Honors Seminar Fall 2014 Spotlight: Metaphysics

One of the Honors Seminars in Humanities this semester is Metaphysics, taught by Dr. Stephan Kershnar from the Philosophy Department.

Metaphysics is the philosophical exploration of the nature and structure of reality. It looks at fundamental questions such as the following: What is essence of a person (for example, is a person a soul, a body, or both)? Are people are morally responsible for what they do? Are people immortal? Does God exist? It also looks at how the answers to these questions relate to one another. The class explores these issues through lectures, Socratic questioning, group discussions, debates, and various written assignments such as exams, quizzes, and papers.

Stephen Kershnar is a distinguished teaching professor of philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia and an attorney. He focuses on applied ethics and political philosophy. Kershnar has authored over seventy articles on such diverse topics as torture, affirmative action, pornography, hell, faking orgasms, tipping servers, sex discrimination, the most valuable player, capitalism, equal opportunity, slavery, and the nature of pleasure. He is the author of six books, the most recent ones are Gratitude Toward Veterans: A Philosophical Explanation of Why Americans Should Not Be Very Grateful to Veterans (Lexington Books, 2014), For Torture: A Right-Based Defense (Lexington Books, 2012), and Desert and Virtue: A Theory of Intrinsic Value (Lexington Books, 2010).

Student of the Week: Virginia Croft

unnamed Virginia is a sophomore music therapy major. Hailing from Cortlandt Manor, NY, Virginia has been playing violin since the age of five and is an active member of the college symphony orchestra.

   Aside from music, Virginia is a writer for the online magazine Pop Culture Puke (popculturepuke.com). The magazine focuses on how pop culture affects our lives, and the impact such influences leave. Beyond this, Virginia co-hosts a radio show here at Fredonia with fellow honors program student Claire Woodcock. The show hones in on the Riot Grrrl movement of the late 90s and how it has influenced music of today. Listen on Wednesdays at 10pm! Furthermore, Virginia is the social chair of the Women’s Student Union and truly enjoys discussing her passion for feminism. Virginia enjoys balancing her many passions, and looks forward to the next three years!

A Reflection on Bill Nye

Written by Meghan Devine, ’15

Meeting your childhood hero is typically an unchecked, uncompleted task off one’s bucket list. However, hero can take on a different form than just superheroes like Superman, Batman, Spiderman, or Ironman. Childhood heroes are those we aspire to be like, those who teach us more about the world in creative ways or through interesting topics. They are the ones who you grow up with on rolling carts in elementary classes, and graduate those ideas throughout middle and high school until you formulate ideas of your own from this stem. Bill Nye is one of those childhood heroes for our generation, and my opportunity to meet him was beyond just a check off my bucket list.

The aura of a man who has taught you everything about science from how plants grow, to how to protect the world from asteroids is astonishing. With fervor and passion, he advocated how we could change the world on numerous counts. I had the privilege to speak with Bill in a press conference prior to the actual convocation, and in an intimate setting with roughly ten students, we discussed his initial passions for science and the force that drove him to spread his teachings to the youth that were now sitting in front of him. You could see the spark of interest that once set his career in motion through his eyes as he retold his young self’s interest in the flight abilities of bees. He then went on to retell how he met his childhood hero, Neil Degrasse Tyson, and is now personal and close friends with his mentor. He went on to tell us how meeting his hero only continued his drive to defy the odds, question what we were told, and learn about how to research true science rather than trust pseudoscience.

The most comforting and compelling bit of advice he gave us, was that “not every person should become an engineer. We need other people to do other things. Student run campus media is incredibly important, because without you all doing what you’re doing, how will we have people to report on news and science in the future? Everything you’re doing here will impact and change the world.” The last bit of his statement was directed to any general major or student, but gave each of us a sense of belonging to the world and towards the general future. If Bill Nye, the intelligent man we’ve looked up to since we could write our names with crayon, is telling us how our majors and experiences are important for the world’s contributions, you can only imagine the sense of pride and excitement knowing we are doing something to truly change the world.

The press conference was short, running only about thirty minutes, but it was a collective thirty minutes of ten students smiling from ear to ear to see the legendary Bill Nye in person, rather than roll into the room on an A.V. television set. It’s within those thirty minutes that I can say how much I learned about sticking with your passion, regardless of what that may be, and applying yourself with the knowledge that every single step you take progresses another thought, idea, or inspiration. It’s a chain reaction of creativity, in which we truly can change the world.

Student of the Week: Brendan Hoare

IMG_3275Brendan is a junior Public Relations Major with a minor in Business Administration. He is the Public Relations Director for the campus TV station as well as the Marketing Chair for Autism Speaks U. He has his own TV show on campus called Fred Before Bed which is a late-night talk show style tv show that airs Wednesdays at 10. He started Fred Before Bed last spring and is also a co-host on Sports Hour and an anchor on Channel 8 Update.

Outside of school, he plays guitar and sings in his band Kill The Clock. Along with guitar and singing, he plays piano and harmonica. He really enjoy writing music. After college, Brendan hopes to work in Public Relations or Social Media for a professional sports team, preferably in the NHL. You can contact Brendan at hoar1063@fredonia.edu

Catch Fred Before Bed Wednesday nights at 10 – On Campus Channel 8, Off Campus Fredonia Channel 17 and Dunkirk Channel 19. You can also stream live on ustream.tv/ – just search WNYF. You can catch past episodes on https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQxIzxiqav3nSyxYP1cc8Gw

You can check out Kill the Clock at https://www.facebook.com/killtheclockbuffalony

STUDENT OF THE WEEK: MEET THE INTERNS

Maria Gordon

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I am a sophomore here at Fredonia, double majoring in Communication Studies and Spanish. I am a member of the Varsity Womens Soccer team and was awarded 2013 SUNYAC All-Academic Team. I am a Fredonia Global Student Ambassador, working to help the university advance its goal of increasing acceptance and understanding of cultures around the globe. I am looking to study abroad in Chile during the remainder of my time here to improve my Spanish language skills. I have a keen interest in cultures and worldwide traveling and hope to one day become a member of the Peace Corps. I am from Stephentown NY, a very small rural town outside of Albany. I am one of 4 children and love to spend time with my family and my awesome dog. I love to read, write, and take pictures! I’m a thinker and an explorer and love people. Spending time with friends, hiking, skiing, and going to concerts are some of my main hobbies.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

― Mark Twain

Contact me at gord6901@fredonia.edu  !

SOTW PicDanielle Oakes

I am a business marketing major with a minor in communications and will be graduating early this December. I have had several executive board positions including Co-President of Alpha Lambda Delta, Treasurer of Business Club, and Business Manager of WNYF.  In addition to being an active member of Alpha Lambda Delta and Business Club,I am also a part of Enactus, Golden Key, and was recently inducted into The Alma Mater Society.  I have served as a tour guide on campus and was selected to be an Orientation Leader for the summer of 2013.  This past summer I traveled west to Los Angeles for an internship with a small marketing firm called Buzztone.  One of the most notable clients I worked with frequently was TOMS.  For the fall semester, I will be continuing her leadership growth with Enactus as a member on the Executive Team, as well as a Team Liaison for one of the projects.  I confidently state that being a member of the Honors Program has positively influenced her time at Fredonia and has played a critical role in her success.

Mary Plum

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I am a junior music therapy student with a concentration in voice from a suburb of Rochester, NY. I also have a double major in psychology and a minor in statistics. I am Leadership Development Certified and also a member of Golden Key. Besides singing and playing a variety of instruments (including the guitar and banjo!), my passion is traveling! I have had notable experiences abroad and in the US, have friends all over the world, and consider more than one place on the globe a second home. My notable summer experiences from this past summer included traveling to Spain for a few weeks as well as managing the social media platforms for the United Way of Northern Chautauqua County.

After school, I plan to move to North Carolina and work with children with Autism.

I am so excited to return as a Social Media intern this year and can’t wait to see how the Honors Program will grow. I hope that any Honors student interested contacts one of us interns to help with our growth.

Contact me at mplum@fredonia.edu!

Welcome to the Start of a New Year!

On Tuesday, August 26, the Honors Program welcomed students to Fredonia with our First Annual Welcome-Back Mixer. Over 120 students, faculty, and staff gathered in the Japanese Garden in Reed Library to meet old and new friends, connect with mentors/mentees, and celebrate the start of a new academic year.

 

Welcome to all first-year students, congratulations to all the scholarship recipients, and much success to everyone for the year ahead!!

 

We invite you to participate on our social media platforms. We would like to know and recognize the wonderful work all Honors students are doing, so if you want to post an announcement, contribute to the Honors Blog, or simply learn more about our program, please use Facebook (Fredonia Honors Program) or Twitter (@FREDHonors).  If you’re interested in writing for the Honors blog, please contact Mary Plum, Danielle Oakes, and Maria Gordon.

End of the Year Goodbye

Finals
Dear Honors Community:

As the director of the Honors Program, I want to thank you for all of your wonderful work this past academic year. Across campus, members of the Fredonia community have spoken so highly of your work inside and outside of the classroom. From volunteer efforts during the “Days of Service” campaign to active participation in such innovative seminars like Conflicts and Crises in African History and Video Games: Their Evolution and Impact, from the residents in the Honors Honors to student mentors, you have made our program grow in profound and exciting ways. Our program’s strength is a result of your efforts, curiosity, academic excellence, and participation. Thank you.

I also want to publicly thank Laura Hart, Mary Plum, Jake Schermerhorn, and Mandi Buzard for all their assistance over the past year. Their work as interns have been invaluable in helping foster an active learning community within the Honors Program. Thank you!
This year we are saying farewell to 61 graduating seniors. Congratulations on all your success and, on behalf of the program, I wish you all the best on your next adventure. While we bestowed graduation cords to many seniors this past week, if you haven’t picked-up your graduation cords yet, please see Julie Sticek in the Office of the Dean of Visual and Performing Arts, 8th floor, Maytum. They will be available during regular business hours throughout finals week. Congratulations seniors!

In addition, congratulations are in order for the recipients for the 2014-15 honors scholarships. They are Adam Clouthier, Morgan Hartley, Alexandra Shananhan, Margaret Gilroy, Philip Landini, Jordyn Holka, Colin Mann, Antonio Regulier, Margaret Drzewiecki, Callie Patsellis, Allison Williams, and Claire Woodcock. And to all the applicants, it is truly inspiring to learn the myriad ways you demonstrate the core values of a Fredonia education, being Skilled, Creative, Connected, and Responsible.
And finally, as we close one academic year, we look ahead towards the next. For 2014-15, we are offering an exciting array of seminars, developing programs to better connect students to the local communities, and planing off-campus learning experiences as well. Enrollments continue to grow, as we are expecting an incoming class of at least 105 students. To welcome students into the program, we are planning a “meet and greet” event during the first week of the fall semester so all members of the Honors Program can get to know each other. All students in the Honors Program are invited! Information about date, time, and place will be made via email, twitter, and facebook by mid-August. I do hope you will attend. And for student mentors, you will be receiving contact information about your mentees at the end of July. We look forward to building on past successes and developing a stronger program in the years ahead.

Again, thank you for all your efforts this year. Congratulations on all your successes! Good luck with final exams and I hope you have a wonderful summer.

Sincerely,
Dave Kinkela  

Student of the Week: Meghan Devine

Meghan is a junior communications student, double major in Audio/Radio Production and Media Management. On top of this, she also has an English minor and is the current station manager and next year’s general manager for Fredonia Radio Systems. She hosts two shMeghanows: a country show with her roommate and High Noon Friday, one of the longest running student produced shows in the nation (30 years)! Meghan is a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta, Lambda Pi Eta, and Chi Alpha Sigma honors societies for maintaining a certain GPA within the college, the communications department, and for being a student athlete. Finally, Meghan is a captain for the Varsity Track and Field team and loves being really involved on campus. She is from Clarence, NY and enjoys making cookies with her roommates in her spare time.

Student of the Week: Leah Wacienga

Leah BlogLeah is a freshman with a double major in Audio/Radio Communication and Music Business from Buffalo, New York.  Within her first semester at Fredonia, Leah was grateful to have been selected into the all-female a cappella group, The Riveters.  Being a part of this group has been an amazing experience for her and has helped her greatly with the transition from high school into college.  The Riveters has helped introduce Leah to so many people and wonderful new experiences.  Leah is currently working on several new song arrangements for the group to perform, as well as a few original pieces.  This group of girls have become her family and continue to push her to perform to the best of her ability each and every day.  Leah is looking forward to making the most of her three remaining years at Fredonia.  She will continue to work to thrive as a student, as well as keep her love for music alive.

Student of the Week: Alison Phillips

aliAlison is a senior English Adolescence Education major/ Spanish minor from Orchard Park, NY.  She is currently in her second student-teaching placement at Fredonia High School.
During her time at Fredonia, Alison has been involved in both campus and community life by serving as a three-year captain of the Women’s Tennis Team, volunteering in various capacities at the WCA Home, participating in Fredonia’s Internationalization Forum to help strengthen the college’s presence as a global community, and actively supporting the use of the Oxford comma.
Upon graduation, Alison will spend the summer coaching tennis, lifeguarding, and celebrating her last few months of freedom.  Come fall, she will attend a yet-to-be-selected graduate school where she will pursue a Masters degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.