During a ceremony on Friday morning, 50 undergraduate students were honored by faculty members as University Scholars.
Besides the requirement of senior level hours and a 3.5 GPA, these students were nominated by faculty based on their scholarship inside and outside of the classroom.
Unlike other university awards, University Scholars are chosen directly their professors and faculty members. Nominations are then reviewed by the faculty senate, an elected group of faculty members.
“It is a very high honor for students to be named a University Scholar,” said Jason Morris, associate professor of higher education and faculty senator. “It means that they have, throughout their time at ACU, impressed their faculty members very much. The faculty members who have watched them grow and mature have identified them as a student worthy of being deemed University Scholar.”
Many of the students have excelled in their respective fields for many of the same reasons.
“What you see with the students is a high degree of motivation and engagement with their discipline,” Morris said. “I think you see a curiosity to discover new things and an element of service and care for the broader world.”
While the students share many of the same qualities, their research has covered many different areas.
Research has included subjects such as biodiesel, cancer treatment, modern dance, physics theories and environmentally friendly furniture.
“Their is a vast difference between some of these students,” Morris said, “but what they have in common is that their faculty members notice them for their excellence and decide that this is a student who our department wants to recognize.”
One student to receive the honor, Evan Jones, senior biochemistry major from Canyon, has worked on multiple research projects outside of his coursework.
“I conducted a number of research projects here at ACU and also at some internships over the summer,” Jones said. “Research, for me, has been something significant that I have definitely enjoyed and seen at ACU.”
Jones’ teamed up with fellow student Blaine Smith, XXXXX, to write a journal article discussing the correlation between science and religion which was published in the European Journal of Science and Theology.
Aside from the award, Jones also enjoyed seeing a group of students that he felt were similar to him.
“It was great to see likeminded people contributing to their fields through scholastic endeavors,” he said. “Each individual has a great sense of personal motivation and self drive. That drive to go beyond the books and outside of the classroom is one thing that helps to set apart University Scholars.”