Honors News Archive

News in Brief

Students share personal highlights and heartaches in portfolio presentations - with cookies!

Jan 28, 2016

December, 2015: UW seniors presented their online interdisciplinary portfolios to several rooms full of rapt staff, students, faculty, alumni, and family members at our first celebratory edition of Honors 496 presentations. Presentations to end the capstone course have always marked the completion of a reflective journey for students but have previously been held in a classroom setting. "I'm glad to see so many freshmen and other students here," said Dr. Julie Villegas, who runs the seminar. "We've rarely had family and alumni attending these presentations and now that's changing. Let's enjoy this for the very special moment it is."

The Autumn cohort breathed a collective sigh of relief as the last audience question was answered and the remaining cookies were cleared away.

"It feels so good to have this out of the way," said senior public health major Marlena Norwood, though she claims she will continue to use her online portfolio to track her reflections on academic subjects as well as personal experiences. "I link to it on my resume," she told us, "and I used it to write a paper while studying abroad in London."

The Norwoods

Norwood's family attended the presentations and said they were not surprised by any of the content. "We've all been following her portfolio since freshman year," Norwood's mother said. "It's bookmarked as one of my favorite web pages." Marlena disclosed that her uncle (seen in photo) used to harass her at family gatherings when she would fall behind on portfolio updates.

Presenters were divided into small groups and spoke to distinct audiences throughout the Honors suite. Each portfolio was unique and full of personal statements, examples of hard discoveries, turning points in academic careers, and memories of favorite courses.

"Honors courses for me were always like a breath of fresh air since I was so loaded down with science and math courses," said computer science major Autumn Johnson. She went on to explain how Honors 392, "The Good Life" allowed her to fall in love with the writings of philosophers whose work she would never have experienced by immersing herself only in hard science tracks. 

Guests of the event noted how Interdiscipliary Honors students are uniquely preparing to transition into work, travel, or pursuit of graduate degrees. "There is so much confidence, so much excitement," said Honors Advisory Board member Bud Saxberg. "And they know how to speak of themselves." 

Come bask in the glory and eat the cookies at Honors' Winter quarter Portfolio Celebrations: Suite 211 Mary Gates Hall. 

  • Weds, March 2, 1:30-3:00 p.m.
  • Thurs, March 3, 3:30-5:00 p.m.

RSVP HERE. All are welcome!