SUU Honors Program

Recent Honors Program Graduates

Samantha Bengtzen
Samantha Bengtzen | Chemistry

Synthesis of a Novel Malate Synthase Inhibitor
My project was an organic chemistry research project. Malate Synthase (MS) is an enzyme found in Tuberculosis bacteria. I worked on a series of chemical reactions to develop an inhibitor that would bind to the active site of MS, and prevent the enzyme from functioning. This loss in function is potentially deadly to all forms of Tuberculosis, including multi-drug resistant strains. I presented my project at the Festival of Excellence.

Plans for the Future:
I’m applying for medical school this summer. During the application process I will be working in Cedar City.

Trystan Blake
Trystan Blake | Chemistry & Biology

Volunteering in Guatemala
I volunteered in Guatemala in a health clinic and orphanage over spring break while working with The Happy Factory to bring a lot of the cars I did to Guatemala. I presented at an Honors Symposium.

Plans for the Future:
I will be attending Medical School at Rocky Vista University in Colorado.

Lindsey Bracken Leavitt
Lindsey Bracken Leavitt | Human Nutrition

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome:
A Review of Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, and Associated Risks
For my Capstone Project, I expanded a research paper I wrote for one of my nutrition classes into a Honor’s Thesis. I researched further into the available Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) literature than my nutrition class required to give a more complete look at PCOS. I presented my thesis at the Festival of Excellence on February 3, 2017.

Plans for the Future:
In the fall of 2017, I will be applying to graduate schools in hopes of completing a Coordinated Master’s Program in nutrition and dietetics. This will help me achieve my goal of becoming a registered dietitian and helping people be happy and healthy.

Sierra Brothwell
Sierra Brothwell | Biology with Criminal Justice Emphasis

CSI Effect
I interned at the Utah State Crime lab and reached the CSI Effect and compared forensics with what is shown on television. I presented at Festival of Excellence

Plans for the Future:
I will be working and applying for graduate school at University of Florida in Forensic Science.

Ryan Busenbark
Ryan Busenbark | Psychology

This Capstone Project involved an internship with the Relations in Group Dynamics class in the psychology department. I interned as a facilitator for the group to gain experience in a counseling role.

Plans for the Future:
I plan to apply for graduate school at some point in the future. My career plan is to become a therapist. I also plan to get married and have a family at some point.

Torie Byington
Torie Byington | Theatre Performance

“Why Do We Study Psychology?”
My Capstone Project was an exploration of the history of psychology and why we, as humans, continue to study it after thousands of years. I presented in one of the upper division honors courses.

Plans for the Future:
I intend to continue volunteering and researching within the field of psychology and will be applying for graduate school come this fall.

Dakota Elliot
Dakota Elliot | Psychology

The Effect of Peak End Theory on Perceptions of Marital Conflict
For my capstone project I conducted an independent research study. In my study I assessed whether ending marital conflicts in a positive way affected participant’s perceptions of conflict severity and partner kindness. I also assessed whether or not ending conflicts positively affected the number of conflicts experienced and marital satisfaction. For my honors capstone I presented my work at a professional psychology conference.

Plans for the Future:
I was accepted into the Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy program at UNLV. I will be moving to Las Vegas during the summer to work and then I will start my program in the fall!

Ashlynn Erbe
Ashlynn Erbe | Elementary Education - Concentration in Science

Do Elementary Teachers know Grammar as Well as They Should?
For this project, I went to several elementary schools and gathered data about the grammatical knowledge of pre-service and in-service elementary teachers by having them answer a questionnaire. I then analyzed the data and was able to write a short article about my findings which I will submit to an education based magazine. I presented my project at the Festival of Excellence.

Plans for the Future:
I will be attending BYU for a Masters Program in School Psychology.

Aaron Fawson
Aaron Fawson | Economics and Philosophy

The Neo-Capability Approach: A Framework for Basic Human Rights
I did an in depth study on human rights. I developed my own model to identify basic human rights. I wrote a high quality academic paper. I presented the paper at the SUU undergrad philosophy conference, the papers presented will be published.

Plans for the Future:
I plan to apply to graduate school for Economics and become a professor.

Brent Foster
Brent Foster | Interdisciplinary Studies

Adventures Rated
My capstone project included creating a business plan, designing a website, creating that website, implementing my business plan, going on adventures myself, and starting a business. The name of the company is Adventures Rated. Adventures Rated is a one stop shop for finding, choosing, and planning adventurous activities. The goal of the company is to get people outside being more active. I presented at the SUU Festival of Excellence and the Utah Adventure and Gear Expo.

Plans for the Future:
Post-graduation I will be flying as a commercial airline pilot for SkyWest. I’ve already signed a contract and have a hire date. I also intend to continue working on some private business ventures and in a few years I may attend an MBA program of some sort.

Victoria Larkin
Victoria Larkin | Psychology

Implicit and Explicit Biases Toward Same-Sex Marriage within the Classroom
I conducted a study about implicit and explicit biases toward those with differing views on marriage. The study was performed during the spring semester of 2017 and the research will be presented at the 2017 RMPA convention in April.

Plans for the Future:
I am waiting to hear back from a masters of social work program at USU. I plan to get my master’s degree and work as a counselor. I would like to specifically work with adopted and foster children and their families.

Codi Lee Meyers
Codi Lee Meyers | Criminal Justice

Societal Perceptions and Probable Affects on Reintegration
For this project, societal perceptions of repeat offenders were examined by comparing social responses to offenders holding various positions in the community. My survey data revealed that participants felt most comfortable with those who had no criminal history holding these positions and the least comfortable with reoffending felons. I presented at the Festival of Excellence and have registered to present at RMPA this coming April.

Plans for the Future:
I have been accepted into Northern Arizona University’s Master’s Program in Applied Criminology. I begin classes this upcoming Fall.

Ashlee Mohr
Ashlee Mohr | Nursing

Building Houses in Cabo Verde, Africa For my project I spent two and a half weeks during my summer break building houses in Cabo Verde, Africa. I worked with local people to build cinderblock homes for several different families.

Plans for the Future:
I plan to work as a Registered Nurse at Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George or Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Annalee Nickel
Annalee Nickel | Elementary/Special Education

Succeed Initiative
For my Honors EDGE Project, I worked with my resident assistant supervisor Kate Crowe throughout summer 2015 to design and implement the Succeed Initiative, a pamphlet-style informational workbook of activities, experiences, and skills for University Housing residents to work on throughout fall semester 2015. The purpose of the Succeed Initiative was to help residents gain transferable skills, experiential learning, and more. I presented my findings at the SUU Festival of Excellence.

Plans for the Future:
After graduation, I will be moving back to Los Angeles, CA to enjoy my summers working or being involved with camp, and my school years as a teacher in my own classroom. I look forward to many years of teaching and striving to positively impact the lives of students. Though the future is excitingly uncertain, I know I’ll strive to make sure mine always contains the warmth of Los Angeles, numerous In-N-Out burgers, pictures, and hours of surfing — all along with great family and friends.

Jayci Prettyman
Jayci Prettyman | Human Nutrition

Photo-stories of London
I did a study abroad to London the week of spring break. I presented at the Festival of Excellence.

Plans for the Future:
I will be participating in an internship this summer.

Michelle Rechis
Michelle Rechis | Psychology

Observational and Applied Experiences in Behavior Analysis
I completed an online, 40 hour Registered Behavior Technician training as well as 20 shadowing hours where I shadowed BCaBCs, BCBAs and a BCBA-D. Through this, I was able to better understand the field of Applied Behavior Analysis and learn the job responsibilities of the various positions. I presented to other students in the Honors Program under the direction of Dr. Bishop.

Plans for the Future:
I will be attending the University of Utah starting Summer 2017 in the Board Certified Behavior Analysis Master’s in the Department of Special Education. I will be expected to graduate Spring 2018.

Samantha Ryals
Samantha Ryals | Criminal Justice

Group Dynamics in Partners in the Parks
I studied group dynamics and then went on a Partners in the Parks trip to apply what I had studied to a group situation that consisted of strangers. I spent the week observing and determining if the theories I had studied applied to our group. I ultimately found that they did, and our group fully developed through all levels of that theory.

Plans for the Future:
I plan to take a few years off and then go to law school. I am still determining which law school I would like to go to.

Sandra Seegmiller
Sandra Seegmiller | Nursing

Community Service with AmeriCorps
I started a 450 hour service contract with AmeriCorps in February 2016 and ended my contract in October 2016. I served in health related capacities in facilities such as medical surgical floors, ICU, PACU, ER, labor and delivery, pediatrics, wound clinics, IV clinics, and skilled nursing facilities. I presented my capstone project at the Festival of Excellence.

Plans for the Future:
I plan on working full time as a registered nurse then applying to a Doctorate of Nursing program to become a family nurse practitioner.

Shelby Smith
Shelby Smith | Psychology & Criminal Justice

Shelby’s Thailand Adventure
For my capstone project I traveled to Thailand and taught kids English through the International Language Programs (ILP). I compiled stories and photographs in a blog and upon my arrival back to the States I published my blog into a book format. I presented this project and my adventure at a MAD Lecture, and also used my experience abroad to help lead the ILP informational meetings at SUU and DSU.

Plans for the Future:
I’m currently working at a residential treatment center for teenage girls. I plan to continue working in this area for the next year or so and then move on to graduate school.

Sterling Lyn Voortmeyer
Sterling Lyn Voortmeyer | Anthropology

Media & Perception: Race, Violence, and Mass Shootings
My honors thesis explores how we might approach responsible content production and consumption in the context of violence. I analyzed how media outlets racialize violence in the context of mass shootings, and how such notions perpetuate, replicate, and create social divisions. I presented at the Western Regional Honors Conference.

Plans for the Future:
My interests revolve around two questions: How do we conceptualize difference, and how might we counteract such manufactured divisions between peoples? In my future pursuits, be that research in a graduate institution or working in nonprofit and aid organizations, I aim to address these questions. I am awaiting admission and employment decisions from schools and various other groups. My long-term aims include earning a PhD, and working in social research and/or education.

Naomi White
Naomi White | English Creative Writing

Psychological Traits and Behaviors in Creative Writers
It is a thesis research paper about the psychological characteristics of creative writers, how those characteristics develop, and how those traits affect writers as they develop their abilities, including how well they are able to receive criticism on their work. I presented at the Festival of Excellence at SUU.

Plans for the Future:
I have been accepted to Clemson University’s Master of Professional Communication program, as well as Emerson College’s Master of Publishing and Writing. I haven’t decided which school I will attend yet, but my plan is to get a Master’s from one of them.

Maree Williams
Maree Williams | Theatre Arts

The Casadei Project
This project is part of an exhibit to honor the famous fashion designer Eletra Casadei. After her passing in 2008, her sister chose to donate all of Eletra’s remaining line to SUU for our benefit and use. My project is a documentary of an SUU student who designed the costumes for Rent in 2016 using materials and fabrics from the Casadei donation. This video documents the steps taken in designing and creating, and shows the influence that Eletra has had on this school.

Plans for the Future:
For my future, I am hoping to continue my education in Arts Administration here at SUU for a Master’s Degree. This allows me to help artists do and create what they love.