July 21, 2024
Little Library
A Little Library installed by Michelle Damboise

Students Complete Diverse Array of Honors Projects

The Herkimer College Honors Program provides students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher the opportunity to acquire a variety of skills outside of the classroom through experiential learning.  Interpersonal communication, self-direction, leadership, emotional intelligence—there are all important to a marketable employee and moreover a productive member of society.  The Honors Program helps students actively develop these skills as they complete the three required courses within the program.

The following students completed HP303 this spring, meeting their final requirement for the College Honors Program:

  • Vincenza Aiello
  • Carynn Bohley
  • Victoria Borowski
  • Michelle Damboise
  • Feven Endale
  • Zhiyi Jiang
  • Taylor Listovitch
  • Courtney Madia
  • Aidan McFerran
  • Emilie Monahan
  • Lauren Myer
  • Zachary Wixom

HP303 provides students the opportunity to design and implement a community-based project independently, showcasing the skills they have acquired throughout the Honors Program. This year’s students completed projects that affected many aspects of “community”: from the college campus, to vulnerable populations within the Herkimer area, and to communities abroad.

Michelle Damboise’s project involved creating two “Little Libraries” within her community.  After gauging need, Michelle established contacts with local businesses, Boy Scout troops and community members to not only secure a safe location for the libraries but to build, supply and sustain these libraries into the future:

“I chose to install a Little Library for use in communities of our school district that did not have easy access to a library. I chose this project before the COVID pandemic, but the pandemic proved to reinforce why I needed to do this. This area had no access to a library easily, and with the Libraries being closed, I was grateful that I was able to help them have access to reading materials especially during these harder times, where we are leading simpler lives and self-quarantine. I did this to help the community because I saw a need. This would cost the community nothing to be able to escape in a book.  Reading is not only an enjoyment and a distraction from everyday life but an education.”

Michelle Damboise

Vincenza Aiello, a Human Services major, felt compelled to help a vulnerable population within the community as well.  She worked to establish “Cuts for the Community”, a program she organized that provided free haircuts (in accordance with COVID protocols) to seniors along with a smile.  She conversed with the patrons digitally during their styling session, and they were sent home with a gift basket created from donated products from the community:

“The Honors Program has instilled confidence within me, allowed me to understand the importance of trial and error, and also has provided me with the ability to successfully incorporate community within a project. Although my educational journey will continue at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, the skills which I’ve obtained throughout my time as an Honors student will be implemented within each assignment, future internships, and within my future career.”

Vincenza Aiello

Other completed projects aimed to assist student success in the Physical Therapy Assistant and Criminal Justice programs; to enhance voter registration in Herkimer County; and to develop services to provide assistance to first generation college students and others in need in the campus community.

Herkimer College wishes you all the best of luck in all that you do.  We are proud to have you as Honors Program graduates!

HP302 students this semester also completed a wide-range of experiential learning projects with their chosen mentors.  The projects included:

These students will now complete their capstone course this fall—we cannot wait to see the exciting projects they will develop!

Jennifer Herzog

Jennifer Herzog is an Associate Professor of Biology at Herkimer College and the Director of the Honors Program.

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