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Meet Honors Student Caitlin Hanley ’19

A future teacher in the making, Caitlin became an honors student because she wanted to be more engaged and challenged at Lesley University. Now a junior, she's helped launch the Honors Mentoring Program. Read our Q&A to learn more about Caitlin's experience in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Honors Program.

Why did you choose Lesley University? 

I'm studying at Lesley because I feel it's the school that best prepares me for my future career as a teacher, and also because I feel that the professors really care about their students and it's easy to foster relationships with them. This sense of community is really important to me.

Why did you want to participate in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Honors Program?

I wanted to participate in the Honors Program because I find challenging courses an important part of being engaged in my academics. I felt the program would help me further achieve that right balance of being challenged in my coursework.

What makes your Honors Courses different from typical courses at Lesley?

My honors courses are different from typical courses at Lesley because they push me to dive deeper and think about how I can personally apply the course content. Especially classes in which you do an Honors Contract, because you really have to think about how you interact/relate to the content in order to create an additional project around the course. 

How has the Honors Program benefitted you personally and academically?

The Honors Program has benefitted me personally and academically because it has helped me better understand myself as a student. I understand what factors of a class motivate me and that the people in a class can really make a difference in how engaged I am. Also, since those classes especially focus on pushing my own ideas on a subject, I'm better able to articulate my thoughts.

"My Honors Courses are different from typical courses at Lesley because they push me to dive deeper into the content and further push me to think about how I can personally apply the course content."
Caitlin Hanley ’19, Elementary Education & Creative Writing

Have you been able to develop close-knit relationships with classmates as a result of the program? How so?

Definitely. When you're in classes with the same group of people relationships naturally form. This is especially true when the students share the kind of drive that's commonly found in an Honors Class. All these students are here for a reason and it shows in class discussions.

Also, I recently started up an Honors Mentoring Program for incoming first-year honors students. In this program, an honors student who's further along in the program is paired with a first-year to be their mentor and help them navigate the program. Its goal is to help first-year honors students adjust to the program, but also help build relationships within the program and outside of classes. I've personally enjoyed talking to my first-year mentee and have heard the same from many others, both mentors and mentees. 

Have you completed any Honors Projects through an Honors Contract?

I've done one Honors Contract. It was in my short fiction literature class. It was really cool because I got to talk to my professor about what interests me the most in the course content. I decided on fairytales and discovered my professor also was interested in fairytales' place in modern short stories. So, I did a research project around fairytales and how to classify/distinguish original works or versions of already written works. It was very fascinating for me and got me to look at the rest of the coursework differently. 

Have you had opportunities to work closely with faculty?

The closest I've gotten to work with a professor is on the project mentioned previously. It was an interesting experience for me because I've never worked that closely with faculty before. I was great to be able to talk outside of class about the topic and get her opinion on the project.

What would you say to someone who’s considering joining the Honors Program?

It definitely is more work than typical classes and it definitely requires a lot of self facilitating. The resources are there, but you have to go and request them yourself. However, if you're prepared to do that then it's a great program and helps you develop amazing relationships. I would definitely recommend joining.