Story by Samantha Chery, Photo by Stephanie Cobb

The University Honors Program is constantly growing and changing. Here are the latest developments to look out for now and in the near future.

Harry Potter Camp likely to become a class

First-year Honors wizards tried their hands at making magic for the second year of Harry Potter Camp.

A spin-off of Honors Camp, HP-Camp is a three-day program jam-packed with chemistry experiments based on the spells from Harry Potter. Students receive one credit hour for the experience.

The HP-Camp started with a sorting ceremony, in which students poured a chemical into a beaker with indicator dyes to reveal the color of their Hogwarts house.

HP-campers also made tie-dye shirts from handmade dyes, trekked to Wilmot Gardens for a herbology class, practiced alchemy using pennies and made their own Butterbeer.

The camp was mainly organized by Camp Director Amelia Bunnell, a fourth-year biochemistry student in the Honors program, and instructor Chris Brewer, a fifth-year chemistry graduate student.

While the duo has found it difficult to fit in all the activities they planned, they are grateful for the opportunity to create a class from scratch and teach the small group of about 20 students.

Next year, they hope to connect with UF’s veterinary school to fit in a Care of Magical Creatures class.

With approval from the chemistry department, Bunnell and Brewer also plan on adding a full Harry Potter Camp class. 

It would be a two-credit semester-long course that builds on the experiments from HP-Camp, and allows students with a chemistry background to go more in depth about the science behind the wizardry.

Student Honors Organization Executive Board celebrates 30 years

You may have made memories at Haunted Hume, the Luminaire Fine Arts Showcase and the Honors Carnival in the past, but are you familiar with the group that makes these events possible?

The Student Honors Organization leadership board consists of seven officers and an executive board of Honors students in three main focuses: Academic and Professional Development, Community Engagement and Diversity and Inclusivity.

Terry Derias, a third-year nutritional sciences major, served as a board member her freshman year in the first-ever Diversity and Inclusivity section, and she enjoyed being part of the team that set precedents for an important topic for the Honors community.

Now serving as the president of SHO in its 30th year, Derias loves looking in the old Honors yearbooks from the ‘80s and ‘90s to compare the event pictures to Honors events today.

She hopes to plan a retro-themed event sometime within the school year to celebrate the milestone.

Another change she proposed for her term is for board members to be more involved in community outreach.

For example, the academic board will tutor at local schools, the community engagement board might help with environmental restoration, and the diversity members will partner with UF’s Multicultural and Diversity Affairs.

Meet our New Academic Adviser: R. Renee Clark

R. Renee Clark has been devoted to helping college students for more than 30 years. Now, she is bringing her knowledge of academic and career planning to help Honors students.

Before coming to UF, Clark worked in admissions and recruitment, multicultural affairs and leadership development programs at the University of South Florida and Bowling Green University.

Most recently, she was an academic and career coach at the UF’s Heavener School of Business for nine years before taking her new position.

Clark accepted this role because she wanted to challenge herself by being involved in a program of high-achieving students, while also still getting to teach Warrington Welcome, a one-credit course for first-year business students.

She hopes to curate a new Honors course that combines her interests in communication, leadership, women in the workforce, being a new professional and African American history.

New Honors Sections for Spring 2020

In Spring 2020, the Honors Program will open special sections for some of UF’s most popular courses.

Integrated Principles of Biology 1, BSC2010, and Integrated Principles of Biology 2, BSC2011, will each have three Honors sections for the upcoming semester. The honors section of BSC2010 will include 12 supplemental class meetings to discuss scientific papers related to the lecture content.

Introduction to Statistics 1, also known as STA2023, will have its honors counterpart taught by instructor John Doss.In addition to the regular course content, students in the honors section will apply their knowledge using professional software.

Also new for Honors are two microbiology courses, AGR3303 Genetics and MCB3023 Principles of Microbiology. Taught by Kevin Kenworthy, honors Genetics will require students to attend multiple genetics-related seminars throughout the semester.

The instructors for the other courses and the class times are unknown at this time, but should be posted on UF’s Schedule of Courses list.