The Honors College Showcased Students' Fearless Ideas at Maryland Day

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Examining the skulls of human ancestors and comparing present-day and extinct organisms.  Participating in an imaginative puppet show and a student-led flash mob.  Deciphering codes using cipher wheels to discover secret messages.  On Maryland Day, April 27, children, adults, and students alike were drawn to the Honors College tent to experience the exciting work and fearless ideas of Honors students.

This year was the first time that the Honors College and each of the seven living-learning programs had the opportunity to showcase the exceptional work of the students on Maryland Day.  Each of the seven living-learning programs engaged with Maryland Day visitors through fun and interactive activities and presentations, which allowed visitors to experience what Honors students are a part of every day.  With the help of the wonderful Honors staff and students, the Honors College’s first time on the mall for Maryland Day was a huge success!

Honors College



Honors College Director Bill Dorland hosted two presentations on the Honors College and its seven Living and Learning Programs during Maryland Day.  The events attracted prospective students and parents who were eager to learn more about the programs and opportunities available in Honors.  Honors student panelists also shared their experiences being in the Honors College.  The panelists fielded questions on Honors housing and Honors courses and discussed what made their Honors experience so special.  In short they stole the spotlight!  All in a (very enjoyable) day’s work!

University Honors Program


University Honors Program (UHP) students and staff shared with visitors the wonderful opportunities for students in the program.  Prospective students and their parents were excited to speak with current UHP students about the program and to learn that, as the largest and most flexible Honors College program, UHP students have maximum independence in shaping their education and limitless choice in courses and extracurricular opportunities.  Maryland Day visitors were also very excited for a photo-op with Testudo!

Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students



The Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students (ACES), the newest Honors College living-learning program, drew a crowd to its table with an interactive cryptography activity using cipher wheels, a way to send secret messages by substituting individual letters in a message according to a key.  While used for centuries, today ciphers are used all of the time on the Internet to keep your personal information safe, such as credit card details.  Families, students, and prospective students alike were excited to exercise their problem-solving skills to decipher secret messages about ACES and cyber safety as well as to send secret messages to their friends to decipher.  And their hard work was rewarded with a maze puzzle pen: another problem-solving activity to work on!

Digital Cultures and Creativity



The Digital Cultures and Creativity (DCC) Program showcased individual and collaborative student projects.  This semester DCC students worked on a unique adaptation of “The Machine Stops,” a science fiction short story written in 1909 by E. M. Forster.  This exploration utilized hybrid puppetry to blur boundaries and consider the ways in which various technologies can push performance and cause us to examine ideas of the “virtual” and the “real.”  Visitors were able to view elements that have specifically been created for the production.  In addition, DCC featured a video from a student-led flash mob that took place in the fall as well as photos from an art gallery exhibition, which included a number of DCC Capstone projects.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program



The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP) facilitated a rope challenge for visitors to try.  This fun, team-building activity put visitors’ collaborative and problem-solving skills to the test and demonstrated the sort of characteristics that EIP students hone throughout the program.  Participants’ efforts were rewarded with fun EIP prizes!




The Gemstone Program hosted an interactive trivia game at Maryland Day for visitors of all ages.  The game featured a turtle shaped pool with floating Gemstone light bulbs, each marked with a color that corresponded to a trivia question.  Trivia categories included questions about Gemstone, Famous UMD Alumni, and Miscellaneous UMD Trivia.  Questions ranged in difficulty, with correct answers to the most difficult questions rewarded with a large candy bar or a Gemstone stress ball.  In addition to the trivia game, current Gemstone students spoke with visitors about their research teams and experiences at UMD in Gemstone and the Honors College.  Overall, Maryland Day was a great opportunity for visitors to learn more about the Gemstone Program.

Honors Humanities



Honors Humanities students and staff presented information on the program and engaged prospective students in meaningful discussions.  Students in Honors Humanities consider some of the most fundamental and important questions facing humanity today.  What does citizenship mean in a globalized world?  What are the consequences of the digital and information revolutions for human experiences?  How will understandings of diverse cultures shape the world of the twenty-first century?  At Maryland Day, students shared their insights and encouraged visitors to think outside the box about these questions.

Integrative Life Sciences


The Integrative Life Sciences (ILS) table for Maryland Day showcased Fearless Ideas in the Life Sciences, with activities that included a timeline highlighting recent advances in the field of genetics, various skulls of human ancestors that showcased how the skull has evolved over time, and a matching game where visitors matched present day and extinct organisms with their fossils.  Visitors enjoyed learning about how the field of genetics has helped scientists to develop a stronger understanding of early organisms.  Students in the ILS program are encouraged to use knowledge from various disciplines to come to conclusions about new situations and the ILS Maryland Day table allowed visitors to gain insight about this aspect of the program.  The table had visitors from toddlers to adults and all who participated received a small token, either a lollipop or an ILS keychain.  Overall, our Maryland Day table was successful at fostering discussion about the life sciences with people who came to visit campus.


Published May 1, 2013