Lakeland University Blog

Innovative ideas emerge from honors program seniors

Innovative ideas emerge from honors program seniors


Innovative ideas emerge from honors program seniors

Eight Lakeland University seniors completed requirements this spring for the institution’s rigorous honors program.

Lakeland’s honors program provides a unique opportunity for students to take an alternative track through the interdisciplinary studies requirements. Students choose what they want to study and what they want to learn, all the while working closely with faculty and staff to help guide their learning. They are initially part of a cohort taking courses together before branching off to do their own work.

The honors program culminates with a senior project, which can involve anything from an academic breakthrough to a societal contribution.

The program is led by LU Associate Professor of Psychology Jessica Kalmar.

This year’s honors project students include:

  • Sammi Butler conducted surveys of our student athletes and coaching staff to gain an understanding of their perspectives on mental health and support from counseling services. She will share her findings with the athletics staff and has created informative pamphlets to help strengthen the efforts of our athletics department to support the mental wellbeing of our student athletes. After completing her student teaching this semester, Butler will seek a teaching position.
  • Dana Hanson is spreading awareness of the services offered through our Hayssen Academic Resource Center using a two-pronged approach – creating an American Disabilities Act Accommodations Awareness Booth and pamphlets that will be valuable assets for student services. These materials will ensure that students are informed of the services available to support their learning and the processes through which to secure the benefits. Hanson is applying to graduate programs in forensic psychology.
  • Jonah Heisler, who impressively completed the honors course of study in three years, delivered a detailed presentation and report to multiple stakeholders at Lakeland on the importance of all-gender bathrooms and the benefits they offer to our campus life. He also conducted a survey of Lakeland students, faculty and staff to examine existing knowledge of, and support for, all-gender bathrooms on campus. Heisler is applying to graduate programs in social work.
  • Clare Kelnhofer developed and deployed a survey measuring computer science knowledge in our student body. She then created an informational data visualization poster highlighting her results and the importance of a foundational course in computer science as a component of a liberal arts education. Raising awareness of the benefits of computer science education is of value to students and their future employers. Kelnhofer plans to travel before embarking on a career in computer science.
  • Sydney Mayer also defied expectations by completing the honors course of study in three years. She conducted extensive research into web-design guidelines, surveyed the Lakeland community regarding their experience with Lakeland’s intranet site, developed a re-design for the website and shared out the new design with various stakeholders at Lakeland.
  • Tayler Otten carried out incredibly detailed and wide-ranging research on the publishing process and on Lakeland’s writing students’ knowledge of that process. She then distilled her knowledge in consumable amounts in pamphlets for distribution to Lakeland’s future writing students. This information was also imparted at a highly instructional presentation at Research Day. Otten is pursuing a career as a copy editor at a publishing company and recently finished writing a novel.
  • Mikayla Rieck’s project merged her passions for advocating for women’s involvement in mixed martial arts and writing with creation of a nonfiction piece entitled "My Body Has Not Been My Own: An Autoethnographic Exploration of the Engagement and Retention of Women in Combat Sports." This work incorporated research on narcissistic personality disorder and fascinated her audience during her Research Day presentation. Rieck’s goals include owning an MMA gym and supporting women’s wrestling at Lakeland.
  • Erika Rosberg conducted extensive research on discrimination against women in the field of sports management. She developed and programmed a test that measures implicit gender bias around careers in sports management which was deployed to the Lakeland student body. She shared the results of her implicit bias research in a fascinating presentation at Research Day. Rosberg has accepted a graduate assistant position at Lakeland to assist with marketing and admissions.
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