A select group of 19 Middlesex Community College students has been accepted into the new Honors Program at the College, including Caleb Earley, Rebekah Roy, Gregory Schneider, Kendel Souza, and Shane Wickham all of Middletown; Stephen Brier-Gagliardi, Melissa D’Amico, and Harsh Patel of Meriden; Jackson Doyle and Marcin Malek of Durham; Ethan Damuck of East Haddam; Benjamin Gelfand of Madison; Anthony Iuteri and Linsey Ochenkowski of Northford; Kristen Jalbert of Wallingford; Katherine Schroeder of Ivoryton; Hunter Spitale of Old Saybrook; Marissa Sutera of Cromwell; and Imran Tariq of Rocky Hill.
The Honors Program was designed to be a rigorous and well-rounded academic option for incoming, first-year students who meet specific academic requirements. The program features a lower teacher-student ratio, faculty mentoring, more independent study opportunities, and early entrance into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Additionally, the program features exceptional educational experiences, cultural excursions, and engaging opportunities for leadership and individual excellence.
The first cultural outing took place on November 21 to the Connecticut Forum’s “Big Thinkers” lecture at the Bushnell Theater. The event featured best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell, one of the world’s most celebrated thinkers and authors, whose bestselling books, The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers have influenced the way people think about, discuss, and view the world. Douglas Brinkley, History professor at Rice University and author of the award-winning and best-selling books The Great Deluge, Tour of Duty, The Boys of Pointe du Hoc, Parish Priest, and most recently, Cronkite, joined Gladwell onstage. The focus of the evening was leadership, success, and thinking big – all of which have been subject of study for the group of honor students.
Before the lecture, students visited the Wadsworth Atheneum, the country’s oldest public art museum, and took a guided tour through the museum’s stately galleries and collections. During both events, students were connected to a history of thought as expressed in art and public speech that ranged from the Romantic period to the new frontier of social media communications. For some of the students, this was their first trip to the museum and to the Bushnell Theater – and was a trip that changed how they view their own futures.
“We want our honors students to think big, and this excursion reinforced that message,” said Adrienne Maslin, MxCC’s Dean of Students. “Everything that was discussed and highlighted focused on leadership, teamwork, and interdisciplinary learning – and paralleled the readings and discussions these students engage in while on campus. “
The Honors Program supports and encourages broader thinking about issues, topics, theories, and events – and helps students make connections on individual, social, and global levels. Extracurricular events, such as the one on November 21, aid in enriching the students’ experience. Ultimately, students are encouraged to find value in all they study and to reinforce the idea that all knowledge is connected.
Dr. Eva Jones, MxCC Professor and Honors Program Advisor, said, “The trip to the Wadsworth Atheneum and the Connecticut Forum was a way to extend our academic studies outside of classroom. Throughout the program and these extracurricular experiences, students are able to make connections to their other classes and to their own futures.”