Ouachita Baptist University’s Carl Goodson Honors Program and the Alpha Tau Honor Society recently hosted the Honors Black and White Reception to recognize students’ hard work and award travel research grants to seven students.
“The OBU honors program offers self-motivated, high-achieving students enhanced educational experiences to further academic excellence and intellectual curiosity through both its academic and co-curricular components,” said Dr. Barbara Pemberton, director of the program and professor of Christian missions. “It is inspiring to work with honors students for they truly live out this year’s campus motto of loving God and loving learning.”
The Black and White Reception is a semi-formal event where students are recognized for their achievements. During the reception, more than 100 new members were formally inducted into Alpha Tau, and 47 upperclassmen were recognized for successfully proposing their theses.
This year, more than $12,000 was awarded to students for research. Students can use these funds to gain hands-on experience and knowledge of the subjects they are researching for their theses. Final theses are presented at Scholars Day each spring, held this year on April 25. All theses and projects are then sent to Ouachita’s Scholarly Commons online repository for publication.
“The thesis component is a vital part of honors work as it prepares students for graduate and professional work,” Pemberton added.
This year’s Carl Goodson Scholar is Evan Nelson, a junior business administration major from Little Rock, Ark. Nelson will be able to attend the MIT Sports Analytics Conference in Boston. While there, he will attend panels led by top sports professionals on the increasing role of analytics in the sports industry. Nelson’s research will supplement his honors thesis, “A Statistical Analysis of the Ouachita Baptist University Baseball Team.”
“The different panels I’ll attend will help spark ideas of how I can better analyze strategy for how Ouachita can win more baseball games and analyze player production,” Nelson explained. “I was inspired to make this my thesis topic after reading Michael Lewis’s Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game for my directed study last semester.”
Dr. Tim Goodson, son of Dr. Carl Goodson, honors program namesake and former OBU vice president of academic affairs, presented Nelson with the award.
“When I learned that I had received this grant, I was ecstatic,” Nelson said. “I’ve been so blessed by Ouachita to receive many opportunities to go out and explore my career interests, and I can’t wait to go represent Ouachita in Boston.”
Abby Richett, a junior elementary education major from North Hampton, N.H., was named the 2018 Ben Elrod Scholar, and she received money to travel to Sierra Leone, Africa, to continue her research in literacy education. Richett’s thesis focuses on the literacy programs at a school and orphanage in Freetown. The grant will allow her to visit the country for about two months to conduct research.
“While in-country, I will research how literacy is taught and supported both in and out of school,” Richett explained. “Right now, I am in directed study hours to learn about reading intervention, as my hope is to engage a group of students in reading intervention during my time in Sierra Leone.”
The Ben Elrod Scholar grant has allowed Ouachita’s honors students to do research in various locations around the world since 1979.
“I am so excited and appreciative,” Richett said. “Receiving the Ben Elrod Scholarship is an incredible honor, and I am deeply grateful for Dr. Elrod’s investment in students’ goals.”
Three juniors were awarded the Honors Faculty Council Research Grants. Brittany Parker, a senior English and political science double major from Clarksville, Ark., will travel to the 9/11 Museum in New York City to continue her research on the historical event. She will be able to learn about the events before, during and after the terrorist attacks in New York; Washington, D.C.; and Pennsylvania. She also will be able to study how various world leaders reacted to the crisis.
“I was four when 9/11 happened,” Parker said. “I vividly remember watching the news and seeing one of the towers on fire. I have been studying 9/11 for most of my life, so to be given the opportunity to actually go to the site of where the terror attacks happened is incredibly valuable. I was obviously enormously grateful for the extreme generosity extended to me by the honors program and the donors behind it.”
Carrie Hill, a senior graphic design major from Benton, Ark., also received an Honors Faculty Council Grant and will to attend the 2018 Illustration Intensive at the Highlights Foundation in Pennsylvania. The third Honors Faculty Council Research Grant was awarded to Austin Sowerbutts, a senior business administration and finance double major from Hot Springs, Ark. He will use the grant to study tourism in the Faroe Islands.
Two students were awarded the Garrett Ham Grant. Colton Sims, a senior Christian studies, philosophy and biblical studies triple major from Fort Smith, Ark., will use the grant to perform research while traveling on the Biblical studies trip to Israel hosted by OBU’s Pruet School of Christian Studies. Cole Jester, a senior Christian studies and political science double major from Benton, Ark., will conduct research at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.
Jacob Lively, a 2012 Ouachita graduate and honors program alumnus, was the special guest speaker for the evening. Lively currently serves as an attorney at Wright, Lindsey & Jennings LLP in Little Rock, Ark. Dr. Ben Sells, Ouachita president, gave the final challenge and words of encouragement.
For more information on the Carl Goodson Honors Program, contact Dr. Barbara Pemberton at firstname.lastname@example.org or (870) 245-5541.
By Katie Smith
February 22, 2018