‘Last Lecture’ series given at Dave’s Boathouse

Prior to rFLA, there was still the Honors neighborhood; while the instatement of four new neighborhoods three years ago might have brought with it a lot of change for Rollins undergraduates, this was not the case for those who enrolled or were planning to enroll in the Honors Program at Rollins.  One of the staples of the Honors neighborhood has always been participation in the Senior Honors Capstone.  This course is almost entirely focused on giving participants the key skills they will need to be able to plan and carry out a successful presentation.  At the end of the semester, students present a lecture—similar to a TED Talk—to an audience consisting of community members and their peers.

Dr. Chong, the professor who taught the Honors Capstone this semester, explained, “The curriculum tries to encapsulate what it means to have a liberal arts education and to integrate what Honors students have already learned so far.  We have had faculty members from different departments and divisions speak to our class about their greatest professional passion through TED-style lectures.”

This year, some students opted to present their “Last Lecture” at Dave’s Boathouse on the evening of November 16.  These presentations had been honed, in some fashion, for the majority of the semester: drafts had been written and revised, PowerPoint presentations had been created, smaller versions of the presentations had been conducted, and feedback had been given. . .

“In some ways, Dave’s is a really difficult place for a student to give a public presentation,” continued Chong. “There are people walking in and out, and lots of noises and other distractions.  For someone who is new to public speaking, it can be very disconcerting.  But in other ways, Dave’s is a perfect place to host an event like this, where students can casually join in, have something to eat or drink, and learn something new along the way.”

Five students—Elina McGill ‘17, Katherine Ammon ‘17, Victoria Villavicencio ‘17, Meghan Wallace ‘17, and Michael Dulman ‘17—presented at Dave’s Boathouse.

Their talks were all moving, and the subject matters ranged from mind-blowing to inspiring.

“The students have done really well to link their personal experiences and passions to a broader academic topic. . . Overall, the students’ presentations have been really fascinating and really diverse.  They cover a wide spectrum of academic disciplines, from literature to psychology to chemistry to economics,” continued Chong.

Elina McGill’s presentation focused on the imagination and how one can best employ it; Katherine Ammon’s talk discussed issues with the mental healthcare system and the concept of involuntary confinement; Victoria Villavicencio’s lecture fixated on her experiences with the immigration process and universal concerns regarding anti-immigration sentimentality; Megan Wallace discussed economically burdened areas like Detroit and the impact of the Tiny Home movement on such areas; Michael Dulman explored the myths surrounding our notion of a separation of church and state.

Having neared the end of their Rollins careers, the students had only positive things to say about the Honors Program and the Senior Capstone.

Dulman said, “The Honors Program has exposed me to ideas and perspectives from every major at Rollins, from Psychology and Physics to Chemistry and Communication Studies. The Honors Capstone has taught me how to explain ideas from my field to different audiences through a variety of media. I can express better my passion for my subject and inspire that passion in others.”

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