With all the different programs and societies offered at St. Kate’s, it can be hard keeping track of everything that is going on. The Antonian Scholars Honors Program is such a program that is often heard mentioned around campus which many people know very little about.
The Antonian Scholars Honors Program, celebrating its 30th birthday next year, has spent three decades molding students according to the objectives laid out in the student handbook found on the program’s website:
- To attract and provide a challenge for women of outstanding academic ability.
- To provide an opportunity for these women to interact with each other and build an intellectually supportive community of peers, faculty, and staff.
- To deepen a love of learning, understanding of great issues, and independent scholarship among these women.
- To build on the existing strengths of the faculty and to provide opportunities for developing new strengths.
- To clarify and emphasize the College’s commitment to the liberal arts and academic excellence.
- To find more information about the objectives, follow this link: http://www2.stkate.edu/sites/default/files/sites/antonian-scholars/handbook.pdf
While these high-minded aspirations are all well and good, the question readers are still asking is: What is the Antonian Scholars Honors Program?
The Antonian Scholars Honors Program is an interdepartmental academic program which requires students to take classes and fulfill other requirements which are extracurricular to their major track. As opposed to other honor societies attached to a specific department where students expand their academic experience within their major, such as English honors, the Antonian Scholars Honors Program is a department unto itself and exposes participants to many subject areas.
Students in the program are required to take four special honors courses during their time here at St. Kate’s. These courses are team-taught between instructors from two different departments and are designed to make students think critically and ultimately discuss the intersectionality of different areas of knowledge. Each seminar is open only to students in the program, which means that class sizes are usually no more than a dozen people. Furthermore, Honors students come from diverse fields which makes for discussions based on multifaceted perspectives.
When asked about her favorite seminar that she has taken, Emma Scagnelli ’16, a classical archaeology major, described the “Pagans Rock, Christians Roll” class co-taught in the Fall of 2013 by Dr. Emily West from the Classics Department and Professor Vince Skemp of the Theology Department.
“It was challenging and actually had something to do with my major,” Scagnelli said.
Along with taking Honors courses, Antonian scholars are required to complete a final project which they work on during the Fall and early Spring semesters of their final year at St. Kate’s. These projects are completed as independent studies under the guidance of a committee of individuals from different departments. The topic of each project can be almost anything and past projects have ranged from developing a new type of tortilla to fight hunger to analyzing the development of comic book characters over the decades. My own project looks at the lives of Puerto Rican women living in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York in the early decades of the twentieth century, which will combine my two majors: English and History.
Given all the extra work which is necessary for completing the program, readers are probably wondering why anyone would want to take such a challenge on. Well, when we are up until 3 a.m. finishing that project draft due in the morning, Honors students ask themselves the same question. Repeatedly. However, there are definite perks to being an Antonian Honors scholar. For one thing, we get to register for classes at 6 a.m. on the day registration opens making it easier to get into the classes we want. Honors students also have access to the Honors Hub, a lounge on the fourth floor of the Coeur de Catherine which is a great place to get some homework done or enjoy a nice cup of tea before jetting off to your next class. Furthermore, Antonian Honors students are allowed to live on either the Honors Floor in Carondelet (upperclassmen) or the Honors community in St. Mary Hall (freshman).
The benefits of being a part of the Antonian Scholars Honors Program are not just material; there are more theoretical advantages.
When asked about such rewards, Scagnelli said, “I think it does give me an advantage in applying for more competitive internships and graduate programs because having this program on my resume shows that I have had a more well-rounded and diverse academic experience.”
Ultimately, the Antonian Scholars Honors Program reflects the mission of St. Kate’s to inspire women to think critically, to ask questions, and to gain knowledge which will allow them take the world by storm.
For information on applying for the Antonian Scholars Honors Program, contact Dr. Rafael Cervantes at