Skip to Main Content
Idaho State University

University Honors Program Alumni


AMPed UP! (Alumni Mentor Program)


The University Honors Program at ISU is making efforts to promote student success. We hope to help each individual excel both before and after graduation. As a part of our efforts, we have established an Alumni Mentorship Program known as AMPed UP!. Similar programs have been used in other universities and have experienced great success.


AMPed UP! will pair current honors program students with honors program alumni according to major or program. In a collaborative effort, the alumn will work with the current student on professional development, resumes, networking, and other suggested topics. The intended outcome of AMPed UP! is to build meaningful connections that will continue to be advantageous after graduation as well as prepare students to reach their individual post-graduation goals.


We believe this program will benefit both the student and you. This is an opportunity to learn and develop leadership skills, create meaningful friendships, and positively affect those who are quickly coming into the workforce. The alumn and student will meet approximately once a month and guidelines for each appointment will be given


Alumn, we need your help. If you are interested in signing up or would like more information please contact Honors Coordinator, Dr. Jamie Romine-Gabardi at or 208-282-1383.




Meet Recent Graduates from the University Honors Program at ISU

Graduation Years - 2016 - 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012


Andrew Polenske

Andrew Polenske | 2016

Andrew Polenske graduated in May, 2016 with honors. He received an Honors Bachelor of Science degree in physical education with a major concentration in exercise science and a minor in Japanese. Andrew was the first student at ISU to be accepted into the newly formed Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Accelerated Program which permits him to complete a Masters of Athletic Training simultaneously with the DPT. Andrew participated in the Japanese Study Abroad program in his sophomore year. He was a member of PSI CHI International Honor Society in Psychology and collaborated with ISU professor Dr. Karen M. Appleby to publish an article in the 2015 Summer “Eye on Psi Chi” magazine.

My Favorite People/Experience at ISU:
Dr. Karen Appleby, who is a professor in the Sport Science and Physical Education department helped introduce me to research and showed me how passion for your education and future profession can make things so much more enjoyable.
I worked in the human performance lab as a CPI which further allowed me to perform research, become a teaching assistant in some classes, expanded my undergraduate education, and prepared me for entry into my Master and Doctorate programs.

My Advice to Future UHP Students:
Don't be afraid to get to know your professors outside of class. I don't mean that you should become best friends with them, but begin conversations about their research and even how you could get involved as well. It can lead to publications, job opportunities, and networking, all of which are important moving forward into careers or post graduate programs.

Jessica Sargent

Jessica Sargent | 2016

Jessica Sargent graduated in December, 2015 with honors. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology with a minor in psychology and received her University Honors Program Distinction. She served as an ASISU student senator for Graduate Studies in- 2016-17, and has been elected as the ASISU student body president for 2017-18. Jessica was accepted into the psychology master’s program at ISU in Fall 2016.

My Favorite Experience at ISU:
I have so many favorite people at ISU that I truly cannot pick just one! ISU was so amazing not because of the buildings or the pillars, but because of the people! I learned so much from so many different individuals from all walks of life. The thing that inspired me the most about ISU was how so many people from so many different backgrounds can come together and be something great. I truly was able to learn compassion because of the wonderful people I met on the grounds of Idaho State University campus. ISU changed my life far more than simply supplying me with a degree.
I somehow was chosen to be a Career Path Intern (CPI) for the chair of the Sociology, Social Work, and Criminology department, Dr. Gesine Hearn. I always knew I was a good student, but Dr. Hearn showed me that I was a great student! I learned so much about how classes are set up, what all professors have to do, and how proper qualitative research is conducted. I so appreciate the time she gave me and the confidence she instilled in me. Because of my experience being a CPI, I felt capable of continuing on for my master's degree (which I am currently pursuing!). Further, I was an ISU track and field athlete for four years. WOW! What an experience! I learned so much about dedication, hard work, success, and heartbreak. That experience alone completely changed who I am and how I see the world. I will forever be grateful to Dave Nielsen and the late Jackie Poulson for giving me a chance and for allowing me to be a part of ISU track and field.

My Advice to Future UHP Students:
Do not worry too much about how much money you will make or what job a specific degree can equip you for. If you are a hard worker, then jobs and paychecks will come. Do what you love!

Jordan Withers

Jordan Withers | 2016

Jordan Withers graduated in May 2016 with honors. He received an Honors Bachelor of Science degree in health care administration and minors in psychology and business administration. He was selected as the recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Student Achievement Award for Division of Health Sciences when he graduated. Jordan also served in the University Honors Program leadership and ASISU leadership positions. Jordan received his Master of Business Administration with an Economics major concentration frim Idaho State University in May of 2018.

My Favorite People at ISU:
These people showed me that your potential is never limited, and challenged me to reach the next level. The professors of this university – Dr. Sherri Dienstfrey-Swanson, Dr. Jamie Romine-Gabardi, Dr. Alex Bolinger, and Dr. Alan Johnson - never accept that you are "just" a student. They see you are someone with uncapped potential, whose contributions and talents will impact those you encounter throughout your time at ISU and far beyond.

My Favorite Thing at ISU:
Everything! As a freshman, I oftentimes stayed in the comfort of my own room. In other words, I FAILED my first year. The experience you have at college is shaped 18% by your academics, and 92% your social life/involvement (yes, you should always give it 110%). As an undergraduate student, I was involved in: Resident Assistant for two years, Assistant Resident Director, ASISU Senator for two years, UHP Club Historian, UHP Club President, Phi Kappa Phi Member, Central Academic Advising Peer Advisor, and University Honors Program Envoy member for two semesters.

My Advice to Future UHP Students:
Embrace the experience! That one class, or paper, or test, may seem like the most daunting of challenges, but recognize where you are. You have shown you have the brains, the tenacity, and the potential to do, and continue to do, amazing things - NEVER FORGET THAT. Know there will be times where you are discouraged or unmotivated, but those will be repressed through the memories you share with your peers, professors, and the discovery of yourself. We all had to start from the bottom, but now we are here! Just remember that "here" is not limited; you can always find the opportunities to push yourself further!

Hope Gibson

Hope Gibson | 2016

Hope Gibson graduated in May 2016 with honors. She received an Honors Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Education-History with a minor in Secondary Education-Political Science. Always an involved student, she has been a member of Kappa Delta Pi, 1901 Student Alumni Group, Phi Alpha Theta, Chi Alpha and the ISU Marching band playing the clarinet. She had a leadership role in the University Honors Program as a member of the Envoy group. Hope received the Outstanding Student Achievement Award for the College of Education when she graduated.

Hope is currently employed by the Twin Falls School District as a sixth grade Social Studies teacher. Hope describes her job as “having the privilege of teaching 6th graders Social Studies at a middle school in Twin Falls. Every day is filled with new challenges and rewards”.

My Favorite Experience at ISU:
I really enjoyed working with all of the professors in the Honors Program. The various classes and seminars I was able to take within the Honors Program were inspirational as well. I also enjoyed working with the professors in the History Department. They inspired me to be a better student, teacher, and historian.

I had several beneficial experiences during my time at ISU. First of all, I participated in the ISU Marching Band. The Marching Band cultivated lifelong friendships and helped me to improve as a musician. Second, I became an ISU Ambassador. Learning about campus, giving tours, helping with on campus events, and encouraging potential students to come to ISU were some of my most favorite times. Finally, I was able to complete an Honors Thesis during my senior year. Doing research and creating an entire curriculum was beneficial to me both as an Honors student and as an aspiring teacher.

My Advice to Future UHP Students:
There are two pieces of advice I would give any student in the ISU UHP. First, get involved! Don't shy away from opportunities to participate in the program and its activities. Second, get to know the professors. Professors are amazing resources and want students to be successful. If you can connect with your professors you can be successful in both your classes and in the Honors Program.

Katie Nicholls

Katie Nicholls | 2016

Katie Nicholls graduated in May 2016 with honors. She was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish for Health Professions and received her University Honors Program Distinction. Katie received the Outstanding Student Achievement Award for the College of Arts and Letters—Fine Arts and Humanities when she graduated.

During her undergraduate years, Katie was the Big Sky Conference champion and record holder of the 800 meter, Outstanding Athlete of the year and Most Valuable Athlete for track and field. She received the Sievers and Kitaj Study Abroad scholarship, the Laura Moore Cunningham Scholarship, Bennion Scholarship and Freshman Leadership Scholarship.

Katie served as the president of Pre-Health Professions Association, University Honors Program mentor, Lunch and Play intern for Portneuf Health Trust, Vice-President of Honors Program Club and Treasurer of the Psychology Club. She was a medical volunteer in Costa Rica and Guatemala and also competed in the NCAA Division 1 West Regionals for track and field.
Katie was accepted into the Physician’s Assistant Program at ISU in Fall 2016 where she is pursuing her graduate degree.

My Favorite People/Experiences at ISU:
My favorite times at ISU have been getting to go through undergraduate and, now, my graduate program with the best friend I made in the dorms freshman year. We have had such amazing times from making bunk beds in Rendezvous and roller blading to class, road trips, being officers in UHP club, taking SCUBA, Spanish and guitar classes, breakfasts at Jumbo's and now becoming physician assistants together. I am so lucky to have gotten to share my ISU experience with her!

Brian Janssen, my cross country coach, was an amazing leader, and taught us to be an open-minded, caring team, as well as having fun and enjoying the gift of running.

My Advice to Future UHP Students:
This is such an amazing time to go outside of your comfort zone, meet new people, and challenge yourself to grow. I still remind myself of that every day. (:

Kendall Ramsay

Kendall Ramsay | 2016

Kendall Ramsay graduated in August 2016 and received an Honors Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a major concentration in Pre-Audiology and a minor in Psychology. She served as a Peer Mentor to new incoming ISU students. Kendall was accepted to the AuD (Doctor of Audiology) program at the University of Cincinnati where she is currently pursuing her Master’s degree.

My Favorite Thing at ISU:
My favorite thing about ISU is the audiology department. They work well as a team and all individually inspired me to become a great student and professional.

I was a Career Pathway Intern from my freshman year until graduation. I interned in a research lab and loved it. It felt great to already be applying knowledge specific to my major! It also made me a more competitive applicant when applying to graduate schools.

My Advice to Future UHP Students:
I think everyone should help with a research project in their undergraduate program if they find the opportunity. All research faculty I know, are so passionate about their field of study that it is contagious.

Jenna Larson Hopkin

Jenna Larson-Hopkin | 2016

Jenna Larson-Hopkin graduated in December 2015 and was awarded a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing and Management and received her University Honors Program Distinction. Jenna received the Outstanding Student Achievement Award for the College of Business when she graduated. Jenna is currently pursuing her Masters of Business Administration at ISU.

My Favorite Experiences and People at ISU:
The most inspirational person I worked with during my time at Idaho State was Dr. Sandra Speck. She is a professor in the Marketing Department as well as the Marketing Association advisor and my program advisor. From the first day I met with her she encouraged me to join the Marketing Association and from there my experience as a student grew exponentially. I was able to eventually become president within the club and her mentorship pushed me to more new heights than I thought possible. She helped me gain leadership and networking experience and always provided me support during hard times in the club. She pushed me even when I thought things would be impossible. She was also a fabulous professor who put a lot of time, energy, and personal experience into her teaching and made class so interesting and dynamic. She was a kind and patient mentor who helped me grow so much in my time at ISU. She continues to stay in contact with me and inspire me to this day. The faculty and staff and ISU really care about their students and it made my experience here invaluable.

The Marketing Association Club provided a huge benefit to my career as a student. I learned a lot about organization and leadership and was given many opportunities to network and grow within my professional field. I was also an ISU Ambassador and this program was truly what shaped me as an individual at Idaho State. This program taught me so much about discipline, work ethic, integrity, spirit, and pride. Being an Ambassador gave me the opportunity to share my love and compassion for ISU with prospective students and to show my love across campus. It helped me grow as a leader and develop professional skills that have carried forward into my career. I was even fortunate enough to continue in the department and now work full time as a CRM and Marketing Specialist at ISU.

My Advice to future UHP students:

My biggest piece of advice is to get involved! Idaho State University students are fortunate to be on a campus with endless opportunities for its students. You will not just be a number here because there is something for everyone! Anything from joining a club, to being a career path intern, to simply getting involved in going to your professor's office hours and building connections with them will make your experience an amazing one. You can always find a helping hand and support system here at ISU if you just make the move to get involved!


Jessica Richeleau

Jessica Richelieu | 2015

Jessica Richelieu graduated in May 2015 with high honors. She received an Honors Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a Biomedical Sciences concentration. Jessica accepted a position in the Doctor of Medicine program at the University of Washington which begins in August 2016. She is attending on the WWAMI Regional Medical scholarship which assists students in western states to pursue their medical degrees.

My Favorite Experience at ISU:
My favorite thing at ISU was the personal attention received by professors, advisors, work and research mentors, etc. Attending a somewhat smaller scale university and being in the honors program allowed for smaller class sizes and closer relationships with professors and classmates. I felt that my educational experience benefitted greatly from this. Rather than feeling like I was flying under the radar I felt supported. I continue to see the benefits from this through friendships and advice from former classmates and guidance and recommendations from former professors and advisors. Even as I continue on to medical school the support of ISU and everyone I encountered there comes with me.

While attending ISU I seized every opportunity I could and had some of the best experiences. I studied abroad in Sweden for half a year and made some of the best international friendships while fully being immersed in another culture. I also attended a medical humanitarian mission to Peru during the spring break of my junior year. On campus, I was very involved in my sorority Alpha Xi Delta, the pre health professions club, and several honor societies, participated in undergraduate research and managed the Bengal Theater for three years. All of these contributed to a fun and fulfilling undergraduate experience and continue to benefit me as they bolstered my resume and gave me interesting stories to bring up during interviews.

My Advice to future UHP students:
My biggest advice would be to take advantage of all of the great opportunities the UHP has to offer because it will enhance your undergraduate years and it will set you apart from a lot of future competitors for work, graduate programs, professional schools, etc. Certain experiences such as writing and defending an undergraduate thesis may seem daunting at first but is so worthwhile in the end when you receive an honors degree. I never felt like I didn't have the advising and help necessary to complete it successfully and it's something most undergraduates are never even offered.

Doug Walker

Douglas Walker | 2015

Douglas Walker graduated with honors in May, 2015 and received an Honors Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry with a minor in Mathematics. Doug was the recipient of the Outstanding Student Award for the College of Science & Engineering - Natural and Physical Sciences and was honored at the ISU Commencement. He is continuing his education at William Marsh Rice University pursuing a Doctorate of Philosophy in Chemistry.

My Favorite Experience at ISU:
My favorite part of ISU was being a part of the Chemistry Club. The outreach I was able to do for my discipline through the ISU Chemistry Club was simply amazing. Sharing with the community and with children the wonder, excitement and the enjoyment of science that I have, was such an irreplaceable feeling and experience!!

I really benefitted from being a part of the Chemistry Club, but also very much from being a part of Dr. Joshua Pak's research lab. I received a great experience doing chemistry and learning science and also had a wonderful mentor who challenged me to push myself and work toward opportunities that would be of huge benefit to me. I really appreciate everything he did for me and helped me with while I was at ISU.

My Advice to future UHP students:
So with all that , I guess my advice to current and future students would have to be that UHP is awesome and I loved being part of it. I helped with the Opportuni-Tea each year and had such wonderful advisors. But don't stop there; get involved with a group and a person in your program that will really continue to challenge you beyond what you would do yourself. A good mentor who has connections and ambitions and ideas is a priceless resource to have in your court!

Rosey Whiting

Rosey Whiting | 2015

Rosey Whiting graduated in August, 2015 and received a double major in Honors Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a Biomedical Sciences concentration, and a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Lab Science. Rosey is currently working as a Medical Lab Scientist in Washing and will begin the Biomolecular PhD at Boise State University in August, 2016.

My Favorite Experience at ISU:
One of my biggest inspirations was my research mentor Dr. Groome. I learned so much by doing my honors thesis in his laboratory. Ultimately that experience guided me to my future in biomedical research.

Completing my honors thesis was incredibly beneficial both while I was at ISU and for my future. The experience will help me tremendously while I pursue my PhD. The strong encouragement to pursue an honors degree is what ultimately pushed me into a research lab. I found my passion thanks to that!

My Advice to future UHP students:
Complete your thesis and obtain your honors degree! It's an incredibly rewarding experience and you'll have the best guidance and counseling along the way. It was a lot of work, but it will definitely pay off no matter which direction your education or career takes you.

Britney Jacobs

Britney Jacobs | 2015

Britney Jacobs graduated in May, 2015 with an Honors Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Political Science and Philosophy. As Britney approached graduation from ISU she was accepted to Gonzaga University School of Law.  In May 2018 Brittany received her Juris Doctoral degree.

My Favorite Experience at ISU:
I enjoyed the close knit community within a decent sized school. Everyone was extremely friendly and willing to reach out and help others if they saw a need. I grew up in a small town where everyone knew about you and what you were doing. At first going to a school with 15,000 people scared me because I thought I would be lost in the crowd, but the honors program and the staff at the school created an environment that welcomed me in and made me feel like I was a part of something and I was not just a number.

Being in the Honors Program opened a lot of doors for me, especially with on-campus employment. Residence Hall Association also taught me a lot about working with people and learning to be a leader, so I appreciate the coordinators of that club for giving me that opportunity to grow. I also participated in the Student Conduct Board. We had a lot of training sessions that might discourage people from becoming involved, but while attending these sessions, I learned so much about sexual consent and how to treat people with respect. It opened up my world to some of the terrible things people go through because of the actions of others, and it made me want to help the victims find a just solution.

My Advice to future UHP students:
Create balance in your life. Learn to evaluate yourself and be okay with giving yourself a break sometimes. A lot of UHP students are very focused on grades, which is great because it obviously got them into the program, but it can become extremely overwhelming, especially in post-secondary education. School is not everything, and eventually it comes to an end and you then have to create a life. Learn to find balance between your personal enjoyments and school.


Oliver Brenna

Brenna Oliver | 2014

Brenna Oliver graduated with an Honors Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications with a major concentration in Visual Communications Graphics. She is currently employed with Daskalos Development and Investments as a Property Manager in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She oversees about 100 different tenants in 15 shopping centers located mostly in Albuquerque, New Mexico. On a daily basis she communicates with tenants as needed as well as organizing and preparing accounts payable. She maintains properties by investigating and resolving tenant complaints, enforcing rules of occupancy and submitting/completing work orders for needed tenant repairs. She prepares monthly reports by collecting, analyzing, and summarizing data and trends.

Brenna talks about an experience after graduation that led to her current employment: “Since graduating, I was able to visit Israel July 2014 on an all-expense paid trip through the organization: Birthright Israel. I began working for the Daskalos' (a local Greek family) September 2014 and have since moved up from administrative assistant to assistant property manager to property manager. I am currently in the process of earning my Real Estate License and plan to continue with commercial property management as my career of choice”.

My Favorite Experience at ISU:
I was able to work a couple of summers with University Housing as a Conference Assistant and it opened my eyes to a whole new career field I never would have imagined possible for me. I had the most amazing bosses and worked with some really inspiring students. The experiences I gained from working this job has tremendously benefited me on the career path I am following. I was able to meet students from all over the United States and foreign countries and create friendships that still continue today. Although I graduated with intentions of using my degree and working as a Graphic Designer, I am happier than I ever thought I could be while working a commercial property management job.

I was a member of the ISU student dance club, Danson, both as an officer and a participant. Danson really opened me up to an artistic way to express myself. The club accepts any student with open arms - as long as they have the desire to move and dance. The no-pressure environment allowed me to enjoy every second of dancing and I loved every minute I spent with my new dance family. I was able to choreograph pieces I never imagined I could create and I even had the opportunity to visit a dance workshop at the University of Montana! I will never forget the experiences we had at practice, performing and participating in the Homecoming parades. I am especially thankful for all the wonderful people I met and was honored to dance alongside of them.

My Advice to future UHP students:
Study hard and do your reading, but be involved and have fun! Make time for the events put on by UHP and make connections with your peers because those relationships will last a lifetime!

Sydnie Koch

Sydnie Koch | 2014

Sydnie Koch graduated in May, 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering with a minor in Mathematics. She graduated with honors and she received the Honors Distinction. After Sydnie graduated she was accepted to the University of British Columbia where she is now pursuing a Master’s degree in Engineering Construction and Project Management.

My Favorite Experience at ISU:
ISU is small enough that you can become very familiar with your peers and professors and large enough to provide a quality education. It was important to me that I was given all the necessary tools to excel in my program and the Department of Civil Engineering did that. I found all my professors to be very knowledgeable in their areas of expertise. The wealth of industry knowledge my professors brought to the classroom was incredibly valuable to my education. My professors were the ones who encouraged me to continue my education and I'm so glad they did.

I participated in three honors societies while attending ISU. I think these societies helped me grow as a person and allowed me to experience a variety of new things. My confidence grew in proportion to my leadership and communication skills. I also participated in undergraduate research and was hired as an intern through my department. It is my belief that these were a large contributing factor to my acceptance to graduate school at one of the top engineering schools in the world.

My Advice to future UHP students:
Don't be afraid and don't squander away your time. Being a university student is one of the most forgiving and free times of your life. If you make a mistake it's not a big deal, you're learning. You have all the freedoms of being an adult with reduced responsibilities. This will only happen once. Enjoy this time. Get out of the house and interact with your fellow students and community.

Kristine McCarty

Kristine McCarty | 2014

Kristine McCarty graduated in May, 2014 with High Honors. She received an Honors Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology. Kristine is currently pursuing her Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing at ISU.

Shortly after graduation, Kristine was appointed as the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the College of Business. She now oversees the advising and recruitment for the College of Business. She works with current business students to ensure they meet degree requirements, helps advise them on their career path, and makes suggestions for future graduate education. She also gets to meet prospective students, visit high schools, and attend college fairs on behalf of the College of Business. Kristine loves to help students figure out what they want to do with their future, so this is the perfect position for her!

My Favorite Experience at ISU:
I had such a fantastic experience at ISU - my fellow students, the faculty, and the staff were so supportive and encouraging. Kim Valenta, the former coordinator for the honors program, was a huge inspiration to me. She taught me so much and was always so supportive. Without her and the rest of the great people in the UHP, I could not be where I am today!

As part of the University Honors Program, I had the opportunity to write an undergraduate thesis for my anthropology degree. My thesis was titled "Overcoming the Myth of Global Cultural Homogenization: The Importance of Cultural Awareness in International Marketing." This allowed me to tie in my undergraduate experience in anthropology and marketing with my future plans for pursuing an MBA. The skills I developed - research, writing, presentation- have been invaluable.

My Advice to future UHP students:
Get an internship! ISU and the UHP gave me so many opportunities to intern while in school, and I learned so much from those internships. They helped me realize what I want to pursue for my career, allowed me to make important connections with individuals in my industry, and gave me valuable experience that has prepared me for my future. The best advice I can give is to take advantage of the great opportunities that ISU and the UHP give you. There is so much available here for you, and everyone is willing to help. Put yourself out there. Join clubs, get an internship, interact with your professors, and you will have a great experience!

Sarah Pickle

Sarah Pickle | 2014

Sarah Pickle graduated with Honors and received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with an Honors Distinction in May, 2014. She is currently continuing her education at Idaho State University, working towards a Masters in Chemistry.

My Favorite Experience at ISU:
The first thing that caught my attention about ISU was how friendly all the people were when I first visited the campus. I immediately fell in love with ISU and knew that this is where I wanted to continue my education. The Honors Program helped me make lifelong friends since we all usually had the same classes together and most lived in the same residence halls. It was very easy to make those connections. Faculty members who have inspired me most at ISU are Dr. Davis and Dr. Holland in the chemistry department. Dr. Davis helped me to decide to continue my education in chemistry and was always a very positive mentor for me. Dr. Holland, an Honors faculty member who I work for currently in his research lab for my Masters, has taught me an immense amount of information about chemistry and always presents information in a way that is interesting!

As an undergraduate student I did organic chemistry research with Dr. Davis. This work helped me gain additional knowledge that I could not learn from a classroom setting and it provided me hands-on experience using instruments that you would normally just read about in a textbook. Currently, I am working in Dr. Holland's lab performing inorganic research. Due to the smaller size of ISU, it has allowed me to get more one-on-one with the professors to expand my knowledge about chemistry. I am planning on applying to PhD programs where I believe the research experience I have gained at ISU will benefit me during the application process. I have also had the amazing opportunity to be a teacher's assistant and teach general chemistry and organic chemistry labs. I would love to eventually be a professor and teach at the collegiate level, so this has been a great experience for me! In addition, I am a member of the Chemistry Club where we perform an annual magic show for children, and we also go to local elementary schools and conduct demonstrations for the students to try to get them excited about chemistry!

My Advice to future UHP students:
Some advice I give to future students attending UHP is to remember to balance your time! It's important to focus on academics but remember to also have fun! ISU and UHP provide their students with limitless opportunities but you just have to look for them! Go Bengals!

Kayla Brawley

Kayla Brawley | 2014

Kayla Brawley graduated in May, 2014 with High Honors and received an Honors Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry. Kayla is currently pursuing her Doctor of Pharmacy degree at Idaho State University.

My Favorite Experience at ISU:
I was most inspired by Dr. Jeffrey Hill in Honors Biology during my freshman undergraduate year. This class really sparked my interest in the field of science and I ended up graduating with a BS in Biochemistry with Honors Distinction. I am now in my second year of Pharmacy school! I think my favorite extracurricular activity at ISU is the Bengal theater. This theater is free for all students and they play recent movies!

I participated in the Idaho IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) Fellowship. This fellowship provided me with an excellent research opportunity during the summer and gave me an opportunity to present my research at a conference. I think this fellowship opportunity was very beneficial during my undergraduate career because it allowed me to apply the knowledge that I had gained in organic chemistry in a work environment.

My Advice to future UHP students:
Never settle for a career based on earning potential or convenience but instead find a career that you will truly enjoy every day. This might require doing some exploration through shadowing and volunteer hours in a potential area of interest. Flashcards are a cheap investment and provide an excellent study tool for college classes. The index cards utilize visual learning and auditory learning which enhances memory of class material. I definitely think these help especially when you study in group.



Steven Boomhower | 2013

Steven Boomhower graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, in May 2013 with High Honors and the University Honors Program Distinction. He continued his education at Auburn University, in Auburn, Alabama, where he recieved a PhD in Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences.

My Favorite Experience at ISU:
By far, my favorite aspects of Idaho State University (ISU) were my kind, supportive friends and the friendly faculty of the Department of Psychology. In particular, Dr. Erin Rasmussen stands out as one of my biggest inspirations during my time at ISU. She always encouraged me to work my hardest, served as the ideal role model of a scientist and teacher, and helped direct me to my dream career as a professor.

I participated in a number of activities as an undergraduate at ISU-- one being research. I began conducting research as a freshman, devoting my time to two research labs in the Department of Psychology: Dr. Erin Rasmussen's behavioral pharmacology lab and Dr. Michele Brumley's developmental psychobiology lab. My participation in these labs and the interactions I had with my labmates fundamentally changed the way I conceptualize the science of psychology as well as how I approach problems (both scientific and personal) in the world. My experience with undergraduate research at ISU was (and will be) invaluable throughout my career in academia.

My Advice to future UHP students:
I would encourage future University Honors Program (UHP) students to find what they love--the topics and activities that they look forward to during the day (and sometimes keep them up at night)-- and chase it. Next, seize all opportunities that come their way. The sole reason I came in contact with the hugely beneficial experiences I have had in research at ISU was because of the UHP. Finally and most importantly, I would encourage future UHP students to find a faculty member who wants to see them succeed and help them achieve their dreams. I found many of these professors at ISU.


Cassidy Fernandez | 2013

Cassidy Fernandez graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management and a Major Concentration in Human Resource Management, in May, 2013, with the University Honors Distinction. Cassidy continued her education and received her Masters of Business Administration in May, 2014. She currently is employed at Sutter Physician Services, in Murray, UT, as a Recruiter. She is responsible for full cycle recruitment, which includes developing and executing strategic recruitment plans, developing creative job postings, conducting intake sessions with hiring managers, sourcing candidates and guiding them through the hiring process, conducting interviews, negotiating offers, and ultimately filling positions in a timely and proactive manner.

My Favorite Experiences at ISU:
ISU was such a great experience for me. The ability to be involved with student groups and associations was my favorite due to the access to ISU events! I was a member of Alpha Xi Delta sorority as well as ISU Ambassadors, to mention a few, that really opened the door to the path to success! Looking back I can see that every step I took towards growing was attributed to the groups and opportunities available to me. My greatest achievement while I was an undergrad at ISU was being named the ISU Outstanding Student for the College of Business 2012-2013! It was a true realization that hard work and perseverance do pay off.

I would say that everything I did affected me in some way. Especially while I was an ISU Ambassador, I was able to share in my experiences, help others, and gain a lot of leadership and teamwork experience! Also, joining in the greek life scene (through Alpha Xi Delta) I was able to make lifelong friends, learn invaluable lessons, and gain leadership.

My Advice to Future UHP Students:
Get involved in everything that you possibly can! Of course, schoolwork comes first, but also remember that college is also about learning to become an adult. In turn, learning to balance your academic/professional life with extracurricular/social life will only be easier if you start early.

Nicole Blanchard Evanston

Nicole Blanchard | 2013

Nicole Evanston Blanchard graduated with an Honors Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication with a Major Concentration in Journalism and a Minor in French. She completed her degree in December, 2013 with High Honors. She is currently continuing her education at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, majoring in M.S. Journalism.

My Favorite Experience at ISU:
My favorite thing about ISU was the sense of community I felt. In four short years, I developed so many important relationships and truly felt a part of the university community in many ways. My involvement with the Honors Program, "The Bengal" student newspaper and the Mass Communication Department as a whole produced a sense of belonging that I haven't experienced anywhere else.

Working for "The Bengal" student newspaper was such a crucial experience for me. I joined my freshman year as News Editor and eventually went on to become Editor-in-Chief for my final three semesters at ISU. Now that I'm working on my master's in journalism, I realize just how valuable it was to experience working in a newsroom. I learned so many skills (both journalism- and teamwork-related) that I'm now able to apply at Medill School of Journalism, and I built confidence that is necessary in the work I'm doing today. In addition, it offered me a chance to get to know other students, faculty and staff that I wouldn't otherwise have interacted with. I felt connected to my university and community, and had the knowledge to navigate my ISU experience as smoothly as possible.

My Advice to Future UHP Students:
Take advantage of what the program has to offer! Goal shortcuts offer opportunities to explore your other interests, and UHP electives and contract courses can enrich your time at ISU. Participating in events like UHP's annual Opportuni-Tea or the Envoy give you a chance to get to know classmates outside of an academic setting, which is great as well. At the same time, don't be afraid to venture outside of the program! I met some of my best friends on the first day of UHP classes, but getting involved in other activities helped make the most of my college experience.

Benjamin Bosen

Benjamin Bosen | 2013

Benjamin Bosen graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics in May, 2013 with the University Honors Program Distinction. He is currently continuing his education at Rocky Vista University in Parker, Colorado, majoring in Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.

My Favorite Experience at ISU:
My favorite thing at ISU was all of the activities that happened on or near campus that were especially for the ISU student body. I enjoyed having cultural events, a movie theater, sports and other countless events and games that were either free or at a reduced cost to us. I wasn't a social butterfly, but it was fun to get out and have "cheap" things to do. (Now I'm in graduate school (medical), where there are hardly any well sponsored activities, and I am a penny pincher, so I don't do much outside of the classroom.) I had the opportunity to be President of the Economics Club on campus and to work with other clubs to host multi club activities and contests. It was a great chance to develop leadership and teamwork attributes. I also enjoyed traveling to high schools in the area to get them interested in coming to ISU and participating in our clubs. I also enjoyed the unique opportunity my first year at ISU or taking classes such as the honors Social Sciences and Humanities. I was definitely not even close to the smartest student in those classes, and I enjoyed learning from my fellow UHP classmates and building friendships (some could call it networking).

My Advice to Future UHP Students:
I regretfully admit that I viewed my undergrad classes as simply hoops I had to jump through to get a piece of paper. I was a competitive student and always wanted to receive top marks, but that was my goal, the grade, not the opportunity to further my knowledge. I am now at medical school where it is a pass or fail grade. Saving and improving lives is now my goal. An A+ in and of itself will mean nothing to me as a doctor. It is the material in the class, not the grade at the end of the class that is important. So that would be my advice. To use this amazing opportunity before you to expand your mind and try to really learn as much as you can in every single class you take. You never know when information from that boring history class (or econ!) will come in handy. The UHP especially plans and prepares classes with curriculums designed to show you new ways of thinking and learning. Take advantage of the wonderful opportunities before you to really learn and not just aim for that piece of paper.


KC Harding

KC Harding | 2012

KC Harding graduated in May 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and an Honors Distinction. After KC graduated from ISU, she attended the University of Idaho College of Law where she recently graduated at the top of her class and received her Juris Doctorate.
KC is currently employed with the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Seattle, Washington. There she works as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Judge Richard Tallman. Her main responsibility is to help prepare the Judge to make informed decisions in upcoming cases. Most of her day is composed of legal research and writing.

My Favorite Experience at ISU:
Dr. Cindy Hill was a great mentor while I was attending ISU. She excelled in every role she played in my life: teacher, advisor, boss, and friend. She also encouraged me to go to law school and helped me with the application process-- which proved invaluable.

I also really enjoyed my time in clubs at ISU. While a member of the college democrats, I got the opportunity to participate in grassroots campaigns. As an economics club member, I really enjoyed the opportunity to get to know my course mates and professors better outside of classroom.

My Advice to future UHP students:
Take advantage of the mentorships and friendships that UHP actively facilitates. Having good relationships with your peers and faculty makes every day at school more enjoyable and can prove helpful in your future career.


Katelyn McKelley | 2012

Katelyn McKelley graduated High Honors, receiving an Honors Bachelor of Arts degree, in August, 2012. Katelyn is currently is employed at the American Stage Theatre Company as an Actor/Tour Manager. She travels to various elementary schools throughout Florida performing in an education tour of Charlotte's Web. Katelyn plays various characters, using life-sized puppets for the various farm animals (specifically Goose and Old Sheep) and also portray Mrs. Zuckerman. The Theatre Company moves their own set, costumes, sound equipment, props, and puppets; an entire theatre experience emerges from the back of an oversized van, the actors perform for students who may otherwise not have the opportunity to be a part of the performing arts. Katelyn says that it is truly a humbling and remarkable venture.

My Favorite Experiences at ISU:
Looking back, the ties I made with peers, mentors, friends, and coworkers has inspired me the most. Though I currently live on the other side of the country, I am still in touch with the people who encouraged me from the very beginning of my academic career (when I had no idea what I wanted) and have continued to give me words of wisdom, love, and support (as I still am deepening my understanding of what I want). The list of those who have been immeasurable pillars of support is too vast to list here, but there are two names I must mention: Dr. Sherri Dienstfrey-Swanson and Dr. Jamie Romine-Gabardi, two vastly talented and wondrous women I hold dear to my heart. I do not believe I could have come as far as I have without them.
Being involved with as many clubs, groups, and activities as I could while attending ISU was most beneficial to me as I got to experience not only what the club itself was, but I got to know such a vast variety of people. I was able to explore interests I would never have known I had and was able to connect with members of the community I would otherwise never have met. In addition, my senior thesis was a very important moment of my academic career; having the opportunity to work so closely with my mentors and to have discussed our passions so deeply was both inspiring and remarkable.

My Advice to Future UHP Students:
My advice would be to knock on every available door, even if it is a door you are not certain you want to step through at that moment in time. Don't limit yourself - someday having knocked on a particular door could lead you down a new path; at the end of the day, not only will you have options to choose from, but you will end up doing the things you never thought you could.


Shane Carnohan | 2012

Shane Carnohan graduated in May, 2012 with High Honors. He received an Honors Bachelor of Science in Zoology. He is currently working on his Graduate degree in System Dynamics and Energy Policy at the University of Bergen in Bergen, Norway.

My Favorite Experience at ISU:
My favorite early memory at ISU was definitely the anthropology course I took from Lewis Thomas. Partly because he is like a real-life version of Indiana Jones, but mainly because the topics we explored really expanded my thinking. One thing I remember best was getting on the ISU website one day and seeing a photo of Prof. Thomas teaching our class about human evolution with a bunch of skulls laid out in front of him. I felt so lucky to be in a course that cool!
Cynthia Hill taught me to love economics. She really made the topic come alive and welcomed student creativity - even allowing me to make a rap song about demand and supply for one of my projects. Now I get to teach some of these concepts as a grad student and I still explain the economics concept "tragedy of the commons" using the example of high-heels that I learned from that class.

Undergraduate research opportunities really helped me to discover my interests and prepared me for the independent work required of a graduate student. My time in Dr. Pfau's lab remains a defining moment in my academic life. I may not be conducting immunotoxicology research these days but the practical lessons I learned have been universal. Dr. Pfau always placed a large amount of trust and responsibility in the hands of her undergraduate researchers. Because of this, we felt a greater deal of ownership in our research tasks, subsequently, a great deal of pride in our results. She also taught me that good research often begins with a good question, something I apply in my research almost every day.

My Advice to Future UHP Students:
Take advantage of every academic opportunity you have and surround yourself with people who do the same. Your time as an undergrad should be fun but don't forget to prepare yourself with useful skills - research related or otherwise - that can be put to use when you march back through the arch. Oh, and don't forget to spend plenty of time at Goody's. The best people and times I ever knew in Pocatello started and ended at that place.


Shawnee Burt | 2012

Shawnee Burt completed three degrees at Idaho State University. She completed the Associate of Applied Science degree in Physical Therapist Assistant in May, 2008 along with her Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences, where she earned University Honors Distinction. In August, 2014 she received her Masters of Health Science.

Shawnee is currently staying home with her children and enjoying raising them! Her husband (also ISU grad) is a pharmacist at St. Luke's hospital in Twin Falls, Idaho. She plans to get involved in city government in the school districts, and aspires to work in health programs in the schools and get involved with the public library to promote reading. When her children are a little older, she would like to go back to work and use her graduate work to get a meaningful job in the community. Meanwhile, she actively promotes ISU in the Magic Valley. She works with the Recruitment Services Office on campus to help plan and host events for potential students in Twin Falls area!

My Favorite Experience at ISU:
There are so many wonderful things about Idaho State University it is really hard to narrow it down. Some things I loved about my educational experience there was of course the ISU Honors Program which was just barely starting when I joined. I am so proud to see what is has grown into! I love the size of ISU, it offers students the great advantage of receiving a top education with wonderful professors and research opportunities with a broad range of programs, while still being small enough to participate in so many extracurricular activities and organizations which enhance the college experience! Sherri Dienstfrey was a very inspiring mentor while I was in the Honors Program. She took time to get to know her students and taught such wonderful classes. I loved my interactions with her!

I was a member of ASISU as a senator for the college of Arts and Sciences and, later, the College of Technology for several years which was a privilege. This provided an opportunity for me to learn about the democratic process while helping to make positive changes for the university. It helped me to develop a deeper sense of pride and loyalty to the university and allowed me to work with wonderful students and faculty.

Perhaps one of the most influential extracurricular activities I was involved in was the ISU Ambassador program. This program shaped my whole college experience. It got me involved in campus service activities and helped me to gain a vast knowledge of the university, its past and traditions, as well as all the fantastic programs and things that make ISU great! I also learned many important leadership qualities which helped me later in life to land my first two jobs and has kept me tied to the university!

My Advice to Future UHP Students:
Take advantage of the things the UHP offers now, and get involved! Sometimes it seems like taking the path that might be harder is not what you want to do, but in my experience, taking the harder path opens up so many more doors for you that can lead to such great things! I think the UHP is the perfect example of a program that can really connect students to future opportunities they would never have otherwise! Go for the Honors degree and get involved in the club! Use your time to do important things while in college, this is the biggest time in your life where you can focus on yourself, take advantage of this, you won't always have the luxury of focusing on yourself!