Honors students bring home experiences, accolades from national conference

Four honors students representing the YSU Sokolov Honors College gained new experiences,bringing back a national award from the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) conference in Chicago, Illinois. All four students presented their research at the conference after being accepted through a competitive peer-review process.

Three students gave poster presentations on a variety of topics:

  • Scott Gregory, junior, information technology major, “The Power of Video”
  • Tafadzwa Mapiki, senior biology pre-medicine major, “Phenotypic characterization of mouse model gammaherpesvirus tumorigenesis”
  • Airyana Washington, sophomore, anthropology major, “Cistern Excavation”

YSU's National Collegiate Honors Council conference delegatesGregory, who has served as an honors student staff videographer the last three years, explored the benefits of video in learning. Mapiki developed a poster focused on research she conducted last summer during a research experience at the University of Florida that aims to move forward cancer cell research. Washington conducted her own archaeological field work exploration to learn more about a feature found in Worthington, Ohio.

Celeste Kapalin, senior, public and professional writing major, presented in a general session with Mollie Hartup, honors director, entitled “Reimagining honors-only orientation through campus-wide collaboration.”

Outside of their presentations, students had the opportunity to attend sessions alongside honors faculty, staff and students from around the country, an experience that resonated with the YSU group.

“I did not only learn a lot, but I was empowered by having the opportunity to spend time with other students who are also determined, innovative and hope to impact the world,” said Mapiki.

"NCHC was the perfect blend of fun and educational. We got to explore the city as well as meet new people, share ideas and improve our presentation skills. It was a valuable experience I will never forget as it solidified the career path I want to take," said Kapalin.

The student-produced “With Honors,” magazine earned a second-place award at the conference in its first year, eligible to submit after winning first-place in 2021. Gregory and Kapalin, who contributed content to the magazine, had the opportunity to accept the award this year on behalf of YSU.

“What makes our magazine so special is that students are the heart of every aspect of its development. From writing to layout, including QR codes that link out to video content, our students do it all,” said Hartup, who teaches a magazine editing and production seminar and oversees the publication.

YSU has a long history of winning awards at NCHC. In the past decade, YSU students have received five awards for research, a top award for community engagement and three awards for honors publications.

“Our students are consistently competitive on a national stage through their acceptance of presentation proposals to receipt of top of discipline and other awards. Overall, participating in this conference not only enriches academic experiences but also lays the groundwork for future academic and professional endeavors,” said Amy Cossentino, dean of the Sokolov Honors College and associate provost for Strategy and Engagement.