SBS Students Impress At National Collegiate Honor Council Conference

Melissa Hanson  Asst. news Editor

Suffolk Universitie’s Sawyer Business School’s honors program travelled to the conference of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) in November in order to bring back ideas and techniques to strengthen their honors program.

The SBS honors program has been travelling to NCHC for three years

The conference, held at the Sheraton Boston, took place from Nov. 14 to 18 and featured the research of thousands of honors students and professors from across the country.

The close location allowed SBS to bring more students than usual.

“[it gave us] more visibility…a big learning curve,” said Larkin.  She wanted students to bring back “ideas to make our program better and more dynamic.”

SBS was able to take four students on the trip, Jonathan Vantassel, Aaron Lumnah, Brian Carey, and Selena Jakupovic.  These first time attendees were at the event Wednesday through Saturday and all four were able to present research.

Kim Larkin, Director of the SBS honors program attended the conference with her students.  Larkin was also a member of the NCHC Planning Committee.  She helped to plan the event 18 months prior to the November start date and was a judge for two of the three poster sessions.

“I thought there were a number of great pieces of research that were just wonderful,” said Larkin, “I was taken by the level of engineering and science presented.”

Vantassel knew he was going to attend the conference in November 2011.  His research was titled “The Betterment of Humanity, the Downfall of an Industry: How Companies Should Respond to a Cure for Celiac Disease.”  Professor Catherine McCabe helped oversee his project.  His research looked into what retailers should do concerning the rise of products for people suffering from the disease.  The poster he presented had his findings until now, and he is currently working on a paper to continue his research.

What impressed Vantassel most at the conference was a presentation by a student from the University of Utah.  She presented research about a specialty group of books that were donated to her university.  Vantassel says she looked far back into the school’s archives.

“I was so impressed by it…it was really cool.”  Vantassel also enjoyed the city as text part of the conference that allowed students to travel Boston for a few hours looking at the institutions, parks, and libraries.  The students came back to the conference after touring the city and gave short presentations on their impressions.

“What I would like to do is start a peer mentor group,” said Vantassel.  He would like to help students attending next year’s conference by giving them tips on making their posters the best they can be and helping them to prepare their research.  He wants to “give pieces of wisdom to new students.”

Lumnah applied to present research at NCHC in March and was accepted shortly after.  His poster was titled “Perceiving Privacy in a Digital Economy.”  Professor Stephanie Lawson was the advisor to his poster.  He gathered research on websites and surveyed different groups of people.  He says his poster received a good amount of interest and people were discussing the topic with him.

“It was nice to talk with other people,” he said.

One of the projects that impressed him the most was the winning poster during his session.  The student had studied new ways to treat cancer.  Lumnah also enjoyed the opening session with a speaker from Harvard University.

The sessions that inspired him the most were on building an honors community on campuses with a lot of commuter students.

“I would say that I’m definitely taking back some of those building community tips,” said Lumnah.

Both Vantassel and Lumnah received scores of 45 points on their posters out of a total score of 50.  The winner during their session had a score of 46, according to Larkin, who was not allowed to score posters belonging to Suffolk Students.

Carey, an entrepreneurship major titled his poster School Facilities and Student Success: How Structure Impacts Scholastic Achievement. His research was overseen by Professor Hillary Ornberg.

Jakupovic, a marketing major researched “The Social Media Revolution,” as she titled her poster.  Lawson was also the professor who advised her research.

Larkin and Agnes Bain of the CAS program presented, in conjunction with NCHC, an overview of Suffolk’s honors program on Wednesday at a Suffolk University hosted study group.  Administrators from the Netherlands were present at the study group.  CAS Dean Kenneth Greenberg and SBS Dean William O’Neil also participated in the presentation.  The study group also visited other colleges and universities in the area, including Boston College, Harvard, MIT, and Northeastern.

“We were included with some very impressive institutions,” said Larkin.

“I think the conference is fabulous,” she said.  “It’s impressive how many honors students there are…we all represented Suffolk University.”

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