Honors Student Recognition

Check out the outstanding achievements of our Honors students!


Nicolette Pecor

Senior Marketing major Nicolette Pecor competed in the International Collegiate Sales Competition (ICSC) in Orlando, Florida, hosted by Florida State University. Full story





Eric Green

Eric Green is a senior accounting major and an Honors student here at St. John Fisher College. He was recently named the 2019 recipient of the Martin Palumbos Rochester Area Business Ethics Foundation (RABEF) Scholarship. Full story.


Lindsey Garrant and Colleen Senglaub

Honors students in the department of media and communication here at St. John Fisher College, Lindsey Garrant and Colleen Senglaub, took home two of the six awards given to students during the Rochester Chapter of PRSA’s Prism Awards. Full story.


Andrés Ramírez

Andrés Ramírez is a sophomore finance major and Honors student here at St. John Fisher College. He was recently selected to take part in the 2019 Summer Freshman Enhancement Program at Morgan Stanley in New York City. Full story.


Lindsey DeBonis

Freshman honors student and adolescent education major, Lindsey DeBonis, was recently named the Women’s Volleyball Player of the Week after her outstanding performance in her collegiate postseason debut. Full story.


Sydney French and Lauren Gilbert

Freshman Honors students, Sydney French and Lauren Gilbert, were both featured alongside Lindsey DeBonis for their outstanding performances in their volleyball match against Elmira. Full story.

NRHC Conference 2020

#NRHC2020: Finding Your Voice—Speaking Truth to Power

The Northeast Regional Honors Council will be holding its annual conference this year in Albany, NY!

This is an extraordinary opportunity for all undergraduate Honors students, from all fields of interest, to participate by submitting a presentation proposal of no more than 300 words for review. Applicants will be notified on December 18, 2019 regarding acceptance.

Proposals are due by November 15, 2019.

Proposal Categories:

  • Paper Presentations
  • Poster Presentations
  • Roundtable Discussions
  • Idea Exchange
  • Art Gallery

Presentation Strands:

  • Economics, and Technology
  • Education
  • History, Politics, and Culture
  • Language, Literature, and Philosophy
  • Natural Sciences, Psychology, and Allied Health
  • Media Studies and the Arts
  • Social Sciences (Sociology, Anthropology, Archaeology, Geography, and Jurisprudence)
  • Honors Education and Practice

For more information, please contact mbissonette@sjfc.edu or visit http://nrhchonors.org/ for the full description and complete set of guidelines.




Spring 2020 Honors Courses

All freshmen MUST take an Honors 199.

199 (01) Fearless Speech: Public Speech and Social Change (encouraged for Business and Social Science majors)

What moves people to action? What inspires social change? It’s often the language of someone brave who marshals the right words, at the right time, to embolden us to solve hard and even impossible problems. In this 199 we will study the new generation of orators, like Greta Thunberg and Emma Gonzalez, along with famous orators from other periods in history, like Abraham Lincoln and Rochester’s own Frederick Douglass, to understand the connection between fearless speech and social change. We will be joined by influential leaders in the community who will tell us about how they prepare and deliver their speeches, and what kinds of speech moves them to action. For your semester project you will select an orator who most interests you and research the context, persuasive strategies, and impact of their speech, developing your critical and analytical skills, your knowledge of culture, and your understanding of the power of language. 

199 (02) American Popular Culture (encouraged for Humanities majors)

Pop culture can appear to be merely shallow, simple, mindless entertainment. But what would it mean to take pop culture seriously? What might it tell us about who we are, even if just as evidence of what is popular with a broad array of people? In this course students will explore varying manifestations of American popular culture (film, music, gaming, television, or other forms) and consider how these texts speak to what Americans value, what they believe, and what they aspire to be. CITATION STYLE: MLA

199 (03) Votes for Women (Encouraged for Humanities, Social Science, Nursing)

199 (04) Philosophy of Science (Encouraged for Science, Psychology, Nursing)

In this course we will explore and analyze the framework that intends to support humanity’s quest for true knowledge. At the same time, students will use writing as a tool for thinking, and will learn the basic tenets of writing an academic research paper. Emphasis will be on elements of persuasive argumentation, the inclusion of more than one perspective on an issue, the proper use and documentation of sources, and revision. Students will also practice oral presentation of their research 

199 (05) Probability and Public Policy (Encouraged for Math, Nursing, Sciences)

In this course, you will explore the fundamentals of probability, and apply them to real-world decisions in both the personal and the public sphere.  You will analyze a variety of local, national and international issues where probability plays a central role (such as “If this person’s DNA profile matches the sample from the crime scene, how likely is it that they’re the criminal?”, or “How high a sea wall should we build in order to protect a nuclear reactor from a tsunami?”).  Your work will culminate in an examination of a significant public policy debate, applying probability theory as part of an assessment of competing perspectives on that issue as you craft an argument supporting your own conclusions. 

199 (06) Food Science (Encouraged for Chem and Bio majors)

HNRS 190 SQ Truth (?) in Numbers Dr. Kocman (recommended for Freshmen)

It is increasingly important to learn how to critically analyze data and to consider how others may have distorted data to tell their “truth.” In this class, students will develop quantitative skills to enable them to critically analyze data. Students will first learn about different types of data and data sources as well as ethical treatment of data. They will learn to manage data in Excel, and they will learn how to describe data using summary statistics, tables, and graphs. Students will analyze real-world scenarios by interpreting and using data to draw conclusions and describe limitations.

HNRS 290 P4 Topic: World Building Dr. Green

This course will focus on astrobiology: the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe. It integrates concepts drawn from many of the traditional science disciplines such as geology, astronomy, and biology. We will explore how each aspect of a planet, from its stellar environment to its geological structure, can impact the life on it and how that life can impact the physical characteristics of the world. The course will be project-based, with students working in teams to create an imaginary planet and to write a guide to this world, complete with descriptions and visuals representing its physical and living environments and how they interact.

HNRS 295 P5  Italy through Food

[Tentative. Will focus on culture and history through food traditions.  Will include some cooking.]

HNRS 275 (01): P1 Seeing Metaphors Prof. Iuppa

This course examines metaphor as it is represented in selected twentieth century American film and literature. Why are metaphors an essential component of human communication? What is the relationship between art and metaphor? How do writers and filmmakers employ metaphor to effect cultural and social change? The works in question will allow us to analyze the conflicts and moral dilemmas confronting the individual in society.

HNRS 275 (02): P1 HBO’s The Wire Dr. Sodano

This course looks at HBO’s The Wire, one of the most critically acclaimed programs in TV history, and unpacks it as a socially relevant television show. Throughout its five seasons, the series, created by David Simon, depicts how American social institutions (including law enforcement, capitalism, politics, public education, and the mass media) affect the people who are served by them. This seminar will examine those elements, HBO’s role in television culture, and contemporary TV issues—which often are ignored in classroom discourses on The Wire—such as serialized storytelling, narrative complexity, and post-network criticism. 

Taking advantage of the coincidence that an academic semester’s length mirrors that of one season of the series, this course examines in sequence each episode of The Wire’s first season. An examination of The Wire necessitates an in-depth, semester-long, full-season commitment. Through this inside-out approach—as opposed to learning through arbitrary clips or a five-seasons-in-one-semester binge—students will analyze the creation and evolution of one season of a popular series the way HBO initially had distributed it in 2002, and its influences on American culture since then. 

HNRS 285: P3 Psychology of Leadership Dr. Franz

This course will examine the underlying psychological principles behind being a strong team contributor, a team leader, and a leader. In the course, you will learn the principles in these areas and practice them in ways designed to improve teams, leaders, and develop organizations. Some of the principles will include group dynamics, improving teamwork, understanding leadership, adult learning principles, and team and organizational development.

HNRS 265: International Travel: Spain & Morocco (not recommended for seniors!)

This course will take place almost entirely May 10-24 in travel to Spain and Morocco.  In addition to the unique travel experience, students will explore the mutual influences of Moroccan and Islamic culture and southern Spanish culture over the past 500 years, as well as the position and representation of Islam in contemporary Spanish culture.  This course has a fee that covers the entire travel package. While it is part of your Spring course registration, you will have only 1-credit’s worth of work to do during the semester.

HNRS 425: The Review (not recommended for freshmen.  1 credit. Pass/Fail)

The Review is a journal produced by the Honors Program that publishes the best scholarship written by Fisher’s undergraduate students. Students in this course research possible platforms and budgets, create publicity campaigns to encourage submissions to The Review and later to make the work in the published review visible on and off campus. Students read, evaluate, and edit the essays through a confidential system. The work we do is practical, creative financial, and active, and culminates in the publication of the Review in the spring. Graded S/U.

Featured Class: Through a Different Lens

Recently, students in Mara Ahmed’s Honors course watched Michael Winterbottom’s In This World, a documentary-style film that follows the arduous (and ultimately tragic) journey of two young men (Jamal is only 15) who risk everything and travel from a refugee camp in Pakistan to Iran, to Turkey, to Trieste in Italy to London. Some parts of their journey are more harrowing than others, but one that’s particularly unforgettable is the long voyage on board a ship (from Turkey to Italy) during which they are locked along with others in a dark, suffocating, metallic container. Most don’t make it out alive.

Professor Ahmed shared on Facebook some of the students’ observations:

They were surprised by the corruption of the bureaucracy (officials had to be bribed at every checkpoint), the cultural and linguistic mosaic they didn’t expect (sometimes w/i the same country), and the rationing of food in refugee camps (they said they felt nauseated by comparing it to how much food is wasted here in the US). They couldn’t believe that Jamal had such a good head on his shoulders at such a young age, yet they laughed at his jokes and his desire for the largest scoop of ice-cream – reminders that he was just a child after all. they talked about how billions are spent on wars against some of the most vulnerable people and they also connected the fate of the two boys they got to know in the film to 9/11 and america’s response to it.

They made some out-of-the box connections, e.g. to the underground railroad – how people have always taken risks, journeyed, and secretly crossed borders to escape oppression and make better, safer lives for themselves and their families. They noticed how Jamal and Enayat were welcomed by Kurdish villagers who helped them get to Turkey, and thought about the generosity of a people who don’t have sovereignty themselves, but will do everything they can to get someone else ‘home.’ Finally, they shared how refugees and immigrants (‘migrants’) are mostly invisibilized and how seeing them up close through the film moved them in unexpected ways.

We also read Warsan Shire’s poem ‘Home’ and Fady Joudah’s ‘Mimesis.’ Rather than ask them to write an analytical essay on the film, which is what we usually do, I asked them to write about one leg of Jamal’s journey in the first person, to tell me his thoughts and feelings but also details related to the situation he is caught in. I just read some of their responses and I’m blown away.

I feel like we’ve hooked into something here. Something profound.

Honors Advising for Spring 2020

This year we’re holding several advising sessions.  Anyone can attend any of them.

Friday 11/1, 4pm, Basil 118 (Humanities, Social Science, and Business majors should attend this one if they can.)

Tuesday, 11/5, Free period, Pioch 121 (Sciences and Math students should attend this one if they can.)

Education attend your content area.  Nursing attend any of them, or contact Dr. Dambaugh.

At these meetings you’ll learn about courses next spring, anticipated courses for next fall, travel options, and can get clarity on your requirements if you have questions.