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First-Year Honors Scholars Programming


During this one-year experience, Honors Scholars have the opportunity to participate in co-curricular activities such as research panels, faculty dinners, and scholarly conversations and lectures. This programming is offered to help Honors Scholars establish an academic foundation for their undergraduate years at Tulane.

Featured experiences include:

  • A tailored schedule during New Student Orientation and Fall Welcome that introduces our honors scholars to the program and its opportunities
  • Networking opportunities with school Deans and community members
  • Keynote lectures hosted by some of Tulane’s top faculty
  • Workshops for those on a pre-professional track and for those considering fellowships and research
  • Showcases for the many second-year leadership opportunities available for our Honors Scholars to consider their experience

Scholar Societies

A highlight of the first-year honors programming is the opportunity to make a lasting connection with a faculty member by engaging in Scholar Societies. These faculty-led groups, each of which has a specific theme or area of focus, help foster community among students and create the opportunity for informal interactions between faculty members and students. Society Faculty engage with honors students through meals, off-campus field trips, on-campus events, and themed discussions. Through the societies, students are able to explore local and regional issues relevant to the New Orleans community, introduce students to opportunities for innovation in the local community, and brainstorm what intellectual leadership might look like in a particular discipline.

2021-2022 Scholar Societies are included below. Applications to the societies are open through Friday, July 16 and can be accessed below.

Fall 2021 Scholar Society Application


Art and Art History Scholar Society

The Art and Art History Society is a great opportunity to become more involved in the arts on campus, in New Orleans, and beyond. We'll take trips to major art institutions and events in the city, meet with curators and conservators for behind-the-scenes looks at works of art, and get to know the local contemporary art scene. Over the course of the year, we'll also have discussions organized around lectures on campus by world-renowned curators, art historians, and artists, meet informally in small groups with these visiting speakers, and talk with prominent alumni about their work in the arts. Meeting time/days of this society will vary throughout the year depending on the schedule of events throughout the city.

Dr. Michelle Foa, Associate Professor, Art History |  BIO

Books and Reading Scholar Society

This society conducts two book-related events/term, such as a Graveyard Poets reading in the fall and a formal dinner with a Tulane Creative Writing professor in the spring. The society also assists in the coordination of book related events in the English Department (e.g. the annual Ferguson Lecture) and across campus. We also gather less formally for discussions of books that the members are currently reading, either curricularly or extracurricularly. Some prospective events include a graveyard poet’s reading and a formal dinner with a creative writing professor. Meeting time/days of this society will vary throughout the year.

Dr. Mike Kuczynski, Professor, English |  BIO

Brain, Arts and Music: BAM! Scholar Society

Recent advances in neuroscience allow us to explore the relationships between the brain and our musical and artistic experiences. For the first time, researchers are able to see how visual art and music change the brain as well as how individual brain differences influence artistic expression and creativity. The BAM! Society will explore the intersections of neuroscience, music, and the visual arts through readings, discussions, and local cultural outings. Members of this society will have the opportunity to interact with local culture bearers and to experience New Orleans’ unique musical and artistic heritage.

Dr. Paul Colombo, Associate Professor, Neuroscience |  BIO

Cultural Engagement Scholar Society

In the Cultural Engagement Scholar Society, we’ll visit art and history museums, independent movie theatres, and attend live theater productions on and off-campus.

Some prospective events include a visit to the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), a trip to the WWII Museum, a private evening tour of the Newcomb Art Museum, and an outing to the Broad Theater. Depending on when events are scheduled in the city, the Society usually meets on afternoons or early evenings on Saturdays and Sundays.

Dr. Karissa Haugeberg, Associate Professor, History |  BIO

Feminist Frameworks Scholar Society

From public policy to popular culture, gender impacts the way we think about the world and our place in it. This society centers feminist approaches to literature, film, and public life in New Orleans and beyond. We will read and discuss essays from contemporary authors like Roxanne Gay and Brit Bennet, attend events in the city like the New Orleans Film Festival, and engage with feminist and activist community partners. We’ll talk about how to move from thinking about feminism to becoming more engaged citizens and members of the Tulane and New Orleans community. In the spring, we’ll explore the politics of Carnival with discussions and events that consider how gender performance shapes both the Mardi Gras ball and parading traditions.

Prospective events include a tour of a neuroscience research laboratory, a discussion of psychoactive drugs, and an exploration of strategies for deeper learning. This society will meet on Tuesday or Thursday in the late afternoon.

Dr. Aidan Smith, Adjunct Professor, Women and Gender Studies |  BIO

Gray Matter Scholar Society

The human brain has a hundred billion neurons interlinked by a hundred trillion connections, relaying trillions more electrical and chemical signals during each second of your life. Out of this vast communication web emerges your every movement, sensation, urge, thought, decision, and dream. Today, there is no more exciting field than the study of the brain and its impact on our behaviors. The Gray Matter Society provides Honors Scholars with the opportunity to learn more about the fields of Neuroscience and Psychology as thriving sciences and potential career paths. Monthly events are led by faculty members and focus on a variety of brain-related questions such as (1) What do Neuroscience and Psychology tell us about the best strategies for studying and learning? (2) How do psychoactive drugs influence our brains and our behaviors? (3) What biological factors underlie psychological conditions such as anxiety, depression, and attention deficit disorder? In addition, guest faculty members provide valuable guidance for Scholars in planning their majors and future careers in academia, medicine, and other fields.

Prospective events include a tour of a neuroscience research laboratory, a discussion of psychoactive drugs, and an exploration of strategies for deeper learning. This society will meet on Tuesday or Thursday in the late afternoon.

Dr. Jonathan Fadok, Assistant Professor, Psychology |  BIO

Healthcare Innovations for the World Scholar Society

The tools and technologies used in healthcare are often designed for well-resourced settings. In our society, we will explore how those technologies work (or don’t work) in the rest of the world, considering locations that may not have the same resources as we do in the USA, and considering the implications of healthcare tools and technologies designed for both diverse environments and diverse populations. We will explore innovations and innovators who are making contributions in this field. Conservation with faculty members at Tulane, discussion of inspiring stories of medical innovation, as well as online meetings with innovators in global health will provide topics for discussion of ways to incorporate design for all in healthcare.

Some prospective events include a visit to the Global Health Clinic, a screening of a movie on Rwanda zipline drone medicine deliveries, and a trip to the Mobile Medical Museum. Dr. Bayer will also facilitate several conversations on topics relevant to innovation in biomedical engineering for global health. Meeting time/days of this society will vary throughout the semester.

Dr. Carolyn Bayer, Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering |  BIO

Health Equity and Indigenous People Scholar Society

Before the first Europeans arrived, around 40 distinct indigenous groups intermingled in Bulbancha, or what we now know as New Orleans. Today, regardless of their geographical location or sociopolitical situation, health indicators are always poorer for indigenous populations when compared to the general population. This society will examine New Orleans through a biocultural framework, with a focus on issues confronting indigenous people. Students will meet with indigenous scholars and leaders, and visit an indigenous community impacted by climate change. Other prospective events will be film screenings, a Decolonized Walk of Bulbancha tour, and visits to cultural institutions that have roots in pre-colonial times. These experiences and scholarship will enable students to identify a paradigm oriented towards enhancing health equity through the pathways of research, advocacy, and leadership.

Dr. Lorelei Cropley, Associate Professor, Public Health |  BIO

Life and Death in New Orleans

Tulane was founded as a medical school. How have medicine and public health affected New Orleans? How does New Orleans' history, location, and culture affect the health issues of the city? This society will address health in New Orleans from a medical, public health, and historical perspective. We’ll focus on visiting places around New Orleans with medical and public health significance, such as the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, the Carville Leper Colony, the Tulane Medical School, the yellow fever chapel and cemeteries, and the Culinary Medicine center. Some field trips will be on Saturday or late afternoon during the week.

Dr. Emily Harville, Associate Professor, Epidemiology |  BIO

Science in the City Scholar Society

In 2013, the Atlantic published an article entitled “The Big Comeback: Is New Orleans America's Next Great Innovation Hub?” New Orleans has, in fact, demonstrated a great commitment to innovation in the post-Katrina era, with organizations such as the Idea Village, the New Orleans BioInnovation Center, and Propeller providing opportunities and support for start-ups and burgeoning entrepreneurs. Even the public sector is involved, with New Orleans recently awarded an Innovation Delivery Team grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to reduce the murder rate and increase employment opportunities for African-American males. So what does all this innovation mean for the community? Can New Orleans become the hub of entrepreneurship in the South? Can technology and fresh thinking improve education, health care, and infrastructure for our city? We’ll hear from some of the key players, listen to some pitches, and learn about initiatives to transform New Orleans from the City that Care Forgot to a mecca for young professionals with big ideas.

Some prospective events include the Innovation Louisiana Conference, PitchNOLA at Propeller, and events at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. Meeting time/days of this society will vary throughout the year depending on the schedule of events in the city.

Dr. Michelle Lacey, Associate Professor, Mathematics |  BIO

Sustainable Solutions Scholar Society

Fires in the Amazon. Pollutants in the air and water. Endangered species on the brink. Many feel concerns about these and other examples of environmental degradation, along with a sense of helplessness: what can we do, as individuals and collectively, to reverse this downward spiral? The Sustainable Solutions Society offers students a vehicle for positive societal change focused on environmental issues. Society members will deepen their understanding of the drivers and consequences of environmental change. This requires an interdisciplinary approach spanning the full academic spectrum, from natural and social sciences to medicine, law, public health, fine arts and gender studies, among others. Society members will also have the opportunity to make a real-world impact. Society members will form cross-disciplinary teams and develop strategies to promote positive outcomes, then implement their projects with mentorship from faculty, graduate students, and community partners. Through their participation in Sustainable Solutions Society, members will develop a deeper understanding of the complexities that underlie contemporary environmental issues and the concrete actions that can be taken to improve conditions.

Prospective events include dinner discussions with leading academics and practitioners working on environmental themes and hands-on projects exploring lead contamination in New Orleans.

Dr. Jordan Karubian, Associate Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology |  BIO

The Science of Happiness Scholar Society

The Science of Happiness Society will directly connect scholarly theories and research on happiness and wellbeing to our everyday lived experiences. Happiness is something humans universally strive for and in recent decades we have learned more and more about the biology, psychology, and sociology of happiness. This society will explore the big question of “What makes us happy?” through a lens of science, while also directly addressing how we can promote a culture of flourishing. Join us as we discuss this topic, hear from interdisciplinary guest speakers, and have experiences that positively affect personal and community wellbeing. Some possible events include volunteering (promoting kindness), field trips to museums/galleries/the zoo (creating awe), picnics in the park (connecting with nature), yoga (practicing mindfulness), writing letters and postcard (experiencing gratitude). This society is for anyone who wants to learn more about wellbeing while implementing practices that are scientifically supported to promote flourishing in your own life.

Dr. Carrie Wyland, Senior Professor of Practice, Psychology |  BIO

World Development Scholar Society

We will explore how different regions in the world developed economically. What was the role of geographical features like the quality of land, the abundance of domesticable animals, and natural resources in agricultural productivity? Has the effect of geographical features persisted to affect the development of countries today? What was the role of economic institutions for development? How have property rights and laws governing economic arrangements played a role in the growth of some regions or countries? How did the economy work in some ancient civilizations like the Incas or the Aztecs. More recently, how have major policy initiatives affected development? For example, how did the increase in world trade affect developing countries? Which government policies have worked best and worst to improve the development of nations? We will also study briefly the economic development of the city of New Orleans.

Dr. Felix Rioja, Associate Professor, Economics |  BIO

World Languages and Cultures

The World Languages and Cultures Society gives students the opportunity to discover new languages and cultures, to meet international faculty member and students, to practice their foreign language skills, and to develop their intercultural competence. The Society will hold monthly events that will put a different country and language in the spotlight. Each event will start with a general introduction to the culture and language of a country and will be followed by a social gathering where society members will meet and interact with faculty members and students from this country. The countries and languages will be: France & French; Morocco & Arabic; Nigeria & Yoruba; China & Chinese; Mexico & Spanish. Meeting time/days of this society will vary throughout the year.

Dr. Charles Mignot, Senior Professor of Practice, French and Italian |  BIO


Peer Mentorship

First-year students will be mentored by Peer Mentors in the Honors Colloquium courses and in Scholar Societies. Through these two unique opportunities, students have access to upperclass honors students at Tulane and opportunities to create mentor-mentee relationships that go beyond the first year.