Updates from Johnson County Community College: Honors program provides students with opportunities to make a difference

JCCC, students can get involved with organizations and activities that help them build confidence and gain experiences to influence their futures. The JCCC Honors Program offers academically motivated students a chance to follow their passions, serve their community, develop their leadership skills and explore new ideas.

JCCC Honors student sparks change nationally

To graduate with Honors at JCCC, students must complete seminars, forums, presentations and specific courses. This also includes participating in honors contracts, which are extensions of regular JCCC classes that allow students to explore a subject they’re passionate about.

Robert Songer is using his honors contract project to make a difference in the world. Because of his forward-thinking initiatives, libraries and archives across the country are taking a new look at how they do business.

When Robert started his project, his goal was to review the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 32 years after it became law. Robert, who is visually impaired, found he couldn’t access many of the research materials in library archives across the country.

Robert’s inquiries to several archival institutions revealed that they lacked accessibility procedures. Robert’s questions inspired several institutions to provide more adaptive technology and better ways to ensure those with visual disabilities could access their materials.

Anne Dotter, Assistant Professor and Honors Director, says of the program, “We want to support academically motivated students like Robert to further personalize their learning and help them achieve whatever goals they have beyond JCCC.”

Robert, who is earning an associate degree after years in the workforce, has a glimpse of the impact he can have. After graduating, he plans to help people who’ve lost their vision be more independent.

Student develops skills and lands dream job with help from Honors

Just like Robert, student Sidney Henkensiefken found her place in the JCCC Honors Program. She credits the program for helping her earn an internship and full-time job at the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City.

When Sidney started at JCCC, she wasn’t sure where she’d fit in. After her first few weeks on campus, she discovered that the Honors Lounge was a great place to hang out and meet people.

“When I opened the door to the Honors Lounge,” says Sidney, “I had no idea how it would impact my life. I walked through the door and learned how to be part of something bigger than myself.”

Shortly after joining the Honors Program, Sidney served as president of the Honors Student Association where she worked to make the organization better for students. She says one of the biggest benefits of Honors was the “soft skills” she learned through making presentations, solving problems and communicating with a variety of people. She believes those skills gave her an advantage over other applicants to help her land a great job.

She says she learned the motto she lives by – “I can always do more and strive to do better” – during her time in the Honors Program at JCCC. Her career goal is to live out that motto by serving people through her job at the Federal Reserve Bank, an organization whose resources and products help the economy function.

Honors – a steppingstone to making an impact

In JCCC’s Honors Program, students complete several experiences that broaden their horizons and challenge them to explore new ideas. Read more about Honors and the ways students can enhance their education experience through the program.

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