Polk State Makes Strong Showing at Florida Collegiate Honors Council Conference

Posted on by Polk Newsroom

Polk State College made a strong showing at the recent Florida Collegiate Honors Council Conference, with two students bringing home writing awards, another earning an honorable mention, and four students presenting projects.

“The results of this year’s FCHC Conference really speak to the range of talent we have in the Honors Program,” said Patricia Jones, district dean of Academic & Student Services.

“This year, we had our largest number of students attending the conference. We also had writing contest winners in poetry and fiction writing, and presentations from science to the social sciences. Our ability to represent Polk State so well at the FCHC Conference is also a testament to the great faculty we have in the Honors Program, who mentor students and encourage them to share their work with others.”

The FCHC is a professional association of undergraduate honors programs and colleges in Florida. Since 1990, the FCHC has hosted an annual conference, allowing Honors professionals and students the opportunity to network and share expertise.

Polk State College began attending the conference in 2009, as part of its emphasis on growing its Honors Program and to offer Honors students the opportunity to connect on a professional level with other Honors programs.

This year’s FCHC conference took place in mid-February in Tampa.

Polk State College had 22 students attend the conference. Of those, three students earned awards in the FCHC’s statewide writing contest, including Bethany Wilson, Lake Alfred, who earned first place in fiction writing; Misty Roper, Bartow, who earned third place in poetry; and Ketsia Mendez, Auburndale, who earned an honorable mention in poetry.

Wilson won for her short story, titled The Golden-Beaked Raven. The story is about a raven that steals mailboxes from a town. The town’s residents are upset, but in the end they learn the raven is really trying to save them from danger.

“It was really shocking to get first place,” said Wilson, a junior at Polk State Chain of Lakes Collegiate High School. “I’ve always liked writing, and this made me realize that other people really like my writing, too.”

Roper, who won for her poem Oikotropic, is now a back-to-back winner in the writing contest. Last year, she took first place in the poetry category, becoming the first Polk State College student to ever win first place in the writing contest.

In addition to the writing contest winners, four Polk students presented research at the event, including:

  • Brandon Crotchett, Polk City, who presented Project Mercury: From Humble Beginnings
  • Ruth Dopp, Winter Haven, who presented Corporate Wealthfare
  • Carylanne Joubert, Dundee, who presented The Effects of Hypoglycemia Upon the Brain
  • Robin Savage, Auburndale, who presented Ovulation in Humans Research: Institutional Review Board Approval

Students attending the conference included:
Amanda Arbuthnot, Haines City
Ryan Darley, Auburndale
Sinead Fernandes, Davenport
Slade Fernandes, Davenport
Sandra Garcia, Lake Wales
Donna Grant, Lakeland
Michael Grant, Lakeland
Rafsan Kutubi, Winter Haven
Shareka Lewis, Winter Haven
Jonathan Perez, Haines City
Rosemary Reynolds, Winter Haven
Daniel Roper, Bartow
Ashakeen Sterling, Auburndale
Christina Urbina, Winter Haven
Erica Zephir, Winter Haven

Nine faculty members accompanied the students to the conference. At the event, Polk State Psychology Professor Greg Harris was elected secretary. Jones will continue to serve as treasurer.

The Polk State Honors Program offers smaller, more rigorous classes, field trips, priority registration, and numerous scholarship opportunities. To qualify for the program, students must meet certain GPA requirements and score highly on tests such as the ACT or SAT.