Destination UE

Enhancing Her Education

“I felt like we sort of created a community of academic excellence among ourselves.”

Joy Grace Chen

Class of 2016
Major: Creative Writing

Enhance Your Education

The University of Evansville provides a challenging academic environment for all students. But some students are up for an even greater challenge. These individuals find their academic chops in the Honors Program, a community of like-minded students who want to delve deeper into the academic rigors that UE provides to every student.

For Joy Grace Chen, as a creative writing student, UE’s Honors Program presented a welcoming community that helped push her just the way she wanted. “I lived in Powell Residence Hall my first two years with other students in the Honors Program,” she said.

“It was really great living with people who shared the same academic drive and interest in studies and just wanting to know more about the world. I felt like we sort of created a community of academic excellence among ourselves.”

Make Strong Connections

Connections with her peers made the transition to college a little more bearable for this Cincinnati native. During Joy Grace’s freshman year, she took two courses with professor of history and then Honors Program director, Daniel Gahan. Though she hasn’t had a class with him since, he hasn’t forgotten her.

“He recommended me for positions and activities that gave me experiences and opportunities I wouldn’t otherwise get,” Joy Grace explains. From taking notes for a hearing impaired student to serving on the Honors Academic Committee, she has took on responsibilities that helped her grow both inside and outside the classroom.

And the projects she took on weren’t small. Joy Grace and the other members of the Honors Academic Committee worked together to redefine or clarify some of the aspects of the Honors Program for future participants. The committee brought ideas and opinions to Gahan, who depended on their input.

“[Gahan] really valued our input and really, honestly, wanted to know what we thought and really considered what we said.” This, she says, really made working with the Honors Academic Committee worthwhile.

Dig Deeper into Your Program

One of the big things that made the Honors Program special is the Senior Project all students are required to do. While Joy Grace thought about what her project was going to be since freshman year, her ideas changed over time.

“My freshman year, I thought ‘I could write a novel!’ but, no. I definitely did not do that,” she said, shaking her head.

But she still considered a big writing project to round out her Honors Program experience. She’s thought about writing a long creative nonfiction piece. After taking a course on the genre, it really struck a chord with her.

“It would incorporate research and creative writing, which was my major,” she explained. “I really looked forward to working on it.”

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