Story by Susan DeGrane
In her fellowship with Professor Ron Morris, Honors College student Gwyneth Harris completed a project for the virtual Hoosier Civil Rights Museum.
Their immersive work ranges from unlocking genetic mysteries and investigating materials for making semi-conductors to unearthing public history that speaks to social change.
Students in the Honors Undergraduate Fellows Program become involved in pursuits of excellence and innovation: hallmarks of the first goal of the University’s strategic plan.
Under the leadership of Honors College Dean John Emert, a professor of Mathematical Sciences, the program is reaching more students than ever before, with more than 50 enrolled this year.
Fellows from all fields of study are given the opportunity to collaborate with professors on research projects that yield significant scientific and societal contributions.
In just the last two years, History Professor Ron Morris has mentored a dozen Honors Undergraduate Fellows while working on projects related to public history and community engagement.
“These fellowships provide experiences that propel students into the future,” Morris said.
In her fellowship with Morris, History and Anthropology major Gwyneth Harris, ’21, scoured newspaper archives and online public records to create a virtual exhibit about Julia Carson, the first African American and woman to represent Indianapolis in the U.S. Congress. Carson and her home are one of 100 exhibits of people and places in the ongoing virtual Hoosier Civil Rights Museum.
“I found this all very exciting and rewarding because my work is being used to educate and spread awareness,” said Harris, who graduated in May and plans to earn a doctorate in History and eventually teach.
Morris regularly meets with honors fellows to help them hone strategies for uncovering history. “This is not a lecture. It’s not a recitation,” he said. “There’s a lot of graduate-level work in this model.”
“We’re engaging students in learning and discovery, whether that’s discovery of data or self-discovery,” said Amy Livingstone, associate dean of the Honors College and History professor. “We’re also helping them build valuable professional relationships that can last a lifetime.”