Honors Alumni Forum: Helping Current Students Strive For Success

How the Honors Program Has Benefited Former Kishwaukee College Students

James Haberstich, Head Editor

On Wednesday, November 15, two alumni from Kishwaukee College came to speak about how the honors program on campus has changed their life for the better.

Joseph Howard, a student at NIU, was the first speaker at the event. He plans on teaching special education at the elementary school level, and is currently an advisor for NIU’s honors program. Howard had a lot to say in regards to how important the honors program was in his life, as well as the benefits it provides for all who take part in it. He shared that he appreciated the experiences the program gave him, especially the networking aspect. He mentioned that while attending Kishwaukee College, one of his professors, Dr. Thomas, a professor of philosophy, was a huge part in his academic and personal career. He would go into Dr. Thomas’s office three to four times a week, and would have enlightening conversations about his major, and about life in general. He also mentioned that the number of friendships he forged while in the honors program were numerous. He often worked with other honors students in groups, and this allowed him to meet new people, and make lasting friendships. As far as other benefits, Howard discussed how the variety of classes offered in the program boosted his love of academics, and it allowed him to learn about different things across many fields of study. The honors program gave him a huge sense of accomplishment when he graduated, and he said that the program as a whole was an opportunity to learn and grow.

The second speaker, Eric Hynes, also spoke of how the program had changed his life in ways he never thought it would. Hynes graduated in 2014, and has a degree in mechanical engineering. At thirty-eight years old, Hynes was frustrated with his career. Similarly to Howard, he was a high school dropout. After leaving a manager position, he did not have a place to live, and worked at a job where he did not make a lot of money. After deciding he could do better with himself, he decided to go back to school. After taking five courses before he could do anything with engineering, he wanted to push his academics further. He joined the honors program at Kishwaukee, and in only eighteen months, he had taken ninety credit hours, and had a 3.6 GPA. With only his credits from Kishwaukee, he gave his résumé to three companies and waited. Six companies responded to him, all wanting interviews. He took an internship with John Deere, and before he graduated, he had a job waiting for him. After transferring to NIU, tragedy struck. The home his family was renting burned down, and he lost everything, including two pets. He did not let this get to him, and with the support of friends from school, and his own personal drive, was back in school the next week. He told the students attending that they should continue to keep pushing forward, even in failure, and that if he had not chosen to pursue the honors program, he would not be working where he is today.

These presenters did a wonderful job of speaking about the honors programs offered at Kishwaukee and NIU. They touched on the many different aspects of the program, as well as the many benefits it offers to students. The honors program is a great place for anyone to advance their academic potential, and the two presenters proved that being a part of it pays off.