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Washington State University

Honors College Mentors 2015-16

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.

2015-16 Honors College Mentors


View Previous Mentors

BKelseyBreanna “Bre” Kelsey, Mentor Chair

From: Everett
Year in school: Junior
Major: Genetics and cell biology
Minor: French
What do I like about the Honors College at WSU: I love the sense of community that Honors students and faculty have with one another. Everyone is so incredibly friendly and ready and willing to help you out, and it really does feel like a family. The Honors College definitely made my transition to WSU much easier.

Hobbies: I love to read, dance (ballet, modern, and jazz), sing in the shower, laugh, make new friends, do community service, attempt to cook, watch movies (especially Disney), do arts and crafts (with LOTS of glitter), and have fun trying new things.

What’s surprised me most about being in the Honors College: Even now, entering my third year of college, I am still constantly pleasantly surprised by the sincerity and thoughtfulness of not only my fellow Honors students but the faculty as well. Every time you walk into the office, you are greeted by everyone who walks by and they are all so happy to help you if they’re not busy. I was told about the “family” feel of the Honors community, but I was surprised just how true that is. When someone tells you about that, they aren’t just trying to sell the Honors College to you, they’re telling it like it is./p>

What special experiences has the Honors College given me? Being a part of HSAC, our Honors student club (Honors Student Advisory Council), has been so special for me. I really enjoy being part of a close group of people who sincerely care about Honors and make change in the Honors community by bringing students, faculty, and parents closer together during our various events. I’m super excited for what this year has in store for us!

I also studied abroad in Scandinavia during summer 2014 with an Honors faculty member, and I never would have been able to do so if it weren’t for the Honors College and its support. It was a life-changing experience and I can’t wait to go back someday.

AAndersonAshley Andersen

From: Boise, Idaho
Year in school: Sophomore
Major: Psychology
Minor: Fine arts and Spanish
What I like about the WSU Honors College: I love the smaller college feel in a larger university. You are able to connect with professors and other students on a more personal level, which is always a good thing to have.

Hobbies: In my free time I enjoy drawing and painting, playing sports (soccer and tennis are the best), volunteering, spending time with friends, going on random photo shoots, and eating (I love food. Like a lot.).

What has surprised me most about being in the Honors College: Definitely the smaller work load! It’s nice to not have your time filled with busy work. Also, it is surprising how many people will be in the same classes with you time and time again.

HAultHeather Ault

From: Goldendale
Year in school: Senior
Majors: Business administration (finance and marketing)
Minor: German
What I like about the WSU Honors College: I like the diversity of classes you are required to take. Once you hit upper-division level classes, they’re almost all in your major. It’s really nice to take a break from that with a discussion-based class on some super interesting (and sometimes random) subject.

What has surprised me most about being in the Honors College: The format of the Honors courses. I think a lot of people think that the Honors courses will just be super hard versions of general requirements but that is just not true. Honors Courses are small, discussion based classes which means that you do your homework and come to class to discuss it… that’s it! Mind you there are high standards, but the courses are not meant to stress you out with an impossible course load but rather help you hone your analytical and communication skills while learning something interesting.

Hobbies: I love to ride horses, sunbathe, read, and play with animals. I’m pretty nerdy all around with a slight obsession with Marvel Comics. I also just found an old Polaroid camera that has brought out the inner photographer in me.

CBaerCaroline Baer

From: Tacoma
Year in school: Junior
Majors: Animal sciences/Pre-veterinary medicine and Spanish
What I like about the WSU Honors College: I really enjoy the small school atmosphere and the level of support I find in the Honors College. The intuitive and intelligent faculty and staff are always willing to work through all sorts of problems with their students, and the people I have met in my Honors classes have become fast friends and trusted peers.

What has surprised me most about being in the Honors College: I knew the Honors College would provide a place that felt closer to a small college environment inside a big university, but I was surprised by the level of closeness felt within the College. The advisors and the teachers truly care about the success of their students while still challenging them to succeed. This comradery, both amongst the students and the faculty, astounded me.

Are all Honors students alike? Honors students are as varied as the subjects they study. While there might be a stereotype of smart, quiet, and studious, in reality, all varieties of people choose the Honors College. For instance, within my friends, no one has the same major as I do. We all have different interests, including sports, arts, theater, music, and community service. Many of us plan to go abroad or continue in a graduate program. While we strive to attain a certain level of academic excellence, there is also a great deal of emphasis on personal health and happiness as well.

What special experiences has the Honors College given me? The most unique experience that the Honor College has given me is the opportunity for early admittance to the College of Veterinary Medicine. Through the Seven Year program, I not only gained a spot in the Vet Med Class of 2020, I also will skip a year of undergraduate studies and go straight to veterinary school in 2016. This is an amazing opportunity and the reason I joined the Honors College.

Hobbies: As an animal sciences major and a member of the College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2020, I love anything to do with animals. I also love to volunteer, and have done so all throughout my life, most recently with Palouse Area Therapeutic Horsemanship. I love to read, write, and do all sorts of art projects, and I’m also an avid hiker and runner.


VBayVictoria Bay

From: Gig Harbor
Year in school: Senior
Major: Mathematics with an emphasis in education
Minor: Spanish
What I like about the WSU Honors College: I like that the Honors College has a wonderful community that helps every student make connections with students, professors, and faculty. I also like that Honors classes are small, unique, and interesting.

Hobbies: I love to read, travel, make jewelry, watch movies, listen to music, and spend time with family and friends.

What special experiences has the Honors College given me? The Honors College has given me the opportunity to develop amazing connections with other students and faculty through Honors Student Advisory Council (HSAC) and facilitating Honors 198. My academic and council involvement in the Honors College has given me many of my closest friends, wonderful scholarships, leadership experience, and the chance to take classes that are interesting to me.

CBeckwithChristina Beckwith

From: Republic
Year in school: Senior
Major: Genetics and cell biology
Minor: Microbiology
What I like about the WSU Honors College: Coming from such a small school and community I was afraid as a freshman that I would be lost in the massive sea of students and that I would feel like I was a ‘nobody,’ just another face. Through the Honors College I’ve grown friendships with classmates and gotten to know faculty. I feel like I found a home and my place within the larger university.

Hobbies: I enjoy reading, knitting, playing the piano, hiking, cross-country skiing, puzzles of all sorts, corny/nerdy jokes, trivia, and stealthily searching for quail (my favorite animal).

What has surprised me most about being in the Honors College: Every semester I am pleasantly surprised to see the diversity of classes offered from a host of unique professors across so many disciplines. Where else could you take a an English course focused on comic books, or discuss the ethics and future of artificial intelligence, or write your own creative short story?

Are all Honors students alike? This is a silly question because, of course, Honors students are not all alike. However, students in the Honors College are similar in that they are driven to excel and are forward thinkers. Classroom discussions are full of unique ideas and perspectives that makes a rich learning environment.

What special experiences has the Honors College given me? Being a member of the Honors Student Advisory Council (HSAC) has been one of my most rewarding experiences. Our group works to plan events for Honors students from dances to guest speakers, and study sessions to movie nights. There is opportunity for leadership and close involvement with Honors College faculty. I feel like I have become closer to the Honors community and love that it is a way that I can give back to something that has been such a major influence in my college career.


LBrandtLauren Brandt

From: Yakima
Year in school: Senior
Major: Fruit and Vegetable Management
Minor: Spanish and Horticulture
What I like about the WSU Honors College: I love the small class sizes and the one-on-one interactions with professors. I love that our class are never ordinary and that I always come away from them with lasting knowledge- or even a new passion for Spanish films!

Hobbies: I like to play tennis, read, cook, swim and go white water rafting.

Are all honors students alike? I would have to answer that with a resounding “no.” Coming from high school honors classes to WSU, I was almost expecting snotty smart kids who only loved to brag about their academic accomplishments. That was the complete opposite of what I found. My honors roommate had tattoos and piercings and is still one of my best friends to this day. Everyone I have met is down-to-earth, friendly and yeah, maybe a little busier than your average student. Being in the Honors College doesn’t immediately make you a super smart nerd, it just makes you someone who loves a challenge, isn’t afraid of broadening your horizons, and is after everything Coug. The sense of community here, despite all the differences in backgrounds, is what makes the Honors College such an amazing program to be a part of.

MBrockmeyerMaddy Brockmeyer

From: Bellevue
Year in school: Sophomore
Major: Computer science
What I like about the WSU Honors College: When you’re at a big university like WSU, it can be really helpful to find a community where you can have closer connections to students in your classes. Being in the Honors College helped me to get to know more people, and gave me a lot of resources for whenever I need help in my classes. Everyone wants to see you succeed and is willing to help you with your homework or give you advice, which makes college a lot more manageable and fun!

Are all Honors students alike? There is no such thing as a typical Honors student. While we all seem to share a love for learning and a desire to discuss present day issues, there is a great amount of diversity within the Honors College. Everyone comes from a different background and possesses a unique combination of qualities that makes their contributions to class discussions valuable and insightful. I have met students from big cities and small towns, and students who are shy, outspoken, liberal, conservative, thoughtful, impulsive, and so much more. We come from all walks of life, and meeting so many different people makes being in the Honors College a very rewarding experience.

Hobbies: I like to play saxophone, spend time with friends, read, go shopping, play soccer, listen to music, go hiking, play video games, and watch scary movies.


KCribbeinKayla Cribbin

From: Puyallup
Year in school: Senior
Major: Pre-medical zoology
What I like about the WSU Honors College: I love that the Honors College has given me an opportunity to meet and become friends with students who are similarly motivated in their studies. It’s great to be able to take classes with the same group of people and really get to know each other. I also enjoy the classes, because my major doesn’t give me much time to take courses outside of the science focus, and my Honors classes have given me a chance to learn about unique and fun topics that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Hobbies: I enjoy reading, watching Netflix with my friends, volunteering in hospitals and animal shelters, working in a research lab on campus, and hiking.

Are all Honors students alike? While you might find people with similar interests as you in the Honors College, you will also interact with students from all different backgrounds and interests. While Honors students are driven by a similar desire to do well and make a difference in the world, students choose to do this in a variety of ways, from wanting to be a doctor to running an art museum.

What special experiences has the Honors College given me? The Honors College helped me into the research I’ve been involved in the last two years. When professors and employers see that you are in the Honors College, they tend to take interest. My research professor even gave me my own research project to lead, something normally reserved for graduate students. Because of this, I’ve had the opportunity to present and win a research award at WSU’s Showcase of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA) and to present at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research.

JGivelyJonathan Gilvey

From: Walla Walla, Washington
Year in School: Senior
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Minors: Math and Physics
What I like about the WSU Honors College: I enjoy the diverse amount of topics that are available to study in the humanities-based courses. This has provided me with a more enjoyable experience in the Honors College.

Hobbies: I enjoy working in the Aerospace Club here at WSU and going on adventures to different places to see the natural world and various engineering feats.

SHillerSarah Hiller

From: Richland, WA
Year in School: Sophomore
Major: Accounting/Finance
Hobbies: I love playing sports (such as basketball, soccer, tennis, skiing), being active in general, spending time with my friends, making new friends, and listening to music.

What has surprised me most 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. Several people from my Alive! session and Honors Orientation were in my classes, so it was great to have some friends and familiar faces in my classes before they even began!

HHohmanHayley Hohman

From: Mead
Year in school: Senior
Major: Quantitative economics
Minor: Mathematics and political science
What I like about the WSU Honors College: I like the coursework in the Honors College. I learn best through thinking, discussing, and examining something, instead of reading about it in a textbook or taking notes in a lecture. The courses in the Honors College are relevant, interesting, and allow me to learn with my own academic style, from studying infection models to everyday philosophy to art in the Dutch Golden Age.

Hobbies: I like to read, paint, cook, swim, and volunteer in my community.

What special experiences has the Honors College given me? Because of the scholarships provided by the Honors College, I was able to spend May 2014 in Rwanda studying the economics of its coffee industry. Experiencing a new culture, conducting research, and working with students and faculty from the University of Rwanda created memories I’ll never forget. As a freshman, I never thought I would study abroad, let alone go to Africa, but the Honors College’s commitment to creating global awareness among its students made this trip of a lifetime possible!

JHoweJessi Howe

From: Bothell
Year in school: Junior
Major: Civil engineering
Minors: Mathematics and environmental science
Hobbies: I love to explore the great outdoors! I go hiking, backpacking, and cycling whenever possible. I also love to scrapbook, watch movies, and listen to country music.

What has surprised me most about being in the Honors College: My Honors classes have always seemed like my easiest classes because I can always relate big research projects to topics that interest me personally. There are a variety of classes to fit each requirement and then within each class it is possible to research what most interests you! I’ve been able to focus on topics I am passionate about, which makes the research process much less stressful. It really can be fun!

NHurstNatalie Hurst

From: Goldendale
Year in school: Sophomore
Major: Animal sciences/Pre-veterinary medicine
Minor: Humanities (maybe)
Undergraduate research: I work on research projects with Clinical Assistant Professor and veterinary epidemiologist Jennifer Zambriski in the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health.

What I like about the WSU Honors College: Everyone wants to see you succeed and all of the faculty are very attentive to your questions and interests. I met most of my friends through the Honors College and it has made my college experience way more fun than it would have been without it. The advisers are amazing and will do everything they can to help you and get you on track for what you want to do. All the students are quirky and weird in their own ways and make it comfortable to be yourself around them. It is a great community to be involved in.

Hobbies: I love to read, especially stuff from the Romantic Era. I love to cook and bake, and pie is my lifeblood. I spend a lot of time with my friends at school and love being with my family when I am at home. I love cows! My family’s cattle ranch is my main hobby and I enjoy riding horses but for the purpose of moving cattle. My major is in the sciences but if I were to do something else I would become a weird English/philosophy professor.

What has surprised me most about being in the Honors College: Going into my orientation and my first semester at WSU I was very nervous that I wouldn’t be smart enough to excel in Honors or to make any friends. I was very nervous, and it turned out I was nervous for no reason at all. To my surprise many students were a lot like me, although we are all a little weird and quirky in our own ways. The Honors College has also surprised me in the fact that the staff are extremely nice and so willing to help! The advisers are amazing and the professors are passionate about their subjects. This motivation to teach and to help have given me very positive interactions with staff, professors, and students. Because the professors are passionate and willing to explain their materials I learned more in my Honors classes and although challenging the courses have been fun and enjoyable. I would not have had such a successful first year without the Honors College.

What special experiences has the Honors College given me? Honors has allowed me to meet many people I may not have met otherwise, and because of this I have a lot of friends and many people to talk to and go to for help with my classes and extracurricular activities. Due to Honors’ thesis requirement, I was willing to look at undergraduate research and found an amazing opportunity to research a parasite that transfers between humans and cattle. This research is applicable to my major, fun, challenging, and has urged me to think about different career paths.

KMatzKeesha Matz

From: Chehalis
Year in school: Sophomore
Major: Microbiology
What I like about the WSU Honors College: The Honors College is great because it is a small college within a large university. This means that you really get to know the faculty and students within it. I felt more comfortable coming to WSU knowing that I had the support of the Honors College faculty who cared and were always willing to help. The wide variety of classes that the Honors College offers also challenges me to think critically and consider new viewpoints.

Hobbies: I enjoy exploring the outdoors with my family through hiking, biking, climbing, kayaking, and camping. I am also an avid traveler who loves to experience new places and cultures. In my free time at WSU I like to take fitness classes through the REC, go to a church group gathering for college students, watch Criminal Minds, and get involved on campus as much as possible.

What special experience has the Honors College given me? It has given me the opportunity to learn Spanish through taking classes. Also, with the support of the Honors College I will have been able to participate in a full immersion Spanish program in Costa Rica during summer 2015.

EMccordErica McCord

From: Bellingham
Year: Sophomore
Major: Accounting
Minor: Spanish
What has surprised me most about being in the Honors College: In the Honors College, you get to take classes you never thought you would get to take, like a creative writing class, or an English class with a focus on photography. The possibilities are endless!

RNeisessRyan Neisess

From: Moreno Valley, California
Year in school: Fifth-year senior
Major: Animal sciences/Pre-veterinary medicine
Minors: Japanese and chemistry
What I like about the WSU Honors College: For me, the Honors College is another community full of amazing people, many of whom I happily call my friends, and is also an invaluable resource to students, helping them succeed in every way they can.

Hobbies: I love to cook and bake, and to teach people how to cook and bake, especially with friends. When I have (or can make) the time, I enjoy writing poetry and non-fiction, love to play the piano, like to play badminton, and go swimming at the REC. I can often be found playing video games. I also adore cats.

Are all Honors students alike? Yes, and no. We’re all here at WSU to get a quality education, and to have a blast doing so, yet we all still have the things we’re passionate about. What we’re passionate about, however, is unique to each individual (for instance, cats, cooking, computers, writing, and music), and it’s really an amazing thing to meet so many amazing people, each with a different set of interests. Having the chance to not only work with our fellow peers but to also make great friends and build a community I find is a fantastic opportunity made possibly by the diversity of the Honors student body.

SSchneiderSeth Schneider

From: Rochester
Year in school: Junior
Major: Genetics and cell biology
Minor: Chinese
Undergraduate research: As a freshman and early sophomore, I researched in microbiologist Cynthia Haseltine’s lab, studying homologous recombination in the model archaeal organism Sulfolobus solfataricus. Currently, I am working with genomicist Kelly Brayton studying tick-borne pathogens/bacteria that infect animals.

I joined the freshman-level Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science Education Alliance (HHMI-SEA) biology lab in WSU’s School of Molecular Biosciences and successfully isolated and characterized a novel mycobacterio-phage, and helped sequence and annotate the genome of two additional phages. I presented a poster and delivered an oral presentation at an HHMI-SEA Symposium.

Member of: STARS program in the School of Molecular Biosciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine; Washington State Opportunity Scholarship program for STEM and pre-health majors.

Nationally competitive award: Goldwater Scholarship recipient for 2015-16

Career plans: Earn a Ph.D. in molecular biosciences through the STARS program at WSU, then work in national defense as a research scientist at a government laboratory to develop methods to analyze biological threats

What I like about the WSU Honors College: Interactive classes, caring faculty, prevalent academic events (and extra food from all the events).

Hobbies: Strategy games, Ping Pong, Humans vs. Zombies Club, Mollyball, Crabbing

Are all Honors College students alike? Do you remember those tiny 8-pack cereal containers from childhood? Most of them vary in deliciousness, but there were resemblances. Same with the Honors College: You have certain aspects shared with others, yet also have your own style.

ATranumAlice Tranum

From: Olympia
Year in school: Senior
Major: English/creative writing
Minor: Japanese and linguistics
Are all Honors students alike? Just as no two people are the same, no institution contains the same people. As a freshman, I was a little intimidated by the number of students with me in the Honors College who were studying in the sciences, and as an English major working toward her Japanese minor, it seemed like I was hearing the same thing again and again. But not all Honors students come from the same major, though it may seem like so at first. There are students in the English department, engineering, languages, teaching, and the list goes on and on. And even when two people match the same major, the things they want to accomplish, and have accomplished through research opportunities, differs. The Honors College has a great amount of variety among its students, and it is a relief to be able to talk to people outside of one’s own major department, and have the chance to hear some new perspectives through the Honors curriculum.

What I like about the WSU Honors College: I like the freedom we are given as students. The class requirements we take are more interesting than what I have heard about the UCORE classes. The Honors classes are engaging, interesting and relevant to the world as a whole, the world we will be a part of and involved with after college.

Hobbies: I love reading (though it seems I don’t have as much time as I would like to do so). I perhaps listen to music too often, and I enjoy dedicating time to writing poetry and short stories.

ATrejoAna Trejo

From: Bridgeport
Year in School: Sophomore
Majors: Zoology and Spanish
Are all Honors students alike? There are no two Honor students that are exactly alike, which is what I love about the Honors College. The diversity of its students truly opens your eyes to the world around you through class discussion and group projects.

Hobbies: I absolutely love being outdoors, listening to music, spending time with family and friends, taking pictures, joking around, scrolling through social media, and drawing.