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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PATHways: Meet Jean Amargos

Young man in Razorback shirt stands in front of the Honors College
Jean Amargos, a freshman biology/pre-med major born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, graduated from Bentonville High School with his mind set on attending the University of Arkansas. Since coming to Arkansas, Jean has experienced both opportunities and challenges. In addition to being an accomplished scholar, he selflessly commits his time to caring for his younger cousin, diagnosed with autism. From this, he has learned the importance of perseverance and resilience. Instead of being deterred by the Honors College admission requirements for incoming freshmen, he saw this as an opening to work harder to make his dreams come true.

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The Path Program: A First Look

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The new Honors College Path Program is designed to transition students of great potential into the Honors College while simultaneously exposing them to the resources available on the University of Arkansas campus. This first group, consisting of 18 students, is quite diverse, with varying majors, involvement, and interests. What is really exciting is that the Path students aren’t confined to a single geographic region –– they come from cities across Arkansas, surrounding states, and as far away as Okinawa, Japan.   Continue reading

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Crowdsourcing the Tanzania Experience

group poses with members of the Datoga Tanzania tribe

Dr. Peter Ungar (far left), Dr. Charles Adams (far right) and the Tanzania group snap a photo with the members of the Datoga tribe, just one of the groups that the team spent time with in Tanzania.

Beloved American author and journalist Ernest Hemingway once said, “I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up and was not happy.” Surely he is not alone in this opinion. This summer, English professor Dr. Charles Adams and anthropology professor Dr. Peter Ungar led a group of 13 Arkansas students across the globe to Tanzania to study its natural, social and political environments. I got lucky to be a part of this group, but my personal arsenal of stories and photos captured only a snapshot of all that this experience had to offer. Nine of the 13 students in this program are honors students, and as the study abroad blogs roll in I’ve been captivated by the unique imagery, anecdotes and insights that they have shared with me.

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Posted in Anthropology, Honors College Study Abroad Grant, Industrial Engineering, International Business/Marketing, Study Abroad, Tanzania, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beaucoups of Books: 5 Questions for Truman Scholar Cicely Shannon

A young woman reads a book to a little girl wearing a hoodie; playground equipment visible in back.

This fall marks the fourth semester that Cicely Shannon, left, has read with Dylan, a third grader at a local school. Photo by Russell Cothren.

Senior economics major Cicely Shannon’s love for books began at age four, when she learned to read. She began sharing her passion for reading in fifth grade, when she created Bookoos* of Books reading circle, the first of several literacy programs she developed in her hometown of Texarkana. Cicely has worked with the Volunteer Action Center’s Literacy Program since she arrived on campus as a freshman. Last year she chaired the program, which pairs 170 UA students with local school children. This fall, she will begin her fourth semester reading twice a week with Dylan, a wiry third grader who likes to read perched high on a tractor tire. Cicely was awarded the Truman Fellowship, which recognizes outstanding students who wish to pursue careers in public service.

*Southern speak for beaucoup, according to Cicely. Continue reading

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Sweet Satisfaction: Honors Student Research on Blackberries is the First of its Kind

girl in hat picking blackberries on farm

Honors horticulture student Olivia Hines picks blackberries at the University of Arkansas’ Department of Agriculture’s Fruit Research Station in Clarksville, Arkansas.

Honors horticulture student Olivia Hines has a passion for blackberries, and she’s not just eating them – she’s testing them. Working alongside the University of Arkansas’ blackberry breeding program, a world leader in the development of fresh-market blackberry varieties, Olivia is conducting groundbreaking research on one of Arkansas’ favorite fruits. Guided by her mentors Dr. John R. Clark in horticulture and Dr. Renee Threlfall in food science, the team is using both trained sensory panelists and untrained consumers to evaluate the quality of regional blackberry types. By not only picking, but testing the size and composition of these fruits, Olivia will provide the breeding program with the first report of its kind. Olivia received an Honors College grantBumpers College grant and Arkansas Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant, all of which continue to support her work. 

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Posted in Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food, and Life Sciences, Honors College Research Grant, Honors thesis, Horticulture, Research, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Choosing a Thesis Topic


Choosing A Topic_Illustartion

It’s hard to pick just one topic for your history research paper. It’s hard to choose a topic that’s feasible enough for your lab report. It can be really difficult to brainstorm an idea for your creative writing class. But we all know our honors thesis is a whole new beast. Continue reading

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Gage Greening: Sharing Research on Cancer Detection

Male student stands in front of research poster, at a conference.

Gage presenting a poster at the OSA Biomedical Optics conference in Miami, Fla.

Thanks to an Honors College travel grant, I got the chance to travel with my advisor, Dr. Timothy Muldoon, to the Optical Society of America (OSA) conference in Miami, Florida to present my research and collaborate with other students and professionals. My specific research focused on the development of a non-invasive diffuse reflective microendoscope, that could improve the early detection of cancer in epithelium, such as the lining of the oral cavity or gastrointestinal tract. [See Gage's earlier posts, Shining a Light on Cancer Detection and Highlighting Advancements in Cancer Detection for more info.]

My trip lasted four days. Throughout the duration of the trip, I spent most of my days listening to graduate students, professors, and industry leaders present their research. Most of the information was well beyond my knowledge base. But it was still extremely beneficial because you learn to familiarize yourself with common terminology, learn how to clearly and concisely present research to a large and diverse crowd, and learn about current state-of-the-art biomedical devices and surgical techniques using these devices. Continue reading

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