Honors Colloquiums


Honors Colloquiums are 1 credit projects Honors students can add to any regular Western course. The student develops the project in consultation with the faculty member teaching the course. The resulting project allows the Honors student a deeper engagement with the regular course material and offers the student the opportunity to pursue a topic of special interest related to the course.

2011-2013 Colloquiums

Human Trafficking:

Gavin is currently taking POLS 487 Human Security, Risk and the State with Dr. Maria Struble.  Gavin is researching this timely issue with both empirical and theoretical evidence, familiarizing himself with a topic of pressing concerns to Security scholars.

Gender and Eastern Belief Systems:

Rachael Sandhagen-Turner seeks to explore the relationships of gender within the eastern faiths of Buddhism, Confucism, Hinduism and Taoism.  This exploration is not only of academic interest but deep personal interest as well and is allowing Rachael to engage in the course material of her SOC321 Sociology of Religion course at a deeper level.  This project is being supervised by Dr. Dan Cress.


Miles Peterson is expanding the course content of his BIOL 320 course to delve deeper into the subject of avian introduction in North America.  Dr. Pat Magee is supervising this work.

Community Supported Agriculture:

Jared James researched the market for locally produced agriculture, with a specific focus on the "community Supported Agriculture" movement. He applied the principles of microeconomics to gain a deeper understanding of the CSA market and to explore why CSA has come to be seen as an alternative to the dominant food production and distribution system in the United States.  This project is connected to his ECON 202 course and was supervised by Dr. Scott Lazerus.

Media Symbiosis:

Zachary Schaller examined if media really serves a public function deepening his engagement with his COTH 151 course material.  Zachary examined the roles of media as watch dog and as agenda setter while considering the relationship between media and democracy.  Courtney Fullmer worked with Zachary on this colloquium project.

Art and Humanism:

Jeffery Hunt analyzed and compared the work of Renaissance artists, Michelangelo and Raphael, as representing the characteristics of Italian Renaissance Humanism as part of his History  312 Renaissance and Reformation Era course.  The project was supervised by Dr. James Stewart.


Kaytlin Hughes and Christian Griffith  extended their toxicology labs to use new model animals.  Kaytlin examined the impact of sodium fluoride (NaF) on the behavior, morphology and regenerative capacity of plenaria. Christian compared the morphological changes on tadpoles and planeria due to the application of methoxychlor, a common crop pesticide.  These projects were supervised by Dr. Cassandra Osborne

Comparative Physiology:

Kaytlin researched the field of comparative physiology to learn more about the reproductive systems of various organisms. This project was supervised by Dr. Rebecca Sears.

Income and Wealth Disparity:

Max Lindsay examined the political debates surrounding the current economic crisis using Raghuram Rajam's book Faultlines and Robert Riech's work, Aftershock. Max used this project to connect his political theory course work with his Macroeconomics class.  This project was supervised by Dr. David Plante.

Plant Defense:

Dan Armstrong examined the relationship between plants and their surroundings in response to defense.  His research focused on plants' physical and chemical defenses against bacteria, fungi, insects, herbivores and climate change.  Dr. Robin Bingham  of Biology supervised this project.

2010 Colloquiums

The Artistic Process:

Through this colloquium connected to ART 106 Art for the Non-Artist, Kathryn Schuller will engage in the artistic process of creating a work of art using a variety of mediums.  While the regular course curriculum allows students to explore a variety of artistic processes, this colloquium will allow Kathryn to apply course material and techniques at a deeper level.  This project is supervised by Tina Butterfield.

Glacier Project:

Kathryn Schuller is exploring the paleoclimate in central Utah during the last Ice Age by reconstructing two glacial extents in Fishlake National Forest. This project incorporates DEMS, Google Earth, GIS and air photos to recreate the extent of the glaciers and will create a geological model which can be used to better understand what the past climate was like in this region.  This project is connected to GEOL 340 and is supervised by Dr. David Marchetti.

Invisible Sight:

Meghan Weeks is an Art/Photography major who is exploring the conflict between one's understanding of reality when confronted with changing perspectives of that reality through visual sensation.  The project will attempt to visually demonstrate this conflict through experimentation with infrared photography in both digital and analog format.  This project is connected to ART 446 Advanced Photography and is supervised by Chase Hutchison.

Jewish Refugees:

Michelle Young is researching American immigration and refugee policy from 1940-1945 to explore the nature of the US response to Jewish Holocaust refugees.  This colloquium is connected to HIST 343 The Great Depression and World War II taught by Dr. Wally Lewis.

Kin Selection:

Aleshia Fremgen is examining plant kin selection as part of BIOL 362 Evolutionary Biology.  The role of kin selection is important to reproductive success and as such to evolution and natural selection. This colloquium is designed to extend the idea of kin selection to a group of organisms (plants) not normally considered under Hamilton's Rule. Dr. Robin Bingham is supervising this colloquium project.

Mamalian Adaption:

Marcella Fremgen is researching several species of Sub-Sarahan ungulates and carnivores and how their dietary and water requirements limit their movement.  Ungulates can obtain water from the plants they eat and therefore are not restricted only to land with available water.  Carnivores need water to digest the protein they consume and therefore must live near a water source.  The difference in habitat requirements may be related to the different reproductive strategies between predators and prey species in Africa.  This colloquium project is associated with BIOL 322 Mammalogy taught by Dr. Patrick Magee.

Mammal Track Database:

Dan Armstrong is engaging in field research and developing a mammal track database for the WSC Biology Department.  In addition to making the actual plaster casts of mammal tracks, Dan will also develop an informational pamphlet for each track set which will include track photos and parameters as well as information about animal habitat and range and track patterns.  This colloquium is connected to Biology 322 Mammalogy taught by Dr. Patrick Magee.

Musical Composition:

Blaine Johnson is composing an original flute piece that will be performed in a public recital. This project is connected to MUS 100 Music Fundamentals and is supervised by Dr. Robert Barrett.

Physical Therapy- Leisure:

Dani Farkas will be shadowing two licensed physiotherapists during the course of the semester to observe the nature of the injuries they treat. She is most interested in determining the percentage of the injuries that are associated with local leisure activities.  This project is connected to ESS 396 which allows students to experience and learn about the seasonal leisure activities in the Gunnison area and this field experience/colloquium will be an interesting addition as Dani explores the association of those activities with injuries requiring physical therapy. 


Christian Griffith will research the topic of somatosensation and prepare a full class presentation on the topic to PSY 345 Biological Psychology.  Christian will be responsible for teaching his fellow classmates about the topic. This project is supervised by Dr. Patrick Stark.

TAT- Public Service:

Alison Kicklighter, a member of WSC's Mountain Search and Rescue Team, is examining a subsection of a projective personality test (TAT) and will administer it to two groups of people: emergency service workers and non-emergency service workers to examine the the differences in responses between the two groups.  This project is connected to PSY 460 Psychological Testing and is supervised by Dr. Suzy Coykendall.

2009 Colloquiums

Evolution of Faith:

Levi Gill was interested in the questions: What do evolving religious representations imply about faith and upon what assumptions do we define faith?  He was interested in exploring the ways faith evolves and manifests itself through narrative and metaphor.  This project was connected to PHIL 345 Philosophy of Religion under the supervision of Dr. Anthony Miccoli.

High Tech Trash:

Nicholette De Rosia developed a project which connected material from SOC 150 Environmental Sociology with the book High Tech Trash to further explore the nature of sustainability, environmental justice and the rights of nature.  She was especially interested in how inequality plays into electronic waste disposal on a global level.  This project was supervised by Dr. Dan Cress.


Intrigued by her HIST 250 History of the Middle East course, Michelle Young developed a directed readings project to learn more about Islam.  In consultation with Dr. Jim Stewart, Michelle developed a bibliography of works on Islam and read them and met regularly for discussion with Dr. Stewart to increase her understanding about Islam.


In POLS 309 Political Thought I, students read and discussed the writings of Machiavelli.  Max Lindsey then developed a colloquium project which allowed him to examine the influence of Machiagelli on modern political thought today. 

Marketing and Publicity:

Reid Andrews assisted supervising faculty Professor Marc Duncan in a consultation project with the Gunnison Arts Center.  This project allowed Reid to apply marketing and publicity theories from BUAD 345  Consumer Behavior to a real-life consulting project.


Feeling that his theoretical understanding of communism and socialism was not developed enough, Dan Blackmon developed a research project on Karl Marx and Marxism for his POLS 117 Introduction to Political Ideas course.  This project allowed him a great intellectual engagement with the topics than the regular course material of a survey of political thought allowed.  This project was supervised by Dr. Maria Struble.

Alternative Medicine:

Dan Blackmon researched and developed a class lecture on alternative medicine for his SOC 322 Medical Sociology class. Dan was responsible for delivering the course material on the topic to his classmates in addition to the regular presentation requirements of the course. Dan was particularly interested in the relationship between alternative medicines and counseling and the often tense relationship between western medicine and alternative forms.

Nicotine Study:

As part of her CHEM 101 Introduction to Chemistry course, Erika Espinoza researched the chemistry of nicotine; the development of new nicotine products; and their impact on the cigarette industry.   This project was supervised by Dr. Jason Mullins.

Organizational Stress:

Reid Andrews was able to act as a research assistant to Professor Michaela Driver, a leading expert in the field of organizational behavior.  Using Professor Driver's theoretical approaches, Reid conducted a series of interviews and gathered data on what causes stress at work and how individuals cope with workplace stress.

Romantic Fiction:

This project allowed Sarah Foster to further develop one of her creative writing projects, a romance novel.  Applying elements writing covered in ENG 300 Creative Fiction, Sarah explored scene and character development, point of view, and dialog and plot development to expand a workshop piece into a more substantial work of romantic fiction. This project was supervised by Professor Teresa Milbrodt.

Sci-Fi Graphic Design

Jessica Powers created a multimedia web style database for a fictional futuristic narrative.  With this project Jessica was able to combine content and skills from her Graphic Design major and from her English Minor.  She also learned to master Dreamweaver and Blender Computer graphics programs.

Taxes and Economy:

Reid Andrews developed a research project which analyzed the use of taxes in stabilizing the economy and in promoting economic growth in the US economy. This project was connected to ECON 201 Macroeconomics under the supervision of Dr. David Plante.

United Nations:

Reid Andrews researched US attitudes towards the United Nations and explored the way the US acts within the global community. This project was connected to BUAD 340 Global Business and was supervised by Richard Daerr.