This year the Honors Program was proud to represent St. Norbert College at the NCHC Conference 2017 held in Atlanta, GA from November 8-12. Eight of our student presenters were accompanied by student two staff members, Honors Office Coordinator Stacey Wanta, Honors Director Marcie Paul, and honors professor Dr. Mann. Aside from having the opportunity to present research at a national conference and attending “Just Honor” themed sessions, the group was able to explore the city of Atlanta.
The first day of this adventure trip was spent traveling. From early morning to late evening, everyone finally reunited in Atlanta. After some suspense at baggage claim involving missing poster tubes, the students, staff, and faculty made their way to the 70-floor Westin Peachtree Hotel in downtown Atlanta. After navigating the hotel, bustling with thousands of NCHC members, the SNC Honors Program celebrated with a late-night dinner at Meehans, a modish Irish pub down the street. There, students listened to Dr. Paul and Stacey Wanta reminisce about their previous travels abroad and had their first taste of Atlanta--excellent food!
On Thursday morning, the real excitement of the conference began with early morning registration and the first round of sessions to attend. In the afternoon, the students investigated the city in the NCHC Program called “City as Text,” in which students were encouraged to navigate their own way around the different sectors of Atlanta such as Midtown, Little Five Points, the CDC, and more. In those few hours students were able to experience the authentic Atlanta for themselves by walking the streets, taking public transportation, people watching, eating delicious meals, and talking with locals about the state of the city. Afterward, everyone was welcomed to a reception of hors d'oeuvres and interaction with members of other honors programs from across the country. Alexa Paleka ’20, an Honors staff member and student editor of NCHC’s official publication, UReCA, spoke at a Publication Board meeting with fellow editors to inform the board of the fledgling journal’s successful progress and confirm its renewed funding. The night closed with a student party in a ballroom complete with snacks, a deejay, and dancing.
The conference continued Friday with more exciting activities to engage in. Attendees went to multiple sessions on honors development to bring back useful information for the improvement of the SNC Honors Program. Topics included branding and marketing, service concerning diversity and social justice, design thinking, honors beyond first-year, ambassadors, eportfolios, best practices for creating a newsletter, and more. Honors staff members Elisha Jaeke ’20 and Alexa Paleka ’20 also took on a role in the conference by working as student moderators, announcing and overseeing several presentations. Throughout the day, Alexa promoted UReCA at an Idea Exchange table, speaking on panels, and handing out promotional materials to students and faculty from other institutions. Meanwhile, students made an excursion to the Civil Rights Museum. Everyone ended their day with a group dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant during which Dr. Mann ordered and demonstrated how to eat the food.
Saturday, the final day of the conference, held the main event for our student presenters. At various sessions throughout the day, students presented their research at their designated student poster sessions. Students had the chance to explain their research to students and faculty as well as visit presentations from other schools around the nation. A last round of informational sessions for honors program administration were available as well. Before flying back to St. Norbert campus, the conference concluded with a closing reception with more food, dancing, and goodbyes to other honors institutions until next year’s NCHC Conference.
For more information on the SNC Honors Program’s NCHC Conference experience, visit the Honors Pulse or get a closer look via our Twitter and Instagram accounts!