ACU Honors College Students Present at Regional Honors Conference

by   |  04.14.11  |  Honors Events, Honors Student Achievements

Five ACU Honors College students presented their research at the Great Plains Honors Council’s annual conference April 1st and 2nd in Arlington, Texas. Honors programs from over twenty institutions from five states were represented. The conference began Friday with an opening dinner and an address by Dr. Roy Hawthorne, a Navajo code talker during World War II, followed by a visit to the poster presentations.

On Saturday, the five ACU students presented their papers, starting with Amber Deschamps, senior biology major from Liberty Hill, Texas, who presented research on genetic diversity among populations of a species of shrimp that lives on the Texas coast. Greg Jeffers, junior English major from Sugarland, spoke about female characters struggling against oppression in American literature, while Amanda Arzigian, junior History major from Edgewood, New Mexico, spoke about her experience in managing collections during internships at two different institutions. Amanda Goodall, junior communications major from North Richland Hills, Texas, presented a rhetorical analysis of the reality television show The Bachelor, while Meghan Clark, junior political science major from Olney, Texas, spoke about the important role women are playing in Turkish politics. “Presenting the paper challenged me to make sure that I could clearly explain my research to people who weren’t familiar with my topic,” said Clark. “It also gave me a chance to get feedback from people who don’t know me and can therefore be completely objective when evaluating my research.” Dr. Joe Stephenson, interim dean of the Honors College, and Dr. Chris Willerton accompanied the students to Arlington, each presiding at one of the paper presentation sessions.

After the paper presentations, Dr. Mary Vacarro, professor of art history at University of Texas-Arlington, spoke at lunch about a painting that has recently been determined to be the earliest surviving work of Michelangelo. Conference participants were then able to view that painting, recently acquired by the Kimball, during a field study trip to the Fort Worth museum district. “Exploring the Fort Worth Museum district was a highlight of the conference,” said Amanda Arzigian. “Dr. Vacarro’s presentation helped me to appreciate the great art and architecture I was seeing in a new and more engaged manner.” Students were able to walk between the Kimball, the Modern, and the Amon Carter Museum of American art.

The closing dinner on Saturday featured remarks and an engaging question and answer session with Dennis Maher, a noted Mark Twain impersonator. “Mr. Twain” took questions from Dr. Stephenson on his friendship with his next-door neighbor Harriet Beecher Stowe and from Amber Deschamps on the meaning of life. “Attending and presenting at GPHC was a very positive experience,” said Arzigian.  “I received constructive feedback on my presentation and greatly enjoyed listening to other presenters and participating in conference activities.”


Amanda Arzigian: “Rocks, Papers, and Sometimes Scissors: The Challenges of Collections Management”

Meghan Clark: “The Role of Women in Turkish Politics and Development”

Amber Deschamps: “Population Genetic Study of the Ghost Shrimp Callichirus islagrande

Amanda Goodall: “For the Love of Love: A Rhetorical Analysis of The Bachelor

Greg Jeffers: “Oppression and Rebellion in American Novels: A Political/Philosophical