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More than just a minor: The Honors Program

Alex

ALEX

Major: Psychology
Hometown: Chico, CA

Year: Senior

When I arrived at Fort Lewis College in the fall of 2011, I was sure about majoring in psychology, but I had next to no idea what I wanted to minor in. There were so many options; how could I possibly limit myself to a mere one or two minors? I decided to take a class in the college’s honors program.

As I had taken many AP and honors courses in high school, I figured this course would be more of the same—that there were would be a heavier reading load, but not much else. Thankfully, I was entirely mistaken. I am now about to start my Honors Thesis as a member of the John F. Reed Honors Program, and its accompanying minor has been an incredible decision that has enhanced my time here at Fort Lewis College.

The key word of Fort Lewis College’s Honors Program is interdisciplinary. Every course taught in the Honors Program encompasses multiple fields of inquiry to explore a topic. Honors courses at FLC will always include multiple academic perspectives: you may have a course taught by a chemist with peers both in the sciences in the humanities, or a course taught by a philosopher that entails scientific and empirical questions. As someone who had trouble picking a minor, I quickly learned that taking on the program’s Rhetoric of Inquiry minor would be the best decision because it would expose me to so many fields of study and inquiry as opposed to a single academic lens.

Unlike most college Honors Programs, our program doesn’t base admission off of high school metrics. To enter the program, you just have to take one honors class, have at least a 3.0 college GPA, and write a letter of interest indicating your desire to enter the program. The admission process is selective yet holistic, and it structured to include the most motivated, intellectually curious students of Fort Lewis College who want to expand their studies far beyond single majors and minors. I have now taken six honors courses, and each one has expanded my intellectual horizons in incredible and groundbreaking ways.

Honors Program at Fort Lewis CollegeOne course that was particularly incredible was an honors forum on the works of Toni Morrison. The course was taught by American Literature professor Nancy Cardona, but the class was not taught like a general literature class. With only twelve students, most of whom were science majors, we had round table discussions about the sociological, racial, anthropological, and literary facets of Morrison’s works. I was always so excited to learn from my colleagues who always brought fresh, unique perspectives on Toni Morrison’s challenging novels. Every honors course I have taken has been intellectually charged and grand in scale. I never feel that I’m simply taking another course in this program; I’m invariably embarking on intellectual journeys with highly involved and intelligent students who share a love of learning and inquiry.

While Fort Lewis College’s Honors Program may not be for everyone, I have been so fortunate to have found a program so eager to foster interdisciplinary studies that expose students to numerous fields of study and thought. I feel more well-rounded as a student and thinker, and continue to consider every honors course I have taken a challenging yet infinitely rewarding class seeking to bring light to new perspectives, new types of thinking, and new ways of learning about the world.

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