Honors Hack: Student Opportunity Center

There are many resources available to Honors Students who are looking for opportunities to succeed, such as conferences, internships, scholarships and other events. One little-known resource is designed specifically for this, and you will definitely want to check it out.

The Student Opportunity Center is a resource that connects you to over 8000 events, journals, internships, and funding opportunities. It is free, easy to use, and flexible to your interests. All you need is your @mail.gvsu.edu email address to sign up.

Once you log on you’ll be able to access:

  • Events & Experiential Learning
    • Find over 10,000 conferences, symposiums, publications, and intern/scholar program
  • Most Relevant Opportunities
    • Opportunities are specifically chosen and vetted for over 100 majors, minors, and interests
  • Regularly Updated Information
    • The entire database is updated once every 30 days, and growing at a rate of 5% per month

You can find information specific to Grand Valley, or search worldwide for opportunities you might be interested in. The cool thing is that once you input your interests, it will tailor search results just for you and give you recommendations. You can also sign up for reminders and notifications for your interests.

If you’re a student looking for an internship or research opportunity, the Student Opportunity Center is something you will definitely want to take advantage of. It will also be helpful for students graduating soon who are on the job search.

Sign up today and start exploring!

For more information or questions about the Student Opportunity Center, contact the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship.

Student Post: Why Honors?

As student assistants in the Honors Office, my coworkers and I experience a different side of the college than most, through seeing the many facets of the people who make up Honors. I have worked as a student assistant at the Honors College Office for a little over a year now, and the experience has undoubtedly made me a more confident and competent person.

We regularly get calls from parents and high school students asking us “Why Honors?” This is a question that, when I started working as a freshman, was difficult to answer. Now, when parents need reassurance that Honors is a good place for their child, I can speak from experience.

Honors offers a caring environment of support and opportunity that changes how students think about the learning process and the college experience. Here are some phrases that, as students get more comfortable in Honors, we start to hear much less:

  1. “I don’t know how to do that.” As Honors students, we have resources beyond what I ever would have imagined. This starts with the people who shape Honors – faculty, advisors, Dr. J, and Robyn – who daily bend over backward for students. They give students the tools needed to learn new skills and have eye-opening experiences. There is so much support given to students by people behind the scenes. Honors students replace the words “I don’t know how” with “I’ll learn how.” This change in approach makes all the difference, setting Honors students apart as leaders in their own education and success.
  2. “That professor doesn’t have time for me.” My freshman year, I was intimidated by professors. They are professional, intelligent, and busy! I needed to work out an issue and advocate for our class, but I was terrified of what would happen if I offended a professor, or even took up too much of their time. My experience in Honors, working with and for the professors, has shown me a different side of them. In the classroom, the professors are all business, but I have the privilege to see their humor, successes, and frustrations. (We also get to meet their kids, who are absolutely adorable!) I see professors in the Honors office who want nothing more than to support their students, taking the time to learn names, backstories, and dreams. It really is inspiring to see an entire college that takes such an intentionally student-centered approach to education.
  3. “I don’t have time for that.” Honors students take on a lot. Some might think we commit to too much! But I have seen students with such drive, passion, and commitment to their work that inspire me to do more. There are students researching cures for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, mentoring the incoming classes, and volunteering in Ghana, Haiti, Nicaragua, and more. They are starting businesses, innovating, and creating the products and ideas of the future. This doesn’t even scratch the surface of what Honors does: inspiring students to take the time to make a difference.
  4. “I’m not confident enough” Many people find that seeing their own success builds their confidence. If you don’t give the opportunity a shot, how can you ever succeed? The frankly terrifying experiences of preparing for the Honors Recognition Ceremony, keeping track of the information for almost 500 incoming freshmen, and even participating as a full-fledged member of the committee to hire the new Honors advisors helped me build my own confidence. One Honors professor told my freshman class, “…just say yes.” This is so important! When an opportunity arises, just say yes. I see so many Honors students “say yes” every day to the multitudes of opportunities offered to them, and their successes keep building.



Julia is a sophomore at GVSU studying nursing.  She works as a student assistant in the Honors College office and enjoys helping faculty, staff, and students. In her free time she enjoys fitness classes and copious amounts of coffee with friends. Julia is looking forward to working in Honors this summer and two more years at Grand Valley!

The Foundational Interdisciplinary Sequences program and its benefits

Opportunities are what truly define one’s college experience. From joining clubs to studying abroad, Grand Valley State University students are presented with a plethora of opportunities to act upon. Students enrolled in the Frederik Meijer Honors College specifically are presented with an opportunity unavailable to any other students on campus. This opportunity is the Foundational Interdisciplinary Sequences program. Through this program, GVSU Honors college students are given the opportunity to take a year-long course covering a specific topic in extensive detail. Upon completion of this program, students are then allowed to use those credits and count them towards a majority of their General Education credits.

This course is usually taken during a student’s freshman or sophomore year at Grand Valley and can count towards up to seven of the required General Education credits. This includes up to one Issues course (two are required) and one Supplemental Writing Skills course (two are required).

The subject matter of the courses varies from American Civilization to the History of Science, all the way to Food for Thought, a course designed to examine food, from pre-cultivation all the way to its disposal.

The  Foundational Interdisciplinary Sequences program allows students in the Frederik Meijer Honors College the opportunity to utilize this year-long program and knock out a majority of their General Education credits. This is an advantage the rest of the student population is not afforded. Many students spend up to their senior year at GVSU enrolling in courses to fulfill their General Education Requirements. Through the Foundational Interdisciplinary Sequences program, GVSU Honors students are granted more time to explore courses within their major as well as other electives which may interest them.

GVSU Junior and Honors student, Sarah Bertus, had this to say about her experience: “[Foundational Interdisciplinary] Sequences has given me a lot of freedom in the classes I have taken since freshman year. Through fulfilling my credits strategically, my schedule was very open for me to dive into classes for my major. I liked this because it gave me the ability to confirm that my major was what I wanted to pursue. I know a lot of students take the basic General Education classes and don’t fully figure out what they want to study until their junior year.” Bertus was enrolled in the American Civilization Sequence. She is currently an Allied Health Sciences major pursuing a career as a physician’s assistant.

Find out more about the Foundational Interdisciplinary Sequences program here.

Student Post: Opportunities to Grow

As a freshman starting my first day of classes in the Honors College, I was a nervous wreck. Honestly, I was scared out of my mind and did not know what was expected of me.

Questions continually plagued me: What would the Honors College look like? What in the world is a sequence? Is it hard? Will I make friends?

With these questions swirling around my brain, I showed up at National Security, my honors sequence.

Within minutes of the class starting, I realized how absurd my fears were. All the students, or at least a majority of them, were new to the Honors College and were just as apprehensive as I was.

Our professor, Dr. Jonathan White, was incredibly caring. He welcomed us with open arms and assured us that he would always be there for us personally and academically, which made us feel special and treasured. To this day, I can still say with absolute certainty that he is my favorite professor and I feel comfortable going to him with anything.

We spent the semester learning the multiple facets of researching while also dedicating a few days to relaxation and downtime. Although it was nothing like I had thought it would be, I enjoyed it. I was able to bond with classmates, especially those who were in my final research group, and learn about something that I have an interest in.

The semester ended quickly with presentations given by groups of five to six students.  Each group had been given an assigned topic by Dr. Jon at the beginning of the semester, with my group presenting on the Chinese Navy. Although this may seem like a hard and difficult topic, it was enjoyable to research and fun to share with the class and Dr. Jon.

Coming back from winter break, my sequence started fresh with Dr. Jon and Dr. Kelly Clark, who taught us about human nature and the psychology of terrorism.

As we learned more about radical groups and what they believe in, Dr. Clark tasked the class to write a blog about everything we had learned so far in the semester.

Choosing a topic was hard. There were so many world events and people I wanted to write about but in the end I put my focus on the history of terrorism in Somalia. The world had just recovered from the November 2015 attacks in Paris and I decided that I wanted to try and open the eyes of people not only to the terrorist attacks that were occurring in the West but also the attacks in third-world countries.

Unbeknown to us, Dr. Clark planned on actually publishing some of our blogs in the Huffington Post.

After reading my blog on Somalia, Dr. Clark approached me and asked me to co-author another piece similar to mine on his Huffington Post Blog. I quickly agreed and we spent much of our free-time bouncing ideas off of each other and emailing multiple drafts back and forth.

After a week of hard work, Dr. Clark published our blog, “Je Suis Le Monde”. This blog depicts how human nature tends to see all Muslims as the enemy instead of fellow victims of terrorist attacks.

Being able to publish my thoughts and opinions about a topic I care about is an opportunity of a lifetime. Dr. Clark helped me to go out of my comfort zone by forcing me to openly declare my beliefs and this has helped me to grow as a person outside of the academic realm.

National Security was truly a blessing in disguise.

Although it required us to put in effort and time, this honors sequence forced us to grow. We were able to become comfortable with sharing our ideas without fear of consequences.

The Honors College may seem demanding and tasking at first, but it allows us to grow and to understand more of ourselves. Professors require us to dig deep and think outside of the box, which is different from many of my past experiences.

Today, I am glad to be able to say that I took a leap of faith and joined the Honors College. It has given me numerous opportunities I would not have received elsewhere and has allowed me to become a better person. I am truly honored to be a part of one of the best honors colleges in the United States.



Kilike Steyn is a sophomore in the Frederik Meijer Honors College at Grand Valley State University, pursuing a major in International Relations and minors in Arabic and French. She enjoys learning about world events and experiencing different cultures. Hailing from South Africa, Kilike loves all things American and can be seen around campus reading and listening to music. After she completes her undergraduate degree at Grand Valley, Kilike hopes to obtain her Masters and PhD in National Security and work for the United States government someday.


3 Upcoming Campus Events You Won’t Want to Miss

Are you looking for ways to get involved on campus or opportunities to grow? There are always lots of great events happening on campus throughout the semester. Here are three upcoming events that you won’t want to miss!

1. Leadership Summit

The Leadership Summit at GVSU is a state-wide premier leadership conference which strives to foster leadership development for undergraduate students, in multidisciplinary aspects of campus life. Featuring a dynamic keynote address, over 30 workshops to select from, a leadership case study competition sponsored by Omicron Delta Kappa, and more, Leadership Summit has something to offer students at every level of leadership!

As Honors Students, leadership is an important skill to develop, and this conference will help you to do just that. Leadership Summit will be held all day on Saturday, February 18, 2017, in the Kirkhof Center on the Allendale Campus. The cost is only $20 for GVSU students. Register now!

2. Student Scholars Day

Do you have a project that you’re proud of and want to share it with others? Then Student Scholars Day is just for you! Held once a year to celebrate the scholarship and creative work performed by GVSU students, the day showcases faculty-mentored work through oral presentations, discussion and panel sessions, fine arts exhibits and performances, and poster presentations.

This year’s Student Scholars Day will take place on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. Student presentations begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 5:30 p.m. in Henry Hall Atrium, Kirkhof Center, and the Mary Idema Pew Library. Registration is open February 6-24.


You’ve probably seen a few TED Talks throughout your academic years, but did you know that GVSU is hosting their own TEDx event featuring TED-like talks and videos? This year’s theme is “The Blueprints between X and Why.” The speakers will focus on the process, learning while doing, and how there are various and sometimes unknown paths to arrive at a destination (y).

The event will be held on Friday, February 24, 2017, at 5:30 pm in the Cook Dewitt Center. Unless you’ve already registered, tickets for the actual event are sold out, but you can attend a live stream in MIP Library Multipurpose Room (030). Check out the list of speakers!

Student Post: Learning Leadership

If you had asked me three years ago if I considered myself a leader, I would definitely tell you I was a follower. My goal was to get my degree and hopefully make friends with the same mindset that I had along the way. What I did not know was that my decision to join the Frederik Meijer Honors College would give me the opportunity to become a leader without even knowing it while providing me with a community of people that would encourage me to do anything I set my mind to. The first lesson I learned in my class “Live, Learn, Lead” was that being a leader is about guiding others to become leaders themselves and reach their full potential. Now here I am, three years later, and I currently serve as the chair of the Honors Mentor Council where I get to help welcome our incoming students through a mentorship program and the Honors Welcome Days.

 When I started my time at Grand Valley as a freshman, I had the opportunity to go through the summer overnight orientation program and meet my first college friends. During this time I got to know other students who would be living in the same dorms as me, going to the same classes, and going through similar experiences. We got to know each other by playing games like Trainwreck and Body Body, stayed up late, and played team building games that confirmed my decision to be a Laker and made me excited to start college that fall. I still keep in touch with these people to this day!

Flash forward to August of that year and I was stepping foot onto the campus where I would be spending the next four years. At this time, I met my mentor and other students in my mentor group for the Honors Welcome Days. My mentor and I had the same major so we were able to bond over the classes I would be taking and hobbies that we both had. During this part of Welcome Week, my mentor guided me through how to use my meal plan, to scheduling my time wisely, and even through finding clubs and organizations that would give me an even deeper sense of community through my passions and interests. It was because of the amazing experience I had that I knew I would want to be that mentor for other students and make them feel as welcome in the FMHC as I was.

My experience as a mentor has been the most rewarding opportunity I have been given through the Honors college. One of the most important things we do on the mentor council is plan the Honors Welcome Days. This is a program that occurs 2 days before the rest of Grand Valley’s Welcome Week and is exclusive to the FMHC. During this time, first-year students will meet with their mentors with 5-10 other students who share similar interests. Together they will listen to the amazing faculty at the Honors College and staff throughout the university discuss how to get involved on campus and make their four years of college ones that will grow and challenge them. They learn about research opportunities, how to study abroad, and ways to make connections with both faculty and students. We also plan a lot of fun activities! Mentor groups go on a photo scavenger hunt of campus that always somehow turns into a contest of “who can submit the craziest photo.” They also get free frozen yogurt, play capture the flag, and meet up with other students who will be in the same freshman sequence as them for the year. The bonds made during this week are ones that show our students exactly what it means when we say that there is an unexplainable sense of community within Grand Valley.

Whenever I start to plan the Honors Welcome Days, I always look back onto what made me love Grand Valley and the FMHC in the first place. At the end of the day, it’s the community and friends I have made that inspire me to be a leader, no matter the situation. My absolute favorite part of being a mentor is helping others become leaders too. When you see someone you have mentored have the confidence to speak up in a group of people, interact in meaningful discussion, and take charge in uncertain situations, they have themselves become leaders. Honors is about so much more than getting good grades. Leadership and mentorship have shaped me into someone that confidently works towards my goals and gives me the skills to do so, then helping others to do the same. Joining the FMHC has been the best decision of my college career, and I know the skills they have taught me are ones I will carry with me as I go onto whatever my future has in store for me.

“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others” – John Maxwell


Erin Mulder is a junior in the Frederik Meijer Honors College at Grand Valley State University, pursuing a major in Medical Laboratory Science with a minor in Biology. She is passionate about helping others and learning about medicine. You can find her studying, hanging out with friends, or working as a phlebotomist. Erin loves being outdoors, yoga, and watching the Iron Man movies. She will be applying to PA school in August and hopes to work in family practice within an underserved community in West Michigan.


4 Totally-Doable New Year’s Resolutions

So it’s a new year. You’ve probably set a few goals and made a few resolutions, but here are a few realistic changes that you can make that will have a positive impact on your life – both inside the classroom and out.

1. Clean out your backpack/car/room – Don’t wait until spring, do it now! There are probably a few crumbled up papers and broken pencils at the bottom of your backpack, some empty water bottles freezing in your car, and more than one or two items of clothing that you don’t wear anymore. Get rid of them and start this semester fresh.

2. Start a new journal or planner – Buy a brand new 2017 planner and a pen in your favorite color, and journal away. Try out a specific method like bullet journaling or make up your own! Either way, you’ll feel a new sense of pride in your cool new journal, and maybe you’ll even keep up on it!

3. Say no to something – As honor’s students, we tend to get involved in many clubs, activities and teams in an effort to build our resumes. While all of this involvement can be good, sometimes it results in a burn out or not being able to keep up with all of your commitments. If you feel like you are drowning in schoolwork or are feeling especially overwhelmed, consider turning down a new opportunity if you can. You might find that you have more time and energy to commit to the activities you’re already involved in!

4. Find a mentor – If you’re a junior or senior, you should be starting to think about your career after college; consider finding a mentor in your field. Reach out to a professor that you like and ask if they or someone they know would be willing to sit down with you and chat about your future. You might be surprised by how much they care about your success!

Hopefully at least one of these ideas sparked your interest. Here’s to a successful and happy semester!

Happy New Year from your friends at the Frederik Meijer Honors College!