Dedicated students, devoted friends

The University of Northern Iowa Honors Program is one of the largest and most diverse groups on campus, with more than 450 students across all of the colleges at UNI participating in the program.

Honors Program
More than 450 students across all of the colleges at UNI participate in the Honors Program.

Despite their many differences, one thing these students have in common is their dedication and passion for learning.

"The Honors Program really provides a variety of options to UNI honors students," says Corey Cooling, a junior physics and philosophy double major. "In particular, being an honors student means you have the ability to take honors classes with honors students. Professors tailor these classes to honors students and let us engage the material in ways that may not normally be done in a regular class."

While these classes aren't necessarily more difficult than their traditional counterparts, they tend to be much smaller and put a larger emphasis on class discussion and interaction.

Lexi Helgens is a freshman from Linn-Mar High School who decided to join the Honors Program, in part because of the honors courses. "The smaller class size and more discussion in class sounded really attractive. If I have the chance for higher recognition and more of a relationship with professors, I figured why not?" says Helgens.

Students also have the opportunity to attend interesting, informal academic lectures on campus hosted by UNI honors professors. Events like "Lunch and Learn" and "Profs and Pizza" give honors students the chance to learn more about intriguing topics not always touched on in class, while enjoying food with friends.

The Honors Program is not only a place for student learning, but also an opportunity to connect with other students who share similar interests. Throughout the academic year, the program, along with the Honors Student Advisory Board, hosts a number of activities, including a Halloween Party, the annual Honors Hayride at Heritage Farm and even a ropes course for incoming freshmen.

"The Honors Program has been a wonderful community for me at UNI," says Theresa Luensmann, a senior honors student. "Most of my friends are honors students, and many of the people I have met in honors classes are people that I still talk to all the time. The Honors Program is not only a wonderful learning opportunity, but also a strong and welcoming community."