By Analee Monrreal
The Grindle Honors Institute at Seminole State College challenges students in their academics and to encourage one another and succeed in their academics.
The program also gives them the opportunity to connect with professors. However, because of COVID-19, students have been facing difficulty connecting with one another through the program.
Several students in the program have expressed gratitude that the professors have been understanding, especially through this hard time.
“We greatly value the interaction students have with one another and with their professors inside the classroom,” said Director Aaron Han- lin. “I think our students and faculty all did a great job at adapting to the virtual environment this past year, but it is still not our ideal environment.”
Hanlin has directed the Honors Institute since May 2017. He previously worked at Kent State University for seven years. Hanlin said that the most enjoyable features of being the director is “seeing students succeed and helping to guide them on their educational paths.”
That has been more challenging with COVID-19.
With everything being online now, the Institute has been trying to keep the connection with the students.
The Honors ambassadors have been making activities to keep active with the students.
Melissa Rodriguez, who has been in the Honors Institute for two years, said that the most challenging aspect of going online is “accepting the fact that all my classes were going to be online,”
She expressed how learning face to face is something she was always exposed to but never enjoyed because she felt she wasn’t truly learn- ing the subject. She added, however, that the professors in the Honors Institute really care about their students’ safety and make sure they are understanding the subject.
“The professors really want the students to succeed,” Rodriguez said. “They understand that we are going through a pandemic. They always check up on us to make sure we are OK and to make sure that we are not alone and that makes me feel special.”
Rodriguez also conveys how difficult it was to be connected again with the students. She said COVID-19 changed her plans as to how to get more involved with the Honors program.
“The Honors Ambassadors have been keeping up with activities online to stay connected with each other which is fun,” Rodriguez said. “They had game nights as well as movie nights and it’s nice to see that we can still connect with each other even if it’s online.”
Tiffany Lambeth is in her second semester as an Honors ambassador. She mentioned that it has been a challenge to keep the honors students connected.
Lambeth explained that many students are busy and leave early on some of the activities the ambassadors create. Before COVID-19, The Grindle Honors Institute had many fun activities at its center where students would come together and enjoy their evening, she said.
“On one hand, being online makes it easier to attend some activities, but there was more involvement face to face,” Lambeth said.
With safety measures, the Honors building has been opened for the students who need the access of a place at the campus. One day soon, the students may get to experience an activity on campus with safety.