TAMIU Honors Students Travel to St. Louis Conference

TAMIU Honors Students
Attend Conference in St. Louis

Three Texas A&M International University D.D. Hachar Honors Program students recently traveled to St. Louis, where they attended the National Collegiate Honors Council Conference. This year's conference theme was "Gateway to Exploration and Discovery."

The students met specific criteria for selection to the three-day Conference, said Dr. Carlos E. Cuellar, Honors Program director and associate professor of history.

"Ariel Ali Sauceda, Stacey Trujillo and Sarah Jenkins were chosen for their GPAs, community service, involvement in University activities, as well as their good standing in the Honors Program," Dr. Cuellar said. (photo)

Cuellar, who also attended the Conference, added that this was a total educational experience for the students and in some cases, a trip of firsts.

"While Ariel had only flown once before," explained Dr. Cuellar, "Stacey had never been on an airplane and, I must confess, I had never been to St. Louis before."

"I was given the opportunity to attend this year's conference, which was, in many ways a 'Gateway to Exploration and Discovery.' Taking part in both, the sessions and seeing the sights of St. Louis were wonderful, learning experiences that I will reflect on for the rest of my life," said Trujillo.

"The Conference itself was also quite an experience as well especially since it gave me a glimpse into what Honors Programs from all parts of the country were like and how successful they have been in developing students into responsible and mature role models while still allowing them to foster their own individuality," Sauceda noted.

 "Within the Conference itself, there were a number of sessions that addressed different issues having to do with an Honors Program. Of the numerous sessions, those that I attended I found to be both fascinating and informative," he added.

"I had an amazing time sightseeing the 'Gateway of the West' - St. Louis - and was grateful to have an opportunity to do so. I met other honor students at an ice cream social and learned what other honor universities have enriched in their programs. I think honors programs all over the nation will help students achieve their goals for future careers because the honors curriculum ensures students to be involved in many aspects of the community and the world in general. Being an honors student is an excellent start for any college student who wants to do something beneficial in their lives," said Jenkins.

"It was a chance to experience a different culture and speak to other honors kids and hear what problems and solutions they are experiencing. Also, the students get to see how our program stacks up among other programs," added Cuellar.

"This year's Conference consisted of numerous sessions. Besides giving me the opportunity to meet faculty and students in honors education from across the country, the sessions I attended were very informative because they provided ideas on how to improve the honors program," said Trujillo.

The TAMIU group managed to fit some sightseeing into their schedule. This included: visiting Union Station, formerly one of the largest train stations in America; catching a breathtaking view of the mighty Mississippi River from the top of the Gateway Arch, which had just celebrated its 40th anniversary; seeing the musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and taking a tour through largest and most famous urban green space in St. Louis, Forest Park.

"It was a pleasure and a privilege to be given the opportunity to attend both the conference and to partake of St. Louis' rich culture and history. The trip to St. Louis has been only the second time I have left Texas and I was glad that is was to this particular destination as it has truly helped me to appreciate what lies outside of the state," Sauceda concluded.

This is the fourth year that scholars from the D.D. Hachar Honors Program have attended the NCHC conference. Previous groups have attended conferences in Salt Lake City, Chicago and New Orleans.

For more information on the TAMIU D.D. Hachar Honors Program, please contact Dr. Cuellar at 326.2626, e-mail ccuellar@tamiu.edu or visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library 418C.

University office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu