Honors Students Help Transform “The Leader”

Congratulations to honors students Leader imageMaggie Gilroy (Editor-in-Chief) and Jordyn Holka (Managing Editor) as well as the rest of the staff of The Leader for the wonderful redesign of the student newspaper. Maggie, a double major in Theatre and Communications, and Jordyn, a Public Relations major with minors in Theatre and Spanish, will be graduating in a few weeks. Check out the most recent issue on newsstands and congratulate them on all their success.


Honors Students Help Out with Electronic Recycling Day

Electronic Recycling.2015.2 On Saturday, April 18, 2015, twenty Honors students volunteered at annual Campus and Community Household Electronics Recycling Event. The event brought together local politicians, community members, businesses, and students from various groups to help with the recycling efforts. All together, students unloaded 1,175 vehicles that filled eight semi-trailers with electronics for recycling.

According to Sunnking, the electronics recycling company who co-sponsored the event, common materials like glass, copper, aluminum, tin, steel, iron, plastic, silver, platinum, and gold are recovered through our recycling process for reuse.Electronic Recycling.2014 In addition to these reusable materials, there are also a handful of harmful and highly toxic substances such as lead, mercury, beryllium, lithium, cadmium, BRFs (Brominated Flame Retardants), PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls), and PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) that we prevent from entering our waste streams. Thanks for every one who helped out!

Honors Students and “Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical”

HAIR-for-web2Congratulations to all the Honors students participating in Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical, produced by the Department of Theatre and Dance, in association with the School of Music.

Actors include Miquon Jackson (Hud), Lauren O’Brien (Crissy), Christine Boehm (Tribe), Gabrielle Leo (Tribe), and Jenna Vezina (Tribe). In the band, live and on-stage, are Johanna Wiley (Trombone) and Kyle Scudder (Drums).  Maggie Gilroy served as the dramaturg, providing important background material for the cast. And Vincent Meade worked on the production crew.

It’s a great show! Tickets are still available for the remaining three shows this week, scheduled for Thursday, April 16 through Saturday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m.


Notes from Abroad: Chile, Part 2

This semester honors student Maria Gordon is studying at the University at Vina del Mar, located in Valparaíso, Chile. A double major in Communication Studies and Spanish, Maria is also member of the Varsity Women’s Soccer team and was awarded 2013 SUNYAC All-Academic Team.

To learn more about her adventures, check out Maria’s most recent blog post at: https://mariatgordon.wordpress.com/

Notes from the Colloquium: Shaping Your Digital Identity

This semester we will be posting a series of short essays based on discussions from the upper-level colloquium. This week, Lauren Kotas (Communications Disorders major) reports on Professor Kathleen Gradel’s workshop on “Shaping Your Digital Identities,” which took place on Wednesday, April 1.

What was the last thing you posted on social media?  Did you “like” a Facebook post?  Retweet a quote? From the start of the day up until the very end, we are inundated with social media updates.  The availability and popularity of smartphones has made access to the Internet easier, faster and a commodity that most of us can’t imagine living without.

However, this easy access to the widespread Internet has let us leave behind a digital track that can never be completely washed away.  “Shaping Your Digital Identity” by Dr. Kathleen Gradel discussed how to monitor and build the social identity created on social media accounts, such as Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

The presentation began with a “DF Touchpoint” back channel.  This channel is a private discussion board that can be used in classrooms or meetings.  Afterwards we were introduced to another website, haikudeck.com, which is similar to a PowerPoint presentation, but allows for less text and more images.  I would recommend checking out both of these websites to spruce up future presentations.

The discussion then led into how much social media impacts us. We have all heard the saying “what goes online stays online,” but Dr. Gradel showed us how easy it is to actually access old posts or deleted posts on Internet archives.  Simply searching “Internet archive” on Google can access these archives, which is a worrisome thought.  Is there anything you have posted that you regret?  Anything future employers will question whether to hire you? Or worse, something your grandma would be ashamed to see?

Hopefully for most of us the answer is no, but there are ways to shape and control your digital identity.  With social media sites that show your full name be sure to only update it with positive images of yourself.  Check often, be careful who you follow and wait 10 minutes (or preferably 24 hours) before posting or commenting on something. Be sure friends aren’t tagging you in anything inappropriate and always keep in mind how easy it is for someone to take a picture and share it on the Internet.  Switching the setting to private may help combat some of these issues, but it doesn’t 100% completely solve the problem.  Using a nickname or fake name on certain social media sites may also be a good to idea.

Just remember, “You yourself only make part of your digital footprint; the rest is made by others,” (Brownell).  Be careful and responsible out there in the digital world, because you never know where it may take you.

Cool links to check out from this presentation:

Brownwell: http://www.prnewsonline.com/water-cooler/2015/03/25/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-your-digital-footprint/)





This semester we will be posting a series of short essays based on discussions from the upper-level colloquium. This week we have two entries on the employee benefits workshop conducted by Laurie Ensign, the Assistant Director, Human Resources/Employee Benefits at Fredonia on March 25, 2015.

For those interested, our next workshop open to all honors students is on Wednesday, April 1. Kathleen Gradel from the School of Education will offer helpful advice on shaping your digital identities (Williams Center 204D–Am 7:00-7:50pm).

From Lisa Muldowney, Marketing and Business Administration major

As a senior graduating in May, a large portion of my time this spring is spent thinking about where I want to be, how I’m going to get there, and how I’m going to get a job. Getting a job is the light at the end of this tunnel of uncertainty, and naturally I look forward to starting my career and continuing to grow in a field I love. What I don’t spend my time thinking about however, is the importance of a benefit package. Listening to Laurie Esign speak about how to compare benefit packages and end up with the best one was incredibly helpful, and something I definitely wouldn’t have thought of on my own.

Important benefits to look for are health insurance, either for yourself or your family/spouse. We don’t often think about what might happen if we get sick or injured, but the reality is that accidents do happen, and it’s important to know starting a new job that you will be covered. Health Insurance packages might sometimes include a waiting period or not cover pre-existing conditions, so comparing and carefully looking through what they entail is an important part of taking a job. Premiums, copays, and deductibles are far less scary words once you figure out what they mean for you and your personal lifestyle.

However, Laurie Esign advised not to ask about benefit packages during an interview. During an interview you want to focus on how you fit into the company, not what you might be getting out of them. She suggested calling the Human Resources office and explaining that you are considering a job offer and would like to know more about the benefit packages offered. Another discreet way to gather the information needed is to look up what you can about a company online.

From Sarah Johnson, Psychology

The last thing anyone wants to do when they get their first job or land a new job in a new town is to think about that big packet your new employers hand you about employee benefits, let alone read the entire packet. The reality of this brand new job is not just about your weekly paycheck or your salary over the year. On March 25, Laurie Esign from Fredonia’s Office of Human Resources presented to the Honors Colloquium how thinking beyond your salary will be beneficial to you in the long run.

The first thing Laurie told everyone was to weigh the value of each package option that is available to you. There are health insurance packages where getting two separate plans for your significant other and you are more cost effective. If you have dependents, sometimes a family plan is more cost effective. Some health insurances offer opt outs. Laurie told the colloquium that this is basically where you are paid not to take the health coverage, usually if you have other health insurance. This is a possible option if your significant other has you on their health plan through their work. When comparing cost effectiveness, one should consider premiums, copays, deductibles, and pre-tax options. An example of a deductible would be you covering the first $5,000 of hospital bills out of your pocket and then anything over $5,000 will be covered by the health insurance in full for each year. Other things you need to think about when choosing a health plan are if your doctor/local hospital accept that plan, whether or not there are restrictions on what is covered, do any extra perks come with the plan (gym memberships, massages) and whether there are ramifications of opting out.

Our discussion led to retirement plans, and Laurie could not stress enough how enrolling at the earliest point would be one of your best decisions. She told us all to save for retirement as soon as possible, even if we started saving with a small amount out of our paychecks. When you get your first entry level job, you generally are not making that much in the first place, and parting with your money is hard. Laurie explained that at first it will be difficult, but soon you would not even notice the money was being taken out; you learn to live on a smaller salary. Two things to think about when you are exploring your retirement options are portability and vesting period. Portability is whether or not you can take your pension if you move and leave that job. Your vesting period is a length of time that you must work at a company before you are entitled to your benefits. Laurie stated that if the vesting period is ten years, and you leave the company in nine years, you would not get those benefits. When considering how long a vesting period is, you should think about whether you plan to move within that period or even the possibility that you might meet someone and they get offered a job out of state.

Laurie’s last advice to the Honors Colloquium was to look at the bigger picture, even if you are just starting out. You have to want to be at the job, or you’re going to be miserable and not do as great. When your dream job finally comes along, that employer might not give you a good recommendation. Looking at the bigger picture when you are fresh out of college or grad school with your mind on loans you need to pay while working at an entry level job will be difficult, but beneficial. Laurie told us the earlier we start putting money in, the earlier we can retire. Who wants to retire at age 70+? Starting now is our best option.


Honors House.McVicker.March 2015

Honors House Dinner with Dr. Jan McVicker

On March 9, 2015, Dr. McVicker led a conversation in the Honors House about her fall seminar called “What is Post-Humanism?” The conversation ranged far and wide as Dr. McVicker talked about the various implications of living in a world where individuals transcend political boundaries and identities with ease, where multinational as well as terror organizations move beyond and between nations, and where human trafficking creates political, legal, and ethical dilemmas that transcend any one nation. Given the complexity of the world, Dr. McVicker invited students to join her in a dialogue about the post-humanism.

Not surprisingly, one of the questions raised was what is post-humanism particularly as it relates to the meaning of humanism. While humanism can have many definitions, Dr. McVicker talked about how humanism emerged out of the enlightenment as a way to consider the development of political and natural rights like citizenship. In this regard, the nation-state and citizenship became one of the defining characteristics of the 19th and 20th century world. But what happens when individuals, groups, or corporations are stateless? How do the political and legal institutions that arose within a humanism tradition handle such complex transborder issues?

Rather than come to any grand conclusions, Dr. McVicker informed students that the honors seminar will interrogate these complex questions thematically. Indeed, based on the dialogue that flowed through the dinner, which ranged from climate change and space technologies to ideas about digital identities, the media, and video games, the course will certainly appeal to many students. It was truly a stimulating conversation. In addition, as part of the course, students will be asked to create an activism project that connects the theoretical work of the class with real-life applications. If you have any additional questions about Dr. McVicker’s honors seminar, please contact her directly at Jeanette.McVicker@fredonia.edu.

Please join us for other Honors House dinners to learn more about the course offering for the fall 2015.

On Wednesday, March 25, we will be hosting a honors house dinner with Dr. Jon Titus. He will be talking about his fall 2015 honors seminar, Western New York Natural History: A Sense of Place, which will fulfill a natural science CCC. This event will start at 6:30pm in the lower level of the Williams Center. We will reserve a few tables for this event in the general seating area of Willie C’s. Please purchase your meal beforehand and stop by to hear about this honors seminar.

And on Friday, March 27, we will be hosting a honors house dinner with Dr. Natalie Gerber, who will be talking about her fall 2015 honors seminar, A Poet’s Guide to the English Language, which will fulfill the humanities CCC. This event will take place from 5:30-6:30pm in room 204abc of the Williams Center. Please purchase your meal beforehand and stop by to hear about this honors seminar


Meghan DevineKaitlyn Crossan with Bill NyeHonors students Kaitlyn Crossan (Biology) and Meghan Devine (Communication-Audio/Radio & Media Management) have been awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. The award recognizes the integration of academic excellence with leadership, athletics, career achievement, community service, or creative and performing arts. Congratulations to Kaitlyn and Meghan!

Also, a special congratulations to Colin Mann (Music Education–Voice and Music Performance), who was a finalist for the award. Congratulations to you all.

Notes from Abroad: Chile

This semester honors student Maria Gordon is studying at the University at Vina del Mar, located in Valparaíso, Chile. A double major in Communication Studies and Spanish, Maria is also member of the Varsity Women’s Soccer team and was awarded 2013 SUNYAC All-Academic Team.

Maria will be sharing her study abroad experience with us through her blog: Adventure Thoughts. She left for Chile on Friday, February 27. We will be checking in with her periodically throughout the semester. To read more about Maria’s travel preparation and arrival, see https://mariatgordon.wordpress.com/