PATHways: Meet Adia Threatt

A young woman is standing by the door to the Honors College home in Ozark Hall.

Adia Threatt, a freshman accounting major and supply chain management minor born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, graduated from Kadena High School on the Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan. Growing up in a military family has exposed her to new cultures and new experiences. Her empathetic nature inspired her to work with other young daughters of military families, addressing both the victories and hardships that they may face. Adia has a strong passion for serving others and aims to have a positive impact on their lives through mentoring and friendship. Continue reading

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Building Hope in Uganda: 5 Questions for Mary Nell Patterson


Mary Nell Patterson is a fourth-year landscape architecture student. Initially, she was a pre-nursing major, but after realizing that her fear of needles wasn’t going away anytime soon, she started to take notice of what she did love: art and the outdoors. Through her studies in the Fay Jones School of Architecture, she realized that she’s been drawing landscapes her entire life.

Last summer, in the first partnership between the Honors College and the Clinton School of Public Service, Mary Nell traveled to Uganda to work at a school called Hope North. There, she and graduate students from the Clinton School worked with the students on beautification efforts and – most importantly – a hand washing station model. Mary Nell’s experience hasn’t left her. Instead she thinks about the people of Uganda and her travel companions often as she works on her thesis, which explores what landscape architecture could bring to the infrastructure of Africa.

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Field Notes: A Fish Story


Honors student: Justin Reed, senior biochemistry and biology major
Faculty mentor: Christian Tipsmark, assistant professor of biological sciences


Schools of tiny fish originally from the coastal rice paddies of Southeast Asia may seem a little out of place in Arkansas, but in Christian Tipsmark’s lab they are prized for a rare trait. Honors College student Justin Reed has joined Dr. Tipsmark’s research on the Japanese medaka, which are classified as euryhaline because of their ability to adapt to both salt water and fresh water. In the lab, they investigate the relationship between the endocrine system and salt transport in the gill, which allows the fish to maintain water and salt balance in their bodies. Continue reading

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Seeking graduate student to write, tweet, post, photograph, doodle, etc. about the Honors College

Photograph of a photo shoot.


Interested in getting some hands-on experience in higher ed communications? If you are a graduate student (or graduate-student-to-be), a fluent writer/creative sort, and enjoy playing around with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. then this may be the part-time job for you.

Honors College Editor Job Description 

▪ Graduate student
▪ Strong communication skills, especially writing
▪ Active in social media; familiarity with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube
▪ Good eye for design/composition
▪ Microsoft Office

Also desirable, but not required:
▪ Photography and video skills
▪ Familiarity with Adobe Creative Suite, WordPress and web content management systems
▪ Graphic design skills

This is a graduate assistant appointment, renewable up to 3 semesters per year (including summer), with renewal dependent on satisfactory performance evaluation at the end of each semester. Average 20 hours/week; flexible schedule. Competitive salary. Continue reading

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Tips: The Inside Scoop on Scholarship Applications

Young man in suit in front of a "Collegiate Gothic" style building.

Noah Pittman, Honors College assistant dean of recruitment and retention, has reviewed more than 700 Honors College fellowship applications. Photo by Shelby Gill.

I’ve reviewed and ranked close to 700 Honors College fellowship applications in the past five years, and every year, I spend a lot of time debating with my colleagues whether we should favor Student X (great transcript, only extracurricular involvement is a lame Nickelback cover band) over Student Y (18-year old humanitarian who started a non-profit organization, but had the audacity to make a C+ in AP Calculus BC).

For years, I’ve had high school students ask me what will help them stand out on a scholarship application. Here’s the thing: there is no magic elixir to nailing a top-notch application. We admissions counselors like to think we have this down to a science, but in reality, there are more than a few shades of gray when it comes to determining who gets a scholarship from an institution. That said, here are some quick tips that could help you be a more successful applicant: Continue reading

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Can’t Get That Song Out of Your Head? You’re Not Alone

Artwork shows head in silhouette, with music streaming from the brain.

The Fall 2014 issue of Inquiry features Stephanie McCullough’s research on the cover.

Everybody’s experienced an earworm, and some of us are tormented by them regularly, but the topic has been under researched until recently. Guided by mentor Elizabeth Margulis, professor and director of the Music Cognition Lab, who recently published a book on the topic, honors psychology and music major Stephanie McCullough explored what actions are most likely to embed “Who Let the Dogs Out” in your brain. Read on for relief –– and check out Stephanie’s article, which was recently published and featured on the cover of Inquiry: The University of Arkansas Undergraduate  Research Journal.


The term “earworm,” also known as Involuntary Musical Imagery (INMI), refers to the phenomenon of an uncontrollably repeating melody in one’s head. Though ubiquitous, it is comparatively under-researched in music cognition. Most existing studies have identified the defining characteristics of earworms, rather than exploring their underlying mechanisms. My study investigates the hypothesis that overt motor involvement (humming, singing, tapping) and imagined motor involvement (imagining a continuation to an interrupted melody) will induce INMI more frequently than passive music listening.

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Save the Earth (and Maybe Land a Job, Too) – 5 Questions for Steve Boss

A man in blue shirt is photographed in front of a window looking out on fall foliage.

Professor Steve Boss, director of Sustainability Academic Programs, is worried about the future of planet Earth. Sign up for his course, “Foundations of Sustainability,” to learn what you can do. Photo by Kristen Coppola.

What keeps Professor Steve Boss up at night? In two words: climate change, which he says is “accelerating … the whole system is out of whack, and it’s changing in ways we can’t predict.” Boss is actually doing something in response to this environmental train wreck. As the director of the U of A’s sustainability academic programs, his mission is to raise awareness among as many young people as possible, who can carry on the fight to preserve our planet. Want to sign on? Sign up for the Foundations of Sustainability (Sustainability 1103), offered in the spring, or Applications of Sustainability (Sustainability 2103), offered in the fall. Both are gateway courses to the sustainability minor, which is a surprisingly manageable, and very marketable, addition to your degree.

Question: Why should a student add a minor in sustainability?

Answer: Well, first of all, it’s an interdisciplinary minor that covers a broad array of topics that are relevant to the modern world and to the 21st century. It a pretty good value-added aspect to almost any degree. We’ve had about 60 students who have graduated with the minor so far, and some of those students got jobs predicated on the fact that they had a minor in sustainability, regardless of what their degree was in, which is a pretty impressive outcome for a minor! Continue reading

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Katherine Dombek: Urban Fabric and Architecture

A woman looks out a window and sketches.

Katherine Domek sits at a desk the monastery gave her to enjoy and draw, which was uncommon at most architectural sites, where she’d have to kneel in piles of rubble to draw.

My name is Katherine Dombek.  I am a 4th year architecture student and I just returned from a semester abroad in Mexico.  For three weeks, I got the opportunity to travel through colonial cities in Mexico and pre-Columbian ruins in Mexico and Guatemala.  During this time I got to study and experience such things as the complex urban fabric and culture of Guanajuato, the variations of the unique open-air chapel typology seen throughout Mexico in the “Age of the Convento” and the awe-inspiring Mayan city of Tikal. My fellow students and I documented our travels through meticulous pen and ink drawings in a continuous accordion sketchbook practicing crafting a composition and learning techniques for this new media.  The finished drawings are 9” x 400” compositions (however some are longer)–the products of literally hundreds of hours of drawing.  When we returned to the Mexico City studio, we used the skills we had learned and information we had gathered to create a new urban proposal for a major street near the zocalo (the main public square or plaza for a colonial Mexican city).  This project was not about traffic engineering but rather how to use form to create solid-void relationships along this street that would reinforce its vitality within the historic district and improve the quality and organization of public space and systems.  Working together with Mexican teachers and architects, we developed a scheme that would accommodate a greater density and provide more public space with more amenities.  This was an extremely profitable study aboard semester that helped me gain real experience in urban planning and practice with answering cultural and environmental questions while working within design. Continue reading

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Mason Hollis: A Trip to Madrid Leaves Its Mark

Four students pose at a soccer stadium in Spain.

Mason (far left) at Estadio Santiago Berabéu, home of Real Madrid

Bodenhamer Fellow Mason Hollis clearly has a passion for his computer science major. He built his first website in fifth grade, worked to automate the creation of Facebook apps, and helped a Fayetteville High group develop a system that let you turn your spin class into a well-watered garden. But this summer, he focused on another passion – his love for Spanish language and culture – in a study abroad trip to Madrid, Spain. Continue reading

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Advice: The Art of the Email

Aerial view of woman typing.

Think before you type, and spell check before you hit “send.”

At the busiest times of my semester, I receive fifteen to twenty emails per day. One of my professors, Dr. Tricia Starks, estimates that anywhere from two to three hundred messages arrive in her inbox daily; and for department heads or administrators, the numbers can be even higher – Vice Provost Sharon Gaber places the number at over one hundred… by 8 a.m.! When it comes to emailing your professors: think succinct! Here are some pointers on composing solid, short messages.

1. Subject lines are always important. Be as descriptive and brief as possible. Bad subject line: Request Good subject line: Letter of recommendation by June 5? See the difference? The good subject line is crisp yet informative – your recipients can tell instantly what’s needed and when. The bad subject line is just too vague. Continue reading

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