Meet the Staff – Dr. Ken Thomas

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Name: Ken Darrie Thomas

Title: Honors Lecturer in Biosystems Engineering

Hometown: Siparia, Trinidad & Tobago

How long have you been with the Honors College?

I have been with the Honors College approximately 4.5 years. Time certainly flies by! I came to Auburn saying I will be here for just one academic year and here I am in my fifth year.

In your opinion, what’s the best thing about Auburn Honors?

The students! They are the ones that have kept me here at Auburn way past my one year plan. I decided to take this path into Honors Education a few years ago because I wanted to work with some of the most talented undergraduate students and the members of this Honors College have not disappointed.

Briefly, what do you do for the Honors College?

My responsibilities in the Honors College are primarily teaching, social affairs and some administrative duties. I teach myriad types of courses inclusive of seminars, book clubs, lycea and study & travel. Under the social affairs umbrella I am involved with coordinating and implementing The Honors College Land Grant Lecture Series: k(no)w poverty?; Conversations with The Director; The Honors College Film Series; Week of Service for incoming freshmen; and working with the various student organizations within the Honors College to attain their missions. My administrative duties include coordinating the Study & Travel trips as well as completing the faculty roster for accreditation purposes.

What’s your favorite class or event offered by the Honor College?

It is very difficult for me to choose one course or event. I have so many choices competing in my mind for first place. Since I’m being forced to choose I’ll say Honors Book Clubs. Having taught a Caribbean Book Club for a few semesters now, I must say I love the interplay that students have with each other in a fun and discussion-based setting. As a participation course, students actively participate and give their differing points of view which make for an unpredictable and fun interdisciplinary classroom environment.

Do you have office hours for students?

I do have office hours but they are in the Biosystems Engineering Department. My office hours are 9-11 am on Tuesday’s in 213 Corley Building. Most other times you can find me in Cater Hall. I have an open door policy and will happily meet with any student once I am available. Students are also welcome to email me to set up an appointment.

What’s the best advice you can give to an Honors Student?

Challenge yourself! Your Honors experience is totally what you make it and should be driven by a pure purpose for being a member of the Honors College. Challenge yourself to find that purpose and to live with that intention in mind during your college years.

Do you have any hobbies, and if so name a few!

Anyone who knows me knows that I addicted to shopping, especially in New York City, my second home. I enjoy looking at tennis and collecting vintage luggage.

What is the best way to contact you?

Email is the best way to contact me but feel free to drop by or call if that is more comfortable or easier for you.

Meet the Staff – Dr. Paul Harris

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Name: Paul Harris

Title: Associate Director National Prestigious Scholarships

Hometown: North Augusta, SC

How long have you been with the Honors College?

Since August 2008 – six years

 Briefly, what do you do for the Honors College?

I am chiefly responsible for assisting students in their application for national prestigious scholarships.

 What’s your favorite class or event offered by the Honors College?

Favorite class: Dr. George Plasketes Honors Technology & Culture.

Favorite event: Honors Serves – our week of service prior to the start of fall classes

 Do you have office hours for students?

Yes. I am available to meet almost any day or time slot. I prefer if students email me prior to setting up an appointment.

I have an open-door policy, if I am in my office and not with a student, I can meet.

 What’s your favorite Auburn memory?

Ummmm . . .   give me a second and I’ll think of something.

 In your opinion, what’s the best thing about Auburn Honors?

Our students!

 What’s the best advice you can give to an Honors Student?

Live intentionally and be kind to strangers and animals.

Do you have any hobbies, and if so name a few!

Well, not really a hobby, but I am an avid walker and average 6 – 7 miles every day.

What is the best way to contact you?

Via email.

Meet Our Staff – Molly Jenkins

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Name: Molly Jenkins

Title: Academic Advisor

Hometown: Freeport, IL

 How long have you been with the Honors College?

Since February 2012

 Briefly, what do you do for the Honors College?

I advise Honors students on the Honors College curriculum, assisting them with their major/minor decisions, and finding the best way for them to complete the Honors College curriculum. I also help students find resources they may be in need of across campus and answer a myriad of questions about Auburn, Graduate School, careers, etc.

 What’s your favorite class or event offered by the Honors College?

I love the Honors Seminar classes: it’s always exciting for me to set up classes and see what interesting Seminar topics Auburn faculty are offering for that upcoming semester.

 Do you have office hours for students?

M-F 7:45-11:45 and 12:45-4:45

Appointments can be made on our website, but walk-in’s are welcome too.

What’s your favorite Auburn memory?

The Auburn vs. Alabama game of 2013 – one of the best endings for a college football game I’ve ever seen

 In your opinion, what’s the best thing about Auburn Honors?

The students – we have such a diverse population that I am always in awe of the types of students I have the privilege of working with each day. They are so many inspiring students that I wish everyone could do what I do.

 What’s the best advice you can give to an Honors Student?

Don’t let others make your decisions for you. I see so many students that give up too quickly or aren’t happy with choices that they have made based on what they have heard, or been told to do, from other people. Be intentional with your decisions, but do so after you have gathered all of the information. I hate to see others have regrets because of this.

 Do you have any hobbies, and if so name a few!

Running and working out in general, playing volleyball, baking and cooking, and reading (when I can).

 What is the best way to contact you?

Email me as I check that most frequently, even when I am out of the office.

Meet our Staff – Sarah Crim

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Name: Sarah Crim

Title: Academic Advisor

Hometown: Nashville, TN but been in Auburn for 15 years

How long have you been with the Honors College? It will be a year in November.

Briefly, what do you do for the Honors College?

I have the opportunity to get to know our Honors students through academic advising and hopefully help them achieve their goals in the Honors College.

I also have been able to help start a new organization for the Honors College that focuses on service called Honors Serves. There has been an unbelievable outpouring of students interested in engaging in service activities in our local community. Our students are helping local high-school students prepare for college and beyond through peer mentoring and ACT/SAT prep courses. I am in awe of the time and effort that our Honors students are giving to this cause simply from the outpouring of their hearts.

We are also beginning a new partnership with a group from West Alabama called Horseshoe Farms. This opportunity allows Honors students to tutor elementary and middle-school aged students living in Greensboro, AL via Skype. It is such a unique collaboration where a need on the other side of Alabama can be met through Honors students here through the use of technology.

 If you are interested in learning more about either of these opportunities to serve, please contact me. I would love to talk to you more about both programs!

 What’s your favorite class or event offered by the Honor College?

I have lots! As an Honors Student, my favorite class was Organismal Biology with Dr. Folkerts, it was amazing! My favorite Honors course now is Freshman Exploration because I get to teach some incredible students and learn more about campus resources. Finally, I really enjoyed serving along with our students this summer during our k(NO)w poverty week of service, it was truly the highlight of my time here.

 Do you have office hours for students?

Yes, we are here 7:45-11:45 and then 12:45-4:45 Monday thru Friday.

 What’s your favorite Auburn memory?

Whew, I cannot name just one. Auburn holds lots of memories for me both from my days as a student to the times that I have worked here. This is the place where I received my education, met my husband, and raised my children. Now, it is where I get to work and hopefully give back to the campus and the community.

 In your opinion, what’s the best thing about Auburn Honors?

The students of course! They inspire me daily with their knowledge and passion.

 What’s the best advice you can give to an Honors Student?

There is grace for each day, do not worry about tomorrow and live each day to its fullest.

 Do you have any hobbies, and if so name a few!

Most of my free time is spend with my family, either out at the ball field or at home. I am training for my very first full marathon, so if you are ever out around 5:00am, you may see me running around town.

 What is the best way to contact you?

 Email, or just stop by if you are in the Quad area, we always love to see you!

Auburn Honors College and CMB Graduate Earns Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship

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Mary Catherine Anderson

Mary Catherine Anderson, a 2014 Honors College and Cellular, Molecular and Microbial Biology (CMB) graduate of Auburn University, has been awarded a Phi Kappa Phi National Fellowship that will be applied towards her first year of graduate study at Cambridge University.

Among her many awards and achievements, Anderson was the recipient of the 2014 Women of Distinction Undergraduate Student Leadership Award; the 2014 Comer Medal (Biological Sciences) in the College of Sciences and Mathematics; and was a 2014 finalist for the Gates-Cambridge Scholarship.

Anderson participated in Vanderbilt University’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Pharmacology where she researched neuregulin modulation of NMDA receptors and various signaling pathways in adult rat cardiac muscle cells. Neuregulin is a protein that has been shown to have diverse functions in the development of the nervous system and play multiple essential roles including cardiac development. Anderson’s research will be used as a model for the proteins’ effect on the adult human cardiac muscle cell.

Outside of the classroom and lab, Anderson volunteers at Magnolia Place Assisted Living Home where she performs monthly musical ensembles, and assists with Bonaparte’s Retreat, an animal rescue in Nashville, Tennessee.

Anderson will attend Cambridge University in the fall where she will pursue a master in philosophy in biological anthropology.

Each year, the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi awards fifty-one Fellowships of $5,000 each to members entering the first year of graduate or professional study. Each active Phi Kappa Phi chapter may select one candidate from among its local applicants to compete for the Society-wide awards. Mary-Catherine follows Honors College graduates Paul Bergen (AU ’12) and Dan Mazzaferro (AU ’11) who also received a Phi Kappa Phi National Fellowship.

Students Awarded NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship

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(Left) Spencer Kerns (Right) Tofey Leon

Recent Honors College graduate Spencer Kerns and current  student Tofey Leon have been awarded the NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship.

A double major in Chemistry and Spanish, Spencer Kerns conducted his honors thesis under the direction of Associate Professor Anne Gorden.  A Rhodes Scholarship nominee in District VII – Birmingham, Kerns will be attending The University of Texas Austin to pursue a doctorate in chemistry this fall.

Tofey Leon is a senior biomedical sciences major (pre-medicine) who is writing his  thesis under the direction of Associate Professor Mike Squillacote.  Leon was recently recognized as the Top Male Scholar Athlete of the Year at the Athletic Awards Banquet (AUSPYS), and was Auburn’s male student-athlete nominee for the SEC H. Boyd McWhorter Award for 2014 (winners to be announced later this month).  Leon will be applying for the Rhodes, Marshall, and Gates-Cambridge Scholarships this fall.

Honors College alumni who have received this honor include Kyle Owens (AU ’13), Stuart Ferguson (AU  ’13), Dan Mazzaferro (AU ’12), Katy Frierson (AU ’12), and Erica Meissner (AU ’11).

The NCAA scholarship committee selects 29 women and 29 men each season for the $7,500 honor. Created in 1964, the NCAA postgraduate scholarships promote and encourage academic excellence in education by rewarding the NCAA’s most accomplished student-athletes.

Please join us in congratulating these outstanding student athletes.

War Eagle!

Featuring stories from the Honors College at Auburn University

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