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Feb. 1, 2011
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:

PASSHE Summer Honors Program selects two SRU students

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Grace Evans, a mathematics major at Slippery Rock University, and Kelly Smith, a computer science major, will spend part of their summer studying archeology and history in Bermuda. The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education selected them to represent SRU in its Summer Honors Program.

Evans of Apollo and Smith of Grove City both participate in SRU’s Honors Program and were selected based on their strong academic performance, applications explaining their interest in the trip and interviews.

“I hope this experience will open my eyes to other cultures and learning experiences and hopefully broaden my interests as a scholar,” Evans said.

The statewide program, organized by Millersille University this year and offered from May 15-June 3, is titled “The Atlantic World in the Age of Revolution.” PASSHE chose two students from each of its 14 institutions.

Students will study as a cohort at Millersville followed by a 10-day residential program in Bermuda. The coursework will combine historical and archeological approaches to the past, with an emphasis on commerce, race and the political culture of the 18th-century Atlantic world. Students will explore the economics and environment of Bermuda as well.

“The program offers students opportunities they will never have again in their life,” Evans said. “The program encourages going above and beyond the usual academics and becoming interested in learning and new experiences outside the classroom.”

The group will stay at The Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and study at The Bermuda Maritime Museum. Participants will earn six credits toward graduation.

Smith said he expects the trip to be a highlight of his undergraduate career.

“As technical advances in my field and others continue to bridge the gap between distant cultures, the importance of having an understanding of my role in the rest of the world will be invaluable to any career path that I choose,” he said. “This is something that I hope to gain by participating in this program both in the classroom and while in Bermuda.

Smith said the ocean sciences institute conducts research in the fields of oceanography, marine science and ocean health, topics of interest to him.

“I will be extremely interested to talk to scientists in the field and learn about any areas in which the computational tools they use could be improved or changed to advance the research they are doing,” he said.

Evans and Smith said they joined SRU’s Honors Program as freshmen and that the program has maximized their potential as scholars. Evans said she is undecided about her career path but plans to continue broadening her academic horizons. Smith said he plans to pursue a master’s and doctoral degree in computer science and hopes to work for Google or Apple before accepting a teaching position.

“I am hoping to get into a top computer science school for graduate school,” Smith said, “So I know that an experience like this the summer program will definitely help.”

Since its inception in 1985, the PASSHE Summer Honors Program has provided an annual academic experience of remarkable quality for high-achieving students.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.