Honors Winter 2021 Newsletter



Honors Freshman Orientation: COVID Edition

This year, the freshman honors orientation took a virtual route in light of the COVID-19 restrictions. One activity the students participated in was a virtual scavenger hunt where they scanned QR codes across campus and were prompted with activities to do through FlipGrid. Honors student Lexi Moreland said that this was an enjoyable experience and a great way to get to know the campus. Since she was completely online this semester and a commuter student, Lexi joined her team via FaceTime to complete this scavenger hunt activity. She loved that she could get involved and acclimated to the honors program and campus without having actually been there. Like many students at Robert Morris, Lexi was completely online this semester. As a freshman student, she was a bit apprehensive to begin classes, but after having so much fun during orientation week, those fears quickly disappeared. Lexi looks forward to becoming more involved in the honors program when COVID restrictions calm down. 

Honors Alumni Spotlight: Rebecca Held 

Rebecca Held is a graduate student at Edinboro University for art therapy. When she attended Robert Morris, she studied psychology and pursued a thesis in art therapy. Her honors thesis focused on comparing coloring a mandala using colored pencils on a piece of paper and coloring a mandala digitally to see a potential difference in anxiety reduction. Rebecca submitted her thesis, “The Effect of Mandala Coloring on the State Anxiety Levels of College Students: A Comparative Study,” to the 2020 Pi Gamma Mu Triennial Convention, and it got accepted! Along with this remarkable accomplishment, Rebecca also became a member of Pi Gamma Mu, which is an honors society for social sciences. Rebecca’s interest in art as a means of therapy is what propelled her to pursue a graduate degree. Her program is completely virtual, and she can participate in the virtual art studio the university has. Students and the public can pop into these sessions, do artwork, and then talk about it with each other. After graduation, Rebecca hopes to work in a children’s hospital. Since art therapists helped her little sister when she was battling leukemia, Rebecca would love to provide that same experience for other children.

Empowering Women in Statistics and Data Science

Honors student Jayme Sanner participated in the Women in Statistics and Data Science Virtual Conference this past October. As secretary for the analytics club here at Robert Morris University, she was looking for activities that she and her fellow club members could engage in. After applying for and receiving a scholarship given by the American Statistical Association, she was ready to attend the conference. Beforehand, she uploaded her resume that could be peer-reviewed and looked at by recruiters. One recruiter from the University of North Carolina reached out to Jayme about their Master’s degree program and set up an informational session with her and other MSA students. Jayme was really flattered by this and said she is considering the program when the time is right. The actual conference was spread over three days, where students could pick and choose what sessions they wanted to attend. Jayme attended three sessions, her favorite being a presentation by Michelle Dunn, who gave a very inspiring story about how she worked her way up the NSA's corporate ladder. One of Jayme’s key takeaways from this session was a quote from Ms. Dunn, “Take the opportunity to be inspired by your interests, to challenge yourself, and to build deep knowledge and skills.” She said that this made her think about her career path and data science in a meaningful way. Jayme says that this was an amazing experience, and she looks forward to other opportunities in this field. This summer, Jayme will be interning with Ohio National doing predictive analysis. In the future, she hopes to continue on her path with modeling and data analytics.


Honors Student Creates Successful Speaker Series

Kristen Davis is a junior honors student that is studying political science and economics. While she was applying for the Truman Scholarship, Kristen wanted to do something that would set her apart from other applicants. Wanting to reach people outside of the political science realm, Kristen (with the Office of Scholar Development) created a speaker series that would help teach others in civic education. So far, Kristen has moderated two virtual panel discussions this semester. The first, “Why Would They Say That: A Conversation on Communication Styles in 2020 Debates,” was given by Drs. Fanning and Moretti comparing communication styles between the Vice Presidential and Presidential candidates. The second, “Deconstructing the 2020 Campaign,” was given by Drs. DePlato and Moretti and featured two national journalists, Michael McGough and Laura Rozen. This discussion focused on campaign strategies and the role of the American press during the 2020 election. While these two panels focused on the election, Kristen hopes to branch out to different areas, like cybersecurity and public health care, in future speaker series. Kristen plans to continue these series throughout her college career and hopes to bring another student on board to continue this series long after graduating.

Congratulations Are in Order!

Congratulations to Dr. Sylvia Pamboukian for receiving the National Collegiate Honors Council Portz grant for her project, “Accessibility and the Honors Communication Skills (HCS) Program!” This project will help revamp Robert Morris University’s honors communication skills curriculum.


The Honors Program would like to extend our congratulations to the following fall graduates:

Brittany Burmester 

Dylan Burke 

Loretta Carosone




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