Welcome to the home page for the Kansas State University Honors Program. This program is designed to provide opportunities for motivated and talented students to enhance their education not only within the university but also within the community and at an international level.
Initiated in January 2006 and approved by Faculty Senate, this exciting opportunity for undergraduates is designed for students within each of the colleges in the university. The University Honors Program is a dynamic and vibrant part of the university community, providing exceptional students with exceptional experiences. Please feel free to explore our web site and the university site to learn more about us. Questions or requests for further information can be arranged by contacting us.
A Brilliant Trip to Boston
By Kelsie Hoss, with files from Tim Cochran and Justin Kastner
MANHATTAN, KANSAS—December 20, 2013—Last semester, an interdisciplinary mix of intellectually curious scholars traveled to Massachusetts to learn about complex topics—from economics and policymaking at Harvard University, to maritime history and food processing in the seafood sector, to import-export security operations at the seaport of Boston, to research and development in the bioscience sector.
The “Scholarly Siege of Boston” began on Wednesday, October 16, with University Honors Program (UHP) students flying into Boston’s Logan Airport and attending a lecture, held at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, featuring thought leaders in the emerging policymaking field of behavioral economics. The following days involved multidisciplinary learning in a number of areas. Just north of Boston, in the historical village of Gloucester, UHP students toured a seafood processing company and visited a maritime history center. In Boston, the students learned about import-export operations at a seaport and met with business and scientific leaders in a Cambridge-based bioscience company. Throughout the four-day trip, students communicated and chronicled their learning by webposting commentaries, photos, and videos on Yammer.com, a professional social networking tool.
Dr. Justin Kastner, director of the UHP and co-director of the Frontier program (an interdisciplinary scholarly career-development program), said the trip was designed to help both UHP and Frontier students develop their intellectual curiosity regarding a wide range of topics. “We sponsored this field trip, hoping it would give students an unparalleled opportunity to ‘catch a vision’ for what they might want to further explore in their academic, career, and life development.”
During their first evening, the students travelled to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Harvard University to learn about “choice architecture” from distinguished scholars in the field of behavioral economics and policymaking. Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, authors of the book Nudge, discussed how economic incentives can help affect behavioral change, noting that “behavioral economics” is being used by both businesses and governments to encourage human behavioral changes in such areas as personal financial savings, environmental stewardship, and public safety.
The next several days gave the scholars several unique, experiential opportunities to learn about issues related to homeland security, food protection and defense, and the health sciences. One of America’s oldest and most successful seafood companies, Gorton’s Seafood, provided UHP and Frontier students with briefings and tours on business and biosecurity practices in their line of seafood products. Boston’s economy is historically connected to the seafood industry, so it was fitting to not only learn about seafood processing but also tour a local museum—Maritime Gloucester—dedicated to celebrating maritime history. After touring the museum, students were inspired by a skill-development workshop, entitled “How to make the most of history,” led by Dr. Kastner and Frontier’s co-director, Dr. Jason Ackleson.
Rebecca Kaye, a UHP student, reflected on the skill-development workshop using Yammer, “History can serve as an integrating cement from multi and interdisciplinary work by functioning as the string that sews disciplines together…I began to imagine how much stronger and more efficient our political structure would be if it was more adequately integrated with philosophy and history.”
Friday morning, the students had a unique opportunity to learn about Massport (the public-private entity that manages the port of Boston) and import-export processes. While on a tour led by Massport security professionals, Frontier students and UHP students alike quickly realized the relevance of port to international security—including the ongoing operation and security of global supply chains. Massport administers a rigorous screening process to help ensure the safety of both imports and exports. “Nautical tourism” adds another layer of complexity to security operations. After learning about the multifaceted port security operations, several students visited an up-and-coming pharmaceutical company in Cambridge—Momenta Pharmaceuticals.
A bioscience firm with a multidisciplinary staff of scientists and professionals, Momenta is a pharmaceutical company that focuses mainly on generic brands of medicine. Momenta’s representatives elaborated to the students the importance of interdisciplinary studies. Some of the professionals working at Momenta had earned degrees in Marketing, Management, Chemistry, Biology, Law, and many more. Combining the skills of employees from different sectors has allowed Momenta to advance in research and development, and succeed financially.
Since the conclusion of the “Scholarly Siege of Boston” students have communicated about the trip via Yammer. The success of the trip has been illustrated by the comments. As Michael Emley aptly stated, “It was an incredible experience that I will never forget!”