Honors Students Share Their Experiences
Being involved in the Mentoring Program has been easily the most rewarding experience of my undergraduate career. As a mentee, I had incredible peers helping me one on one, and as a mentor, I was able to grow into a stronger leader and role model. I’ve loved every second of it.
Dom was asked to speak on a specialty E-Sports panel that conducted an open discussion of the current state of the E-sports industry and to clarify aspects of the E-Sports world for the audience.
“It was amazing to be included on a panel with people that have made real impacts in the E-Sports community.”
I took leadership courses, served and led Honors Council committees, and planned events for the community. I had the rewarding opportunity to combine my passion for education and Honors as a member of the TEDxArcadiaUniversity: “The Big Idea” team…The Honors Program allows students to dream big and execute their goals in a supportive environment.
More About Dominic Bierwisch
Exploring E-Sports and the Growing Digital Spectatorship
By Dominic Bierwisch '18
E-Sports are a rapidly expanding form of gaming-based entertainment, with over 134 million people reporting watching E-Sports in 2015. Dom Bierwisch, a Junior Chemistry major at Arcadia, decided to turn his love of video games and appreciation of the benefits of E-Sports into an Honors project that investigated the drivers of this growing digital spectatorship.
With help from Dr. Robbins of the psychology department, Dom presented his Honors project at the SEPCHE Honors Conference, the Exhibition of Academic Success and the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) Conference. At the NCHC, Dom was given the opportunity to share his passion for E-Sports with the attendees. One of those attendees happened to be Dr. Joey Gawrysiak of Shenandoah University. Professor Gawrysiak works within the E-Sports industry and was so impressed with Dom’s work that he invited him to speak at the Music and Gaming Educational Symposium (MAGES) in Maryland in January. This annual festival is attended by thousands of people interested in discussing advancements in music and gaming.
Dom was asked to speak on a specialty E-Sports panel that conducted an open discussion of the current state of the E-sports industry and to clarify aspects of the E-Sports world for the audience. Of the experience, Dom said it was amazing to be included on a panel with “people that have made real impacts in the E-Sports community”, many of whom have worked behind the scenes of E-Sports for years. What struck Dom the most about the discussion was just how far video games have come within the worlds of business and pop culture.
To Dom, E-Sports are much like other sports except that they have the benefits of any-time, unlimited availability. As he says, “at any moment, there are matches going on around the world that can be watched online, and you can always watch your favorite games”. Spectators from every country can come together to interact and be entertained.
The panel experience has sparked Dom’s interest in taking his Honors project further and perhaps “becoming more involved in the E-Sports realm as an advocate for the benefits of E-Sports”. He says that he wants to be in a position where he can “disillusion people of the stereotype of video games and professional gamers”. Dom’s Honors project has opened the door to ongoing opportunities to give presentations and to interact with the E-Sports community. His work has provided a platform from which he can continue to participate actively within the evolution of an industry that he has real passion for.
Watch Dominic speak at MAGFest.
More About Olivia Bates
From the Inside: Healthy Minds and Bodies Program
By Olivia Bates '18
What’s your Big Idea? As a rising senior in the Early Elementary/Special Education and Honors programs at Arcadia, I have had multiple opportunities to explore my passions and skills through interesting curricular and extracurricular experiences. Throughout the past three years, I have taken leadership courses, served and led Honors Council committees, and planned events for the community. Most recently, I had the rewarding opportunity to combine my passion for education and Honors as a member of the TEDxArcadiaUniversity 2017: “The Big Idea” team.
TEDxArcadiaUniversity is an event hosted by one of the Honors Program courses. Throughout the semester, students gain planning, fundraising, marketing, and communication skills while also writing their own TEDx talks. On the day of the event, students share their talks and learn from classmates’ and community leaders’ stories. This year’s conference focused on speakers’ Big Ideas; with topics including education, community service, health, and the American Dream.
In developing my talk, I considered my interests and aspirations. As a preservice teacher, I am passionate about education and strive to develop powerful lessons. Through my experiences, I realized the importance of fostering both academic and social-emotional development in students. Even in elementary school, students already struggle with negative self-concepts and body images. Therefore, my Big Idea was to create a program called, “From the Inside: Healthy Minds and Bodies” to address these issues with a curriculum focusing on positive self-talk, healthy habits, physical activity, and respect.
Through the support of my host teacher and Arcadia family, I had the opportunity to develop this program and teach a lesson to my second grade students on the importance of valuing themselves and others. I began by writing each student a “Value Letter” highlighting personal characteristics over physical features. After a discussion on value, students wrote their own letters to peers; sharing messages such as “You are a great friend” and “You always try your best and never give up when it’s tough.” I was extremely proud of their learnings and delighted by their engagement. The lesson took off and students continued to share positive messages with peers for the remainder of the school year. I plan on developing and teaching this curriculum with my future students to continue fostering positive self-concepts.
The Honors Program at Arcadia allows students to dream big and execute their goals in a supportive environment. Through my experiences in Honors, I learned to take advantage of every opportunity to learn, grow, and make my Big Ideas reality.
The Power of Mentorship and Education, Erika Raskay '18
Erika is the student leader of our College Access Mentoring Program where students are trained at Arcadian preparation to mentor high school students at a local Philadelphia high school. Once a week, students learn about college related issues such as how to apply for college financial aid, SAT/ACT prep, and they also use their Honors Leadership training to prepare experiences in self-reflection, advocacy, use of resources, interviewing, etc. They then go to our partner school once a week and mentor students. They have built important relationships and helped many students get closer to the joy of a college education.
Honing My Leadership Skills: The Adaptation Project, Jessica Unger '16
The Honors Program at Arcadia University has provided me with multiple opportunities to enhance my leadership skills and thus prepare me for my future career. As a Healthcare Administration major, I hope to climb the corporate ladder in hospitals, and I know that robust leadership and networking skills will be required to achieve this goal. One such opportunity is the adaption project, where students are able to adapt one upper-level course from within their major into a leadership-focused project that counts as an Honors class. I decided to adapt my Selected Topics in Healthcare Administration course into an information gathering project based at my internship with the Abington Memorial Hospital. I interviewed several professionals on the skills their professions required, the importance of certain leadership skills and what challenges they have faced in their careers. Aside from carrying out interviews, my adaption project involved personal reflections on what I encountered through journaling.
In general, this project provided me with valuable advice on career advancement and opportunities to form professional connections for future job applications. Most importantly, it encouraged me to learn much more about myself and helped me to assess my current leadership skillset in order to identify areas for improvement so that I could succeed in these professional roles. Organization was identified by many of the professionals I interviewed as a key management skill. I feel that I am a very organized person and this trait has helped me to succeed in my studies and in leadership positions. I believe the ability to reasonably assess one’s own skills can really help yourself, help others and help to achieve personal goals. This concept of understanding yourself is important to good leadership and my project not only helped me to identify organization as a personal strength of mine, it also further improved my organization skills due to the requirements of scheduling interviews and being prepared for changes in timetables.
The interviews and conversations I was able to hold also really solidified for me how important it is for leaders to have strong listening and networking skills. In my interviews I truly wanted to know and understand the insights I was being given; to be an engaged and responsive listener instead of just following my list of questions. After completing these interviews I had a new understanding of why leaders must be good listeners. Leaders need to listen to other people’s opinions, ideas and challenges in order to better comprehend and help the people around them. Without this project I wouldn’t have been able to get to know people at the hospital as well as I did. The people I interviewed have offered me help with applying for jobs, providing references and introductions to other professionals that have mutual interests. All of these connections are inherently valuable and as communication and networking have been goals of mine approaching graduation; I am so glad I got to practice these skills.
The Honors adaption project provided me with the opportunity to grow as a person and as a leader. I was able to work on necessary leadership skills such as organization, networking and listening. I’m really happy that I was able to take the time to reflect upon my own opinions and skills, which I should take more time to do so that I can continue to better understand myself in order to become a better leader. The Arcadia Honors Program aims to increase my leadership potential and I believe this project certainly contributed to achieving that goal.
Jessica Unger is a Healthcare Administration major from Royersford, PA.
Developing a New Perspective on Leadership, Stephanie Roscher '16
One of life’s greatest challenges is finding and maintaining a balance between work and play. From a college student’s perspective, this challenge evolves into finding a balance between studying and relaxing. A lack of balance can result in the student’s downfall. Fortunately, I’m a very self-aware person and over the years I have mastered a personal balance that works wonders for me, especially in finals week. Whenever finals week rolls around, I ensure that there is some activity that I enjoy which serves as a reward for studying. In previous years, I have set aside a specific movie or television show. However, this year I altered the usual plan to include something more academic yet enjoyable at the same time (which also allowed me to fulfill my final Honors Program requirement). In between studying for finals, I tested and debugged my C++ Number Guessing program. I saved my favorite aspect of coding, testing and debugging as my reward, and therefore motivation, for studying. The debugging process was a nice recoup from course work as it allowed me to fix errors in a program I had invested a lot of time into whilst giving my mind a study break and providing me with a sense of accomplishment; a win-win situation!
My finals week planning is an example of leadership because leadership can be about discovering yourself and creating your own leadership style. Self-awareness is one of my skills and enabled me to create a study-relax plan which benefitted me immensely. I’ve learnt that by understanding your own strengths, you can unlock and amplify many important leadership characteristics, such as planning, confidence and determination. Also, by learning how to identify your own strengths, you can extend this leadership skill to identifying the strengths and weaknesses of those around you, allowing you, as a leader, to help others grow as individuals. People are very unique. Whilst coding is enjoyable for me, my idea of fun is very different from someone else’s; my roommates consider writing as a form of relaxation, whereas I find it merely frustrating. Since people are so different from one another in so many aspects; it’s important to identify, understand and accept the diversity around you. One of the qualities of a good leader is the ability to alter the message you are spreading in a way that will connect with and influence people that have different experiences and different qualities than you do yourself. This can be challenging but is a worthy leadership goal.
Leadership is an important skill for anyone to have. It not only gives you confidence in yourself, but in exploring leadership, you are able to explore more about who you really are and where your strengths lie. The Honors Program has been challenging yet very rewarding as it has allowed me to gain new perspectives on leadership that are helping now and will help me in the future. This program has helped me to grow so much as a person and as a leader, and for that, I am truly grateful.