honors College is being in a more academic, well-rounded, supportive Coug family.

Myths you can bust about the WSU Honors College:
Myth: Honors Students are a whole bunch of nerds with no social life. False. A lot of students in the Honors College are involved in social extracurricular activities, like being in a Greek Chapter or in Honors Student Advisory Council (HSAC). There are many opportunities for Honors College students to explore their interests and become more well-rounded people, academically and socially.
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Nadira AliNadira Ali

Hometown: Gig Harbor, Wa
Area(s) of Study: Accounting
Involvement at WSU: Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, Cougs Against Cancer: Relay for Life, WSU Honors College
Hobbies: Netflix, crafting, exploring with friends

Why did you join the Honors College?
I joined the Honors College to become a part of a group of people that work every day to push me to fulfill my potential.

What has been your favorite Honors College class thus far and why?
Honors 380 because I learned about creative non-fiction writing and I learned different ways to express myself through writing.
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What are the Honors College faculty like?
The Honors College faculty are ridiculously hardworking and relentless. I have yet to meet more people on campus that are more dedicated to helping each other.

Libby AllenLibby Allen

Hometown: Richland, Wa
Area(s) of Study: Mechanical Engineering
Involvement at WSU: SWE, HSAC

What opportunities or experiences have you had through the Honors College?
The Honors College has played a huge part in my experience here at WSU! The two biggest parts were the classes and HSAC (Honors Student Advisory Council). It’s hard to say which was a bigger influence. The classes in the Honors College are smaller than regular lecture classes, so I got to know my classmates and professors, which made the classes more fun. Through HSAC I’ve met so many great friends and gotten to see the workings of the Honors College through event planning and volunteering.

What is your favorite weekend activity in Pullman?
The movies that the Student Entertainment Board (SEB) puts on at the CUB on weekends are fun to go to. They’re always recent releases and movies I actually wanted to see. It’s great to go over with some friends and see the latest movie everybody’s been talking about!

Favorite memory from your freshman year at WSU:
My favorite memory from freshman year is going sledding on Thompson Flats. I was with a few friends at the Hillside DIning Hall when we started talking about the rumor that dining hall trays make good sleds. The dining halls were just about to close, so we picked out some makeshift sleds and went to try them out. We ended up using everything from garbage bags to actual sleds people had left behind, with varying success.
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Ava BeckAva Beck

Hometown: Spokane, Wa
Area(s) of Study: Speech and Hearing Sciences, Global Studies, Psychology
Involvement at WSU: CAS Dean’s Office Student Courier, Residence Hall Ambassador, Campus Christian Fellowship, Emerging Leaders
Hobbies: Reading, Walking, Learning Languages

Why did you join the Honors College?
I joined the Honors College because I wanted to be challenged academically and because I was drawn to the smaller class sizes and more specific focus of the classes. It turns out that the Honors College at Washinton State University is a lot more than a higher level academic track; it’s a place to invest in higher level thinking and to interact with the most interesting material, along the the professors that teach it and the other students learning alongside you. And that’s what I have loved about being in the Honors College — you never know quite what to expect but you’re always pleasantly surprised by what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown at the end of any given class.

What has been your favorite Honors College class thus far and why?
During my first semester of college, I took English 298 with Robert Eddy and that was the first class I had ever taken that really challenged my perspective of the world and how I am living in it, which is why it’s one of my favorite Honors College classes. This class, and all the other honors classes I have taken so far, have given me a glimpse of what real education and real challenge are — it’s not ultimately about the grade or the tests, but about the way that your thinking can be changed by another person’s ideas.

What is something you wish you wish you had known when you first started college?
When I first started college, I wish I had known about the simple complexity that comes with living away from home. Things seem very simple in that the only expectations you have to meet are your own and the only rules you have are the ones you make for yourself, but the complexity comes from the establishment of these rules and expectations. No one is telling you what to do and what not to do and suddenly you have to rely on your own understanding of yourself and your world to make those decisions — its freeing yet also terrifying.
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Paige DanielsonPaige Danielson

Hometown: St. Cloud, Mn
Area(s) of Study: Electrical Engineering
Involvement at WSU: Honors Student Advisory Council (HSAC), Women’s Varsity Rowing Team

What do you like most about being a student in the Honors College?
There are many things I like about being a student in the Honors College. The one that stands out to me to the most is the community that I get to be a part of within the Honors College. WSU is a large school, but it feels a lot smaller as a student in the Honors College . 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 classes I have been a part of. The smaller classes are fun and interactive. It has allowed me to get to interact with students from a variety of backgrounds with a variety of academic interests. It is easy to get to know some of the students in your major once you’re in upper level courses and have small classes with just them. Being a student in the Honors College has given me have this experience with a larger variety of people, expanding my network. 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.

Has anything surprised you about being in the Honors College?
The most surprising thing about the Honors College has been the uniqueness of everyone’s experience. While we all take the same set of courses, the courses are vastly different. It allows each person to personalize their experience and learn more about a specific subject by taking one section of an Honors class versus a different section. Beyond that, it has offered teaching moments between me and my friends. I get to learn second hand the information they are learning that they are excited about in their section of an Honors class. Each experience is unique and it enriches everyone’s experience.

What has been your favorite Honors College class thus far and why?
It is hard to just say one, but my favorite class probably has been Honors 380 with Dr. Sergey Lapin. It was about the Russian history, language, and culture. What stood out to me was how personal and close the class felt. Dr. Lapin made an effort to know everyone and the atmosphere encouraged both learning and discussion. Dr. Lapin was passionate about the subject and I think that is really what the Honors College is about at its core – passion about academics. History, language, and culture are not the area where Dr. Lapin got his PhD in, but they are areas he wanted to teach about and that translated into a great classroom experience.
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Mikayla EngstromMikayla Engstrom

Hometown: Granite Falls, WA
Area(s) of Study: Biochemistry with minors in Spanish and Biology, Pre-Med
Involvement at WSU: Pre-Health Club Vice President, MBioS Mentorship Program Chair, Mentor for Team Mentoring Program, WSOS Scholar Lead, Teaching Assistant for Anatomy Lab (Biol 315), Research in Dr. Roberts Lab
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.

What do you like most about being a student in the 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 class you have taken. I also find that there is a great sense of community within the Honors College and within each of the classes. It helps to make strong connections and build relationships throughout WSU.

What is something you wish you wish you had known when you first started college?
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!

What is a fun fact about yourself?
My favorite flavor of ice cream at Ferdinand’s is Apple Cup Crisp.
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Vanessa GiramateVanessa Giramata

Hometown: Kigali-Rwanda
Area(s) of Study: Agricultural Economics and French
Involvement at WSU: Honors Mentor
Hobbies: I like cooking, singing, and meeting new people!

How has the Honors College helped shape your college experience?
I have not yet taken full advantage of the opportunities that the Honors College offers, but I intend to do so moving forward. However, I have learned a lot in my honors classes and my critical thinking has improved a lot. Being an international student, the honors classes have broadened my understanding and I have improved my writing and my confidence in presenting.

Is there anything special about living in Pullman or about being a Coug?
Pullman is home for the Cougs, and being a Coug makes you part of a family. There is a bond that brings together people from different walks of life to celebrate victories together, but also mourn losses together. Because if you are like me, you know that family is those who are with you through joy and through hardships, and that support and love no matter what.

What are the Honors College faculty like?
The professors are all devoted to what they do and they are all great motivators. They will believe in you even when you do not yet see it for yourself, and it is an absolute honor and blessing to have them.
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Jason HalcombJason Halcomb

Hometown: Boise, Id
Area(s) of Study: Computer Engineering
Involvement at WSU: Resident Technology Assistant (RTA), CUB Employee (AV, CORETECH, ASIS), Hackathons
Hobbies: Photography, Aeronautics, Coding, Frisbee

What has been your favorite Honors College class thus far and why?
My two favorite classes have been Science Fiction and Philosophy with Dr. Shier and Global Issues in Social Sciences with Dr. Craig Parks. I really enjoy philosophy and both professors were so passionate and knowledgable about the topics. These classes were very discussion oriented and it was fascinating to hear different opinions and ideas from my peers with majors and backgrounds different than my own.

Favorite Quote:
“The only ones that change the world are those crazy enough to think they can.” -Steve Jobs

What is a fun fact about yourself?
I currently hold a commercial pilot’s license for unmanned aerial systems (drones) and am pursuing my private pilot’s license for manned aircraft.
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Ankur HandaAnkur Handa

Hometown: Mukilteo, Wa
Area(s) of Study: mechanical engineering, aerospace studies, and mathematics
Involvement at WSU: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Air Force ROTC, Resonate Church, Honors Student Advisory Council, and research in two engineering labs
Hobbies: I love working out, reading, playing table tennis, learning foreign languages, practicing the guitar, and swing dancing. I also really like spending time outdoors through hiking and camping.

What do you like most about being a student in the Honors College?
I like the flexibility that the Honors College gives me when choosing classes as well as the early registration date. Most of the required Honors College classes have multiple sections that are drastically different from one another. As a result, I have been able to tailor my schedule to fit what I’m interested in.

Future plans/goals:
My long term plans are to graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering and commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force. I would primarily want to serve as a pilot or as a developmental engineer. In the near future, my goals are to get my private pilots license and potentially study abroad.

What is something you wish you wish you had known when you first started college?
Starting college, I wish I knew that it was possible to place out of foreign language through the STAMP test. If I had known that earlier, I would have tried a new language to broaden my capabilities instead of continuing with Spanish.
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CCeleste Harmseleste Harms

Hometown: Auburn, Wa
Area(s) of Study: Major- Communication; Minors: Business Administration & French
Involvement at WSU: Cable 8 Productions – Executive CFO; Delta Gamma sorority; Cougar Connector (Student Ambassador & Tour Guide); LAUNCH Ambassador
Hobbies: I enjoy traveling, dancing, eating good food(!), reading, and watching old Saturday Night Live sketches with friends.

Has anything surprised you about being in the Honors College?
I’m consistently amazed at the wide variety of subjects I get the opportunity to learn about as a member of the Honors College. In the past couple years, I have taken classes with the Honors College in everything from Marine Biology to Shakespearean Literature. Even when a topic didn’t initially appeal to me, the professors have always been passionate about their field and taught courses in a way that got me engaged and excited about going to class!

What is something you wish you wish you had known when you first started college?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone wants you to succeed, but they won’t always know how to help you if you don’t reach out to them. Your professors, TAs, RAs, Honors College Mentor, tutors- all of these are resources to help you succeed. Take advantage of them and build relationships with them early on! Also, everyone is in the same boat as you. People are far from the comfort of their homes, their families, and their high school friends, and many are just as nervous as you are. Branch out early on by sitting next to a stranger in class or inviting someone on your residence hall floor to join you for lunch- you really never know how you’ll meet your best friends!

Favorite memory from your freshman year at WSU:
The first night it snowed in Pullman, my friends and I jumped out of bed at 11pm on a Sunday night and ran outside in our pajamas and shower shoes. People were making snow angels in the parking lot and sledding on whatever they could find- mostly abandoned cardboard in the recycling bin. The excitement that filled the air was electric!
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Allisa HorstAllisa Horst

Hometown: Bremerton, Wa
Area(s) of Study: Mechanical Engineering, Math, German
Involvement at WSU: Head Honors Ambassador, treasurer for Society of Women Engineers, member of Student Alumni Ambassadors, Hackathon participant, and more!
Hobbies: watching Netflix, playing board/card games with friends, playing Dungeons and Dragons, exercising

Why did you join the Honors College?
When I first joined the Honors College, I just thought of it as being something I could tack onto my resume in order to help my chances in getting a good job. Now that I actually know what the Honors College is about, I stay because of the friendships, the assistance from the professors and staff, the incredible amount of extra opportunities, and the community that the Honors College offers!

What is a fun fact about yourself?
A fun fact about myself is that I had an internship in Germany the summer of 2017. It was my first internship and first time out of the country! I lived with two German college students, and I was able to visit a total of five different countries while I was there.

What is your favorite weekend activity in Pullman?
Outside of school and my work, I really love hanging out with my friends and being involved in my clubs. On top of that, my favorite activity is actually playing Dungeons and Dragons! I got into it senior year of high school and found a group of really great people to play with freshman year and have been playing since.
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Maddie KasimanickamMaddie Kasimanickam

Hometown: Pullman, Wa
Area(s) of Study: Zoology (Pre-Medicine focused program)
Involvement at WSU: My extracurricular activities include being a member of the WSU chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta, a Pre-Medical Honors Society, and I am also the Vice President of the American Medical Student Association club on campus. Additionally, I am an undergraduate researcher in the Quock laboratory, on campus.
Hobbies: Some of my hobbies include practicing yoga, bullet journaling, and photography.

Has anything surprised you about being in the Honors College?
Every semester, I am pleasantly surprised to see the diversity of classes offered by the Honors College. The classes are taught by a host of unique professors and are focused on many disciplines. The classes I have taken in the Honors College have covered a variety of topics, ranging from the history of the Vikings to the representation of mental illness in the global world. Out of all the classes that I have taken at WSU, I always look forward to my Honors classes the most. These classes are engaging, interesting, and relevant to the world, which is the world that students will become a part of after college.

How has the Honors College helped shape your college experience?
Being in the Honors College provides me with so many unique opportunities. For example, I have been able to take Honors classes on unique and varying topics that I would not be able to learn about in the courses for my major. The Honors College has also given me the opportunity to develop amazing connections with other students and faculty. I have made some life-long friends in the Honors College. I am also an undergraduate researcher in the laboratory of Dr. Raymond Quock, who I came to know while taking his Honors 390 course on the global perspectives of mental health. I am grateful that the Honors College has provided me with a unique college experience, and that they encourage students to discover all that the world has to offer.

What is something you wish you wish you had known when you first started college?
As a freshman, I wish I had known that there is no ideal, cookie-cutter, path towards getting through college, and that each student’s journey will be unique to them. I, like several Pre-Meds, spent my freshman year focusing on my grades and spent little time finding clubs to join or activities to get involved with. At the end of my first year, I felt that I had missed out on a lot of bonding experiences that many freshmen raved about. To remedy this, during my second year of college, I joined the WSU chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta, and the American Medical Student Association club on campus. By joining these two clubs, I have met other Pre-Medicine students and I have been able to network with them based on our common goal of getting into medical school. After hearing about the experiences of older students, I realized that I was in complete control of my college journey and that I should spend more time doing what I enjoyed. Although grades are very important in a college education, the otherV experiences you have, through clubs, volunteering, or studying abroad, are just as significant.
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Jaquie KunzJaquie Kunz

Hometown: San Jose, Ca
Area(s) of Study: Wildlife Ecology; Comparative Ethnic Studies
Involvement at WSU: Mentor Consultant and Small Group Facilitator with the Writing Center; volunteer at the Bear Center
Hobbies: My hobbies include hiking, biking, and going on walk with my dogs, Scout and Sam. I also love spending hours at bookstores and reading microhistories, which are complete histories of a very specific subject.

Has anything surprised you about being in the Honors College?
The differences among students in the Honors College. We all come from different backgrounds and have different passions and fields of study, but we all enjoy the classes and events within the Honors College.

Is there anything special about living in Pullman or about being a Coug?
Pullman is a great place because everyone here supports Cougs. I love being in a college town, since things are pretty affordable and a lot of the people you meet are WSU students or alum. Plus, Cougar Gold Cheese is the best.

What is something you wish you wish you had known when you first started college?
I wish I had known not to compare myself and my achievements to others. We are all individuals, with everyone going at their own pace. It takes time to adjust to college and it is okay to take time to get used to it before getting more involved.
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Madison LeasMadison Leas

Hometown: Los Angeles, Ca
Area(s) of Study: Anthropology and Political Science
Involvement at WSU: Resident Advisor for 6 Semesters, Intern for WSU Student Legal Services, Residence Hall Government Member, Volunteer for WSU Pride Prowl Drag Show, Residence Hall Desk Assistant
Hobbies: Cooking, Stand-up Comedy, Scrapbooking, Painting

How has the Honors College helped shape your college experience?
The Honors College has opened my mind up to new ideologies and new perspectives. Through the Honors College, I have been able to build up community networks and form friendships with students across different majors and educational paths. I have been able to step outside my “academic box” and learn about different fields of study. Although my major is liberal arts based, I have been able to take classes within the Honors College that discuss STEM related topics like forensic science and the global food system.

What has been your favorite Honors College class thus far and why?
In Fall 2016, I took an Honors class called “Death Defining” with Professor Starla Meighan. The class surveyed the modern definition of death. We looked at historical perspectives on medical science and death as well as what brain scans tell us about grieving, the basic physiology of life, and the biology and physiology of death. I absolutely loved this class because it allowed me to develop a better connection with myself and my classmates. It was also outside of my academic field, which was really awesome.

What are the Honors College faculty like?
In my experience, the Honors College faculty and staff have been incredibly personable and kind. They care about you as an individual human. They will work with you, talk with you, and encourage you. They listen to your fears, aspirations, and passions. If you ever have the chance, I recommend just visiting a Honors College faculty’s office hours. Connections with faculty mentors are important.
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Juliana LeClairJuliana LeClair

Hometown: Mount Vernon, Wa
Area(s) of Study: Major: Agricultural and Food Business Economics Minors: Animal Science and Spanish
Involvement at WSU: As a freshman I was a member of various clubs, the secretary for my hall government, and Philanthropy Chair of the Honors Student Advisory Council
Hobbies: Baking, reading, puzzling

What has been your favorite Honors College class thus far and why?
I really enjoyed taking Honors 370 with Marsha Quinlan as the professor. We used resources that WSU has access to for cross-cultural research. Everyone got to research a topic that interested them, and it was a really neat project to complete.

What is your favorite place on campus and why?
I really like the grassy area between Beasley Coliseum and Mooberry Track. It’s a nice place to study and nap when it’s sunny outside, and if you stay there long enough, little bunnies start hopping around everywhere.

Myths you can bust about the WSU Honors College:
A myth that I heard about the WSU Honors College is that everyone in it is pretentious, but my experience has been the exact opposite! Everyone I’ve met through the Honors College has been humble and extremely helpful. All of us are there to learn, and we help each other with that.
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Thomas LeClairThomas LeClair

Hometown: Mount Vernon, Wa
Area(s) of Study: Biology (B.S.), Music (B.A.), Pre-Vet
Involvement at WSU: Hall Government, CAS Ambassadors, Dowd Lab, Residential Technology Assistant (RTA), Organ Club, Allegro
Hobbies: My main hobbies are listening to/playing music and photography. I also like cows and trains.

Favorite Quote:
“You pile up enough tomorrows and you’ll find you’ve collected nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to make today worth remembering.” -Harold Hill, from Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man”

What is a fun fact about yourself?
A fun fact about myself is that I won an online trivia contest about Gilligan’s Island! I ended up with an iPod and a microphone.

What is your favorite weekend activity in Pullman?
One of my favorite weekend activities is perusing the Surplus Store on Friday afternoons. It’s like a WSU-themed garage sale that happens all year! Weekends are also a great time to hangout with friends or catch up on all the sleep that didn’t come during the week.
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Katie LoberKatie Lober

Hometown: West Richland, Wa
Area(s) of Study: Bioengineering and Mathematics
Involvement at WSU: Honors Mentor, Honors Student Advisory Council, and Honors 198 course Facilitator
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.

What do you like most about being a student in the Honors College?
The Honors College experience focuses on making connections and learning to communicate effectively. As an Honors College student, you will meet students who will become your friends, professors who will become your mentors, and professionals who will become your role models. You will learn to develop and share ideas with your peers and colleagues in a productive way.

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 is something you wish you wish you had known when you first started college?
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 the 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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Kiera LucasKiera Lucas

Hometown: Richland, Wa
Area(s) of Study: Applied Mathematics, Pre-Med
Involvement at WSU: WSU Cheer
Hobbies: I love to cook! Last summer, I tried cooking some recipes that I’ve always wanted to try and fell in love with it!

Has anything surprised you about being in the Honors College?
I was surprised at how different honors classes are from regular classes. At first, I was super nervous about taking an honors class because I thought it would be super rigorous and intense. To my surprise, it was a lot of fun! Professors in the Honors College can teach a variety of topics based on their experience and passion for that topic. An honors class can be based on anything, such as food, meditation, forensic science, movies/film, or even death! Honors classes can be challenging, but in different ways from regular classes. Instead of throwing busy work at the students, they promote collaboration with other class mates, critical thinking, and sometimes publicly presenting your knowledge in front of other peers/faculty. The challenge of these classes seem less demanding when you’re learning about something new and interesting.

Is there anything special about living in Pullman or about being a Coug?
Being a Coug means you’re a part of a massive family. That family atmosphere is what helped me fall in love with Pullman. Because it is a small college town, the options for what to do are limited. This doesn’t mean it gets boring, rather it means that you go enjoy being with your friends, maybe you go support one of the various athletic teams, or join a club. The family atmosphere is what encourages going out and being social at these events.

Favorite Quote:
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou
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Sophie MackinnonSophie Mackinnon

Hometown: Sammamish, Wa
Area(s) of Study: Microbiology, Genetics and Cellular Biology
Involvement at WSU: Research, Emerging leaders, Pre-Health Club, AMSA, Scientistas
Hobbies: Research, Emerging leaders, Pre-Health Club, AMSA, Scientistas

Has anything surprised you about being in the Honors College?
What surprised me the most about being in the Honors College was how many people have been in multiple of my honors classes as well as in other classes I was taking. This has made it a lot easier to make friends since I saw the same people in a smaller classroom setting and really made connections that will continue for my time at WSU and beyond.

What has been your favorite Honors College class thus far and why?
My favorite Honors class so far has been English 298. I loved how many options I had for writing the essays and how I could really explore my own line of thought and questioning instead of having a prompt I needed to follow. In this class I was able to write an essay about dinosaurs in children’s books – something that was super fun for me to explore and get creative with and ultimately, that made me engage more in the class.

What is something you wish you wish you had known when you first started college?
I wish I had known that while school is a top priority, it is extremely important to take time for myself to have fun and relax. Finding a balance between school, mental health, work, and any other activities you get involved in is really important to help you stay healthy.
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Amanda Morales-MenchuAmanda Morales-Menchu

Hometown: Federal Way, Wa
Area(s) of Study: Accounting
Involvement at WSU: Current CUB employee, Hall Government (2 years)
Hobbies: Reading, Dancing, Napping

Why did you join the Honors College?
I joined the Honors College midway through my freshman year. I wanted to move away from large lecture halls and move into an environment that challenged me and my comforts. The Honors College was an opportunity to become a part of a close knit community while I faced fears such as public speaking and classroom discussions that held me behind academically in previous classes.

Is there anything special about living in Pullman or about being a Coug?
Living in Pullman is hands down the best place to transition into adulthood. WSU students receive the space to grow while having the support of family and friends. And it has been so comforting to know that my best friend down the hall or next door is going through the same transitions that I am. Spending years in a such a small town means that every hobby, friend, restaurant, etc. is within walking/bus distance.

What is a fun fact about yourself?
I’m a dog whisperer. As in, I quietly whisper to dogs that I love them as I walk by.
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Acacia NeveuxAcacia Neveux

Hometown: Vancouver, Wa
Area(s) of Study: Zoology (Pre-Vet)
Involvement at WSU: Resonate Church, Dance at WSU, Pre-Vet Club, Pre-Med Club, Campus Cru,
Hobbies: I love to go long distance running, hiking, swimming, and any other outside activities! I also love to have random dance battles and partake in car karaoke. One of my favorite things to do is to go swing dancing with my friends!

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.

How has the Honors College helped shape your college experience?
The Honors College has shaped so much of my college experiences by both giving me academic opportunities as well as social opportunities. I have been able to attend internships in my profession as well as apply to the early 7-year program for the Veterinary School here at WSU. In the Honors College I have been able to make friends who I have gotten to know well within my classes and then have become some of my closest friends.

What is something you wish you wish you had known when you first started college?
Get involved with a good group of people when you first get here! Its so important to find friends that lift you up rather than tear you down. College is a time to be able to find a completely new community that can become your home away from home. Its going to be scary meeting strangers but just remember Cougs help Cougs! I found it best to find friends through different clubs on campus or differnt events that were being held! I said yes to a lot of free food and found amazing friends that came with it. Don’t be afraid to say yes and step out of your comfort zone a little bit. I can promise you that it wont be disappointing.
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Ryan O'DeaRyan O’Dea

Hometown: Spokane, Wa
Area(s) of Study: Neuroscience, French, Chinese, International Business
Involvement at WSU: Honors 198 Facilitator, Research Assistant
Hobbies: Violin and Photography

What opportunities or experiences have you had through the Honors College?
By working with the Honors College I have had the opportunity to study abroad twice in my undergraduate career. The first time I left on a trip to visit France and intensively learn the language at the oldest language lab in the world. This was my first time living in France for an extended period of time and I was able to increase my proficiency to now be able to apply to graduate degrees in French.

For my second trip abroad, the Honors College supported me to go to Taiwan as one of ten students selected as a part of a new study abroad program. In this program we attended the most prestigious university in Taiwan: National Taiwan University. All the students chosen for this program also had internships. Mine was working in the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Taipei which allowed me to not only gain experience using all three of my spoken languages, but also started me working in government directly after my sophomore year.

What has been your favorite Honors College class thus far and why?
My favorite Honors College class has to be Dr. Gerber’s Honors 390. Before the class, I had never really been in touch with my stress levels or stress mitigation. After the class was over I feel much more relieved because I now know when I’m getting stressed and the appropriate response to the situation.

What is your favorite place on campus and why?
My favorite place on campus is the new Elson S Floyd Cultural Center. I can walk down to Zoe’s and grab a bit of coffee to come back and study for a while. Not many people know that it’s open for students to use as a study center, so it can be a great place to focus!
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Cassidy PeruCassidy Peru

Hometown: Vancouver
Area(s) of Study: Biochemistry & Genetics
Involvement at WSU: I am the retention and recruitment chair for the Honors Student Advisory council (HSAC), and am involved with undergraduate research. Additionally I work part-time on campus, and I have completed the emerging leaders program.
Hobbies: I enjoy being creative, so I really like to sing, dance, make crafts, do art, etc. I also enjoy spending time with pets and animals.

What is your favorite place on campus and why?
My favorite place on campus is the top of Thompson Flats behind Goertzen Hall. When I was walking home from my evening labs or classes during spring semester, I would be able to see the sunset over Pullman and the Palouse. It is beautiful, and I recommend that everyone at WSU watches the sunset in Pullman at least once. It is also quite relaxing to just sit there and do homework on a sunny day.

What are the Honors College faculty like?
As of yet, I have enjoyed all of my professors in the Honors College. Why? First of all, they are excited about what they teach, and it shows, making the classes more interesting. Second, they are very supportive, and they encourage you to think outside the box. Professors create an enviornment conducive to learning, which is something that I greatly appreciate. Overall, the Honors College faculty are the people you are likely to remember once you move on from WSU.

What would you still like to try or explore while in Pullman?
I have yet to visit the Charles R. Connor Museum in Abelson Hall on campus, which is a natural history museum that has a lot of information on various animals. I really love animals, so I think it would be really fun to visit!
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Alexander PhungAlexander Phung

Hometown: Snohomish, Wa
Area(s) of Study: Pre-Medicine, Biochemistry, French
Involvement at WSU: Executive member of the WSU Chapter of Phi Gamma Delta, past member of AMSA/AED
Hobbies: Reading, lifting, attending social functions, driving

What do you like most about being a student in the Honors College?
For me, the best part about being in the Honors College is that it gives me the opportunity to meet a diverse group of intellectually-competent individuals. This allows me to encounter new opinions and thought-processes, thus allowing me to diversify my own thought-processes and opinions.

Future plans/goals:
Optimal outcome, I become a doctor specializing in emergency medicine. With my knowledge of French, I hope to work with Doctors Without Borders in the Maghreb region of Africa (Northern Africa).

Favorite Quote:
“…being smart will count for nothing if you don’t make the world better. You have to use your smarts to count for something, to serve life, not death.”-Horizon Zero Dawn
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Rebecca PolsinRebecca Polsin

Hometown: Bremerton, Wa
Area(s) of Study: Civil Engineering
Involvement at WSU: Society of Women Engineers, American Concrete Institute Chapter, Student Alumni Ambassador
Hobbies: Camping, Hiking, Shopping, Kayaking, Soccer, Volleyball, Reading

Has anything surprised you about being in the Honors College?
The shear number of oppurtunities the Honors College offers including special talks, extra advising and a great sense of community. The professors are all very different but share a level of excitement for their courses. The number of scholarships the HC has available made college more of a reality, while having personable professors helped keep my interests growing.

What has been your favorite Honors College class thus far and why?
Honors 370 – Social Problems in Modern Japan. This class was the only one that would fit into my schedule. I had no prior knowledge of Japan let alone any modern issues with the country. The course challenged me to think critically about another country and relate Japan with present issues within the US. I genuinely enjoyed the class structure and material. As an engineer, I thought I wouldn’t find much crossover with the course and my interests, but the freedom of the research assignments allowed me to learn about my field and Japan.

Myths you can bust about the WSU Honors College:
“Classes are harder and much more work”
Honors Courses are no more work than other courses. The caliber of work however is higher. As students of the Honors College we are more curious learners and critical thinkers, thus the courses are more personalized. While the classes may require more “”brain power”” per say, the work load is about the same over the semester. In the end, time management is key!
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Natalie SanchezNatalie Sanchez

Hometown: Rochester, Wa
Area(s) of Study: Biochemistry/Biophysics, Math, Physics, Chemistry
Involvement at WSU: HSAC Vice President, Raptor Club
Hobbies: Reading, Breeding Rabbits, Photography

Has anything surprised you about being in the Honors College?
I was surprised by the variety of topics the Honors College classes can cover. Through the Honors College, I have been able to take classes that I thoroughly enjoyed but never pictured that I would be able to take, given my major. For example, my Honors 280 class was about creative short fiction and my Honors 380 was creative nonfiction—I hadn’t even heard of that before. In addition, my 370 class, which was about the United Nations, led to the opportunity for me to attend the National Model UN conference in New York City! I never would have expected that.

What opportunities or experiences have you had through the Honors College?
In the summer of 2017 I had the amazing opportunity to go on a faculty-led trip to Ecuador. During this trip, I took Spanish language classes and got credit for an Honors COllege course. I stayed with a host family and was immersed in Ecuadorian life. We traveled to the Andes Mountain, the Cloud Forest, and even the Galapagos Islands! It was a wonderful experience.

What is something you wish you wish you had known when you first started college?
I wish I would have known about all the different resources available to Washington State University students. Yes, I had heard about the writing center, and all the different materials we have access to through the libraries, but it took me much longer to go and use those resources. I wish I had tried out those resources ahead of time so I would have known how to get the most out of them when I needed them.
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Mary SchneiderMary Schneider

Hometown: Saratoga, Ny
Area(s) of Study: Environmental science, biology, sustainable development
Involvement at WSU: I work at the WSU Outdoor Recreation center as an adventure facilitator.I am also an officer for Environmental Science Club, and I volunteer to help with the stream restoration labs for environmental science 101.
Hobbies: One of my biggest passions is exploring the outdoors. I enjoy backpacking, skiing, rock climbing mountaineering, biking, and much more in between. I also love to garden, I play the flute, and I enjoy creating my own recipes and concoctions in the kitchen.

Has anything surprised you about being in the Honors College?
I didn’t realize how diverse the course listings for the Honors College would be. I’ve taken Russian, science fiction and even mindfulness classes through Honors! I have always been really pleased with the options we get to choose from.

Is there anything special about living in Pullman or about being a Coug?
I moved to Pullman from the east coast, and it was so easy to start calling this place my home. The endless support and comradery that WSU presents makes you feel like you are part of something very special. Also, the sunsets are absolutely incredible, and there are so many gorgeous areas around town to view them.

What is something you wish you wish you had known when you first started college?
I wish I had realized that it’s totally normal to feel like you don’t know what you are doing or why you are doing it. The people whom we look up to most in our day to day lives sometimes lose direction, question their abilities, and feel like imposters. It is all a part of being a lifelong learner, and it is in our ability to cope with the uncertainty and unknowing where we find strength. It is a good sign if you never feel satisfied with how well you grasp a certain subject, because there will always and forever be more to learn. Also, It is totally normal and ok to have days where you feel super overwhelmed and unmotivated. Never underestimate the effects that diet, sleep, and exercise can have on your mood and productivity. It is really easy to let these things slip through the cracks. Fortunately, there are many resources on campus to help with these things.
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Sarah SchroederSarah Schroeder

Hometown: West Richland, Wa
Area(s) of Study: Bioengineering and Math
Involvement at WSU: Honors College Mentor, HSAC
Hobbies: Reading, writing, running, cooking, eating, singing, listening to music

What do you like most about being a student in the Honors College?
The Honors College gives amazing opportunities to deserving students who work hard while building a network of talented peers. It also helps create meaningful connections with classmates and professors through smaller class sizes and courses focused on discussion

What opportunities or experiences have you had through the Honors College?
I had the opportunity to be a part of the Honors College Global Leadership Program. In this class, we collaborated with students from Southwest University in China and got to meet lots of interesting global leaderswhile discussing current events on a daily basis. It was unique and refreshing. I also have the opportunity to present my research at the National Collegiate Honors Conference next fall due to my participation in the Honors College and I’m really looking forward to that.

What is your favorite weekend activity in Pullman?
I really like getting friends together and cooking dinner or dessert together and then having a movie night. Either that or going out to dinner and a movie. The free movies on campus are an amazing deal and we usually go to that on Friday nights!
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Claire SteinClaire Stein

Hometown: Mercer Island, Wa
Area(s) of Study: Major: Zoology Minor: Mathematics
Involvement at WSU: Cougar Marching Band, Basketball Pep Band, Hillel, Guiding Paws of the Palouse, Honors Student Advisory Council
Hobbies: Hiking, snowboarding, water sports, watching movies, and being around animals!

What is your favorite place on campus and why?
There’s a little patio on the third floor of the Spark Building that not too many people know about. It’s my favorite place because it has a great view of Pullman, and there’s tables and lawn chairs up there so you can do work and then just relax!

Future plans/goals:
My dream job would be to work as a vet on staff at a zoo, and also volunteer my time at wildlife sanctuaries in Africa.

Favorite memory from your freshman year at WSU:
One of the first big snow dumps of the semester happened on a weekend. Which meant my roommate and I spent hours that night sledding down Thompson Flats. I built a snow man and also a snow sheep, which took me more time to make than it probably should have. It was so much fun and it’s probably my favorite memory.
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Lucy WavraLucy Wavra

Hometown: East Wenatchee, Wa
Area(s) of Study: History, Education, Communication, Spanish
Involvement at WSU: I want to keep a structured level of involvement, so I choose an academic, leadership, and a fun extra-curricular each semester. I have been involved in several clubs (Cable8, KUGR, Heely Club, etc.). I have a job filming sports for the stadium screens through the school. I am in a sorority, participate in YoungLife, and briefly served on an ASWSU committee.
Hobbies: In the winter, I try to get in the mountains to ski as much as I can. But year-round, however, I love hiking, reading, watching musical theatre, and baking. I participate in my sorority and am involved with clubs on campus in the History and Communication colleges, as well as working the coolest job on campus – filming cougar athletics!

Future plans/goals:
I plan to graduate with a degree in History. But first, I have to decide if I want to pursue a teaching career, go into law, or become a museum curator. If all these options fail, I will attend the most prestigious clown school available and join the circus.

Is there anything special about living in Pullman or about being a Coug?
Pullman and WSU have beautifully cultivated a community where simply being a Coug becomes a ticket for friendships around the world. The “Cougs help Cougs” mentality is a real thing, and quite cool to witness in action. Without a doubt, I can say WSU is the most special school as far as school spirit goes – it applies outside of sports and school, and follows you through life!

What is a fun fact about yourself?
I lived in Liverpool when I was in first grade and attended Dovedale Infant School This is the same school where John Lennon and George Harrison of The Beatles went to primary school!
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