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SLU Students Share Research at National Honors Conference

Two SLU honors students were selected to present their research at the 2019 National Collegiate Honors Council Conference in New Orleans, LA.


Suzy Kickham (A&S '20) and Julia Griffin (Doisy '20) and Director Robert Pampel, Ph.D. pose for a photo at the 2019 National Collegiate Honors Council conference in New Orleans.

The National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) is a national organization that brings together faculty, staff, and students to share strategies and to promote best practices in honors education.  In November of  2019, the annual conference took place in New Orleans, LA and the SLU Honors Program delegation featured students for the first time.

Seniors Julia Griffin (Health Sciences/Spanish ’20) and Suzy Kickham (Philosophy/Psychology ’20) were selected by a national review panel to present their research projects to a community of peers from honors programs across the globe.  Griffin shared results from an ambitious research project on healthcare access, quality, and cost in a small Peruvian parish, which she completed thanks to support from the Honors Program’s Investigative Learning Experiences (ILEX) grant.  Kickham, also an ILEX grant recipient, presented findings from a project on trauma and agency among St. Louis youth that weaved together her disciplinary knowledge in philosophy and psychology and drew upon extensive fieldwork in Belize and as part of her leadership with SLU’s Overground Railroad project.  Both students were able to attend thanks to generous alumni support toward the Honors Program Development Fund, which supports research projects and conference attendance for deserving students in the program.

Director Robert Pampel, Ph.D., also presented with a panel of colleagues on vocational discernment initiatives in honors and on SLU’s distinctive international partnership program.  Both presentations were adaptations of Pampel’s published research for the Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council.  Pampel serves on both the research committee and the publications board of the national organization.

While he has always enjoyed the professional relationships formed during his many years attending NCHC conferences, Pampel noted that the recent trip to the NCHC conference was by far the most gratifying because of the student company.  “Julia and Suzy embodied the honors spirit of curiosity, integrity, and academic rigor throughout their time at SLU.  To see them rewarded for their dedication by being able to represent SLU at the NCHC a proud moment for our program and, I hope, a feather in their cap at the end of a distinguished SLU career.”

Two SLU honors students were accepted to attend the 2020 NCHC conference in Dallas, TX.  Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the in-person conference was cancelled and the program was moved online.  Gifts to support honors conference travel will go to support future students applying to represent SLU at future NCHC in-person gatherings.

The Honors Program at Saint Louis University, established in 1938, engages intellectually curious and academically successful students in a community oriented towards the Jesuit ideals of holistic learning, academic rigor, and community engagement. Through a combination of individually tailored curricula, experiential learning opportunities, and developmental guidance and mentorship, the Honors Program prepares students to become citizens who engage in the process of inquiry and apply their knowledge in service to society.