The University Honors Program features small classes, careful faculty mentoring, and an impressive number of academic and cultural opportunities. These range from performances at the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Ballet, and the New York Philharmonic, to museum visits and Manhattan walking tours.
The Honors Program offers outstanding students the opportunity to maximize intellectual growth and experience personal enrichment. Students meet regularly with the program’s directors and faculty, creating a stimulating environment of thought, research and scholarly discourse.It is possible for students taking senior seminars to complete a senior essay or major research project through honors independent study for which they would receive honors credit.
Please read on for in-depth descriptions of our Honors Program curriculum, faculty and activities – and to meet some of our current honors students.
Also, contact us directly at:
St. John's University
St. Augustine Hall
8000 Utopia Parkway
Queens, NY 11439
Robert Forman, Ph.D.
Director of the Honors Program
Professor of English and Classics
Honors Program Office
Rachel Hollander, Ph.D.
Director of the Honors Program
Staten Island Campus
DaSilva Academic Center, Room 315
Q: How are students chosen for the Honors Program and what are the requirements for eligibility?
A: Eligible freshmen in all majors are invited to join the Honors Program upon review of their admission application. There is no separate application required for admission to the program. Among the criteria used for selection are high school GPA, strength of high school courses and results of standardized tests. Students are notified after their admission to St. John’s.
Q: What options exist for students who do not meet the eligibility requirements?
A: On a limited basis, based on course availability and academic qualifications, some entering students may be granted an exception to join the Honors Program. Students interested in being considered for an exception must contact the Honors Office to obtain an exception request form.
Q: Can I become part of the Honors Program after my freshman year?
A: In order to have the best opportunity and flexibility to complete the Honors Program, as well as to experience its other academic and social benefits, it is most advantageous to join at the beginning of the freshman year. Joining the program after the freshman year limits the ability to complete it. Therefore, these exceptions are rarely approved.
Q: Will I be required to take additional or different courses if I am part of the Honors Program?
A: The Honors Program requires the completion of 30 credits of honors-designated courses. The majority of this requirement is usually satisfied through completion of the University’s Core Curriculum; however, additional elective courses and other options to earn honors credit exist. Some options require special approval by the Honors Program administrators.
Q: What grade point average must I maintain to successfully complete the Honors Program?
A: Students who are enrolled in the Honors Program are expected to maintain an overall GPA of 3.3.
Q: Are there specific scholarships available to students in the Honors Program?
A: As a result of their academic achievements in high school, students in the program are eligible to receive University- based merit scholarships. At the present time there are no specific scholarships awarded exclusively to honors students, however, additional scholarships may be available from sources outside the University.
Q: How many students are enrolled in the Honors Program and how many freshmen are admitted each fall?
A: There are approximately 1000 students enrolled in the Honors Program and we admit about 250-300 freshmen each fall.
Q: What is the size of honors courses?
A: Honors courses generally have no more than 25 students.
Q: What is the difference between honors courses and regular courses?
A: Honors courses are not necessarily more difficult. The professors may approach the class differently due to their smaller size and can often focus on topics in more depth. Discussion is an important aspect of honors courses.
Q: Can students in all majors complete the Honors Program?
A: Yes, the program is open to incoming students who meet the eligibility requirements. This includes undeclared majors and those in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
Q: What are the benefits of being in the Honors Program?
A: The program offers a number of academic and social benefits. Among them is the opportunity to be in small courses with students who share your academic profile. The program also offers a variety of events and activities. Students who complete 30 credits in honors courses will receive an honors certificate as well as special honors designation on their final transcript and diploma and recognition in the Commencement Booklet.
Q: Is there honors housing?
A: Yes. Students in the Honors Program have the option to reside in an honors-designated section of Donovan Hall, the primary Freshman Residence Hall.
To complete the University Honors Program, students take a minimum of 30 credit hours in honors courses (designated HON) or their equivalent. Students are expected to maintain an overall index of at least 3.3. Undergraduates may complete the program's requirements in any of the University's schools and colleges and in any major since honors courses are located primarily in the core curriculum of the University, the course all students at St. John's take.
Honors credit may be obtained in the following ways:
*These options require prior approval by the Honors Program administrators and are limited in number as applicable to the Honors Certificate.
For more information about the University Honors Program, please contact the director at the appropriate campus.
*ALL TEACHING ASSIGNMENTS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE*
DISCOVER NEW YORK
PERSPECTIVES ON CHRISTIANITY
MORAL THEOLOGY OF HEALTHCARE
CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY AND MYSTICISM
CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING
WOMEN AND THEOLOGY
RELIGION AND THE FINE ARTS
PHILOSOPHY – HUMAN PERSON
ETHICS AND HEALTH CARE
INTERPERSONAL COMM FOR PHARMACIST
INTERPERSONAL COMM FOR PHAARMACIST
SCIENTIFIC INQ: ASTRONOMY
SCIENTIFIC INQ: PRACTICAL BOTANY
FUNDAMENTALS OF BIOLOGY III
ADVANCED GENERAL CHEM I
ADV GEN CHEM LAB/RECITATION II
ADVANCED ORGANIC CHEM II
ADVANCED ORGANIC CHEM LAB/RECITATION II
FRESHMAN YEAR WRITING
THE SHORT STORY
EMERGENCE OF GLOBAL SOCIETY
INTENSIVE FRENCH I&II (6 CREDITS)
ELEMENTARY LATIN II
READINGS IN MODERN SPANISH
THE CREATIVE PROCESS
PRINCIPLES OF ECONOMICS II
LAW IN A BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT
FOUNDATIONS IN FINANCE
PRINCIPLES OF RISK MANAGEMENT/ INSURANCE
PRINCIPLES OF MARKETING
INTERMEDIATE ACCOUNTING I
INTERMEDIATE ACCOUNTING III
READING AND RESEARCH
Honors Program Newsletter
The Honors Program issues a newsletter that reports on events in the program. The Newsletter offers Honors students an opportunity to publicize their achievements and write about their interests - including the publication of creative work.
Manhattan Walking Tours visiting historic locations such as the Dutch and British city, the Lower East Side, the Upper West Side, and Central Park Lecture Series
As schedules permit, the Honors Program invites a variety of speakers to address its students and the larger University community. Our previous speakers have included Oliver Sachs on psychology and music, Jill Lepore on race in pre-Revolutionary War New York, Barry Lewis on New York City neighborhoods, Joshua Foer on memory, Russell Shorto on Manhattan as the "Island at the Center of the World," and F.E. Peters on Islam and Christ.
Learning Community The Honors Program is its own learning community. Residential students have the option of living in the Honors Wing of Donovan Hall, the freshman residence hall. Since Honors Program students take many of their classes together, study groups naturally follow, and these are available to commuting students as well. Lunches, snack days, a party at Halloween, a student-faculty softball game, film series, and even a quidditch tournament now and then are parts of the program.
NewYork City Ballet performances and its Balanchine production of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker have become anticipated regular events of the University Honors Program. Performances of the Metropolitan Opera and concerts of the New York Philharmonic as well, all of these offered free every semester to the extent our budget allows, are exceptionally popular parts of the program.
This is only a sampling of our distinguished Honors Program faculty. They come from across the University, from each of its colleges and schools, and represent its finest and most enthusiastic educators. Their disciplines range from business, to education, to the liberal arts. Each semester our students sing their praises, and we thought you might enjoy reading their capsule biographies.
Dohra Ahmad loves teaching at St. John’s University, which she has been doing since 2004. She received her Ph. D. from Columbia University that year and previously attended Yale University (B.A.) and Hunter College High School. At St. John’s she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in twentieth-century postcolonial and world Anglophone literature, postcolonial theory, American and ethnic American literature, and utopian fiction. Dr. Ahmad also serves as an advisor for faculty members who teach English 1100C (Literature in a Global Context) as well as frequently teaching the course herself.
Her research aims to draw thematic, stylistic, and historical connections among various twentieth-century literary movements. She is the author of Landscapes of Hope: Anti-Colonial Utopianism in the United States (Oxford University Press, 2009) and editor of Rotten English: A Literary Anthology (W. W. Norton, 2007). Her essays have appeared in ELH, the Yale Journal of Criticism, Social Text, and the Journal of Commonwealth Literature. She has given invited lectures on postcolonial literature, vernacular literature, and pedagogy at New York University, the University of Pittsburgh, and CUNY. In her spare time she likes to lounge around, do arts and crafts projects with her two daughters, and volunteer at P.S. 261 in Brooklyn.
Few professors have made a more indelible mark on the Honors Program than Dr. Arthur Gianelli. As the second director in the program's history, Dr. Gianelli pioneered initiatives that made it possible for the program to blossom. In fourteen years at its helm, Dr. Gianelli expanded the program’s scope from ten students exclusively from St. John’s College to the university-wide community it is today. Dr. Gianelli’s determined efforts enabled the Honors Program to expand its curriculum to include the whole ofthe University core in all of St. John's schools and colleges. Now, honors students benefit from a cozy special key-access lounge, Uncommon Hours, guest speakers, and cultural events such as walking tours and New York Philharmonic, ballet and opera concerts. Dr. Gianelli was also chairperson of the Philosophy Department for 14 years, well past the typical two 4-year terms a chairperson serves. From 1991-2000, he simultaneously served as both Honors Program Director and Philosophy Chair.
Dr. Gianelli graduated in 1971 with a Ph.D. in philosophy from St John’s University and has been a beloved professor at the university ever since; however, he did not always realize his passion lay in philosophy. He first studied physics and graduated with a B.S. from Georgetown University in 1961, after which he taught physics at Penn State University for four years. He began to realize, however, that his scientific inquiries were increasingly evolving into philosophical reflections and investigations. He followed his passion, thus pursuing his philosophy Ph.D. at St John’s. Physics still plays a large influence on Dr. Gianelli’s philosophical focus though; his research centers in the philosophy of physical science, reflecting his physics roots.
Generations of St. John's undergraduates have been captivated by Dr. Gianelli lectures on the philosophical origins of science. Indeed, he has succeeded in convicing even the most uncompromising undergraduate empiricists that Heliocentric Model and the Big Bang were actually born out of philosophical inquisitions, not scientific ones. His lectures often present metaphysics as an extension of science. Whole decades of honors students continually sing his praises. Dr. Gianelli particulary enjoys teaching honors students and copiously lauds them. His template assessment is that honors students are inquisitive. Their willingness to ask questions and yearning to understand material is refreshing, and he thoroughly enjoys fielding their questions. In addition to metaphysics, Dr. Gianelli also teaches courses in logic and the philosophy of physical science, all in the Honors Program.
When not in the classroom, Dr. Gianelli follows politics. Indeed, he served as delegate to the 1976 Democratic convention. He also enjoys sports and has been a lifelong fan of St John’s basketball. He fondly recalls watching televised games on WPIX since the 1950’s. Dr. Gianelli is married to Barbara Ginalllli. They have two sons; one, Arthur, Jr., is the Chief Executive Officer of Nassau County's University Medical Center and the other, Scott, holds a Ph.D. in Physics.
Charming, loveable, bursting with infinite useful factoids to spice up classes, and a wicked sense of humor to bat, it is no wonder that Dr. Greg is the darling of the Honors Program and of all the students who have had the pleasure of taking his class. Dr. Greg has been with the Honors Program since its very beginning. In fact, its first honors course was taught by Dr. Greg in 1978. Before then, it was called the “Independent Study Program.” The course was worth four credits rather than three, and it was actually initiated by a group of students who first chose the topic (public speaking), approached Dr. Greg, and then asked him to teach it. Since then, Dr. Greg has witnessed the Honors Program’s expansion from only twenty to over 1200 students, and he has passed on his knowledge to a good share of these.
Teaching and argumentation are Dr. Greg’s greatest passions. He got his first taste of public speaking when he joined the debate team in high school and he never stopped loving it. After receiving his B.A. in English from St. John’s in 1962, he went to Wayne State University in Detroit both as a debate coach and to get a master’s degree in Rhetoric and Public Address. By the fall 1963, he was teaching as a graduate student. In 1972 he received his doctorate from Wayne State. It took him almost nine years to complete his Ph.D. because he enjoyed teaching so much that he had accepted a full-time teaching position. This resulted in the postponement of his dissertation. After receiving his doctorate, it was a twist of fate that led Dr. Greg back to St. John’s. Thank you fate!
Just about anyone who has been fortunate enough to have been a student in one of her classes knows what a privilege it is to study with Dr. Alison Hyslop, Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry and a regular faculty member of the Honors Program. Indeed, the immediate response one has to first meeting Dr. Hyslop is an unusual mixture of enthusiasm for her discipline coupled with a quick, brilliant mind, and even more an inherent kindness that makes the intimidating discipline of chemistry clear and accessible.
Dr. Hyslop describes one of the teaching techniques she regularly employs in general chemistry. She gives beginning students an unidentified compound and requires them to identify it by its chemical and physical properties, then to synthesize it. She carefully organizes her students into groups and invariably, she notes, the fears and barriers begin to fall. One student takes the initiative and at first others follow until another comes forward with another procedure to allow the team to reach an empirical conclusion.
It is typical of Dr. Hyslop that when asked about herself she describes her experience with students. She so clearly identifies with them that they are inseparable from the way she views herself. Dr. Hyslop does not mention until specifically asked that she obtained her doctorate in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania, that she has taught all levels of chemistry during her decade and a half at St. John’s, or that her research interests have focused on the design, synthesis, and study of light-harvesting complexes based on porphyrins, essentially how they convert light into usable forms of energy. Dr. Hyslop is, in every sense, a treasured asset of the program.
Dr. Thomas M. Kitts, Professor of English, is the author of Ray Davies: Not Like Everybody Else and The Theatrical Life of George Henry Boker. His articles and reviews have appeared in various journals and periodicals, including the Journal of Popular Culture, Mid-Atlantic Almanack, Popular Music and Society, American Drama, the Popular Culture Review, and The Daily Blues & Jazz, and various collections, including, most recently, Sound Fabrics: Studies on the Intermedial and Institutional Dimensions of Popular Music (eds. Martin Butler, Arvi Sepp, and Patrick A. Burger). Kitts is also the author of a play, published and staged, Gypsies: An East Village Opera. With Michael J. Kraus, he co-edited Living on a Thin Line: Crossing Aesthetic Borders with The Kinks.
He is the author of several instructors’ manuals on literature for McGraw-Hill and currently edits two journals: The Mid-Atlantic Almanack for the Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Association and, with Gary Burns, co-edits Popular Music and Society, an international publication. He is also the editor of the forthcoming anthology Literature and Work, and serves on the national board for the Popular Culture Association and the American Culture Association. He holds an undergraduate degree from St. John’s University and graduate degrees from New York University.
Professor Milford is an historian of colonial and early national North America. He studied at Duke and Harvard universities. His research has concentrated on political change and cultural aspiration in the late 18th century. For an example of his work, please see The Gardiners of Massachusetts: Provincial Ambition and the British-American Career (University Press of New England, 2005). He is currently studying how Latin American unrest and the geopolitics of the Napoleonic era affected Anglo-American relations and conceptions of empire.
Prof. Milford teaches an honors section of the history core every year – and sometimes twice a year. He also offers courses on colonial and revolutionary America, the law and its practice in American history, and the confrontation of Europeans and Amerindians. He advises the St. John’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society.
Anthony Michael Sabino, Professor of Law, Tobin College of Business, is a nationally renowned scholar, practicing attorney, and media personality. Dr. Sabino specializes in complex federal and business litigation, and frequently appears on television, radio, and in print as an expert legal commentator.
He has over three dozen scholarly legal writings that have been published by the top law schools in the country, and his work has been cited as authoritative by some of the highest federal courts in America. In addition, he had hundreds of other legal articles that have been published by business and legal journals across the land.
For over twenty five years, Dr. Sabino has maintained a vibrant practice of law in the fields of securities fraud, white collar crime, creditors’ rights in bankruptcy cases, antitrust law, oil and gas, maritime, aviation, and other fields. He is admitted and has appeared before many federal courts across the land, and in the past has been a leading candidate for a federal judgeship. He has numerous appointments as an arbitrator to resolve disputes on Wall Street and in local courts, and has represented clients in high profile “white collar” crime cases, “megabankruptcies,” and other business litigation.
Dr. Sabino brings his real world experience in the courtroom and on Wall Street to the classroom every day, often teaching cutting edge legal and business principles from the front page. Likewise, he is frequently quoted on TV, radio, and in print by Bloomberg, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and other leading national and international outlets.
In 1987, after a successful career in business that spanned several disciplines, Igor Tomic, Ph.D., brought the breadth of his extensive experience to St. John’s University. A Professor of Economics and Finance in The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, Professor Tomic not only provides his students with a solid basis in theory, but teaches them practical skills that will serve them equally well as they embark on their careers, including interview etiquette, resume structure and effectively communicating with colleagues.
Prior to teaching he worked in textiles, mineral and chemical trading and consulted on energy issues, but always had a desire to work in the classroom. Since his arrival at St. John’s, Dr. Tomic has heightened the University’s global profile, organizing conferences at home and abroad, enabling students and faculty to share their scholarly research. His own studies in areas such as privatization, dollarization and mergers and acquisitions have earned him several awards including a Fulbright –Hays Award in 2000.
Dr. Tomic’s current research is focused on tax incentives to limit migration. “I noticed that between 2000 and 2010 many people left New York State to settle elsewhere, taking about $30 billion with them. Professor Silliman and I wondered if a tax policy could slow down the exit of those that retire (and those in pre-retirement) as a significant amount of capital exits the state with them. This migration has a negative impact on the local economy. By slowing down the exit of people from one region we can modify the boom and the bust cycle in their region of destination.”
Raising the Profile
Dr. Tomic has always stressed the importance of student engagement and learning outside the classroom. As moderator of the Economics and Finance Society for 20 years, he has helped organize several professional events each year. Students are able to visit high profile firms, attend lectures at the Federal Reserve and visit the New York Stock Exchange, enabling many of them to network with industry professionals.
As Academic Director of the Financial Services Institute, he organizes an annual conference that hosts researchers from around the world, allowing them to present research papers for peer review. Dr. Tomic noted that he is proud he has been able to promote the research done by St. John’s faculty in places such as Rio de Janiero, Istanbul, Rome, Budapest and Cape Town.
Dr. Tomic also serves as Editor of the peer-reviewed Tobin College’s Review of Business, which accepts articles in all business sciences, law and poverty issues that are both domestic and international in scope. “These efforts have given the journal a truly global intellectual perspective.”
Importance of Mission
Through the FSI, Dr. Tomic coordinated a business plan for the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. “They shelter abused women in 40 different countries and give them employment, selling their good in the U.S. We did a business plan for them and they were able to expand, and their website exploded.”
Dr. Tomic observed that his students embrace the University’s mission very quickly after arriving at St. John’s. “When they come here at 17-18 they’re not sure if they belong. You have to motivate them. Once you do the spirit of cooperation and support blossoms and they become inspired scholars.”
Heidi Upton is an Associate Professor at St. John’s University in Queens, New York, where she has taught since the fall of 2003. A fulltime professor for Discover New York, a core-curriculum freshman transition course, she is also affiliated with the Department of Art and Design where she teaches other core curriculum courses including Introduction to Music, Music Theory, and The Creative Process. She is Faculty Advisor for St. John’s Chamber Music Society, a student group dedicated to the performance of collaborative music. Dr. Upton has published several works focusing on her research topic: aesthetic education and civic engagement.
Dr. Upton has been a teaching artist for Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education (LCE) since 1998. She is distinguished as being one of its first full-time teaching artists, a post she was awarded in 2001. She has also participated in writing several special projects for LCE, resulting in publications such as Windows on the Work (resource manuals that accompany the Institute’s Repertory) and the Lincoln Center Institute/Time Warner, Inc. Professional Development Discussions: Aesthetic Education and Youth Programs: A Guide to Best Practices. She has been heard on National Public Radio as a pianist and commentator and on Public Radio International as an announcer. In addition, she can be heard as the narrator of several documentaries.
Dr. Upton, a pianist, was awarded the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Manhattan School of Music. She received the Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degrees from The Juilliard School, as a scholarship student of Sascha Gorodnitzki. She has performed as soloist with orchestras such as the St. Louis Symphony, the Kansas City Symphony and the Juilliard Orchestra, under such music directors as Leonard Slatkin, John Nelson, William McGlaughlin, and Christopher Kendall. Ms. Upton has appeared in recital and chamber music with many artists in such venues as Caramoor Center for the Arts and on Martha’s Vineyard. She has performed extensively the music of composer and conductor David Amram with whom she has appeared at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the Jewish Museum and on national radio broadcasts. As a member of Cicada Chamber Players, she can be heard on Listening for Blossoms, the recently released recording of the music of composer Lei Liang. A native New Yorker, Dr. Upton is a graduate of the famed High School of Performing Arts.
Employing the broad resources of a national Catholic University with global presence, the Staten Island Campus of St. John’s University offers a distinctive Honors Program designed to provide an exceptional experience for its academically gifted students. Using small, seminar-style classes, the Staten Island Campus Honors Program provides its students with innovative opportunities for understanding contemporary global issues as well as religious, intellectual, cultural, social, scientific and technological trends. Encouraged to apply their knowledge and insights to present-day concerns, students form a mature and ethical consciousness of themselves in relation to career goals and personal fulfillment.
The emphasis in Honors Colloquia is on supportive interaction between students and faculty. Creative academic pursuits, group and independent projects, interdisciplinary perspectives, proficiency in written and oral skills, research and critical analysis skills are stressed. Scholarly pursuits incorporate the various cultural, intellectual and artistic resources in the metropolitan area.
Seeking to give expression to St. Vincent de Paul’s spirit of compassionate concern for others, the program focuses on issues of poverty and social justice. It also encourages opportunities for growth of the whole person through involvement in a wide range of Campus and off-Campus activities.
The Certificate in Honors is awarded upon completion of thirty credits in Honors, including the Senior Capstone Colloquium in Theology, with a cumulative index of at least 3.33. Honors electives, Study Abroad, Honors Independent Study and graduate courses that are part of Bachelor’s/Master’s programs may also be applicable. All course work toward the Certificate in Honors must be approved in advance by the Director of the Honors Program.
In addition to being awarded the Certificate at a dinner in their honor, students who have received the Certificate in Honors are identified in their commencement programs, and a notation appears on their permanent St. John’s transcripts.
Honors Colloquia are available in the following basic Liberal Arts core courses that are required by all undergraduate colleges at the Staten Island Campus:
Hon 1000C, Discover New York
Hon 1020C, Speech
Hon 1030C, English Composition
Hon 1010C, Philosophy of the Human Person
Hon 1050C, Perspectives on Christianity
Hon 2700C, Scientific Inquiry
Hon 2010C, Metaphysics
Hon 2150C, Contemporary Global Literature
Hon 2200C, Emergence of Global Society
Honors Colloquium electives
St. John’s Study Abroad courses
Honors Independent Study
Hon 4001, Capstone Colloquium in Theology
To qualify for admission to the first year of the Program, a total high school average of 92% with a combined SAT score of at least 1250 is required. However, since interest in the program is also an important factor and because some students may qualify on the basis of criteria other than standardized scores, other interested students may also apply. All applicants must be interviewed by the Director prior to admission to the Program.
Dr. Rachel Hollander
Director of the Honors Program
Staten Island Campus
DaSilva Academic Center, Room 315
Students may complete the University Honors Program at St. John's in any of the University's undergraduate colleges and majors. All of the students profiled below are presently completing their core requirements (those courses all undergraduates at St. John's take) in special honors sections of these courses even as they pursue a wide variety of majors in the college or school appropriate to that major.
The abbreviations that follow the names of the students profiled below stand for St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Tobin College of Business, the School of Education, and the College of Professional Studies.
These young people differ considerably from one another, yet all of them love learning. The Honors Program, as they themselves are first to say, unites them and broadens their educational experience.
We are very proud of them, and believe that you will be as impressed by their ambition and achievements as we are.
Min Guy Ahn, also known as William, was born in Korea, but raised in Queens, New York. He is a pharmacy major, but enjoys just about everything academic. The honors core courses he has taken, philosophy, first-year writing, and honors global literature, have been his particular favorites. He believes that they have deepened his appreciation for the science and mathematics courses his pharmacy curriculum has required. William sees his career as a pharmacist in terms of its value to the community rather than as just a career. His service involvements are one indication of this.
William has lived in New York for practically his entire life, but he feels like as though he had not really known it until he took the honors version of the required Discover New York course. He believes that this course has allowed him to see the city in ways directly connected with the University’s mission as well as his own impulse toward service. His honors writing course allowed him to further develop his writing and creative skills. Another of William's favorite courses was Honors Global Literature. This course allowed him to read a wide range of literature, from Homer's Odyssey to a contemporary novel about the search for meaning and patterns in life: Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Book Store.
The Honors Program has become a home away from home for William, particularly on days with long class and lab hours. He frequents the Honors Commons, which is open at all times and every day for study, socializing with other members of the program from across the University, and simply as a place to relax. William has also taken advantage of the program’s museum gallery tours, its Manhattan walking tours, and its theatre programs at the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera, and the New York City Ballet. In short, William believes the Honors Program has been a great experience.Min Guy Ahn (PHS, Pharmacy)
Born and raised in New Jersey, Lara Albrechcinski attended the Wardlaw-Hartridge School, a small private school located in Edison, from Pre-K to 12th grade. In choosing a college, Lara was looking for the same strong sense of community and diversity that her school had, and she found it at St. John’s. She has now experienced what a “perfect fit” feels like and is incredibly grateful for the opportunities that present themselves here. She loves the atmosphere of New York City and plans to expand her horizons even more by studying abroad and visiting Italy, France, and Spain through the Discover the World program.
Lara has wanted to be a pharmacist ever since she was little; she was always interested in science and medicine. She was vice-president of the STEM Society in her high school and would help run the annual Science Fair. Lara enjoys her time learning about pharmacy related topics and focuses on her studies in hope that she will be accepted into the Rho Chi Society, the international Honors Society for pharmaceutical sciences, when she is eligible.
In high school, Lara found a passion for volleyball and became the captain of her team two years in a row. Now when she is free from her studies, Lara can be seen participating in intramural volleyball and in the other workout classes that St. John’s has to offer, especially Blacklight Spin and Bootcamp class. Lara appreciates the Vincentian mission of St. John’s and enjoys volunteering to help out the community. She finds solace in participating in New York Cares Day, Midnight Runs, and Academic Service Learning around St. John’s University.
Lara The Honors Program has allowed Lara to try activities that she otherwise would not have, as well as learn a great deal about things she had never been exposed to before. Thanks to the Honors Program Lara has a newfound love for the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic. She recently saw her first opera, Carmen, and plans to attend many more. She also appreciates the smaller size of honors classes and the Honors Commons, where students can be found quietly studying, enjoying each other’s company, and enjoying special snack days, all of which remind her of her honors high school community at home. Thanks to the Honors Program, Lara knows she will excel and grow not only academically, but culturally and experientially.
Liam Benjamin is an Actuarial Science major in the Peter J. Tobin College of Business of St. John’s University. He was born and raised on the small Caribbean island of Antigua where he attended high school at Antigua State College. He completed his A-Level examinations there with all distinctions and graduated as valedictorian and entered St. John's as a Presidential Scholar.
During his time in high-school, Liam developed a love of computer science and financial accounting. He was a top-performing student in the Caribbean for both subject areas and even received an award from the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) for his academic performance in accounting. Upon entering St. John's, Liam chose to major in Actuarial Science because it would allow to develop his programming skills while remaining in a business environment. When he found out that St. John’s University was designated as a Center of Actuarial Excellence by the Society of Actuaries and has one of the most prestigious schools of risk management in the country, he knew that he was coming to the right school.
Liam, however, aims to be more than an actuary. He has a deep interest in data science and hopes to be able to venture into that field once he becomes a fully qualified actuary. He believes that data science and predictive analytics can be key to answering some of life’s biggest questions and providing solutions to complex problems.
To stay active at St. John’s, Liam chose to join Gamma Iota Sigma, a risk management, actuarial science, and insurance professional fraternity. This group has allowed him to participate in community service events, network with insurance professionals and socialize with fellow members. After his freshman year, he was chosen to serve on the associate board of this organization. In addition, he was chosen to become a Student Ambassador at St. John’s. He looks forward to playing a role in attracting prospective students to the university.
Liam believes that he has truly benefited from the Honors Program. It has offered him small classes and given him opportunities to attend tours of various sites around New York and obtain free tickets to events in the city. He particularly enjoyed the opportunity to go to the opera with some of his friends who are also in the Honors Program. The smaller class sizes have allowed him to be more engaged in classes while developing a closer bond with his classmates. He spends a great amount of time in the honors commons, especially since he is a commuter student. The Honors Program staff always makes him feel welcomed and is truly interested in helping him achieve his goals. He encourages all students who are accepted into the Honors Program to take advantage of all its benefits.
Sarah Guthrie is a Queens Campus commuter student from Queens Village, New York who majors in Computer Science with a focus on cyber security. After hearing remarkable things about St. John’s from her brother who graduated several years ago, she knew this was the place for her.
In high school Sarah was very involved in community service and was delighted when she found out about St. John’s Vincentian Mission. One of the highlights of Sarah’s high school career was being part of New York Cares, an organization that allows teenagers to participate in many different community service projects. Sarah has been able to continue giving back to her community in college through the many service opportunities offered by campus ministry. Sarah hopes to get more involved in her sophomore year and to eventually go on a plunge.
Sarah’s first experience at St. John’s was the St. Lazare retreat, available to all incoming freshmen. It allowed her to make friends as well as get involved with campus ministry. She appreciates the retreats they offer as well as various activities because it allows her to grow deeper in her faith. Sarah has been inspired to spread her faith with others as she has led the Search 9 retreat and will lead the St. Lazare retreat.
One of Sarah’s favorite parts of the St. John’s campus is the Honors Commons. As a commuter she often spends her breaks between classes there. The Honors Commons serves as a quiet oasis that allows Sarah to settle down after a long of day class or as a place to study. Sarah appreciates the small classes that the Honors Program offers. It allows her to have a better learning experience. The Honors Program has clearly enriched her experience at St. John’s.
Harrison Harvey is a sophomore Finance major in St. John’s Peter J. Tobin College of Business. He was born and raised in Oakland, California where he also attended high school at the Head–Royce School. He chose St. John’s because of its strong business program and study abroad opportunities and, of course, because it is located in New York City.
Harrison spent his high school years involved in many different groups and activities. From being the captain of the varsity basketball team, to the President of the Black Student Union, Harrison has always loved the opportunity to be a leader in any community. He was also involved with multiple global mission trips that led him to places like South Africa and Costa Rica, where he was able to do community service and give back to those communities.
At St. John’s, Harrison is a mentor of the RISE Network, a program that works with students of color on campus, and assisting them inside and outside of the classroom. He is also involved with the Student Ambassador Program in which he gives tours to perspective students and their families while also being an example of what it means to be a St. John’s student.
Harrison loves being a part of the Honors Program. It not only challenges him and allows him to work with some very remarkable students but also allows him to see and experience parts of New York that he wouldn’t be able to otherwise. One of his favorite, Honors Program experiences was the New York City walking tour that he went on during which he learned some of the history of New York and actually walked across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.
Sean Ismaili, a resident of nearby Hillsborough, New Jersey, might appear the typical St. John’s student. He was, however, born in the Republic of Ireland to an expatriated Albanian American chemical engineer and the daughter of Irish Catholic immigrants to the United States. With this background, he satisfies the often-heard phrase “global citizen.” As such, he appreciates the global focus of St. John’s. He understands the continuity of the University’s history in its service to immigrant communities, one that dates back to Bishop John Loughlin’s original mandate for a Catholic college in the post-Civil War Diocese of Brooklyn.
Sean spent his childhood in New Jersey and he learned at a young age the value of service to others. During high school, he became a firefighter with Hillsborough Volunteer Fire Company No. 2 having graduated from the Somerset County Fire Academy. Even so, he balanced his role in the fire service with his studies.
Sean began to passionately follow public affairs early in life, so it was hardly a surprise that government and politics became his major at St. John’s. A logical adjunct to his major is Sean’s participation in the Speech and Debate Society.
Sean was elected treasurer of the St. John’s College Democrats in January of 2016 and in May of that year, was accepted into the University’s chapter of the National Political Science Honors Society Pi Sigma Alpha. He credits the reputation of the University Honors Program with opening the door to professional experiences, including an internship with the New Jersey Superior Court.
Thanks to the Honors Program, Sean has been able to explore broader interests as well. He has participated in Manhattan walking tours and gallery visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art led by Dr. Forman, the Honors Program’s Director. He has also attended a notable performance of La Bohème at the Metropolitan Opera.
Sean has found the Honors Commons, a special lounge set aside for members of the Honors Program, to be a valuable resource when he needed a quiet place to get work done or just wanted to pass the time with other Honors Program students between classes.
After St. John’s, Sean hopes to continue his service to the community by becoming a New York City firefighter. No matter what lies ahead for him, Sean is confident that the honors program has been and will continue to be of major importance in his academic and personal development.
Brianna Obas was born and raised in Baldwin, Long Island. She attended Baldwin Public High School and joined the medical academy there. This medical academy has a set curriculum that introduces students to college-level medical coursework. Brianna fell in love with the study of the human body and how it works. She decided on pharmacy because it parallels her love of science and passion for helping others.
Brianna spent her high school years volunteering. She was an active member of Key Club, a community service club at her school in which she participated in several community outreach events such as Salvation Army and UNICEF. Her involvement in community service earned her the Dr. Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award in January 2017 as well as a Nassau County Legislature Citation for expressing commitment, dedication, and leadership in her community. In her senior year of high school, Brianna was a Teacher’s Assistant at Hofstra University’s Science Technology Engineering Saturday Program (STEP), in which she aided high school and middle school students of color with science-based academics.
Brianna is a member of RISE at St. John’s, a leadership program that assists in academic success, personal, and professional development for people of color. Brianna is proud to be a part of this club because she aims to be more than just a pharmacy major. She hopes to take on more leadership roles across campus in which she can mentor students. She knows how difficult academics can become for students, and hopes to mentor incoming freshman on how to be successful in college.
Brianna is a very proud member of the Honors Program. One can always find her studying in the Honors Commons or spending time with friends there. She enjoys the honors core classes because they are often smaller than regular sections of the same courses and finds that they enrich her pharmacy studies. They are also more discussion based and open up the conversation on interesting topics. Her favorite class so far has been her first-year writing class with Professor Tara Roeder. Rather than having her students write standard research papers, Prof. Roeder encouraged her students to use different formatting such as websites, a blog, a video and the like to develop their topics.
Nicole Pelletiere is an Accounting major in the Peter J. Tobin College of Business at St. John’s University. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and attended Bishop Kearney High School, a small Catholic school. She chose St. John’s University based upon the atmosphere at the university and various opportunities offered to all students.
Nicole chose the Accounting major, as she saw the accountant’s contribution which is working with clients in the financial district. She looks enjoys her accounting classes as they are challenging and allow her to perform tasks such as analyzing and verifying numbers. She is part of the Accounting Scholars Program where she will be able to experience a full-time winter internship during her senior year.
During high school, Nicole was involved in various aspects of community service. St. John’s University has provided opportunities to participate in the St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen and The League of Yes. She enjoys contributing to the community and the various opportunities the university provides to the students to engage in community service. Each service experience has allowed her to gain a life changing perspective.
She also is part of various organizations, such as the Italian Cultural Society. She is the Budget Chair member where she organizes resources needed for each event and fundraiser. She also monitors the pricing and spending for every meeting and event.
Nicole is grateful to be part of the Honors Program. The Honors Program is remarkable in the ways it has taught her to continuously explore and learn. She loves being challenged and has learned how to analyze topics in different ways. The small class sizes provide for more detailed discussion and connection with the professor and classmates. One of Nicole’s favorite parts of the St. John’s campus is the Honors Commons. This location is a resource facility for honor’s students to study, complete assignments and meet with friends. She looks forward to exploring the endless opportunities the program provides as well as pursue her MS/BA Accounting degree.
Danielle Santevecchi is a Psychology major from Long Island, New York. She graduated from Kellenberg Memorial High School, a Catholic school located on Long Island, where she spent most of her time in a variety of clubs. She heavily participated in activities that involved public speaking, taking up the attorney position for three years on the Mock Trial team and participating in Oral Interpretation and Dramatic Interpretation categories in Speech and Debate. In Speech and Debate, she competed at both the national and state levels, travelling to Fort Lauderdale, FL and Sacramento, CA. She also was heavily involved in Campus Ministry and served as a mentor for seventh graders and a retreat staff leader.
Danielle applied for the Honors Program prior to entering Saint John’s and was thrilled to be a part of such a driven and diverse community. She loves the opportunities offered and met many different friends who also are in the program. At Saint John’s, Danielle is involved in the Campus Ministry organization as a Eucharistic Minister and a Lector and is involved in the mission trip to Lourdes, France.
In her free time, Danielle enjoys attending Broadway shows and participating in her local theatre community. She has performed in a variety of shows including Les Miserables, Sweeney Todd, and the Wedding Singer. She loves the dynamic environment of Saint John’s where she can study on a traditional campus one day and travel to Manhattan with friends the next. Being an avid fan of Disney, she hopes to one day enter into the Disney College Program to work in Disney World and eventually study abroad in Rome. With an interest in the workings of the mind, she hopes to use her Psychology major to become a clinical psychologist or enter into law school. She also hopes to take on a Theology minor in order to better study her own Catholic faith and other faiths of the world. The Honors Program greatly helps Danielle to meet a variety of incredible professors and become invested in all of her classes.
Hannah Stinson grew up Sammamish, Washington, thirty minutes from the city of Seattle. Her interests included dance, singing, nature, travel, and social justice, to name a few. Now a senior education major at St. John’s, her transformation is owed in large part to the wonderful programs, academics, and activities she has been involved with, not least of which, the Honors program.
Taking as many honors classes as possible freshman year, Hannah loved exploring wide ranging and in-depth topics in small classes. One of her favorite courses was Honors Discover New York, in which she tasted diverse cultural flavors on a Lower East Side food tour, experienced nineteenth-century immigrant life at the Tenement Museum, and learned the lively and gritty history of her new city. She has appreciated the Honors Program especially as an Education major because of the rich experiential learning in which she has taken part. She plans to use her experiences as a model for her own classroom someday, to ignite the imagination and excellence within her students.
Hannah is also involved with other programs and organizations on campus. She is an Ozanam Scholar, and Chaplain of the student organization, “Eden”. All of these experiences at St. John's have helped make Hannah the person she is today, and she is excited to finish her final year strong, and see what’s next on the horizon.
Teagan Sweet is a chemistry major in St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Having come to St. John's from a small town in Massachusetts, she found the excitement of New York City enthralling and the Queens campus welcoming.
Teagan can be found at a number of places across campus and the city. She spends a great deal of time studying and in the laboratory, working hard towards her major. She also works under a professor in a laboratory on campus. Teagan is a part of the STEM Scholars Program at St. John’s, a creative program that incorporates disciplines in science, technology, engineering, and math. She is also an active member of Catholic Relief Services Student Ambassadors, and this provides an outlet for her desire for service. Teagan has participated as well in numerous “Midnight Runs,” delivering food and supplies to the homeless in Manhattan.
One might see Teagan, a photography minor, with her cameras at her side, looking for a new perspective and a great shot. She often spends weekends taking photographs across the city and finding peace in the galleries of the numerous museums that New York City has to offer. As an avid rock climber, one might need to look up in order to find her. She enjoys climbing at a nearby gym and conquering the boulders of Central Park. With any free time that she has left, she enjoys typing poetry on her baby blue typewriter or strumming a few cords on her ukulele.
Teagan is truly grateful for the Honors Program here at St. John’s. She thoroughly enjoys class time with a dynamic atmosphere, small class size, and lots of discussion. The amazing professors have become such fantastic mentors for her, sharing their knowledge and wisdom of subjects and experience. The Honors Commons has become a great resource for studying, which she uses regularly along with her friends. Not only this, but the Honors Program provides wonderful opportunities to see the ballet and opera, explore the city on walking tours, and experience the Metropolitan Museum of Art in new ways on tours, and Teagan takes advantage of all of these. The Honors Program is perfect for a life-long learner like Teagan, a young woman with a wide variety of interests.
Holly Triebe grew up in Albertson, Long Island and graduated from Herricks High School. In high school, Holly took many classes in photography and drawing and found her love for the arts. In her senior year, she received the Northshore Community Photo Award in Outstanding Photography. Unsure of what to major in, Holly entered her freshman year with an open mind and tried something entirely new. Though she is still undeclared, Holly discovered her interest in design and is on track to declare a major in Graphic Design. Designing has given Holly the opportunity to push herself to create new and inspiring things.
The Honors Program has given Holly the opportunity to explore Manhattan and all that the city has to offer. Although she has lived in New York her whole life, she had never gone into the city nearly as much as she had during her freshman year. Between the courses she enrolled in and the cultural activities the Honors Program offered, Holly got to visit museums throughout Manhattan and to participate in activities she otherwise would not have thought to take part in. The St. John’s learning environment has truly inspired Holly and has motivated her to continue exploring and designing.
While she was originally intimidated by the Honors Program, being part of the program has been one of Holly’s favorite things about St. John’s. It offers smaller class sizes, which allow them to be more discussion-based. This has helped her meet the diverse and inspiring community of fellow honors students and has allowed her to connect with her professors. She loves spending her free time in the Honors Commons where can relax, study, do homework, or meet up with friends.
Born and raised in Queens, New York, Krishna Tamakuwala attended Francis Lewis High School, a school very near St. John’s University. When travelling home every day, she would pass St. John’s and think of as her dream school. When it became time to apply for admission, she decided that St. John’s was the place she’d call home. As a second-year pharmacy student, Krishna realizes how much of a home St. John’s really is, and she believes that it’s more than she ever imagined, and a dream come true to be attending the school of her top choice.
Ever since Krishna was a little girl, she enjoyed watching Disney movies, especially Cinderella. The part of the movie in which Cinderella finds that the glass slipper fits perfectly is the analogy Krishna makes when asked why she chose Pharmacy as the career she was going to pursue at St. John’s. She considers that Pharmacy is her own glass slipper, one that fits perfectly as the profession she wants to pursue.
Krishna has always been interested in the sciences. She was part of the math and science program at Francis Lewis and excelled in it. Additionally, since she was fourteen years old, she has been volunteering at the Northwell Health Long Island Jewish Hospital in various departments including the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), shadowing a pharmacist, and simply playing withchildren, keeping them engaged and calm before their procedures. She hopes she can continue her experiences at the same hospital she has been volunteering at since she was a little girl, and pursue her career in pharmacy at that hospital.
Aside from school and studying, Krishna enjoys swimming in her free time. She has competed on the swim team for the YMCA for four years, and she believes that swimming is what helps her keep going. Swimming motivates herself to go the extra lap even though she is exhausted. In her mind, she repeats “one more lap, one more lap” and before she knows it, she has completed more laps than she had anticipated. Krishna believes that swimming not only makes time enjoyable but also motivates her to do well in her pharmacy classes. Just as pharmacy classes are challenging, swimming motivates her to study harder for her classes and go the extra ‘lap’ in studying harder to get A’s.
Krishna believes that the Honors Program has motivated her to stay on track and complete all of her assignments to the best of her abilities. She says that by being in the Honors Program, she is able to feel a close-knit bond with her classmates regardless of major. She says that the small classes allow her to know each classmate by name. In addition, the professors also know each student personally. Thanks to the Honors Program, Krishna has found a place in which she is able to have a great time with her friends and have a place in which to study comfortably, the Honors Commons, which she calls her tiny, cozy home.
Born and raised in Queens, Natalie Williams has always felt at home in St. John’s. After graduating from St. Agnes Academic High School in the neighboring city of College Point, Queens, Natalie was grateful to remain in a Catholic learning institution. In her high school, she took St. John’s accredited classes that helped her adjust to her life in college.
Natalie is currently a chemistry major in the St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Choosing this major was simple for Natalie, even though she was interested in many subjects in high school. When asked why she chose to major in chemistry, she answered, “It was the only subject in high school that I can see myself pursuing the future.” Natalie’s favorite classes are her chemistry labs, despite the hard work they demand because she is intrigued by the hands-on learning and understanding it requires. Natalie is a member of the STEM Scholars Programs, which supports research and teamwork among students majoring in fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. In the future, Natalie hopes to study abroad in Paris through the Discover France; Chemistry Program. When Natalie graduates with her Bachelors in Chemistry in spring of 2020, she hopes to go on to graduate school with an end goal of earning her doctorate and becoming a cosmetic chemist.
Natalie is also a lover of the arts. She loves to draw, attend Broadway plays in her spare time, and has an immense love for music. Music has always been one of her passions, as she plays two instruments; piano since age seven and trumpet since age nine. She loves to perform, as she is always dancing and singing when with her friends and family. Her fondest memories include playing trumpet in her middle school concert and jazz bands and piano in high school performances. If there is a concert on campus, you can almost be sure that Natalie is either there or on her way there to experience the music. She was originally a music minor but changed her minor at the beginning of her sophomore year to graphic design to challenge herself. Natalie hopes to further both her musical and artistic talents throughout her years at St. John’s.
Natalie is extremely grateful to be a member of the Honors Program. She appreciates that smaller class sizes and experienced professors at her disposal. She is often in the honors commons, whether to study for her classes or even to just hang out with friends. She is looking forward to further making her mark on St. John’s and becoming an even brighter shining star on campus.