Science Honors: Program Overview
Science Honors enables students to begin their college career with an integrated, hands-on research experience where they actually do science. Through tackling a complex issue facing society, exceptional students are immersed in all aspects of the scientific process.
An interdisciplinary research project in the first year is the central idea that sets Science Honors apart. How do students become scientists? Mastering a knowledge base is necessary, certainly, but being a scientist requires more than learning facts from a textbook. Yes, science builds on past discoveries. But to generate knowledge about the world around us or to solve complex issues facing society, scientists must propose novel experiments, solve unfamiliar problems, and disseminate original ideas.
Core Research Project
At the heart of the program is an interdisciplinary course in which students and professors from biology, chemistry, physics, and math work together in teams to design and implement a research project focused on a major world issue. In the 2017-18 academic year, the science honors curriculum will address biodiversity, one of the most complex and multi-layered topics in contemporary science.
Science Honors students will explore these and other vital questions throughout the program:
Is our world experiencing a mass extinction? Is biodiversity just about saving species or about balancing complex ecosystems? Does either matter as much as human economic interests? How do coding and cutting-edge technologies help us answer ecological questions? Is the preservation of biodiversity something God asks of us?
The culmination of the coursework will result in a core research project as students work in teams to engineer, construct, and evaluate their own mobile robotic biodiversity assessment device (MR|BAD).
Solutions to complex real-world problems and the cutting edge of scientific and technological innovation are increasingly found at the interface of traditional disciplines. Students in Science Honors work closely with professors from Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Math as they develop their research project. Writing and Communication faculty prepare students to present and translate their research to both expert and general audiences. Additional coursework in the humanities will prepare students with confidence to understand the ethical and social impacts of technology.