Self-Discovery Through the Honors Experience

Honors student Carina Groves and her mentor, Karna Walter, Honors College faculty member, have a one-on-one about Grove's Honors project.
March 15, 2011

“Never, in my wildest dreams, did I think I’d end up in International Studies, focusing on the problem of modern-day slavery,” says Honors College senior Carina Groves.

After becoming aware of the issue in an Honors class, Carina felt compelled to learn more. “I tried to use every academic opportunity I had to study human trafficking. If we had a free-topic paper, I would work with my professors to try to formulate it to address human trafficking.”

Although the Honors College is integrated into the rest of campus life, there are certain perks to being an Honors student, including monthly lunches with faculty speakers, special Honors clubs and residence halls, and opportunities for research grants. There is also Slonaker House, where Honors students gather to study, socialize and tend their sustainable garden.

“When you take courses, you can choose to sign up for the Honors version,” explains Groves. For large lectures, Honors sections are taught by the professor rather than a teaching assistant. Special courses offered to Honors students usually have fewer than two dozen students, offering excellent opportunities for one-on-one attention from professors. “You’ll do a lot more work, but in my opinion, it’s a lot more rewarding,” she says.

The Honors College enrolls 900 freshmen each year. Those high-ability students often have many options across the country, including elite private universities and small liberal arts colleges, says Honors College dean Patricia MacCorquodale. “We offer the best of both worlds,” she says. “Students get the close community, small classes, intensive interaction with faculty and a community of peers who are also smart and interesting. But they can also take advantage of all of the resources of a large university: variety of majors, research opportunities, state-of-the-art facilities, more concerts and lectures and art shows you could go to in a day.

“The Honors experience is what students make of it,” says MacCorquodale. “We offer a world of possibilities to students, and help them find opportunities to get involved, become leaders and challenge themselves in and out of the classroom. We guide them and mentor them so they can take advantage of all that is available the University of Arizona.”

“I’ve loved being part of the Honors College, says Carina Groves. “I feel like the Honors College became my family here at the University of Arizona and I’ll be really sad to leave it, for sure!”

Learn more about the UA Honors College 

View video here on YouTube.