A Taste of Istanbul: Sketching Connections in Turkey and Denmark

Last summer Adel Vaughn and 12 other landscape architecture students from the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design explored two very different 21st century cities: Istanbul, Turkey and Copenhagen, Denmark. For Adel, a sketchbook assignment became much more than an exercise in observation – it helped her to connect and bond with locals.

Sketching Connections  
Since much of studying landscape architecture in the built environment is done through observation and documentation of form, structure, physical elements and overall character of a space, the sketchbook acted as our medium for this documentation. The sketchbook went everywhere with me – every day, for hundreds of miles. I would normally start the drawings on-site and get as far as I could, then finish it out later while sitting at a cafe or restaurant.


A group of Turkish kids stopped by when I was drawing at Ephesus. I was telling them in the little, broken Turkish I knew: “I’m a student studying landscape architecture,” “I don’t really know much Turkish, but I’m learning,” “I’m from America” (when they asked), and “Thank you!” (when they told me the drawings were very nice).

Drawing at some of the cafes led to unique and unforgettable interactions with the locals, because they would give us insight on the symbols we were drawing, tell us a story about the sites we were drawing, or ask about the sketchbooks. There was one cafe in particular that my friend and I went to many times – we became friends with the guys who worked there, and they would even give us free çay (Turkish tea) and dessert. It was actually a tearful goodbye on our last night in Istanbul because we had grown close to the people there in such a short amount of time. We ended up doing some paintings for them to keep so that we all could remember those times.

Courtney_Adel_Turkey_Falls in Galata

This is Courtney and I with Omar, our very kind and outgoing waiter at Falls in Galata Cafe. We sat at this exact table almost every time we came – right on the edge of the patio watching what was happening on the tiny adjacent street.

The Sketches


Click to see Adel’s sketchbook at full size.

The water spigot, to me, is a symbol for Istanbul. They were all over the city – many right outside mosques where people would wash their hands and feet before entering, and others in seemingly random places. The one that I painted was in Gulhane Park near Topkapı Palace. It was such a beautiful element in the park, carrying a rich sense of history while embracing the newly blooming, bright red roses surrounding it. I actually put the final touches on this painting later in the summer while doing research in Berlin, so the memory of this one spans Europe!

waterspigot       bluedoor

The blue door is one of my favorites.  I love painting things that are clearly weathered and worn, and this door captured the heavy use of the while building in an area of Istanbul called Beşiktaş.  I just loved the character and colors in the door. Each drawing carries a meaning and a many memories for me.

Adel Vaughn’s summer studies and research were supported by Honors College Traditional Study Abroad and Travel Grants.

Posted in Fay Jones School of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Study Abroad, Turkey, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Service Learning in Vietnam: Colleen Kretzer Helps Launch a New Program

Colleen helps dig a trench for a new, sustainable biogas fuel system in Hoa An, Vietnam.

Colleen helps dig a trench for a new, sustainable biogas fuel system in Hoa An, Vietnam.

Honors physics student Colleen Kretzer was one of the first students to participate in the new Global Community Development in Vietnam program. There, she helped to install two biogas systems that provide cheap, renewable fuel for families, and learned to love the lotus plant (flower, pod, seeds, stem, and root). Colleen learned first-hand about the resourcefulness of the Vietnamese, and will take home some great lessons in hands-on learning when she becomes a teacher.  Continue reading

Posted in J.William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, Physics, Study Abroad, Vietnam | Leave a comment

On WWOOFing, Beekeeping & (Sweet!) Blackberries: 5 Questions for Olivia Caillouet

Young woman wields clippers and lemons in an orchard.

Olivia harvests Meyer lemons at the Country Flat Farm in Big Sur, California. With approval from Curt Rom, her honors thesis advisor, she WWOOFed for course credit at the organic orchard.

Olivia Caillouet, an honors horticulture junior from Little Rock, believes that “there’s only so much you can learn in a textbook – you have to get out and complete it with hand’s on learning.” She’s gotten her hands deep in the soil—and into beehives—through a series of three internships. She did her honors thesis research on a new, deliciously sweet blackberry cultivar here in Fayetteville, and then moved on to work at organic farms in California and Puerto Rico. Continue reading

Posted in 5 Questions, Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food, and Life Sciences, Honors thesis, Horticulture, Internships | Leave a comment

Let’s Go! (Here’s How)


Students at the Sant’Andrea della Valle in Rome. From left to right: Emily Sugg, Bailey Pearson, Erick Arrizon, Tayler Trantham, Molly Drewyor, Hunter Vines, Anna Hudgeons. Photo courtesy of Joe Burns.

Do you fancy yourself studying sustainable development in New Zealand, interviewing Tibetan refugees on rooftops in India, or climbing the Duomo’s steps to overlook the hilly Florentine landscape? Good news: the Honors College has increased study abroad funding to cover 40%-50% of your costs, so with grant support, your semester abroad may actually be cheaper than attending classes here in Fayetteville. With a simplified application process, financial aid supplements, new short-term options and study abroad grants up for grabs (more than $500,000 were awarded last year), there’s never been a better time to get your passport and go.

Why Not Study Abroad?

Check any that apply:

__ Your schedule doesn’t have a lot of wiggle-room.

__ Foreign travel and your wallet don’t see eye to eye.

__ Exploring new parts of the world (with language barriers and travel logistics to work out) can be intimidating.

The Honors College can help. We have set an ambitious goal to raise the percentage of students studying abroad from 50% (already 4X the national average!) to 70% by the time they graduate. (This includes you!) To make this happen we’ve been working on some exciting new programs and simplifying the grant application process. Continue reading

Posted in Honors College Study Abroad Grant, Study Abroad, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Postcard from India: Jillian Tyler


Jill Tyler at the Taj Mahal

Jill Tyler, Honors College fellow and anthropology major, worked with the Tibetans in Exile Today program to document the lives of Tibetan refugees in India. After volunteering to conduct an interview with Sonam, a Tibetan freedom fighter, Jill recounts the surprise commonality she found with him and the reasons she considers herself forever changed by their shared experience.

When I signed up for the Tibetans in Exile Today (TEXT) program, I expected many things. I expected to gain an in-depth education on Tibetan culture. I expected to learn skills in video/audio work and to receive a crash course in journalism. I expected to live in the closest thing to a developing nation I had ever been to. But the one thing—the one person—I didn’t expect was Sonam. And never in a million years would I have ever seen myself sharing the hour with him that I did. It was an hour unlike any I had lived before. Continue reading

Posted in Anthropology, Honors College Study Abroad Grant, India, J.William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, Study Abroad | Leave a comment

Students: Got Art?

DSCF5308And want to share it? Send us your poems, drawings, short stories, photos, prints, paintings, or any other creative effort you have polished to perfection. All submissions will be considered for publication in a wide range of venues, including A+ Magazine, the Honors College blog and other social media. We’re also looking for creative work to display in Ozark Hall.

We’re always excited to shine a spotlight on the great pieces our students are creating, and it can be a great portfolio item and exposure for you! Deadline: October 1, 2015.


  • You must be an Honors College student in good standing in your honors program.
  • We’re looking for short stuff so keep written work under 1000 words.
  • Because we’ll have a wide audience, remember to keep it clean (think PG rating).
  • Limit five works per student.
  • Everything else is up to you! Have a genre or medium we’ve overlooked? Send that our way too.

How to submit:

Submit your work online using the Honors College Creative Work Submission form.

All rights are retained by the student. Check with publications in your field to know whether or not publication in Honors College materials will make a piece ineligible elsewhere.

Questions? Email Anthony Blake, Honors College Editor, at ab026@uark.edu.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Snapshots from Rome

Ciao, amici! My name is Anna Hudgeons and I spent a month of my summer studying abroad in Rome, Italy. Although my major is industrial engineering, I decided to vary my experiences by enrolling in an art lecture/art history course and a basic photography course while in the beautiful city of Roma. From May 27th to June 27th, I expanded my academic and cultural horizons by attending the University of Arkansas Rome Center located in the heart of one of the oldest palaces in Rome, Palazzo Taverna. One cannot visit Roma without falling in love with the city and I am no exception! Please enjoy this photographical story of the amazing experience I had in Italy. Andiamo:


1. From the moment I stepped off the plane in Italy, I was enamored by the city. There was an intangible quality in the Roma atmosphere that made me immediately feel at home in a place that was extremely different than any other I had experienced before. In fact, I firmly believe that the profound history and the immense beauty of Rome inspired me to excel in my art and photography courses.


2. Although Italy is now my favorite place in the world, I definitely would not have had the same study abroad experience without these wonderful people. I went to Rome knowing only one person and came back with a multitude of friends! We studied for classes together, tried new and sometimes unidentified foods together, and just survived in a foreign country together. I am very excited to see these guys again on the U of A campus next fall! Friends photo outside the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere courtesy of Joe Burns (who is a friend not pictured here). Continue reading

Posted in College of Engineering, Honors College Study Abroad Grant, Industrial Engineering, Italy, Study Abroad | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Postcard from Cape Town: Identifying the Education Gap

Young woman passes out candy to students who have completed a survey.

Chelsea Hodge rewards students at Intsebenziswano Senior Secondary School who have completed a survey. The goal? Determine why only 18% of students in Philippi Township go on to university or technical school – and ultimately, help to remove barriers to higher education.

Honors College staffer (and alumna fellow) Chelsea Hodge is wrapping up two months in Cape Town, S. Africa, where she has been working with high school students in Philippi township. Only 18% of students in this impoverished area go on to study at a university or technical school. Chelsea and honors accounting major Rebecca Francis have been working with the South African Education and Environment Project to design and administer a survey that will identify the gaps that block the path to higher education, and how the SAEP can help fill those gaps. 

In many respects, Cape Town feels very comfortable/western/European – whatever adjective you want to use. The city is beautiful, cosmopolitan, and vibrant. No matter where you are, your view is dominated by Table Mountain. The ocean runs along the eastern side of the city. There are beautiful gardens, giant shopping malls, and world-class restaurants. We’ve already been to the ballet, to the theater, and to the symphony! Yet this is the side of Cape Town that is seen by the casual observer, the tourist who drops in for a hike up the mountain and a jaunt over to Kruger for a safari. Cape Town, like much of South Africa, is riddled with poverty, racial strife, and an abundance of problems leftover from the apartheid regime. You can see poverty and rampant drug use even in the “nice” parts of the city; once you venture into the Cape Flats and townships, the problems hit you in the face.

A young man walks in a shantytown.

In Philippi Township, most people live in metal shacks without running water. Multiple families share access to portable toilets provided by the government.

Continue reading

Posted in Alumni Updates, History, Honors College Study Abroad Grant, Service Learning | Leave a comment

Snapshots from Belize


Last summer biochemistry major Roshni Patel (right) helped to launch an important new public health initiative in the U of A’s Faculty-Led Community Development program based in Dangriga, Belize. Roshni and other members of the health team partnered with the local Red Cross to take public health screenings on the road.

This opened the door to reach families in rural villages like Maya Mopan, who have very limited access to healthcare.

In her free time, Roshni explored the country with friends on excursions that ranged from hiking in the rainforest to cooling off underneath a waterfall to snorkeling with sharks, stingrays and manatees. Continue reading

Posted in Belize, College of Education and Health Professions, Service, Study Abroad | Leave a comment

Fellowship Weekend: 6 Tips to Help You Nail the Writing Test, Ace the Interview and (Yes, It Is Possible) Actually Enjoy Yourself

Ok, so you just got invited to Fellowship Weekend at the University of Arkansas Honors College. Pretty exciting, right? Believe me, just getting invited is quite an honor, especially since we had close to 700 applicants this year. I know most of you have a million questions going through your mind. What will the interview be like? What can I do to prepare for the weekend? Should I be prepared to discuss the philosophical underpinnings of the most recent installment of The Hunger Games? Knowing that this can be an anxious time, I wanted to provide a few tips to our finalists:

1 blog fellow

Before you come to Fellowship Weekend, take time to review your application to make sure you’re comfortable discussing all of its components. From my experience, the easiest place for students to trip up is when they are asked about their list of five works. Believe me, if you wrote about The Great Gatsby and you don’t have a clue about who shot Gatsby and how Fitzgerald described Gatsby’s funeral, it can make for an uncomfortable conversation with your interviewers.

2 blog fellow

Polishing up your interview skills is a great way to prepare for the fellowship interview. To do this, ask you school’s counselor if it would be possible to set up a mock interview for you. Request a similar format to what you’ll see at Fellowship Weekend: a 15-minute interview with three to four individuals conducting the interview. A few days before, you should share your fellowship application with the practice interviewers so they can formulate some questions.

On the day of the practice interview, dress like you would for the interview. Once it’s completed, ask your interviewers to provide some constructive criticism on everything from your responses to your posture to your handshake. It may sound silly, but every little thing counts when you’re trying to make a first impression, especially in an interview setting. You can also practice with family members at home, especially on the “Tell us about yourself” question that launches many an interview.

3 blog fellow

The dress code for Sunday is comfortable and casual; jeans are fine. On Monday, though, we strongly recommend professional attire for your interview. Dress in a manner that makes you feel confident, but won’t distract your interviewers.

For men, that means a conservative suit jacket or sport coat with a tie. For women, “professional dress” offers more options. Most of our female finalists wear a pantsuit, jacket and skirt or maybe a simple dress in conservative colors. I would also be careful with the type of shoes you wear –– you will be walking a good amount that day. I have witnessed a few finalists limping after breaking in brand new shoes on the big day, or taking a nasty fall due to the larger-than-life high heels they were wearing at the time.


The timed writing exercise is not designed to cause an anxiety attack.

Here’s how it works: when you register for Fellowship Weekend, you will be given an opportunity to choose a designated time to complete a timed writing exercise. On that day and time, you will receive an email from the Honors College with detailed instructions on how to submit your essay. The email will also include 5-7 prompts and you will be asked to write a response to one of them in 45 minutes using your computer. The essay prompts will primarily come from “big picture” current event stories.

When I say “big picture,” this can include areas like the ramifications of a divided U.S. government or the best ways to combat childhood obesity. You won’t, however, be expected to give an informed opinion on whether or not Danish Prime Minister Lars Rasmussen will be able to keep together his coalition government  (although kudos if you can!).

Basically, if you are staying up to date on current events and large-scale cultural news, you should be able to write a thoughtful, coherent response to at least one of our prompts.

I would also recommend that you review your response prior to Fellowship Weekend. Our interviewers will receive your essay response, and there is a good chance you may be asked to expand about what you wrote during your interview.

5 blog fellow

Fellowship weekend mentors are current fellows who have volunteered to be a resource –– use them. Your mentor will be contacting you prior to the event, and you’ll get to meet him/her at the Ozark Open House on Sunday evening. Your mentor will let you know what it’s like to be a fellow in the University of Arkansas Honors College, and what to expect throughout the rest of your weekend.

Remember, your mentor was in your shoes only a few years before and obviously had a successful Fellowship Weekend. Our recruitment staff is always happy to answer your questions, but do be sure to get the inside perspective from your mentor.

6 blog fellow

You’ll notice on the schedule that although most of the events are mandatory, there is some flexible time available, especially on Monday morning. During that time, you will have the option to do a number of different things, such as touring Hotz Honors Hall and attending a class. Take advantage of these opportunities, especially if this is your only chance to visit the University of Arkansas. We want you to be as informed as possible about the opportunities available to you in the Honors College, so that you can pick the school that will be the best fit for you.

I hope these tips a) help you prepare for Fellowship Weekend and b) feel a little less stressed about the event. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

P.S. Want the inside scoop on Fellowship Weekend from one of our fellows? Read Hannah Breshears’ “Fellowship Weekend: Revealed.”

P.P.S. —

7 blog fellow

Posted in Advice/Tips, Fellowships & Scholarships | Leave a comment