As all honors students (hopefully) know, to meet full University Honors or, at least, Upper-Division Honors requirements all honors students must complete a Capstone project. The Capstone project is a semester-long research commitment under a university faculty member and requires a great deal of time, hard work, and effort. But what if students had an (paid) opportunity to get a jump-start on their Capstone research? The University Honors Program crafted the University Honors Scholars Program to provide such an opportunity. According to the University Honors website, “through the program, a select number of academically distinguished students will be given time, financial support ($4,500), and faculty mentoring to pursue their research or artistry to create a solid foundation for the Honors Capstone.” Any qualifying junior and senior students will spend the summer before their senior or final year at NIU to perform in-depth research or artistry necessary to complete their Honors Capstone.
NIU Honors Program Alumni and 2014 Honors Scholar Juliana Leprich described her time as an Honors Scholar. “The University Honors Scholars Program is a wonderfully unique opportunity in that it allows students to take the time they may have otherwise spent working at a summer job and funneling it toward an extensive research project. I was able to devote an entire summer to preparing my Capstone project and doing research I may not have had time for otherwise.” She felt the Scholars Program affords a number of advantages, including “extra time to create a competitive Capstone project or paper, a more structured timeline for your Capstone so you are not rushing to finish the project; and provides mentorship” from NIU faculty to help guide students’ research. As a result of the Scholars Program, she feels she was able to produce a better, more in-depth project than if she had only spent a semester working on it. It also allowed her to create a more media-focused project, rather than a paper, with which she was very pleased. Juliana’s final Capstone project was a DeKalb focused TV/web program which highlighted local opportunities and businesses. Her culminating Capstone video can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyLgn35XkgE.
To read more about the University Honors Scholars Program including profiles and blogs of this year’s and past years’ scholars, visit http://www.niu.edu/honors/resources/honors-scholars. A Program Guide is also available on the website, which goes into more detail about the program, including frequently asked questions and the application process. An updated application and due date is not currently available on the website, but any questions regarding applications may be answered by Jason Goode in the University Honors office in Campus Life Building 110 or by e-mail at Jason@niu.edu.
– Jessica Cross