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Honors College experiences Renaissance

Dozens of Jones College students saw their studies of the history and culture of Europe come alive this past summer due to their involvement with the Charles L. Pickering Honors Institute.

A rise in membership allowed the honors college students to travel internationally for the first time in eight years.

 With the Covid-19 pandemic, the Honors Institute at Jones College suffered a great decrease in membership, as did most colleges nationwide. Dr. John Stockstill, philosophy professor, came on board in 2020 to assume the duties as Director of the Honors College.

“I was very excited to take on this role,” Stockstill said. “I had a vision for this institution, and I was eager to begin working.”  

Three years into the job, Stockstill conducted an international trip for members of the Honors College. This past July, 34 students and chaperones set out for an 11-day trip to Europe. While on this trip, students visited Paris, Germany and Austria where they attended lectures, explored landmarks and visited a Renaissance Festival. Landmarks visited included The Eiffel Tower, the filming location for the film “The Sound of Music” and the Berchtesgaden Alps.

“Being able to see these sights in person brought so much perspective,” said Dr. Kisha Jones, psychology professor. “We read about these places in our textbooks, but seeing them right in front of me really proved that there is more than Mississippi out there.”

Among two of the chaperones were Jones College art professor, Mark Brown, and history professor, Carson Atwood.  The professors accompanied students to share their knowledge of historic landmarks and culture around the cities. Sophomore student Kadin Johnston said having these professors on the trip allowed students to gain a better understanding of the things around them.

 “The knowledge they brought on the trip was very beneficial, and it allowed students to learn and appreciate what we were seeing,” said Johnston. “When reading a landmark plaque, one can only gather so much information. Having them was like having a textbook walking alongside us.”

Stockill is planning a trip for students to Boston, Massachusetts, in the spring. Staff are also working to plan the institution’s next international trip. To participate in the Charles Pickering Honors College, students must meet one of the following requirements: graduate as Valedictorian or Salutatorian, have a minimum ACT composite score of 26, a minimum high school GPA of 3.5 or have 15 hours of enrollment each semester at Jones College with a 3.5 GPA.

“The rebirth of the Honors College is a great thing,” said Dr. Jones. “With the growing of the Honors College, I believe Jones College will experience tremendous growth. It takes the best of the best to highlight Jones College. Our students are doing a fabulous job.”

by Haidyn Houston

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