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The Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) Honors Program is celebrating the completion of its first program year and has already been making a significant impact both on and off campus. There are more than 30 students currently in the program and Director Andrew Olson and Assistant Director Keeley Adams are focusing on building the academic and social components of the program in the years to come.

“Since its inception last spring, our students have made an immediate impact in our community, while also being able to take part in courses that allow them to build skills, knowledge, and gain experience that will benefit them in their future,” said Olson, an English instructor on campus. “We’re excited to graduate our first students this fall and are looking forward to graduating many more in the spring.”

“Through their contract projects, students were afforded the opportunity to work hands-on in their fields of study to learn more about the careers they are pursuing,” added Adams, an advisor with the Center for Academic Success and Advising.

As part of the academic requirements for the Honors Program, students are required to enroll in “honors-only” course sections or engage in honors contracts with instructors. To date, over 30 honors contracts have been arranged through student-to-instructor agreements. These projects include a range of disciplines, from simulating the physics of shapes interacting in a two-dimensional window like the project of Daniel Jacobs, a freshman pre-engineering major from Afton, to fertilization and growth analysis of crops in the NEO Crop Research Farm, the continuing project of Hannah Jenkins, a sophomore agriculture education major from Ozark, Mo.

“Honors-only” courses are specific course sections that are only available to students in the honors program. During the fall 2018 semester, Psychology Instructor Dr. Lesli Deichman and Adams co-taught a section of General Psychology. The class included the course content required for the completion of the NEO General Psychology course requirements, but also involved outside projects in which students apply the broad concepts of the course. Dr. David Loving, instructor of the “honors-only” Western Civilization course, noted that teaching this course has been one of the best experiences he’s had teaching. “This has been my favorite class to teach bar none,” said Dr. Loving. “The students are engaged and motivated to learn. That lets me use activities that are outside of the norm and introduce nontraditional modes of learning.” In addition to academic excellence, the Honors Program has focused on becoming an active group both on campus and in the community. Members have volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa County during their academic support hour called “Power Hour.” Olson and Adams are also strengthening their ties with the Boys and Girls Club to provide advocacy and support for disadvantaged youth in Ottawa County. “The first year of the program saw exceptional growth in the areas of service and leadership,” said Adams. “Students have volunteered at NEO concession stands, raised funds for the Miami Public Schools’ Backpack Program, and partnered with PTK during the ‘Get Out the Vote Event.’”

The Program is always seeking new individuals and prepares to begin a new cohort in the spring of 2019. To qualify for full admission into the NEO Honors Program, students must meet two of the following criteria: Composite ACT of 24 or above, GPA of 3.5 or above, Top 10% class rank, and a GPA of 3.5 or above across 12 credit hours from a regionally accredited college. Students meeting one of the criteria may be eligible for provisional membership. For complete information on the program and a link to the application, visit HERE or contact Olson at Andrew.Olson@neo.edu or Adams at Keeley.Adams@neo.edu. (Photos from top: Cooper Duncan volunteers during the Boys and Girls Club “Power Hour.” Bottom: The General Psychology Honors course.)

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