Spring ’12 Honors Term Profiles

By Steven Jackson

This coming spring, five December graduates will stick around to complete an honors term project. Projects are selected based on how much they contribute to Beloit’s academic and co-curricular programs, as well as their bearing on students’ academic and professional development. Get to know the honors term awardees and their projects below.

Brian Shobe’s honors term involves interviewing alumni, with a focus on the idea of the liberal arts in practice. Shobe will publish the alumni profile features on the Terrarium and in the Round Table. The purpose of the project is to illustrate what it means to practice the liberal arts and to demonstrate how alumni have taken that practice to heart and continue to do so after Beloit.

The idea for this honors term grew out of Shobe’s work experience in the Admissions Office and at the Liberal Arts in Practice Center (LAPC). Success will be difficult to measure, but Shobe hopes his honors term will “give students a sense of what Beloiters go on to do, which is oftentimes not what they majored in. It’s the liberal arts in practice that allows them to do that.”

Shobe isn’t sure what he’ll do after completing the honors term, but he is considering staying in the area to work on a small farm.

Ari Jacobs is a chemistry major and physics minor. His project focuses on the improvement of teaching tools within the chemistry department. He will be recording labs for posting on Moodle, designing new labs, updating the department’s inventory system and hosting workshops for students. (His official title is “Head T.A.” but he wouldn’t mind going by “King T.A.” or simply “Boss.”)

Jacobs is excited for the opportunity to see the teachers’ side of the learning process. He has been a T.A. for three years and hopes to one day teach at a university. In a way, this project is a capstone for his experience as a T.A.

Jacobs hopes to eventually go to graduate school in engineering. In the meantime he has applied for a Fulbright in Israel to study nanotechnology.

Megan O’Doherty’s honors project will focus on revitalizing the Merrill Community Center Music Outreach (MCCMO). The MCCMO is a partnership between the college, the Merrill Community Center and Voigt Music. It provides music lessons to kids at the Merrill Community Center. Next semester, O’Doherty will focus on expanding the outreach and making it sustainable.

Last summer O’Doherty gained experience working for NGO’s, and came to campus this year with ideas for managing and improving the music outreach program.

O’Doherty’s goals include providing student volunteers with academic credit, starting a pool of donate instruments exclusively for the Merrill kids, signing on more student volunteers and having more lessons each week. “But, as my faculty sponsors keep telling me, it has to be baby steps,” she says.

O’Doherty has no definite plans for the summer, but she was just hired through the Ministry of Education to teach English in Spain starting next October.

Max Rothman is a physics major with a minor in music. Next semester he will co-teach an ensemble class with Adjunct Associate Professor Ian Nie called “Beloit College Klezmer Kapelye.” The ensemble will split time between studying the history of Klezmer and Eastern European Jewry, and learning to play Klezmer music.

Rothman led a small Klezmer ensemble his sophomore year, but it ultimately fell apart. He has since struggled to make the time to try again. “An honors term is the perfect opportunity!” he says.

Rothman knows teaching a class will be challenging, but he looks forward to the experience. “It’s my favorite type of music to play, and I love sharing that with people.”

After the honors term, Rothman’s plans are simple: “Get a job.” He is also considering graduate school, and will of course continue playing Klezmer.

Xiyu Du was unavailable for comment. The physics and math double major was likely preparing for a heavy load of finals. Her project is to prepare and edit a new review booklet for students taking the physics portion of the GRE. Physics and Astronomy Chair Paul Stanley is her faculty sponsor.



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