14 honors institute students to graduate
Published 7:00 am Wednesday, May 14, 2014
The Pearl River Community College Honors Institute recently honored their second graduating class by providing the 14 students with medallions that will be worn at today’s graduation.
Honors institute Director Dr. Stephen Black said a few years ago the college recognized the need for an honors program for high achieving students applying to and enrolled at PRCC.
Only a handful of the 15 community colleges in the state have an honors program, Black said.
It is a two-tier program with options for PRCC students and incoming students to the Poplarville and Forrest County campuses.
Admission requirements for incoming students include scoring a 25 on the ACT and graduating with a 3.4 cumulative grade point average. Students already enrolled at PRCC must have completed 12 credit hours and have a 3.4 GPA to be accepted, Black said.
The program offers smaller class sizes, specialized courses, field trips and exclusive internships through the institute’s partnerships with Stennis Space Center and Mississippi State University.
Each semester, one honors institute student is invited to be an intern for the Gulf of Mexico program. This summer, the fifth honors institute will participate in the internship.
The honors program partners with Mississippi State University so students can work with MSU’s Research and Education to Advance Conservation and Habitat program, Black said.
REACH integrates research on specific farms to demonstrate and study the effects of conservation on agricultural lands.
Black said PRCC has also reached an agreement with MSU’s honors program to ensure qualifying students can automatically transfer upon completion of PRCC’s program.
The honors institute also hosts a lecture series, paid for by a grant from the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation. Black said the grant allows the program to hire speakers such as next semester’s guest, journalist John Quiñones, who works with the news show 20/20, Black said.
For future students, Black said the honors institute faculty is working with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and University of Southern Mississippi to hopefully offer a two-week study abroad trip to England next summer. The honors institute will also add a marine science program for honors students in the fall.
This past spring, the institute added an honors environmental science class, Black said.
Current institute offerings include world civilization history I and II, English composition I and II, music appreciation, public speaking, computer programing and literature honors courses.
Black said honors institute faculty and students are looking forward to the program’s new location on the second floor of White Hall, which will open in the fall. The new location will feature a conference room, library, director’s office and lecture hall.
First-tier honors institute students are required to complete 21 credit hours of honors classes and have a 3.4 GPA in order to graduate from the program and receive a medallion, Black said. Second tier students, the students who enroll in the program after starting school at PRCC, are required to complete 12 credit hours on honors classes and have a 3.25 GPA.
Second-tier students receive a certificate instead of a medallion, Black said.
Honors institute graduates also receive special recognition at the graduation ceremony.
Graduating honors students, along with wearing their medallion, are the first group of students called to receive their diploma, are handed another certificate from Black after receiving their diploma and are recognized during the ceremony by PRCC President Dr. William Lewis.
“When we began this effort a couple years ago, I’ll tell you we had a selfish interest; we thought it would help us attract some special students,” Lewis said in a press release. “We have taken some giant steps to make this a reality. We hope that you have been served well.”