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Honors Challenge Course

Honors Challenge Course (HNRS-398): In small groups of 3-5 students, Honors students tackle a research question of their design from multiple disciplines. The course is guided by a faculty mentor of their choice, identified the previous semester. Students put into practice their skills in interdisciplinary thinking, collaboration, research, communication, and innovation. Honors hosts a Challenge Course Showcase for students to share their research with a larger audience. Scroll down to explore some of the final projects that Honors students completed. This is a 3 credit course.


To support students in their Challenge course projects, Honors is proud to offer funding on an application basis. These funds help to make student's research more robust. Use the link below to download an application.

 Examples of Honors Challenge Course Projects:

Politics of Nostalgia

A creative way to meld our interdisciplinary interests
"The Honors Challenge Course enabled my group mates and I to undertake a two semester-long project of our choosing. Not only were we able to devise creative ways of melding our interdisciplinary interests, but we also had the opportunity to work individually with an expert faculty mentor. This course gave us a platform to learn about team-work and, just as importantly, to learn how to lead a self-devised project and see that creative vision through to completion." -Amanda Hodes 

This group produced a website. The website includes an analytical academic paper, a poetry series, and an interactive article. 
Project by: Amanda Hodes, Melissa Patton, Courtney Rozen.

Russian Bears and Puckish Glares

One of the proudest accomplishments of my undergraduate career so far
"The key to our success was our weekly in-person meetings, where we clearly delegated tasks among our group members and made sure everyone was on the same page. Our mentors understood the balance between offering constructive feedback and letting us steer the project, and the resources they could offer us as experts in their fields were indispensable to our work. Seeing all that work culminate in a real printed and bound book was beyond rewarding. I don't think there was one group member among us who didn't squeal a little when they first saw the finished product!" -Olivia Blomstrom 
Project by: Olivia Blomstrom, Alexis Cooney, Jordan McCormack, Shannon Pallatta, Stephanie Williams.


This project studied arts programming and gentrification in Washington, DC. The group designed a two-fold solution to engage and include local artists and to reclaim spaces in neighborhoods experiencing gentrification. The first part includes an online survey to collect data and understand community dynamics. The second part of their plan is the institution of a Community Fellows program to follow up on survey feedback and provide beneficial training to local artists.

Project by: Isobel Araujo, David Curtiss, Maddie Weyand-Geise, and Maile Young.

Teaching Empathy

This project studied how teachers, in an increasingly non-empathetic world, can use their classroom and daily curriculum to encourage students to practice empathy--both perspective taking and compassion--and become more empathetic individuals in their day-to-day lives. The group's final project included an academic paper, an annotated bibliography, and a PowerPoint.

Project by: Diego Alemán, Winter Brooks, Brittany Jones, Shyheim Snead, and Kristin Thompson.