Leah Elliot, Class of 2006
The Honors Forum was never just a set of requirements for me; rather it was a community, and it was a conversation. I spent all my years at Skidmore living in honors housing, literally beginning and ending my days in the Forum. From the first day moving in, our shared membership gave us a bond that other floors lacked. The events specific to our floor, like the annual haunted house, helped us to really know each other and strengthen our community. In honors housing, I was surrounded by people who loved learning as much as I did. This went beyond quiet hours before midterms and finals; it was an atmosphere that encouraged us to discuss our thoughts on lecture topics after class, to keep up with and debate current events, and to share our academic and intellectual discoveries with each other. Whether I researched the intricacies of Japanese gift wrapping or gene transcription, I was but a few steps from others who would share my wonder. A friend's enthusiasm with the latest exhibit at the Tang led me to wander through the galleries. Chance encounters in the hallways led to extensive discussions of political philosophies, our favorite short stories, or even impromptu lessons on Romanian geography. Through the add-on Honors sections to my courses, I engaged in in-depth conversations on topics far outside of my Biology major. I gained the confidence to join in discussions about topics I was not expert on and not to be afraid to ask for the information I lacked. Co-curricular events like the Shades of Gray or Ramsey Lecture series engaged me in conversations with the larger Skidmore community on all kinds of topics. The Honors Forum truly became my forum to discuss, question, and explore any topic I came across. By being a part of the Honors Forum, I developed a habit of discussion, which fed my curiosity across a wide array of disciplines.
Adam Epstein, Class of 2008
For me, HF experience has been an enriching one. I was a chemistry major/english minor at Skidmore so I was interested in the humanity side of science. Luckily through HF independent study and citizenship project, with the support of Prof. Giguere at the chemistry department, I helped in assembling a museum exhibition “Molecules That Matter,” which showcased the top ten molecules of the 20th century that changed the course of humanity. The exhibition at the Tang Museum and later at the Chemical Heritage Foundation recounted the amazing stories of molecules such as aspirin, DDT, progestin, and DNA. Here I learned to communicate my passion in science to the public by being a “tour guide” at the exhibition and creating a preliminary website prior to the opening of the exhibition. I had also taken several HF courses in chemistry and math, which are more demanding and challenging but satisfying to my desire to learn more. In addition to that, I had a great time with Prof. Catherine Golden during a travel seminar (an HF course) on the topic of Jane Austen in Bath, England. These opportunities truly made my Skidmore experience unique and truly interdisciplinary. And this is exactly what I had expected when I joined the HF! HF really did "add more to my Skidmore," as I once heard. In term of my current career path, what HF instilled in me is the desire to challenge myself. This was what led me to pursue a graduate degree in chemistry, in which I started at University of Pennsylvania. What I didn't foresee was that I would be moving to Europe to continue my doctoral degree, which I was very uncertain in the beginning. But in the end I moved to my current position as doctoral student in Switzerland in large part due to the HF experience that taught me not to fear new circumstance in life and to excel in any new situation.
Melissa Rampelli, Class of 2006. Doctoral Fellow and Adjunct Professor of Literature at St. John’s University
The Honors Forum would not have made its indelible mark had it just been about getting a 3.4 GPA and having one’s name printed on a list. For me, HF came to be about a sense of community, engagement in an intellectual life outside of the classroom, and new challenges. By living on the Honors Floor in, then, Weicking Hall and attending the HF events—Shades of Gray, Fridays @ 4, field trips—I found friends within a community of likeminded learners. And the plethora of these academic lectures and discussions organized by the HF—often outside my own discipline—encouraged me to have a life of the mind outside of my English Literature novels and gave me the opportunities to do so (a daunting pursuit to shape on one’s own at that age!).
We often learn to swim in the winter and ski in the summer; and so it goes, through reflection, I have come to see that the qualities the HF initially set out to foster—self-initiative and a willingness to be in dialogue—are those I’ve come to value in myself and my students.
David Steinberger, Class of 2009
CREATIVE THOUGHT MATTERS
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