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Bright Students Working Hard

Exploring Honors
Pictured%3A+Maira+De+Jesus+Ortera
Ciera Roberts
Pictured: Maira De Jesus Ortera

Students who want to make the most of their college experience often turn to their honors program or an honors society in school to broaden their horizons and make themselves more marketable to prospective employers.

There are many reasons one might want to try the honors program at the University of North Georgia, and as such, students would do well to look at what it offers.

Anita Turlington, Associate Professor of English and Director of Honors, has been tasked with “reviving honors” on the Gainesville campus.

The honors program had pretty much died when she started. Turlington was expected to recruit students to the program, organize its events, plan honors-specific coursework and help students achieve their scholarship goals.

Currently, the honors program at the Gainesville campus has grown to roughly 50 members, many of whom Turlington said are students from other schools transferring in for any number of reasons or students looking to take grad school.

She claimed that Gainesville’s program is mindful of the commuter culture on campus and tailors itself accordingly.

However, this sometimes means understanding that students who commute and work a full-time job might want to take honors classes but do not have the time to engage in the program’s other facets. 

For them, the honors classes will be open as long as they have a GPA of 3.2, take 21 credit hours, and maintain good academic standing.

Turlington recommended the program to students who are “academically focused… intellectually curious” or “interested in research.” Those looking to travel or study abroad may benefit as well.

The program holds high standards for its students. Members must maintain high grades and participate in at least one of the program’s community service opportunities. Turlington gave several examples of what to expect with these events: cleaning the Chattahoochee River, handing out candy at Oakwood’s “Trunk or Treat” and decorating a Christmas tree in the botanical gardens.

Dahlonega campus’ new business building will host the Georgia Collegiate Honors Conference (GCHC) on Feb. 23-24. At this conference, honors students present projects and research they have been working on and connect with other students across the state. Turlington said if it were not for the conference, several collaboration projects would never have gotten off the ground, and the founders would not have met.

“[There are] so many good, bright, high-achieving students on this campus working so hard.” – Anita Turlington, Associate Professor of English and Director of Honors

The honors program also releases a newsletter each semester showcasing some of the projects and research students have been working on and awards given out to students.

Maria De Jesus Ortera, a student from the Lambda Pi Eta honors society, took some time herself to advocate for honors societies.

An honors society is a little different from a program. There aren’t official classes for a society per se, but there are still events and a helpful community to surround a student looking to bolster their academics.

“At the beginning of the semester, we get together and figure out what we want to achieve. This fall it was resume building and networking,” Ortera said.

The advantages of joining an honor society, according to Ortera, are networking with actual professionals in one’s chosen field and having an easier time finding internships and jobs out of school.

“I would like to invite you to join Lambda Pi Eta if you are interested in recognizing and fostering academic achievement, growing professionally, expanding your network, and overall relationship-building with other classmates in your major,” she said.

To reach the honors website to apply, nominate a student or donate, click here.

To learn more about the GCHC, click here.

To reach out to Lambda Pi Eta’s advisor Toluwani Oloke, email [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Bruce Clark, Staff Writer

My name is Bruce Clark, and I am a staff writer and editor for the Vanguard. I attend UNG Gainesville and will graduate with my Bachelor's in Communications with a focus in Multimedia Journalism in 2025. I write about events, academic programs, and a handful of other miscellaneous topics.

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