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Honors Conferences Connect and Inspire SLU Students

The University Honors Program encourages students to share in the vibrant national discourse on the meaning and value of honors education. The AJCU Honors Conference unites faculty, staff, and students at member institutions in conversations about how to enact the Jesuit mission in honors curricula and extracurricular programming.  The National Collegiate Honors Conference (NCHC) brings together honors programs and colleges to discuss best practices and to feature the best student research from around the country.  Selected SLU students can apply to receive funding to attend both conferences.


First-year students Megan Doehner (A&S '22) and Maggie Runde (Doisy '22) joined Robert Pampel, Ph.D. for the annual AJCU Honors Conference at John Carroll University.

AJCU Honors Conference

The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) holds an annual spring meeting for Honors Programs. This conference provides an opportunity for program directors, administrators, faculty and students to share ideas and discuss best practices in honors education across institutions with a shared Jesuit mission.

Four members of the SLU Honors Program attended the March 2019 meeting at John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. Robert Pampel, Ph.D., was joined by Assistant Director, Louise Neiman, and two first-year students, Maggie Runde (Doisy '22) and Megan Doehner (A&S '22). The meeting included break-out sessions on a range of topics, from honors student organizations to operating budgets, and a keynote address from Kevin Fitzgerald, S.J.

“One of the things that most took me by surprise about the conference was the depth of relationships I was able to form with incredible students and faculty from other Jesuit universities. Megan and I both spent a lot of our free time with several other students, and to this day we are still in contact with them! I think that attests to the strength of the conference and of the connection we all have to each other through our unique Jesuit, honors education … It was one of my favorite memories from my freshman year at SLU.” – Maggie Runde, Class of 2022

“Before AJCU, I had just seen my membership in the honors program as just another box to check or title to put on my resume—I hadn't fully digested that I have an identity as an honors student, and also a responsibility to uphold and embrace my place in the honors program, taking advantage of the many opportunities with which it presents me. The Honors Program is not just about taking harder classes or writing longer papers, it is about completely embracing the Jesuit mission and truly digging deeper into our education—asking about not only what we are learning, but how we can take the blessing of our education and use it to serve the world around us.” – Megan Doehner, Class of 2022

Next year's gathering will take place at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA.  Saint Louis University has been approved to host the conference in 2022. 

Julia Poster

Senior Julia Griffin (Doisy '20) poses next to her poster featuring results from her honors-sponsored research in Peru.  She will present the results at the annual NCHC conference in November.

NCHC Conference

Two students from the University Honors Program have been selected to present their research at the annual conference for the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) this November in New Orleans, Louisiana. This conference brings together honors faculty, staff, and students from across the country and around the world, with sessions and workshops designed to support and enhance undergraduate honors education.

Seniors Julia Griffin (Doisy '20) and Suzy Kickham (A&S '20) were selected to present their research as part of the NCHC student poster session, which features original student research from a wide range of disciplines.  Griffin's project is titled "Cost, Quality, and Access of Healthcare in Piaru, Peru" and combines her interest in medicine with her extensive knowledge of Spanish-speaking cultures around the world.  Kickham's project, called "A Philosophical Response to the Impact of Trauma on Young Students" leverages her travel experience in Belize to understand challenges that confront young students in St. Louis.  Both projects emerged from work made possible by the Honors Program's Investigative Learning Experience (ILEX) grant. Griffin and Kickham will share the results of the to their fields of study with a broad scholarly audience of honors educators and students. 

“My greatest hope for this conference is that I will be challenged to seek more in my academic endeavors. As a student presenter, I hope I will receive provocative questions that require me to think differently or more deeply about my own studies and convictions. I would consider myself fortunate to, at some point during the conference, question my own research and view it through an entirely different lens. This will first and foremost stimulate my growth as a learner, which is a role I hope to retain throughout life. Additionally, I believe it will allow me to become more versatile as a thinker, which will be immensely beneficial in my professional life.” – Suzy Kickham, Major in Philosophy and Psychology, Minor in Political Science

“In addition to sharing my research, I believe that I will grow as a student and Jesuit-educated leader through this conference. Through intellectual conversations, stimulating discussions, and presentations I am eager to be challenged to think differently and learn new perspectives. I look forward to forming connections with other honors students and hearing about their fascinating research projects. I believe that the conference will greatly contribute to my personal and professional growth … Personally, I will be able to improve my presentation and communication skills. As a curious leader and lifelong learner, I am committed to furthering my holistic education. This conference is one way which I can be a more educated and well-rounded student, individual, leader, and Billiken.” – Julia Griffin, Major in Health Sciences and Spanish, Minor in Biology

The NCHC conference will take place November 6-10 in New Orleans, LA. 

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.