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WSC Honors Students Among Nation’s Best


Wayne State College honors students Leann Bolte and Ashley Villarreal presented the results of their honors projects at the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) convention Oct. 31-Nov. 4 in Denver. Bolte and Villarreal were the only Nebraska students invited to present at this year’s conference.


One hundred honors students nationwide were invited to present at the conference via a competitive process that generated more than 200 applications including those from the Honors Programs at Syracuse University, University of Puerto Rico, Mercyhurst College, Columbia College, Kent State University, University of Maine, Franklin Pierce College, and Gallaudet University.


“I am delighted and proud that Ashley and Leann had this opportunity to present their work and meet honors students from throughout the U.S.,” said Dr. James O’Donnell, Dean of the WSC School of Arts and Humanities and Director of the WSC Honors Program. “Because this was also our first time in sending students to the conference, I am also excited about the future opportunities this organization will provide for our honors students.”


Bolte’s honors project, supervised by WSC professor Dr. Shawn Pearcy and titled “ The Effect of Drugs on Wound Healing,” examined the effect of pharmaceutical drugs and their impact on repairing epithelial cells after injury through the use of cell culture and microscopic analyzing techniques. Majoring in biology and chemical health sciences, Bolte will also be receiving a coaching endorsement upon graduation from WSC. While at Wayne State College she has been involved with Habitat for Humanity, Haven House, Science Club, Vice President of the Students Against Destructive Decisions Chapter, Cardinal Key, Alpha Lambda Delta, and Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Societies. She is also in the Rural Health Opportunities Program and upon graduation will begin medical school at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.


Villarreal’s honors project, supervised by WSC professor Dr. Randy Bertolas and titled “ A Comparative Geographic Study of Attitudes and Actions toward Recycling at Selected Midwestern Colleges and Universities,” investigated the effects of geographic location and academic interests on environmental attitudes among college students. Villarreal is pursuing a teaching field endorsement in health and physical education K-12, and a subject endorsement in geography education. While at WSC, Villarreal has been a member of Pi Gamma Mu and Gamma Theta Upsilon honor societies, and is currently Vice President of the Physical Education Professionals Club. Prior to attending WSC in the spring of 2005, she spent six weeks on a mission/traveling experience in Taiwan, a country that no longer uses plastic bags in stores and where significant recycling takes place.


The Honors Program at Wayne State College has been a member of the NCHC since 2005, seeking  to provide students with an in-depth learning environment focusing on discussion, exploration, experimentation, and active learning. Composed of approximately 800 institutional members, the National Collegiate Honors Council is the primary organization supporting honors programs at colleges and universities nationwide. The NCHC supports and furthers honors education through its publications, workshops and conferences.



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