The mission of our college is to empower students to live well and promote a holistic approach to improving the quality of life – mind, body and spirit. The new Honors Scholars Program is the next step in realizing that mission, bringing together select students to collaboratively address local, real-world health issues as a capstone experience, during the two-semester course.

The bright group of 21 students that make up our first cohort of Honors Scholars represent the various departments and majors within the College of Health and Human Services, making this a true inter-professional experience. Each student has maintained a 3.5 GPA and is a leader in their chosen discipline, as recognized by their professors and peers.

01In the fall 2014 semester, students were introduced to the inter-disciplinary process in addressing health and human service needs, and were provided opportunities for advanced inter-professional studies. Throughout the semester, they met with various community organizations and agencies in the Central Valley and worked within their groups to develop a needs assessment plan, in which they would identify public health issues present in the Central Valley.

The class meets three times per semester and combines guest speakers, lecturers, team exercises, and conflict building into its curriculum.

Dr. Betty Garcia, professor in the Department of Social Work Education, and Dr. Christine Maul, professor in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Studies, co-taught the first semester. Both say the students were dynamic and ready to work at all times.

“I felt like I was working with the cream of the crop,” said Maul. “The students are interactive, appreciative and so committed to this program. To see them work together and grow over the course of the semester was so inspiring.”

141023Event066Garcia echoed Maul’s statement, saying their experience is not only great for collaboration amongst peers, but with health service providers in our community.

“This is an experience they can put on their resumes,” Garcia said. “Being in a course that focuses on leadership and disciplinary inter-collaboration will only enhance the profile of their education and marketability, and it will strengthen their profile as they go out in the career world. A lot of health services have integrated teamwork into their healthcare systems, so this high performance team functioning they are engaging now in is very beneficial.”

03During the spring 2015 semester, the students will have the opportunity to apply their learning and implement the culmination projects they chose in their first semester. Their projects range from accessibility of medical services, adolescent obesity, poor air quality in the Valley and health assessments of middle school students in west Fresno.

They will be able to present their findings at an end of semester symposium, scheduled for May.

The spring semester is being taught by Dr. L-Jay Fine, professor in the Department of Recreation Administration, and Dr. Mary Ann McCarthy, assistant professor in the School of Nursing.

Applications are now being accepted for students interested in applying for the 2015-2016 year. Interested students are encouraged to attend informational sessions to learn more about the program. The informational sessions will be held Thursday, February 12th and Tuesday, February 17th in McLane Hall 193 from 12-1 pm.

“The best part about the Honors Program is getting a small taste of what a career in the health field will be like,” said Honors student Lilliana Toste. “Also, health professionals of Fresno will be more willing to mentor students, creating better-prepared graduates, which will benefit local communities.”

Meet all 21 of our Honors Scholars by visiting the Honors Scholars webpage. Students in the inaugural cohort are as follows:

  • Analisha Black, Recreation Administration
  • Derek Camilleri, Kinesiology (exercise science)
  • Emily Duff, Kinesiology (exercise science)
  • Yalda Fernandez-Mendoza, Kinesiology (exercise science)
  • Stephanie Gomez, Kinesiology (exercise science)
  • Zachary Groothuyzen, Kinesiology (physical education)
  • Jillian Hubbel, Kinesiology (athletic training)
  • Alyssa Hughes, Public Health (community health)
  • Vilaya Kang, Nursing
  • Erin Kangas, Nursing
  • Harroop Kaur, Nursing
  • Ji Kwon, Nursing
  • Matthew Manwarren, Kinesiology (exercise science)
  • Marissa Muro, Nursing
  • Riho Okamura, Kinesiology (athletic training)
  • Joy Recchio, Nursing
  • Christopher Ritter, Nursing
  • Jose Salvador, Kinesiology (athletic training)
  • Jenna Temple, Kinesiology (exercise science)
  • Lilliana Toste, Communicative Disorders and Deaf Studies (speech pathology)
  • Marine Vardanyan, Public Health (community health)

Learn more about the Honors Scholars Program and download application HERE.